Recently a milestone was reached in Melbourne, with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council setting a boundary between the traditional territories of Wurundjeri and Bunurong people.
The boundary line runs across the city. This decision makes it clear who councils, businesses and communities in the heart of Melbourne should recognise as traditional owners for their location.
The process to reach this milestone was complex, as many of the recognised markers within traditional groups’ knowledge were geographic features, which have disappeared with urbanisation. There was also painstaking review of written records of colonisers, particularly where they quoted two prominent Aboriginal leaders from the colonisation period, Bunurong elder Derrimut and Wurundjeri elder William Barak. Both traditional owner groups had to make concessions, and not everyone was satisfied with the outcomes. The ABC story gives a sense of the difficult history and journey to reach this point.
WSAA recently revived its Reconciliation and Cultural Heritage Community of Practice. This group meets to share perspectives and experiences about the journey of reconciliation, cultural heritage practices and other First Nations matters.