Before the white man, even before the black man, they were here: the ancients who sported with diprotodon and thylacoleo, who lived in harmony with the procoptodon and the proleopus. They were wise beyond human understanding, long-lived beyond ice ages, and patient as only Australia can teach one to be. Their name for themselves was the people (as indeed is the name that most peoples give themselves in most languages), but as rendered by the human ear, it sounded approximately like “guh-NEE-nuh”.
They managed to make an accomodation with the Kulin peoples, slowly yielding the lands they did not favour – the forested hills to the east and west of the wide plateau that the Yarra and Maribyrnong cut deeply into – to the younger race. There were occasional incidents, but for the most part, the two disparate sentient species lived in harmony.This all changed with the coming of the parties of Batman and Fawkner. The white races did not understand the delicate ecological balance between the traditional owners of the land, and the animals and plants that they shared it with.
The Ganeena argued amongst themselves about how to deal with these invaders. The argument was never a simple one, never going to admit of a simple solution. To buy time for themselves, they moved west and north across the landscape of what would be Melbourne, eventually settling around and within Anderson Swamp, where they were not often disturbed due to the dangers of the swamp. In time, the Ganeena split into two factions, one determined to live in peace even if it meant fading away to nothingness, the other equally determined to uproot and destroy those they saw as usurping their lands. The factions split, with the more warlike one moving north (eventually confronting – and being utterly destroyed by – their enemies), the more peace loving, who now called themselves the True Ganeena, moved west. And in time, as they had foreseen, faded away entirely, leaving nothing but their name.
Suburbs near Truganina: