fbpx Indigenous Bayside | Bayside City Council Go to top of page

Indigenous Bayside

We are committed to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and acknowledge that Aboriginal people have a rich and continuous connection to the Bayside area.

Find out more about:

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and custodians of this land, the Boon Wurrung people, and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Our statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians

Indigenous culture and heritage is respected and appreciated by the Bayside community who will work together to create a better future for all Australians.

Bayside City Council:

  • Recognises that the Boon Wurrung people are the traditional inhabitants of the land that now comprises the City of Bayside;
  • Acknowledges that this land was colonised without the consent of the original inhabitants;
  • Recognises the distinctive relationship that indigenous people have with local land and waters, including trees, hills and valleys, creeks and coast of Bayside;
  • Regrets past misunderstandings and injustices experienced by Australia’s indigenous communities including the confiscation of traditional lands, and the implementation of policies which had the effect of extinguishing indigenous practices, language and culture;
  • Supports people of Australia working together for the development of a formal instrument of reconciliation;
  • Acknowledges the right of the indigenous people of Australia to live, subject to Australian law, according to their own values and customs and is committed to respecting indigenous sacred sites and significant places;
  • Acknowledges the value, significance, diversity and strength of indigenous cultures to the heritage of all Australians, and is committed to working with indigenous people to research local stories and sites of significance to indigenous people, assisting them to record and present their histories;
  • Records its appreciation of the initiatives already taken by indigenous and non-indigenous people in assisting Bayside City Council and the community to understand and appreciate indigenous heritage and culture; and
  • Commits to consultation – on matters of mutual concern - with representatives of the Boon Wurrung people and any other legitimately constituted group representing indigenous culture and heritage.

Engaging elders

Contact info [at] boonwurrung.org.au for general enquiries about welcomes to country, language requests and Aboriginal history of the City of Bayside. The Boon Wurrung representative in the City of Bayside is:

Parbin-ata Carolyn Briggs AM
Senior Boon Wurrung Elder and Traditional Owner
Boon Wurrung Foundation

Bayside Indigenous Nation Structure

The Bayside Traditional Indigenous Nation Structure diagram reflects information supplied in Bayside Indigenous research reports including The Boon Wurrung People of Bayside, Volumes one and two written by Context Pty, Ltd.

The Indigenous nation structure diagram should not be considered complete or definitive. Very little material exists on the story of the traditional owners of what is now Melbourne because of the extremely rapid European occupation. Within six years of the official settlement of Melbourne in 1835, the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation had been settled by nearly 12,000 Europeans.

A diagram of the Bayside Indigenous nation structure

Download the Bayside Indigenous nation structure (PDF, 260.74KB)

Traditional inhabitants of the area were severely affected by violent attacks from Europeans, introduced diseases and inter-tribal warfare, which had been inflamed by the kidnapping of women. Clans were particularly susceptible to destruction because of their close relationship with the country.

Settlement of the Bayside area commenced in 1835 and by the 1850s the townships of Brighton, Elsternwick, Sandringham and Beaumaris had all been laid out. The traditional life ways of the Woi Wurrung and Boon wurrung people were altered rapidly and almost irreparably. Native game animals were driven away, plant foods lost under grazing stock and fresh water supplies put under pressure.

Rapid population decline and displacement disrupted traditional oral history telling and by the time European settlers thought to record information about Indigenous people, it was already too late.

The lack of material available makes them the most poorly understood of the Victorian tribes. For these reasons, traditional land ownership remains disputed and/or difficult to prove today and differences in interpretation of Bayside cultural heritage exists.

This diagram does not wish to confirm one interpretation of history over another, but aims to bring together existing information.

Baykeepers: Time of Chaos

Humans have long been entrusted to protect Nerm (Port Phillip Bay). Arweet Carolyn Briggs, Boon Wurrung Elder, shares the Time of Chaos story which tells how Nerm was formed and why we must continue to protect it.

Credit and thanks to The Arts Centre, the Boon Wurrung Foundation and Port Phillip EcoCentre.

Reconciliation Action Plan (PDF, 5.67MB)

We are committed to building respectful relationships and giving meaningful opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is aligned with Reconciliation Australia and takes into consideration the Korin Korin Balit-Djak domains. The RAP focuses on actions which protect and promote Indigenous cultural heritage and the wellbeing of Indigenous people in Bayside.

Indigenous Coastal Trail (PDF, 1.18MB)

The Indigenous Trail includes works of contemporary Indigenous artists and is based on stories authored by Boon Wurrung Elder Carolyn Briggs. The trail outlines the close relationship between the Boon Wurrung culture and the coastal environment. Bayside's rich coastal history and the significant local flora and fauna are also prominent.

Ellen Jose Awards

Council conducts an annual awards program to honour the life of Torres Strait Elder and long-time Bayside resident Ellen Jose who passed away in 2017.

The program asks primary and secondary students to interpret “What Reconciliation means through my eyes” through an artwork (primary students) or a piece of writing (secondary students).

Winners of the 2020 awards will be announced in May.  Two $500 prizes from the Ellen Jose Foundation are awarded in each category.

The awards reflect Ellen Jose’s inspirational commitment to building awareness of reconciliation in Bayside and beyond.