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The area now known as the City of Boroondara is located on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people. The City of Boroondara’s name comes from the Woi-wurrung language, which means ‘where the ground is thickly shaded’. The Wurundjeri community has a strong historical, cultural and spiritual connection to their traditional lands. They continue to practise the responsibilities of their ancestors to protect, preserve and manage the land in line with their culture and traditions.
For more information about the history of the Wurundjeri people, visit the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation website-external site.
We recognise the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the distinct communities, cultures, histories and experiences present within Boroondara today.
According to the most recent Census in 2021, the City of Boroondara is home to 436 residents who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
- 410 people who identify as Aboriginal
- 17 people who identify as Torres Strait Islander
- 13 people who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
This was an increase of 112 residents who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander compared to the 2016 Census.
You can find more data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Boroondara on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website-external site.
Cultural places in Boroondara
In Boroondara, there are:
- 10 Aboriginal archaeological sites
- 2 Aboriginal historic places that are registered with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council.
The 10 archaeological sites are scarred trees. All but one of the trees are in parks or reserves along the Yarra River. There is one toe-hold tree in Boroondara, a less common type of cultural scarring, which happened when toe holds were cut into the tree to make them easier to climb and hunt for food, such as possums, or gather eggs and other bush foods. This tree is a relatively unique site type in Boroondara. The locations of the sites are confidential, so they can be properly preserved and protected.
As well as these sites, there are 5 cultural places in Boroondara that are significant to local history and reconciliation.
Canoe tree monument
The Canoe tree monument is located in Bowyer Avenue, Kew. Its plaque honours a significant scarred canoe tree, which was thought to be more than 1,000 years old. It was cut down at the site in the late 1950s.
The Wurundjeri Trail was opened in 2017 and is located in Chandler Reserve along the Birrarung Yarra River. The Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and the City of Boroondara developed the trail. It showcases the Aboriginal culture and rich history of the area with 6 signs along a 460-metre trail.
The Wurundjeri Garden is located in Glan Avon Road, Hawthorn. The Hawthorn Historical Society and Hawthorn Council (now part of the City of Boroondara) created the Wurundjeri Garden with local community members. It was part of a Bush Tucker Trail in 1990. The Council takes care of the gardens, which includes Indigenous flowering and seeding for future regeneration and seed collection. There are signs included at the garden about the Indigenous plants.
The Wominjeka Garden is located at St Oswald's Church in Glen Iris. It's a reconciliation garden developed by the church and is dedicated to the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The gardens are open to the community every day.
Aunty Dot Peters AM Flowering Grasslands
The Aunty Dot Peters AM Flowering Grasslands are located at the Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn Campus. These grasslands are named after Yarra Yarra Elder Aunty Dot Peters AM. They were designed by Wemba Wemba-Wergaia man, Dean Stewart.
Reconciliation in Boroondara
The Boroondara Reconciliation Strategy formalises Council’s commitment to reconciliation in Boroondara. It provides a 4-year vision and action plan for implementing reconciliation initiatives with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (WWCHAC) and other stakeholders in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector and the broader community.
As we continue our reconciliation journey, we are committed to listening and learning from WWCHAC and all local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other stakeholders to implement this Strategy.
Boroondara Reconciliation Strategy 2022–2026
Learn about how we developed our Reconciliation Strategy, what we heard from the community, our reconciliation activities so far, and how we will implement and monitor our strategy.
Services and programs for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Services in the Eastern Metropolitan Region that specifically support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and/or provide strategic policy and service advice and planning are:
- Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation-external site – The Registered Aboriginal Party for all of Boroondara. Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders can be invited to perform a Welcome to Country and/or smoking ceremony on all areas of land in Boroondara.
- First Peoples – State Relations-external site – Protects Aboriginal cultural rights and promotes the progression of Treaty, truth and self-determination.
- Department of Families, Fairness and Housing-external site – works with Aboriginal communities, community organisations, other government departments and mainstream service providers. It aims to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal people in Victoria.
- Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place-external site – A community-controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation based in the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place is committed to keeping, promoting and strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural identity.
- Moondani Toombadool Centre at Swinburne University-external site – Created in 2018, the Moondani Toombadool Centre manages all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters at Swinburne. This includes:
- student services
- teaching and learning
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc-external site – The peak body for Aboriginal health and wellbeing in Victoria. It has 32 Aboriginal community-controlled organisations as members. The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation says that an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation is ‘a primary health care service initiated and operated by the local Aboriginal community to deliver holistic, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate health care to the community which controls it, through a locally elected Board of Management’.
- Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency-external site – A state-wide Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation that supports children, young people, families and community members.
- Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service-external site – A specialist Aboriginal-specific family violence service. It provides a service in the eastern metropolitan region, but also includes the inner and outer east areas.
- Djirra-external site – An Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation that provides both telephone and face-to-face legal and practical support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.
- Reconciliation Victoria-external site – A state-wide body that promotes reconciliation across Victoria.
- Connecting Home-external site – A state-wide organisation that provides a range of services to survivors of the Stolen Generations.
- Boroondara Reconciliation Network-external site – A volunteer-based group that supports reconciliation actions locally. The network was created in 2017 to replace the Boroondara ANTaR group.
Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners
A Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners recognises the continuing connection of Aboriginal Traditional Owners to their Country.
An Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners is a way of showing awareness and respect for the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of the land on which a meeting or event is being held. It can be given by anyone and is generally given by the first speaker at an event (or following a Welcome to Country if one is given). Subsequent speakers may also choose to give an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners, particularly if the event is a significant celebration or time for Aboriginal people.
It's different to a Welcome to Country ceremony, which is performed by Aboriginal Traditional Owners to welcome visitors onto their traditional land. These ceremonies can include singing, traditional dancing, smoke ceremonies or a speech. You can invite Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders to perform a Welcome to Country on any part of the land now known as Boroondara. You should certainly organise a Welcome to Country if the event is significant to Aboriginal people.
To arrange a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, you can fill in the online booking form on the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation website-external site.
You can find out more about Welcome to Country and Acknowledgements of Traditional Owners on the Victorian Government's First Peoples - State Relations website-external site.
For more information, please contact Liz O’Loughlin, Social Inclusion Policy and Project Officer on (03) 9278 4693 or [email protected]dara.vic.gov.au