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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2021 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.