The journey into Tower Hill that we make often is a short but unique one being as it is into the crater of a volcano.
When we reach the bottom of the hill we drive across the lake or walk around the edge. Water birds glide on the surface,
emus stride on the surrounding wetlands and busily feed there
while kangaroos bound along or stop to stare.
Journeys to Tower Hill are journeys through the seasons. Lakes often dry up in summer providing new wetland areas for kangaroos and emus to enjoy. They fill again in the other seasons for the water birds to enjoy. Winter and spring bring the richest green and the glorious gold of the wattles. The kangaroo apple trees bear pretty mauve flowers in spring and summer, and later berries that change from yellow to bright orange when the emus and even people eat them.
Above all a journey through Tower Hill is a journey back in history. Before white settlement Tower Hill, then Tarerer, was part of the tribal lands of the Peek Wurrong tribe. Now the cultural centre as well as the sanctuary is partly managed by local aborigines and aboriginal culture is in evidence.
In subsequent years the land was degraded by careless farming, quarrying and some of it even being used as a rubbish tip. Fortunately around the middle of last century several people saw the tragedy of this degradation of the unique area and restoration was commenced. Little remnant vegetation remained as a guide and von Guerard’s painting guided the planting of replacement trees, shrubs and grasses. Today the volcanic sanctuary is managed by Parks Victoria and local aborigines who sometimes conduct history and bush tucker tours. Weeds and rabbit infestation is evidence that remains of European degradation of the area but attempts are constantly made to control both problems. As a reward for the hard work of paid staff and volunteers Tower Hill nowadays is enjoyed by locals and international tourists alike.