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Our vision for reconciliation

Moreland City Council’s vision for reconciliation is respectful and inclusive recognition of Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Moreland.

Council commits to addressing dispossession and dislocation of Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from their traditional lands by establishing and maintaining into the future, respectful partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader community.

To recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional custodians of this land, we:

  • fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags outside Council buildings
  • put Wurundjeri acknowledgement plaques on all council buildings
  • invite Wurundjeri Elders (traditional land owners) to open important events with a Welcome to Country
  • help community organisations that want to include a Welcome to Country and other First Nations activities and performers in their events
  • highlight First Nations art at the Counihan Gallery In Brunswick.
  • make available Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island music, books and films in our libraries.
  • organise cultural awareness and appreciation sessions
  • appoint and support Aboriginal trainees in the Council workforce, and help groups and organisations engage with Aboriginal groups and organisations.
  • consult the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders on the use of traditional Aboriginal names in renaming roads, places and significant sites.
  • update local information on the Maggollee website to include information on policy and programs, protocols and cultural awareness, key contacts, relevant local data, news and events.
  • The Moreland Reconciliation Working Group works to strengthen Council’s commitment to reconciliation by:

    • giving advice to Council on access, equity and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
    • assisting with Council’s projects and strategies for Reconciliation, including action plans and statements.
    • helping the community understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
    • furthering Reconciliation within Council, the community, business and other parts of government.
  • In May 1998, Moreland City Council endorsed the ‘Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians’. In 2021 Moreland City Council has renewed this statement to strengthen and formalise its commitment to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the City of Moreland.

    This updated statement sets out the Council’s vision for reconciliation and outlines what council recognises, supports and commits to.  This is a whole of Council commitment to Australia’s First Peoples and begins with a signed agreement with the Traditional Owners the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders.

  • Moreland City Council acknowledges that January 26 is a day of mourning. This day is a painful reminder for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We do not recognise this as a day of celebration and do not refer to it as Australia Day.

    We believe that national identity should be celebrated on a day that is inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    We are proud to be part of the Change the Date campaign. Through this campaign, we hope to encourage the federal government to find another day to celebrate our nation.

    Moreland residents are welcome to spend the day as they please, and we continue to hold citizenship ceremonies on this date. However, we encourage everybody in Moreland to reflect on what this day means to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    Find out more about our position on January 26:

    • January 26 FAQs – A guide for the community (PDF 612Kb)
    • Finding a more inclusive date than January 26 – article by Sue Atkinson and Liz Phillips (PDF 478Kb)
    • Minutes of the Council meeting, September 2017 (DOC 413Kb), see item NOM55/17 Supporting the campaign to change the date of Australia Day (D17/326827)
    • Learn more about the Indigenous History of Moreland
    • For the latest on the #Changethedate campaign follow the Change The Date Yarra Facebook page.
    • Read the Frequently Asked Questions on why Moreland Council is changing the way it marks January 26 (DOC 35Kb)
    • Read our suggestions for how to approach January 26 respectfully or how to support Change the Date campaign (DOC 46Kb)
  • In 2021 we marked 26 January as Survival Day or Day of Healing. We launched the video below that reflected on the sadness and pain felt on January 26 by many in the Moreland community. The video featured:

    • Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elder, Aunty Di Kerr
    • Sue Lopez Atkinson and Liz Phillips from the Moreland Reconciliation Working Group
    • Co-Chair Reconciliation Victoria Aislinn Martin, and
    • Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan.

The Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people and the land we now call Moreland

The area we know today as Moreland was, for tens of thousands of years, a sparsely wooded forest with native grasslands that was governed by the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people. The Merri Creek, also known as the “Merri Merri” Creek, means “very rocky” in Woi wurrung, the traditional language of this Country.

The Moonee Ponds Creek was named after Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Ancestor Moonee Monee. It is older than the Merri Creek, originally cut as deep as 10 metres into the sandstone. This was the original landscape which provided the basis for the cultural, spiritual, economic and social lives of the Traditional Owners of Country.

Contact between the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung and Europeans occurred in 1835. The colonisation and dispossession that took place had devastating and ongoing consequences for the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people and other Aboriginal Victorians. In 1863, Ngurungaeta (“Leader”) Wonga and his maternal cousin William Barak led their surviving people across the Black Spur to the Upper Yarra and established Coranderrk Mission Station near Healesville on 2300 acres of land. Access to the land was granted as a lease. Many other Aboriginal Victorians also settled at Coranderrk Station. 

Throughout decades of colonisation and dispossession, descendants of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people have survived. Moreland remains part of the unceded territory of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people. 

Australia is the only country in the Commonwealth that does not currently have a Treaty with its First People. In 2018 the State of Victoria passed legislation to progress a Treaty with Aboriginal Victorians.

The above content has been approved by the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.

Aboriginal sites in Moreland

The Moreland Post-Contact Aboriginal Heritage Study lists and describes important Aboriginal sites in Moreland, including places, landscapes and buildings. These sites hold great significance to Aboriginal people. 

  • Brothers Herbert and William Murray are two of many Aboriginal people who served in World War I. Today, their relatives are Moreland community members.

    Nora and John Stewart Murray's family were likely to be the first family to settle in the Moreland area in 1954. Stewart worked with Nora’s father Sir Doug Nicholls in establishing Aboriginal services for the community in the 1960s. Nora and Stewart raised their eight children in the small three-bedroom house in Heather Court, Glenroy.

  • 208 Hilton Road Glenroy was the original site of Glenroy High School, Box Forest campus. It was later the home of the Victorian P-12 College of Koorie Education Glenbroy Campus. In 2010 it was renamed to Ballerrt Mooroop College. In the 1960s and 1970s the eight children in the Murray family (Diana, Stephen, Gary, Brian, Margaret, Wayne, Bev and Greg) attended Glenroy High School close to their home. When the college was closed in 2012 a community campaign was launched to return the site to the Aboriginal community for use by the whole community. In 2017 the campaign succeeded in keeping the site public temporarily until future use is decided.

  • Ronald Bull is considered to be one of the most important Aboriginal artists of south-eastern Australia. During the 1960s Ronald Bull painted a mural showing an Aboriginal encampment while serving time at Pentridge Prison. The mural is on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register and protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, as well as the Heritage Act 1995.

  • The Aboriginal Community Elders Service (ACES) (incorporated in 1987) was first set up as a retirement home/nursing home that would cater for Aboriginal Elders in culturally appropriate ways. ACES is an important health service for the Aboriginal community in that it attempts to address the major issue of premature aging within the Aboriginal community.

Read more about early Aboriginal life in Moreland

To find out more about early Aboriginal life in Moreland, you can borrow these books from your local library:

  • Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy
  • Dark Emu by Bruce Pacoe
  • Welcome to Country by Marcia Langton, which is a wonderful introduction for non-Indigenous Australian families and adults into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
  • People of the Merri Merri: the Wurundjeri in colonial days by Isabel Ellender and Peter Christiansen
  • When the Wattles Bloom Again: The Life and Times of William Barak Last Chief of the Yarra Yarra Tribe by S. W. Wiencke
  • Brunswick: One History Many Voices, City of Brunswick, edited by Helen Penrose