The Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BGLCAC) represents Traditional Owners from the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples, who were recognised in a 2005 Native Title Consent Determination, the first in south-eastern Australia. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 37,126km2 in the north west of the state, the Corporation covers 15.64% of Victoria.
We are committed to engaging with Community, creating strategies to better manage our land and water, looking after historical cultural sites, such as Ebenezer, The Ranch, and maintaining our cultural lore & practices.
BGLCAC and the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (WCMA) continues to manage projects as part of the Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Water Program. This year, one of these was the Lower Wimmera River Aboriginal Water Project – this included another two days of targeted archaeological survey, as well as Cultural Heritage Management and place recording training for Wotjobaluk Traditional Owners along the Wimmera River at Ross Lake and Jeparit, 8th and 9th July. Another of these is the Returning Water to the Billabong/Ranch Project.
Together with WCMA, BGLCAC presented a paper on Intangible Heritage at the inaugural Department of the Environment, Land, Waters and Planning (DELWP) Heritage Forum, Melbourne, 31 July. And together with WCMA, BGLCAC presented a paper on the effect of climate change on Culturally Modified Country Trees along Barringgi Gadyin at the 22nd Annual Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar 2019, Rupanyup, 5th September.
BGLCAC is continuing to manage the building conservation works at Ebenezer Mission with funding from Heritage Victoria’s Living Heritage Grant Program. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions have halted any on ground works from commencing; all permit requirements are being finalised in the meantime.
In addition to cultural heritage awareness training undertaken as part of standard CHMP planning Conditions, BGLCAC conducted a number of these training sessions for other interested groups during this period, including as part of the General Fire Fighters training for DELWP employees, Horsham, 25 October.
On 19 June, BGLCAC became the first RAP to use provisions of the AHA 2006 allowing an Interim Protection Declaration to be placed over the Aboriginal Place Dyurrite 1, Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park, in close collaboration with the park’s co-manager Parks Victoria, and AV.
The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC) represents Bunurong People’s rights and interests and manages the statutory responsibilities of the Corporation. The BLCAC are recognised as the RAP for an area of 5,439km2, or 2.29% of Victoria, including the Mornington Peninsula, Weternport and part of South-West Gippsland.
Bunurong People were amongst the first Indigenous people in Victoria that were involved in cross-cultural entanglements with Europeans, and though reduced to just a handful of individuals by the mid-1800s, we are still here and we continue to maintain our cultural obligations to care for the people, the flora and fauna, the lands and the waters within the Bunurong cultural landscape, which is alive with our stories.
As a relatively young RAP, some of the highlights of the last few years include discussions with Parks Victoria regarding a Bunurong Cultural Centre at Point Nepean. This would provide a strong Bunurong presence and voice onsite, cultural displays, walk and talk opportunities and a place for Bunurong People to be able to use as a base for cultural gatherings and practices, near to the site our Ancestors were not only born at for thousands of years, but also taken from by sealers in the 1830s. The outward facing vision is that schools and the public can call in for a few hours to learn about the history of Bunurong People and their Country, see the artefacts, hear the stories before they enter the National Park or Quarantine Station.
We have also been developing a Caring for Country (NRM) team with respected partners and major land managers so that Bunurong People have a vehicle to continue to exercise their rights and obligations to positively contribute to the custodianship and restoration of Bunurong Country. This work will offset in some way the heritage management component of what we do as a RAP, which often sees significant impact to our sites and Country. The team will provide a range of NRM services but will also handle Sea Ranger and Cultural Fire components. The BLCAC worked closely with Trust for Nature to secure funding that saw around 20 Aboriginal People from several mobs complete a free TAFE run customised course in land management.
Our Board has been doing some great work developing policies and budgets for a range of services to provide benefits to members including support for sorry business, emergency situations and travel assistance for full group meetings. The Board also initiated our Country Planning process which saw a large gathering of Bunurong People spend a week together traveling around our Country, stopping at many culturally significant locations, telling yarns and recording oral history as well as capturing the future aspirations of the group. This will all go toward populating our Country Plan, which will become a useful go to document for any department or agency wanting to understand our groups views, concerns and aspirations for our lands, waters and future.
Lastly, in 2020 the Yallock-Bulluk Marine and Coastal Park legislation was passed by State Parliament, which was named by BLCAC, who worked closely with DELWP and the State throughout the process. The name honours the Bunurong Clan of that area and the legislation provides multiple layers of protection to this dynamic and distinctive cultural landscape.
It’s an ongoing but very rewarding challenge to meet the demands of all the requests we get and balance it against the protection of our heritage.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation proudly strives to represent Dja Dja Wurrung People in their continued rights of recognition as Traditional Owners. We persist in building the aspirations of our Djaara Elders; that every Dja Dja Wurrung person is happy, healthy, and secure in their identity, livelihood, and lifestyle. We are the recognised RAP for an area of 17,369km2 in the north and centre of the state, the Corporation covers 7.32% of Victoria.
In the current times of coronavirus (COVID-19), our connection to community and djandak (country) is an integral part of our operations. These uncertain times have provided limited fieldwork, working from home but required us to reimagine how we engage with our members. If our members can’t get to djandak, we must bring djandak to them. Our Wellbeing Packages were designed and produced for this purpose. Each box contained ochre, weaving materials, indigenous seeds, and healing balms, all from indigenous businesses, for each of our members. Through coronavirus (COVID-19) we have had to adjust to the environment around us, but we continue to reinstate Djaara cultural knowledge, language, and presence on djandak through our various projects.
- Loddon Pipeline - South West Loddon Pipeline Project (SWLPP)
- Balak Kalik Manya (Walking Together) Project
- Wanyarrum Dhelk (Good Waterhole) Project - Stage 2
- Djandak Wi (Healthy Fire)
- Victoria’s Great Outdoors program – Bendigo campground update
The pandemic of COVID-19 has provided many challenges in recent times. As a Corporation, we still aspire to provide care for our people and members. Through providing support to our community through engagement, providing works on djandak, and building our economic health and growth. We remain focused on the bigger picture to be a part of our landscape and manage djandak for the future of our people.
Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) is a Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) that manages native title rights for the Eastern Maar Native Title rights holders who identify as, Eastern Gunditjmara, Tjap Wurrung, Peek Whurrong, Kirrae Whurrung, Kuurn Kopan Noot, Yarro waetch (Tooram tribe), Gadubanud and/ or Gulidjan amongst other names – who today collectively refer to themselves as the Eastern Maar People/Citizens. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 19,177km2, the Corporation covers 8.08% of Victoria.
EMAC was formally established as an ‘Agent’ RNTBC in 2011, as agreed by resolution of the collective Eastern Maar Native Title Holders at the same time positive Native Title consent determination was recognised for an area of land commonly referred to as PART B, consisting of 40 Km2 and broadly located between Dunkeld and Yambuk. Part B is a shared area alongside Gunditj Miring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and in 2013 both groups were appointed as joint Registered Aboriginal Parties for the area.
In February 2020, EMAC was accorded RAP status for an extended land area comprising of approximately 17,880 km2 encompassing Port Fairy to west of Anglesea and extending inland to include the Great Otway National Park and the townships of Warrnambool, Terang, Mortlake, Camperdown, Colac, Apollo Bay, Lorne and Cressy EMAC is governed by a 12-member Board – each member represents a defined family grouping which is linked to a referenced ancestor who occupied territory at the time of European settlement. Up to 60% of our 12-member board is represented by proud Eastern Maar women, some of whom are senior Elders and applicants of our Native Title claim. We are proud to operate as a society that has a unique decision-making structure – one which is committed to collectivism and inclusion, and which values common goals over individual pursuits.
It has been a very busy and rewarding year for the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. We have a lot going on, across a number of fields, particularly in working towards achieving Native Title recognition. It was great to be accorded Recognised Aboriginal Party status for an extended land area across our ancestral estate during the reporting period. This recognition has effectively elevated our voice and rightful standing on the protection and management of cultural heritage places, objects and landscapes on our traditional lands and sea Country. With the dramatic increase in land mass, we are looking at streamlining and future-proofing our expanding RAP operations to service the increased RAP area. It is heartening and affirming to see our expansion and know that the work we are doing directly benefits our People. We are extremely proud of the work we have carried out with respect to cultural and environmental heritage. This work is broad and varied. It involves partnering with various stakeholders to ensure the repatriation of our Ancestors; the preservation of various sites, middens and artefacts and the successful negotiations with governments to ensure major construction projects do not threaten sacred aspects of our history and landscape.
The First People of the Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal Corporation (FPMMAC) represents the Latji Latji and Ngintait Traditional Owners of the Millewa Mallee lands in the far north-west of Victoria.
As a Traditional Owner Corporation, we seek to represent the interests and well-being of our members and community. Country, Culture and People are our guiding principles, as we seek to provide Indigenous employment opportunities in caring and healing our traditional lands and waterways. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 7,870km2, the Corporation covers 3.31% of Victoria.
Having gained RAP status in December 2018, we have spent the past eighteen months developing our organisational and operational capacity. Throughout the 2019/2020 year we have seen a significant increase in cultural heritage engagement, resulting in stronger relationships with both government and non-government partnerships. We are especially pleased with our Ponnun Pulgi (Resting Places): Healing Country Together program.
This is a cooperative reburial initiative between FPMMAC traditional owners, Parks Victoria and People and Parks Foundation, and is funded by two Victoria based philanthropic groups. Over the past eighteen months this program has achieved unprecedented outcomes and the development of new techniques to protect our ancestral burial sites and cultural heritage. We are now working towards the next stage as a five-year program, in order to greatly expand upon our work to protect our culture and country.
We also continue to provide expert advice on matters relating to the management of Aboriginal cultural heritage and develop closer working partnerships with relevant stakeholders, such as government agencies, local government authorities, business & industry, private landowners, developers and the general community.
Over the past year we have gone ahead in leaps and bounds. We have expanded our cultural heritage activities, undertaken extensive RAP works, developed close working partnerships with land and water management authorities and employed key staff within our corporation. Looking forward we are working on our bigger picture, as we seek more contracts to employ more of our people within our nursery and land rehabilitation, cultural fire management, our fish environment program and upcoming social justice programs.
The Corporation represents the Traditional Owners of Gippsland, the five clans of Gunaikurnai - Brabalung, Brabraulung, Brayakaulung, Krauatungalung and Tatungalung. We are recognised as the Traditional Owners over approx. 1.33 million hectares including 200m of offshore territory (an area of 25,770km2). Our country spans from Warragul in the west to the Snowy River in the east, and from the Great Divide in the north to the coast in the south, 10.85% of Victoria.
Through Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation’s (GLaWAC) MOU with the Monash University Indigenous Studies Centre, several rock shelters in East Gippsland have been comprehensively investigated. These studies have resulted in a greater understanding of Gunaikurnai use of these areas and have also produced several academic papers. GLaWAC is looking to have greater involvement in all Cultural, archaeological or anthropological research undertaken across the Settlement Area. This includes increasing GLaWAC’s capacity to contribute to or indeed lead these research activities and ensuring that important Cultural and historical information is shared with the Gunaikurnai community.
GLAWAC is committed to strengthening its relationships with 13 Gippsland Environmental Agencies (GEA) as part of the GLaWAC-GEA Partnership. The partnership is fostering positive relationships with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities across the land and waters of the region and supporting economic development opportunities.
GLaWAC continues to explore the future of fire on Gunaikurnai Country, including the re-introduction of Cultural burning and giving Gunaikurnai People the opportunity to practice culture. Understanding the role of fi re in a Cultural landscape through pollen coring and historical vegetation, along with the stories and experience of Gunaikurnai Elders will be used to determine a path for GLaWAC to facilitate this re-introduction into the future.
Our aim is to map and investigate cultural places using archaeology and palaeoecology to fill in details of our cultural story. Identifying evidence of animal and plant remnants can tell us about who was around over a long period of time; it helps to tell the broader story of the changing environmental landscape over many thousands of years.
We are committed to walking together to share strengths, build opportunities and develop closer working relationships across agencies and the region.
The Corporation represents the Gunditjmara people of south western Victoria and holds culturally significant properties across Gunditjmara country on behalf of the Gunditjmara community. It promotes and realises the continuing connection to country by Gunditjmara people through its caring for country programs and projects across its properties and all of Gunditjmara country. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 13,924km2, the Corporation covers 5.86% of Victoria.
After many successful achievements in 2019, 2020 started with a fire which revealed additional heritage sites in the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, previously concealed under vegetation and part of an ancient aquaculture system built by our People to harvest eels.
Earlier this year, we partnered with Field & Game Australia to develop and deploy a hunting educational project for Gunditjmara youth, getting them back into country and providing the skills and knowledge to live and hunt on their land. The Gunditj Mirring Keeping Place and Business Centre is complete. The new building will be the main office for Gunditj Mirring, and a place for Cultural Heritage objects.
The fire uncovered a system, including a channel about 25 metres in length, that we hadn’t noticed before.
There is a big emotional feeling attached to the area and the [Keeping Place] building, I know it means so much and it’s a real milestone for the local indigenous community.
The Corporation represents the interests of the clans of the Taungurung — Benbendore-balluk, Buthera-balluk, Gunung-Yellam, Leuk-willam, Moomoomgoonbeet, Nattarak-balluk, Nguraiillam- balluk, Nira-balluk, Tenbringnellams, Walledriggers, Waring-illam-balluk, Warrinillum, Yaran-illam, Yirun-ilam-balluk, and Yowungillam- balluk. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 20,215km2, the Corporation covers 8.51% of Victoria.
This year we have been working to increase our local government authorities’ knowledge and understanding of responsibilities and processes in the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and corresponding regulations. A large piece of work has been investigating planning permit approvals which have been deemed not to require a CHMP based on alleged significant ground disturbance in areas of cultural heritage sensitivity. This work aims to assist local government authorities in mitigating their risk of causing harm to cultural heritages, provides more accountability for Heritage Advisors, and ensures Traditional Owners are appropriately consulted regarding works on Country.
We have been working in close collaboration with our key stakeholders running a series of forums local government authorities, catchment management authorities and land managers. Ultimately, these quarterly collective forums are educational; but they also allow us to streamline our engagement and create better joint processes.
We’ve been undertaking capacity and community building work running cultural camps and broadening our community engagement in State government policy through a series of community consultations. Campaspe Shire Council have also worked closely with us and other Traditional Owners to develop new Council Policy, ‘Recognising Traditional Owners’. The Policy will promote community awareness of Traditional Owner responsibilities and broad cultural awareness. We’re also broadening our investment horizons with the signing of our first renewable energy partnership with the DELWP Hume Region and Indigo Power. This flagship project saw the installation of 50 solar panels on the DELWP Broadford office. As well as delivering clean renewable energy, it is delivering ongoing financial return.
Maintaining strong relationships with our partners ensures we are able to collaborate with positivity and create meaningful outcomes.
The Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) proudly strives to strongly represent Wadawurrung People in their continued rights, authorities and continuing connections as the recognised Traditional Owners for their vast area of Country.
Some of the key achievements by WTOAC during the 2019/2020 financial year include continued development of the Wadawurrung Healthy Country Plan (due for completion late 2020); successful trial of a Cultural Walk Tour in partnership with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, which was a finalist in Reconciliation Victoria’s 2020 HART (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) Awards; purchase of a 54 hectare property alongside Bostock Reservoir from Barwon Water and being the first RAP to exercise Section 48 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act and also achieve the first registration of Intangible Heritage.
As a Registered Aboriginal Party, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation works to support their aspirations and protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in accordance with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. Given the billions of dollars of State-strategic infrastructure and other development underway and on the drawing board across Wadawurrung Country, it is vital that the Corporation is well equipped to diligently and proficiently meet the significant external expectations and demands whilst maintaining cultural obligations and satisfying the needs and wants of Wadawurrung Traditional Owners.
The Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation is a Registered Aboriginal Part appointed under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) that holds statutory responsibilities for the protection and management of Aboriginal cultural heritage places and objects; other functions of the Corporation include water governance, the provision cross cultural training and events, cultural heritage and land management services. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 6,107km2, the Corporation covers 2.57% of Victoria.
Over the period of 2019/2020 the Corporation has seen considerable growth and diversification of activities despite coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic related challenges. This has included the commencement and continuation of a number of projects across the various units of the business. Since late 2019, the Corporation has been involved in an agreement-making project with Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. The area subject to negotiation consists of the area immediately south of Wurundjeri Corporation’s RAP area. A series of joint negotiation meetings have taken place and the findings of a joint research project are in the process of being reviewed. CHMP and CHP evaluation remain the core focus of The Cultural Heritage Unit. The Division also remains active across a range of other projects including mapping exercises on The Stony Rises Project in the Merri Creek Catchment area and The Sunbury Cultural Landscape Research Project. Water governance activity and initiatives have continued to take place on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung homelands. The Bulleen-Banyule Flats Cultural Values Pilot Study set out to document the cultural significance associated with the Bulleen Banyule Flats stretch of the Birrarung. The findings determined that the area is a cultural landscape shaped and constructed through Wurundjeri Woiwurrung occupation, land management, social structures and belief systems. This study provided the basis for recommendations to DELWP for the protection of Wurundjeri Woi- Wurrung cultural values in urban planning processes.
Despite coronavirus (COVID-19) Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions, community engagement activity continues through the delivery of cultural consultations, events, education and special projects. In line with public health advice and in the interest of community safety these services have shifted to a digital delivery mode.
As operations continue to expand across the various areas of the organisation, it is hoped a successful application to the Aboriginal Community Infrastructure Program will support the development of Cultural Centre at the Wurundjeri Corporation Galena Beek, Healesville. It is anticipated that an outcome of the application will be known in early 2021.
As a Director, I feel proud of the work Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Corporation is doing. A core purpose of the Corporation is the protection, preservation, and revitalisation of Wurundjeri Woi wurrung culture and cultural practices as well as the opportunity to express culture in new ways. Another purpose of the Corporation is to be active in the governance of Wurundjeri woi wurrung Country, including working with the state and its agents to achieve this goal.
The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) represents peoples with undeniable bloodlines to the Original Ancestors of the Land of the Yorta Yorta Nation. These bloodlines link Yorta Yorta peoples’ past, present and future to one another, with traditional laws, customs, beliefs and sovereignty intact. Recognised as the RAP for an area of 13,199km2, the Corporation covers 5.56% of Victoria.
YYNAC has undertaken a land and conservation plan for Ghow (Kow) Swamp. It is a recorded place in Yorta Yorta country and is of high significance in the landscape from the history of use of our people; the plan will help with future management of the swamp.
We have been working on a joint management plan for Barmah National Park though the Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Board which was finalised in June 2020 and will be great outcome as it brings positions to the park and input to the management of Barmah National Park.
There have been numerous projects across country with the major one in being the Echuca Moama bridge which started in 2016. The project is at stage three in the major part of two river crossings, and we’re working closely with the main contractor and Major Roads Projects Victoria.
What we can take out of this year is that our People and Country are resilient. We continue to be true to who we are and what our Ancestors created in this world – our sites, our stories and our dance. The good news is that we will be here in another 100,000 years, we can guarantee it - it’s in our DNA.
Reviewed 22 December 2020