For thousands of years the Boonwurrung were actively involved in the Greater Kulin Nation and together we walked this land.
The history of the Boonwurrung people dates back many thousands of years. To a time when this land that is now called Melbourne extended right out to the ocean. Port Phillip Bay was then a large flat plain where the Boonwurrung hunted kangaroos and cultivated their yam daisy.
For our people, there have been many times when we have almost given up hope, but our belief and our spirit has kept us going.
The importance of this land and this spiritual place lies within our history and our culture.
Melbourne has always had a strong underlying Indigenous history. It has been a history that has been both diverse and complex. It has often been a hidden history.
Many of the descendants of the first people of Melbourne have played a major role inbringing about change.
Our traditional country now consists of the great multi cultural city, called Melbourne, where people from many ethnic backgrounds, arts, culture and sports are appreciated.
Today, we can still feel the spirit of this country, its Indigenous history and its spirit.
If you understand the continuing history of Melbourne – you will also understand that we, as its first people, have always taken an active and leading role in many areas – including health and well being.
The spirit of Bunjil and his gift of generosity has influenced this land for thousands of years and continues to do so today.
According to our tradition, our land has always been protected by our creator Bunjil who travels as an eagle and by Waarn who protects the waterways and travels as a crow.
Bunjil taught the Boonerwrung to always welcome guests, but he always required that the Boonerwrung would ask all visitors to make two promises:
- to obey the laws of Bunjil
- not to harm the children or the land of Bunjil
This commitment was made through the simple exchange of a small bough, dipped in the water.
The Boonwurrung people continue their tradition as the proud custodians and protectors of these lands from the Werribee River to Port Phillip Bay to Westernport Bay to Phillip Island and all the way to Wilsons Promontory.
We encourage everyone to nurture and care for this land as we do – with love and respect, to protect the rivers, the creeks and the waterways as they are the blood of this land and to observe the wisdom of Bunjil – to care for the children.