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Wurundjeri

From Academic Kids

The Wurundjeri are Aboriginal people of the Kulin nation, who occupied the Yarra River Valley and its tributaries in what is now Melbourne, Australia prior to European settlement of the area.

They spoke the Woiwurrung language. The Woiwurrung territory extended from north of the Great Dividing Range, east to Mount Baw Baw, south to Mordialloc Creek and west to Werribee River. Their lands bordered the Gunai/Kurnai people to the east in Gippsland.

Notable Wurundjeri people at the time of European settlement include:

The Wurundjeri people bore the brunt of the effects of European settlement in the Melbourne area. In 1842 the Native Police Corps was formed, based at Narre Narre Warren, but later moved to Merri Creek.

By 1863 the surviving members of the Wurundjeri and other Woiwurrung speakers were given 'permissive occupancy' of Coranderrk Station, near Healesville. Despite numerous petitions, letters, and delegations to the Colonial and Federal Government, the grant of this land in compensation for the country lost was refused. Coranderrk was closed in 1924 and its occupants again moved to Lake Tyers in Gippsland.

At the beginning of the twenty first century descendants of the Wurundjeri-willam look to their people's future. Joy Murphy Wandin, a Wurundjeri Elder, said:

In the recent past, Wurundjeri culture was undermined by people being forbidden to "talk culture" and language. Another loss was the loss of children taken from families. Now, some knowledge of the past must be found and collected from documents. By finding and doing this, Wurundjeri will bring their past to the present and recreate a place of belonging. A "keeping place" should be to keep things for future generations of our people, not a showcase for all, not a resource to earn dollars. I work towards maintaining the Wurundjeri culture for Wurundjeri people into the future. (People of the Merri Merri, 1999).

References

  • People of the Merri Merri. The Wurundjeri in Colonial Days. (1999), Isabel Ellender and Peter Christiansen ISBN 0957772807
  • The First Residents of Melbourne's Western Region. Gary Presland ISBN 0646331507

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