Wyndham City Council would like to pay respect and acknowledge the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Wyndham Council sits.
The Wyndham area is rich and diverse in its Aboriginal history and was known to be inhabited by the tribes of the Kulin Nation. There are five different language groups in the Kulin Nation that are particular to this region.
These groups operated within their own tribal boundaries. However, with the shifting of natural boundaries over the years and the growth of Australia’s population, the old tribal boundaries are not so widely known. The collective traditional territory for the tribes of the Kulin Nation extends around Port Phillip and Western Port, up into the Great Dividing Range and the Loddon and Goulburn River valleys.
What is Kulin Nation?
The Kulin Nation refers to an alliance of five Aboriginal tribes in south central Victoria.
The collective traditional territory for the tribes of the Kulin Nation extends around Port Phillip and Western Port, up into the Great Dividing Range and the Loddon and Goulburn River valleys..
Below is a listing of the language groups and the tribes associated with that language group.
- Woiwurrung (Woy-wur- rung) – The Wurundjeri People
- Boonrwrung (Bun-er- rung) – The Bunurong or Boonerwrung People
- Wathaurrung (Wath-er- rung) – The Wathaurong People
- Daungwurrung (Tung-ger- rung) – TheTaungurong People
- Dja Dja Wrung (Jar-Jar wrung) – The Dja Dja Wurrung or Jaara People.
Who are Traditional Owners?
Traditional Owners have the right to perform ceremonies, provide advice on cultural heritage matters,
conduct business on behalf of Traditional Owners of the area and form a Registered Aboriginal Party.
Traditional Ownership is a concept utilised by State and Territory Governments of Australia in order to
determine who has the right to form a Registered Aboriginal Party.
A Traditional Owner can be an individual, a group and/or an organisation as well as a Registered
Aboriginal Party (RAP) organisation.
Who are the Registered Aboriginal Parties for the Wyndham region?
On the Western side of the Werribee River the official Registered Aboriginal Party is the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation trading as Wadawurrung.
They are the Traditional Owners for this part of Wyndham.
For the Eastern side of the Werribee River, there are no Registered Aboriginal Parties, though this has been sought by individual groups/tribes at different points in time.
For more information please see map of Registered Aboriginal Parties – click here.
How do I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Wyndham?
On the Western side of the river you can acknowledge the Wautharong people. Representatives of Wautharong Corporation can be contracted to perform ceremonies, provide advice on cultural heritage matters and conduct business on behalf of the Wautharong people.
On the Eastern side of the river it is respectful to acknowledge the Kulin Nation collectively as there are no Registered Aboriginal Parties for that area of Wyndham.
If you are unsure of whom to acknowledge you can always pay respect to the local Aboriginal community by acknowledging “the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet.”
What is a Welcome to Country?
A Welcome to Country is a ceremony conducted by a Traditional Owner. This is typically conducted by a community elder or known representative of that Traditional Owner group. This ceremony is to welcome other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people onto their land.
A Welcome to Country usually occurs at the opening of an event. The local Aboriginal Custodians or Traditional Owners conduct the ceremony. This may be done through a speech, song, ceremony or a combination of these things.
What is an Acknowledgement to Country?
Acknowledgment to Country also known as Acknowledgement of Country is a statement of recognition of the Traditional Owners of the land.
It is a way that the wider community can demonstrate respect for Aboriginal protocol and can be performed by any individual, Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, participating in any occasion of any kind. It is a demonstration of respect, dedicated to the Traditional Custodians of the land where the event is occurring.
What is the difference between Traditional Owners and Traditional Custodians?
These terms are used interchangeably. Aboriginal people may prefer to refer to themselves as Custodians. State and Territory Governments will typically refer to Traditional Owners.
Where can I go to access further information about the local Aboriginal people and tribes of the Wyndham region?
It is important to remember that there is a wide diversity of Aboriginal people living in any Australian community. In order to build a better understanding of Wyndham’s Aboriginal community a good starting place could be researching the Kulin Nation and the tribes associated with that.
The Wyndham Libraries website has information about Wyndham’s Aboriginal past and history. The local government website Maggolee – Here in this Place, Local Government and Aboriginal Communities working together has useful content www.maggolee.org.au. You can also utilise the number of links on this page to some Aboriginal organisations for further information. The Census website may be another useful site.
Does Wyndham have any Cultural Heritage Officers?
Cultural Heritage is managed by Council’s Town Planning Department. Aboriginal cultural heritage matters are contracted to Aboriginal organisations and contractors.
**The word tribe has been used to describe a group of Aboriginal people. Aboriginal language is known to not be recorded in the written word sense. Words from the English language have an English definition/meaning/translation as defined in a dictionary and they are not traditional in an Aboriginal cultural sense, including the word tribe. For the point of this exercise the word tribe has been used in the absence of a more suitable substitute**