We are part of our Country and our Country is part of us. Bunjil the creator, made our land, waterholes, animals, and plants and gave the Bram-bram-bult brothers, sons of Druk the frog, the responsibility to finish the tasks he had set for himself. They had to bring order to the new world by naming the animals and the plants, and to make the languages and give the lore’s. This is why Wotjobaluk peoples are obligated to look after Country and culture and keep it healthy and strong.
Country heals us and connects us to our dreaming stories, to our ancestors and spirits. It is the foundation of our future. All parts of Country are connected and if our Country is treated with respect and care, then it will continue to sustain us and provide for us. It is vitally important that we continue and share our traditional land management practices so the land, waters and all living resources can thrive.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BGLC) is the trustee for the Native Title rights and interests of the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples, collectively known as the Wotjobaluk peoples as recognised in the Consent Determination on 13 December 2005.
BGLC’s Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) area under the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 includes places such as Gurru (Lake Hindmarsh), Ngalpakatia/Ngelpagutya (Lake Albacutya), Pine Plains Lake, Lake Werringrin, Lake Coorong, Warracknabeal, Beulah, Hopetoun, Dimboola, Ouyen, Yanac, Hattah Lakes, Dyurrite (Mount Arapiles), Burrunj (Black Range) and the Barringgi Gadyin (Wimmera River).
Wotjabaluk Country overlaps with the Glenelg Hopkins region along the northern part of Bugara (Glenelg River) where it flows out from the mountains of Gariwerd, along the Forest Country of the Glenelg River through Balmoral and Harrow.
Several significant places are outlined through our Country Plan, but like all places across our Country, the rivers, the lakes, the swamps, and all other landscape features in this area are of high cultural significance. Our creation stories are ours to sustain and we wish to tell our story as the knowledge holders of the traditional land management practices and the ancient narrative of this area.
We wish to work collaboratively, honestly, and transparently with partners to heal Country by cultivating a deeper connection between it and all people. Our families have deep Ancestral connection to this region and are inherently invested in seeing the better management of the land and water so we can achieve greater outcomes for Country and those that live on it.
Key priorities for our community and Country
Plants and animals
More plants of cultural importance are grown across the region.
Native food plant opportunities associated with Wail nursery are supported through integrated catchment management
Continue to build on current collaborative trials of traditional burning.
Restore ecosystems based on looking after totem species.
Wotjobaluk Peoples host an annual Wotjobaluk Land and Water Forum involving integrated catchment management stakeholders to promote a holistic approach.
Community wellbeing and reconnection to Country is supported through healthier rivers and streams.
Spend more time out on Country – conduct planning and strategic work on Country and hold meetings on Country rather than in offices.
Support agencies and integrated catchment management industry to learn and observe cultural protocols and practices.
Continue to research, document and build knowledge about cultural heritage.
Wotjobaluk Traditional Owners are notified about and involved in management, monitoring and research activities as a matter of course.
Restore refuge pools along the rivers.
Connect/reconnect with Bugara (Glenelg River) and work with Gunditjmara and Boandik Traditional Owners, our neighbours downstream.
Return water to the upper reach of the Glenelg – Reach 0 – upstream of Rocklands Reservoir.
Get water back in waterways and wetlands – begin testing water access and entitlements for Traditional Owners.
Trial traditional management activities along the Glenelg – including trial cultural burns, planting and harvesting cultural plant species and implementing cultural monitoring programs.
Daniel Clarke (BGLC) discussing Aboriginal water values on Bugara (Glenelg River).
Bugara (Glenelg River), Wotjobaluk Country