There is evidence to suggest that Mt Canobolas was used as a ceremonial site for the Wiradjuri where corroborees, and ceremonies relating to men’s and women’s business were held.
The name Mt Canobolas is derived from the Wiradjuri word meaning ‘two shoulders’ (coona, shoulder; booloo, two, pronounced Ghannabulla). Ghannabulla is a place of spiritual connection through worship of Baiame (the Creator God and Sky Father) and through the dreaming story of Ghannabulla as one of three feuding brothers.
Initiation ceremonies (burbung) were once held on Mt Canobolas and scatters of stone tools and engravings can be found near the Old Man Canobolas peak. Initiation ceremonies may have continued on the site as late as the 1930s and Mt Canobolas remains an important site of traditional knowledge and significance to the Wiradjuri people.
Mt Canobolas is an extinct volcano with its last eruption dating back 11 million years. Eruptions occurred from over 50 vents not just the two peaks you can clearly see on the mountain today. Magma when reaching the surface became lava which cooled to form igneous rocks. The main type of igneous rock found at Canobolas is basalt. During the last eruption basalt flowed out of the mountain like water, 50 km in every direction.
The basalt created by the lava has broken up over millions of years forming the soil that is excellent for fruit growing and wine production in the Orange region.
Mt Canobolas is a ‘hot spot’ volcano which means that continuous plumes of magma from Earth’s mantle (layer under the Earth’s crust) rise to the surface creating a ‘hot spot’. As tectonic plates drift over the specific hot spots volcanoes are created. Hot spot volcanoes do not occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates. A chain of hot spot volcanoes lie over the eastern part of Australia, forming as the continent drifted northwards. The plate that Australia is part of has moved 600km north in the last 11 million years which means the ‘hot spot’ in the mantle that created Mt Canobolas is now somewhere in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria.
*Information sourced from the Orange Regional Museum