Indigenous defensive sites in the Victoria
area were in some cases fortified villages; in other cases, separate places of
refuge used in times of hostility between Indigenous groups. These sites were
usually located on the point of a raised peninsula, separated by a trench, two
meters deep and several meters wide, across the neck of the peninsula.
A site of this type was located on
Finlayson Point, immediately in front of Beacon Hill.
Another type of defensive site was located
at Holland Point, near the southwest corner of the Park. This site was located
on the edge of a steep bluff with a semi-circular trench extending in from the
sea bluff. A similar one was located on the bluff at the northwest corner of
There is an interesting tradition about
these village sites, recorded from an elderly Indigenous person in the mid-19th
The story tells of a disease that came one
summer long ago (possibly a smallpox epidemic in the 1700s). Indigenous peoples
living in the palisaded village at Holland Point fled into the hills while
others took all their household belongings and winter food supply and moved to
several houses within the palisaded village at Finlayson Point. In the spring,
when the Holland Point people returned, they climbed into the Finlayson Point
fort and found everyone dead in their houses. Relatives came and buried the dead
in stone cairns on Beacon Hill.