Engaging Indigenous Communities

cultural heritage management discussionThe Port Phillip & Westernport CMA employs a Regional Indigenous Facilitator that provides support to the staff and board of the CMA, along with other organisations, to ensure a consistent, inclusive and productive engagement with Indigenous people of the Port Phillip & Western Port region.

The Regional Indigenous Facilitator works directly with Indigenous organisations and communities to document their goals relating to natural resource management and agriculture. The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA have developed a formal partnership arrangement with the Wurundjeri and the Wathaurong and are working towards developing similar arrangements with other Traditional Owners of the Kulin Nations within the region. This includes the Wathaurung, Boon Wurrung and Bunurong.

Events and activities undertaken to improve the Indigenous cultural understanding of people from the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA and various other organisations included:

  • A cultural heritage and cultural awareness forum arranged through collaboration between Wyndham City Council and the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA and hosted by Wadawurrung Elders. The forum aimed to create partnerships between Crown and private land managers working on Wadawurrung country and Traditional Owners.
  • An event to celebrate the work completed by Wurundjeri’s land management team on land managed by Parks Victoria within Middle Yarra. The event was also a celebration of Wurundjeri culture and involved a traditional bark removal practice and demonstration of the use of an eel trap on the Yarra River.
  • A cultural competency day for Port Phillip & Westernport CMA staff, where the day was spent with Boon Wurrung elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs learning about cultural traditions, as well as traditional and contemporary roles for women within the Boon Wurrung community.
  • A discussion on fire management practices between Wurundjeri elders and land management organisations, including Melbourne Water, the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, Federation University, the Merri Creek Management Committee and the Country Fire Authority. The discussion helped to Indigenous fire management practices into consideration when planning prescribed burns.
  • A field day for members of the Wurundjeri community to learn more about plant identification in the murnong grasslands and to develop a co-ordinated and sustainable approach to murnong management.
  • Two Shorebird and Wetland Conservation Training sessions in conjunction with the Ramsar Protection Program to teach Indigenous people more about bird identification and the importance of our wetlands to help improve further employment prospects.

To learn more about the work of the Regional Indigenous Facilitator, contact Rhys Collins on 03 8781 7900.


Proud Wurundjeri community celebrate eel trap revival on Yarra

On a wet and cool morning around 50 people gathered at Launching Waters on the Yarra River to celebrate the recent work Wurundjeri’s land management team have been doing on a Parks Victoria managed reserve within the Middle Yarra. The team, lead by Uncle David Wandin have been working on the site over the past two years with funds from the Port Phillip Westernport CMA and the Victorian Government, in partnership with Acacia Environmental and Cam Beardsall of Parks Victoria. This gathering was about promoting the work, thanking partners for their support and celebrating cultural with Elders and young Wurundjeri community.

In a culturally rich setting, members of three Wurundjeri families took part in a traditional bark removal practice allowing contemporary and traditional cultures to combine. The Jindi Worraback Dancer performed in damp and cold conditions with great pride and Uncle Perry Wandin gave a moving and heart felt welcome to all present. After a warm feast those remaining were treated to a tour of the recent planting of rare and threatened species of cultural significance adjacent to the Yarra River and shown the eel trap on the Yarra with technical and cultural commentary by Cam Beardsall and Uncle David.

The PPWCMA are proud to support the Wurundjeri and their Narrap (land) management team and are working toward a formal commitment to working together to promote their great work and them to employed to work on their country.

Indigenous Case Study - Uncle Perry at Smoking Ceremony

Wurundjeri to conduct sustainable agriculture activities in murnong grasslands

Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council recently met on Country (Kalkallo) with representatives from the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, a PhD candidate from La Trobe University, as well as a small selection of Natural Resource Management (NRM) professionals including Rhys Collins from the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA.

Elders and young Wurundjeri people had the opportunity to walk and talk in the grassland, gaining further experience in plant identification and to see murnong first hand. Important scientific and cultural/traditional ecological knowledge gained from the recent Barengi Gadjin Earth Oven project (i.e., murnong preparation and cooking) was exchanged.

The day provided Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council with an opportunity to consider a co-ordinated and sustainable approach to murnong management and preservation within the Council’s existing land management activities.

Indigenous - Wourdi Youang Land Management Team