Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians

DRAFT

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Traditional Owners have always cared for this Country

For thousands of years, this region was occupied and cared for by a number of Aboriginal clans. They fished and hunted in the waters of the area and harvested food from the bush and grasslands. Archaeological evidence at the Murrup Tamboore site north of Melbourne shows the land, coasts and waterways of the Port Phillip & Western Port region were supporting Aboriginal people at least 31,000 years ago.

Wisdom and skills obtained over the millennia enabled them to use their environment in harmony with the ecosystems. For Aboriginal people, managing the land and waters was done in ways that maintained both the environmental and community health. They used active and adaptive approaches, using fire, animal traps and vegetation management as integral management tools for maintaining productive and healthy landscapes.

With the arrival of Europeans and the subsequent colonisation that was turbulent and often violent, much of the Aboriginal traditional ecological knowledge for land and water management has been lost or sidelined through the past 200 years. Of the 1.3 million hectares of land in this region, less than 1,000 hectares is now under Aboriginal community ownership and/or management.

However, recently, the knowledge and practices of Traditional Owners is being increasingly respected and re-applied.

The Traditional Owners of this region – the Bunurong, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Wadawurrung Peoples- now actively seek for the philosophy of Caring for Country to be embraced and at the centre of conservation planning and practice to restore, sustain and improve this Country.