The Aboriginal History of Yarra

Wurundjeri smoking ceremony

Wurundjeri smoking ceremony, 2011, courtesy of the Wurundjeri Council

13. Wurundjeri today

Despite the impacts of colonisation, the strong bonds between Wurundjeri families and clans could not be broken and the Wurundjeri remain active in the community today – practising culture, performing ceremonies and passing on knowledge to younger generations.

A central hub for this cultural activity is the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council, established in 1985. The Wurundjeri Council is comprised of three family groups: the Nevins, Terricks and Wandins. Members of the Council are all descendants of a Woiwurrung/Wurundjeri man named Bebejan, through his daughter Annie Borate (Boorat), and in turn, her son Robert Wandin (Wandoon). Bebejan was a Ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people and present at John Batman’s ‘treaty’ signing in 1835.

The Wurundjeri Council has succeeded in improving opportunities for the Wurundjeri community by building a strong, vibrant and inclusive community organisation. The primary aim of the Council is to provide opportunities for Wurundjeri people to connect with and preserve cultural heritage and to manage Wurundjeri land, including sites of significance. The Wurundjeri Council’s growth has been partly funded by projects which actively engage Elders and community members. These projects create employment opportunities, engender a greater sense of wellbeing within the Wurundjeri community and provide the local community with opportunities to engage with Traditional Owners.

As at 2013, the Wurundjeri Council resides in the Abbotsford Convent, a heritage-listed building by the Yarra River, also known as Birrarung, or River of Mists, which has great cultural and spiritual relevance to the Wurundjeri people.

Despite the impacts of colonisation, the strong bonds between Wurundjeri families and clans could not be broken and the Wurundjeri remain active in the community today – practising culture, performing ceremonies and passing on knowledge to younger generations.

A central hub for this cultural activity is the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council, established in 1985. The Wurundjeri Council is comprised of three family groups: the Nevins, Terricks and Wandins. Members of the Council are all descendants of a Woiwurrung/Wurundjeri man named Bebejan, through his daughter Annie Borate (Boorat), and in turn, her son Robert Wandin (Wandoon). Bebejan was a Ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri people and present at John Batman’s ‘treaty’ signing in 1835.

The Wurundjeri Council has succeeded in improving opportunities for the Wurundjeri community by building a strong, vibrant and inclusive community organisation. The primary aim of the Council is to provide opportunities for Wurundjeri people to connect with and preserve cultural heritage and to manage Wurundjeri land, including sites of significance. The Wurundjeri Council’s growth has been partly funded by projects which actively engage Elders and community members. These projects create employment opportunities, engender a greater sense of wellbeing within the Wurundjeri community and provide the local community with opportunities to engage with Traditional Owners.

As at 2013, the Wurundjeri Council resides in the Abbotsford Convent, a heritage-listed building by the Yarra River, also known as Birrarung, or River of Mists, which has great cultural and spiritual relevance to the Wurundjeri people.

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Wurundjeri smoking ceremony

Wurundjeri smoking ceremony

Wurundjeri smoking ceremony, 2011, courtesy of the Wurundjeri Council