3222: Griggs Creek - Gurnang Walk

Griggs Creek-Gurnang is the main natural remnant creek of the Drysdale area fed by natural springs at Lake Lorne and other smaller water bodies flowing northwest through native bushland and a deep gorge into Port Philip Bay. 

The creek had a natural flow system that has been interrupted and controlled with development of the area. Native flora provides habitats for many native animals. Take the walk from the entrance at Creekside Drive, Curlewis and stroll toward the bay to take in the view of Wurdy Youang (You Yangs  - small hills). 

Gurnang is a home for many, listen and you will hear them.

Map for Griggs Creek walk

Distance: 1.7 kilometres (approximately)
One way: 20 min walk
Return loop: 3.4 kilometres (approximately)

Pause spots

Pause spot 1
The journey begins
Welcome, follow the track alongside the creek to the bay.

The environment is reflected in the sculptures you see the wall art here represent lines of the coast, Griggs Creek and the horizon line featuring the You Yangs.
School Photo smoking leaves
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Pause spot 2
Flora along the creek
The Griggs creek reserve has several regionally endangered ecological vegetation classes including a Grassy Woodland, Berm Grassy Shrubland and Estuarine Wetland that provide habitats for many native animals.
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Pause spot 3
Silver Banksia Banksia marginate  
Traditional owners would soak the flowers in water to make a sweet drink like cordial or use hot water to make a sweet tea.
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Pause spot 4
Fauna along the creek
143 species of native fauna have identified in the creek area. These include - 17 mammal species, 110 bird species, 9 species of reptiles and 7 species of frogs. Listen and you will hear them.


frog sculpture
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Pause spot 5
Magpie Parrwang-old soul
Common to this area is the parrwang (magpie) traditional owners believe the parrwang created the sunrise and that is why you hear them signing as the sun rises. Wadawurrung were forbidden to eat the parrwang.
Australian Magpie
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Pause spot 6
Hop Goodenia Goodenia ovata
Keep an eye out for this yellow flowering shrub. Aboriginal women would use the plant to rub on the gums of their babies when they were teething as it has numbing properties.

It was also used as an anaesthetic.
Goodenia ovata
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Pause spot 7
Waterhole wirrm-ngum
The creek was a part of a travel system the traditional owners used to get from fresh water holes like this one to the salt water.

The creek’s natural flow system has been disrupted and controlled by settlement of the area.
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Pause spot 8
Sulphur-crested White Cockatoo Djirnap
Traditional owners believe the djirnap (cockatoos) carries fire on his yellow crest.

Other animals would try to steal the fire which is why they are said to have a bald patch on their heads.
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Pause spot 9
Red River Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Red river gum trees and remnants of these trees can be seen along Griggs Creek. These trees can live for over 200 years.
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Pause spot 10
Reeds and Rushes
Reeds and rushes are a natural filtration system.

The traditional owners would weave the Cumbungi rush into a carpet for their homes and reeds into baskets.
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Pause spot 11
Tree Hollows
Traditional owners would use the hollows of trees to make a fire for cooking and to smoke food like possum.

The bark was often used to make canoes leaving a scar on the tree.
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Pause spot 12
Clifton Springs Bay
You have now reached the bay end of the track. Take in the view from Geelong to Wurdi Youang (You Yangs) through to Melbourne.

Flora in this area are more tolerant to the salty air like the Seaberry salt bush that has little edible red berries.
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Restoration and rehabilitation

The City has spent two years to restore and rehabilitate this area. 22,000 indigenous plants have been planted and obstructive weeds removed. 1.5 kilometres of new pathways have been installed to enjoy the area without impacting on the natural surrounds.

Developers have complemented this restoration and rehabilitation by landscaping the walking track in the estate using native plants and seating that blend into natural environment.

Restoration of the area with indigenous plants

Aboriginal connection

The Wadawurrung Connection

Little creek was a very important yami nullum (travelling path) in Wadawurrung country. Travel North you will see the Wurdi youang (You Yangs). Travel south to abundance of food and fresh water of the yaluk (river/creek).

Wadawurrung care for all that have Gurnang as their home from djirrum (frogs) to tarrak (reeds). All are important to each other.

Wadawurrung Ancestors have cared for these lands for thousands of years. They ask that we respect this for future the generations that are to follow.

Wadawurrung country spreads from Ballarat through to Geelong and the Bellarine down as far as the Surfcoast. It consisted of over 25 clans or kinship groups.

The clan or kinship group on the bella wein (Bellarine) were the Bengalat Balug Clan who would have used the creek as a yami nullum.

The Bengalat Balug clan elder would perform a smoking ceremony to welcome and acknowledge all visitors and connections onto traditional owner land. The ceremony was performed to cleanse the feet, the spirit and soul, to get rid of any bad spirits and to let Bunjil, the creator, know there were visitors on country. Visitors would be invited to put ochre on their skin, and this is the passport to say you can come on country. Today Smoking Ceremonies can only be performed by traditional owners of the land on which you stand. Elders are welcomed first followed by other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders then all other people.

The students would like to thank Corinna Eccles and Rebecca Famlonga, Cultural Education Officers, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, descendants of the Wadawurrung people, who spoke to the students and provided the cultural information for this walk.

Students engaging in the cultural education

Did you know?

Traditional owners referred to Geelong as Djillong meaning ‘Tongue of land’.

In 1837, following European settlement the pronunciation was change to Geelong.

To learn more about Wadawurrung history visit:

About the project

This project has been developed as a part of a broader project called ‘Knowing Your Place: Community Walks

The project purpose is to bring together local community groups, schools and residents to participate in a range of community-based activities.

With support and guidance from a City Project Officer, Year 11 VCAL students from St Ignatius College Geelong developed this walk by the following process:

  • Identifying the route
  • participating in Cultural awareness sessions
  • taking photographs of the area
  • researching history, development, flora and fauna of area
  • developing a draft brochure and submitting this to City Officer.

The learning outcomes of this project include:

  • Skill development in collating and communicating information received
  • writing for an audience,
  • team work, mapping and presenting
  • planning, research and problem solving
  • understanding of concept of place, walkability, liveability and place attachment

The City of Greater Geelong wishes to acknowledge the efforts of teachers Attel Martschinke, Kirsty Allen and John Clatworthy and the Year 11 students from St Ignatius College, 2020.

About St Ignatius College

St Ignatius College Geelong is a coeducational catholic school located in Drysdale.

The students involved in this project are Year 11 Victorian Certificate of Applied Education (VCAL) students.

The teachers have used the project as a way of meeting literacy outcomes for VCAL.

This project allowed the students to develop skills, knowledge and attributes in literacy through a real-life approach.

Literacy was progressed in the social contexts of

  • Family and social life
  • Workplace and institutional settings
  • Education and Training Settings
  • Community and Civic life.

The students were exposed to several people and platforms to develop this walk and enhance their literacy skills.

Importantly, students were made culturally aware of the significant traditional owner context of being on Country and the need to understand and respect this.

The project began with a City Project Officer introducing the students to Local Government, their responsibilities how to become an active citizen and get involved in civic life.

The students participated in a Wadawurrung cultural session, were welcomed onto country and led on the proposed walk track by a traditional owner.

The students were required to write a recount/narrative text from the sessions and then use their own observations, photos and research to create a walk brochure as a draft for this brochure.

This project gives the students the opportunity to demonstrate important employability skills such as planning, teamwork, organisation, problem solving, using initiative, meeting deadlines. It also allowed the students to improve their community connections and connection to place.

Participating students

Page last updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2022