Prior to the arrival of European people in the Taradale area, the local people belonged to the Gal Gal Gunditj clan. The Gal Gal Gunditj were one of the clans of the Dja Dja Wurrong people and part of the Kulin Nation. Today the Dja Dja Wurrong are recognised as the traditional owners of all Crown Land in central Victoria, including the Fryers Ranges forest. See Dja Dja Wurrong Clans Aboriginal Corporation for more information.
In 1856 there was a goldrush at Taradale. Mining activities dominated the town and surrounding land for a relatively short time period. The Taradale Historical Group holds records of gold mines in the town, but little is known about mining in the Fryers Ridge area. Evidence of mining activity can be found throughout the forest, with the remains of shallow diggings in quartz reefs, as well as a few more substantial mine sites and artifacts left behind by miners.
The forest trees are mainly Box and Stringybark trees on the drier slopes with the white-barked Candlebark and Manor Gums in the wetter valleys, with scattered needle-leaved Cherry Ballard trees and Black wattles with their fernlike leaves. For anyone interested in identifying the local trees the publication Eucalypts of the Mount Alexander region is highly recommended.
Sadly the forest we see today is the survivor of at least three complete clearings of the forest in the past 150 years. While some old trees survive on local roadsides, virtually no trees in the present-day forest pre-date European settlement. The large majority of forest trees are multi-stemmed, coppiced regrowths, growing from ancient roots.