Traditional Owners announced

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council is pleased to announce that 2,738 km2 of Country and Waters will now be formally cared for and protected by its Traditional Owners.

Monday 21 June 2021 2:23am
Published by Department of Premier and Cabinet

The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC) has consented to Council’s proposed variation to its registration boundaries. 

The BLCAC Board have said that this is:

A highly significant moment.. not just [for] the BLCAC, but for Bunurong People. The recognition of the extended RAP area is another important step in a long journey for us. We look forward to the determination taking effect and the work that lies ahead.

Variation area

The variation will take effect from 1 July 2021 and includes, in part, the local government areas of:

  • Baw Baw
  • Bayside
  • Brimbank
  • Cardinia
  • Casey
  • Glen Eira
  • Greater Dandenong
  • Hobsons Bay
  • Kingston
  • Knox
  • Maribyrnong
  • Melbourne
  • Melton
  • Monash
  • Port Phillip
  • Stonnington
  • Wyndham
  • Yarra Ranges.

Further information can be found in the map below and more detailed mapping will be available on 1 July.

Decision process

After so many years of discussion between BLCAC and its neighbours, Council have been able to definitively answer the question, 'Who speaks for this Country?' In drawing these boundaries, Council drew upon its own cultural knowledge and made the following observation:

Our Old People have often talked with us about the places where our mobs meet and where they diverge. Our relationship to Culture is our relationship to community and is fundamentally about our relationship to Country. Culture can sometimes be determined by the nature of the physical environment and the extent of Country is necessarily influenced by the landscape. What we read today is the dynamic of People living within the landscape.

These Countries are based on catchments. Water that flows to the ocean and water that flows to the river. We can follow a catchment from its most easterly and westerly points, across ridgelines and around floodplains and sand belts. We think of standing and looking across Country, connecting the features and connecting the lines we can see with the Cultural lines we can feel.

Shared Country

Council has proposed that the area around Mount Cottrell be included in the boundaries formally recognised by both BLCAC and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (WWWCHAC).

Mount Cottrell is an important Cultural site to all Peoples. The mountain is a place of profound trauma, a cultural memory of the men, women and children; old and young; warriors and caregivers; who were massacred there. The Peoples who lived there left their Culture and trauma embedded in the landscape. We respect that trauma still experienced in descendants of those who walked the Country. This is a place of shared grief and so a place of shared custodianship. For this reason, it is proposed that the area of Mount Cottrell be included in the RAP boundary of both BLCAC and WWWCHAC.

However, as the BLCAC variation will take effect from 1 July, if WWWCHAC seek to accept shared responsibility for Mount Cottrell after this date they must first secure BLCAC’s consent.

Further information

Boundary Variations Consideration June 2021

About the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Council

Fact sheet - About the Victoria Aboriginal Heritage Council

Fact sheet - Registration of Aboriginal Parties

Fact sheet - About Registered Aboriginal Parties

Fact sheet - Traditional Owners’ Caring for Country

Reviewed 23 June 2021

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