Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation

Overview

Macedon Ranges is located on the Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples.

These three groups are the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land, and along with the Wathaurung and Boon Wurrung, make up the federation of the Kulin Nation.

The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung Peoples continue to be active today, working to manage and care for Country and develop strong and resilient communities.

Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Evidence suggests that Aboriginal people have lived in the Macedon Ranges for at least 26,000 years. The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung lived in clearly demarcated territories defined by tribal language, and bounded by geographical features such as mountain ridges, creeks or rivers. These three communities, along with the Wathaurung and Boonerwrung, make up the federation of the Kulin Nation.

Each community in the Kulin Nation is distinct and is made up of smaller land-owning communities (or clans) but they all share a defining social moiety (totem) either Bundjil—the eagle, or Waa—the crow. An individual’s moiety traditionally dictated behaviour, social relationships and marriage partners.

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung communities continue to be active today, working to manage and care for Country and develop strong and resilient communities.

Council recognises that there are local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Macedon Ranges who are not from the Traditional Owner groups.

Council aims to support and reflect the interests of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, who are key stakeholders in the development of Council's Reconciliation Action Plan.

Traditional Owners

Download a map of the Traditional Owners land area(PDF, 748KB)

Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples

The Dja Dja Wurrung Country stretches from Woodend, to the west side of the Campaspe River in Kyneton, north east to Rochester, Boort in the north, Donald in the north west, St Arnaud and Mount Avoca in the west, and Creswick in the south west.

The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation are the Registered Aboriginal Party that are the voice of the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples in the management and protection of cultural heritage.

On 28 March 2013, the State of Victoria and the Dja Dja Wurrung People signed a Recognition and Settlement Agreement which formally recognises the Dja Dja Wurrung as the Traditional Owners of their land. The agreement also marked the commencement of a new and permanent relationship between the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples and the State of Victoria.

The agreement gives the Dja Dja Wurrung People greater rights in relation to the land, the opportunity to have a say on certain activities on Crown land, joint management of selected national state parks and freehold title to some land.

For contact details and more information, visit Dja Dja Wurrung clans Aboriginal Corporation

Taungurung Peoples

Taungurung Country includes Kyneton and Carlsruhe on the east side of the Campaspe River in the Macedon Ranges, towards Mount Beauty in the east, Benalla in the north and the top of the Great Dividing Range in the south.

Taungurung Land and Waters Council are the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) that represents the interests of the Taungurung Peoples with respect to culture and country.

The Taungurung Peoples signed a Recognition and Settlement Agreement with the Victorian Government in 2018.

For contact details and more information, visit Taungurung Land and Waters Council website

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country covers a large area around Melbourne and extends northwards in include Gisborne, Lancefield, Macedon, Riddells Creek and Romsey in the Macedon Ranges. 

The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation are the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) that represent the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples and engages in cultural heritage, educational services and land management.

For contact details and more information, visit Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation website

Significant sites 

A range of significant Aboriginal sites existing in Macedon Ranges, including:

Mount William/ Wil-im-ee Moor-ring

Mount William, north of Lancefield, is one of the most important cultural sites of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, with highly-prized green stone being extensively quarried for use as axe tools. Mount William was recently added to the National Heritage List in recognition of its national significance.

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock is on the edge of several tribal boundaries and is believed to be a shared place which may have been used for gatherings.

Mt. Macedon/Geboor

At the base of Mount Macedon is an axe-grinding site important for the Gunung willam-balluk clan part of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung community. The stone from Mt. William was shaped and sharpened on the rock. Some of the finished axe heads were traded during night-time ceremonies held around Hanging Rock.

Yelka Park

Yelka Park was named after the word for this section of the Campaspe River which features heavily in local Aboriginal history as a major meeting and trading place between local Aboriginal Clans.

Note: all Aboriginal cultural places and artefacts are protected by law in Victoria under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. It is illegal to disturb or destroy a place and artefacts. If you believe you have found an artefact or a site of significance, report your find to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria  

Our vision for reconciliation

Draft Reconciliation Action Plan

Over the past 18 months we have developed the first draft of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which outlines our commitment to supporting improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Macedon Ranges.

The draft RAP was exhibited publicly for a period of four weeks in July 2020. 

The final plan is expected to be presented to Council this year. 

Why a RAP?

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples make up 0.6% (298) of the total population in Macedon Ranges Shire. Many are not from the three Traditional Owner groups, but they also contribute to the diverse culture of our community.

A RAP is a roadmap towards reconciliation. For Macedon Ranges Shire Council, reconciliation is about recognising and respecting the rights of Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples. It is about understanding and accepting the wrongs of the past, including dispossession, violence and upheaval of the land and waters and the impact of this on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Council sees reconciliation as strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ right to self-determination and working together for a more just, equitable and reconciled Australia.

Genuine reconciliation involves everyone in our community and Council has a key leadership role in driving this work. In establishing the RAP, Council can:

  • enhance community understanding of our shared history
  • promote and support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples culture
  • provide opportunities for everyone to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ connection to Country
  • directly empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to participate equally in all areas of life.

In developing the RAP, Council has:

  • Focused on strengthening relationships and creating meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
  • Focused on building a deeper understanding of reconciliation within Council staff and the broader community so that everyone sees themselves as having a responsibility for advancing reconciliation.
  • Reflected the reconciliation priorities of Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

The RAP is designed to enhance relationships with Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples and support their right to self-determination. It identifies ways for Council to respect and recognise Traditional Owners’ cultures, rights and histories and share these with the broader community. It provides opportunities for Council and the community to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ connection to Country and it aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to participate equally in all areas of life.

The RAP’s purpose is also to reflect the reconciliation priorities of Traditional Owners, local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Council and the broader community.

For any queries relating to the Reconciliation Plan document or process, please contact Leanne Carlon on (03) 5422 0206 or email lcarlon@mrsc.vic.gov.au

Recognising Traditional Owners and Custodians

Council's Organisational Protocols for Recognising Traditional Owners and Custodians provide guidance to staff and Councillors around the following:

  • Acknowledgment of Country
  • Welcome to Country
  • Flying the Aboriginal flag
  • Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week events
  • Councillor and staff induction

In addition, through implementing these protocols the wider community will be able to share in Aboriginal culture and heritage, enabling better relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

The protocols also provide information on the Registered Aboriginal Parties, Recognition and Settlement Agreements and culture heritage issues.

Acknowledgment of Country

An Acknowledgment of Country recognises and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of the land on which they are gathering.

An Acknowledgement of Country should be given at the opening of meetings, formal events, public forums and functions.

It can be given by any non-Aboriginal person or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person not from the Traditional Owner group on whose land the gathering is on.

The Acknowledgment of Country that Macedon Ranges Shire Council uses is as follows:

I acknowledge that Macedon Ranges Shire is on Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung countries. I want to acknowledge that we are gathering today on the land of the (state specific Traditional Owner group) Peoples. I would like to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and any Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander People who may be here today.

It is important when conducting an Acknowledgment of Country that you identify the correct Traditional owner/Custodian for site in which the gathering is taking place. Below is a table of townships and the relevant Traditional Owners whose land it is on.

Township Traditional Owner
 Carlsruhe (east of Campaspe river) Taungurung
Carlsruhe (west of Campaspe river) Dja Dja Wurrung
Kyneton (east of Campaspe river)

Taungurung

 Kyneton (west of Campaspe river)  Dja Dja Wurrung
Gisborne Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
Hanging Rock All three Traditional Owners
Lancefield Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
 Macedon Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
Malmsbury Dja Dja Wurrung
Riddells Creek Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
Romsey Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
Woodend Dja Dja Wurrung

Virtual smoking ceremony

A virtual smoking ceremony led by Jaara Elder Uncle Rick Nelson of Dja Dja Wurrung is launching Macedon Ranges Shire Council's celebrations in the lead up to NAIDOC Week 2020. The smoking ceremony including didgeridoo, clapsticks and singing took place at Hanging Rock. 

Macedon Ranges Shire Council acknowledges the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples as the Traditional Owners and custodians of this land and waterways.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Council thanks local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander residents of Macedon Ranges for their contribution to the diverse culture of our community.