The North Central CMA region includes the traditional lands of Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung, Yorta Yorta, Barapa Barapa, Wemba Wamba, Wadi Wadi and clans represented by the Barengi Gadjin Land Council.
We are grateful to all the Traditional Owners who have provided an introduction to their people and Country, for this page.
Dja Dja Wurrung
The Dja Dja Wurrung (Yes Yes speaking) Jaara (people of this Country) have been a part of this Cultural Landscape for countless generations. They have moved within their Djandak (Country) according to the seasons, customs and traditions of cultural practice. These movements were guided by a deep connection to Country, because there was no separation between people and Country, people are just one part of many that make up Country. Jaara believe that all of Country has Murrup (spirit), all things from creation are made of the same source of life. Water has spirit.
Jaara people were recorded early on in Colonial times as the Loddon tribe and the Avoca people, among many other names. The rivers are the life blood of Jaara Country (Djandak), pumping water throughout Country like arteries of our bodies. Water is life, and all life depended on the free flow of water throughout Country. We are nurtured by and born of water – we are water.
The legacy of Jaara Country and the life ways of the first people ensured that Djandak was healthy and capable of sustaining life for the next generations. Our inheritance was not a house or money, it was the promise that our Djandak could provide for our needs, that it would have clean and drinkable gatjin (water) and the food was abundant for farming, harvesting, hunting and gathering.
Our Lores monitored our environmental footprint and regulated our impacts through close observation and extensive knowledge of long-term patterns, customs and totemic relationships, keeping a balance. This was the way for so long until it could not be passed down anymore.
We are the First People of the rivers and mountains. We managed our land, forests, rivers and wetlands for thousands of years. We have shaped the Australian landscape through our traditional management practices and biocultural knowledge, and we relied heavily on a healthy Country to thrive. Our waterways are the lifeblood of Country; they are the blood and tears of our ancestors.
Our land and rivers remain central to Taungurung Identity; they are the spirit of the land. We have a deep physical and spiritual connection to our rivers; they flow through Country, watering our significant sites, bringing life and maintaining our connection with our ancestors. We are custodians of our waterways; it is our responsibility to heal our rivers and wetlands, protecting our living biocultural knowledge and improving the health and wellbeing of our people.
“Gaka Yawall Ngulla Yorta Yorta woka” Come walk with us on Yorta Yorta Country
The Yorta Yorta Nation consist of eight different family groups. Yorta Yorta language is spoken by all Yorta Yorta people, including the Kailtheban, Wollithiga, Moira, Ulupna, Bangerang, Kwat Kwat, Yalaba Yalaba and Ngurai-illiam-wurrung clans.
The Yorta Yorta Nation retain an undeniable bloodline to the original Ancestors within the Yorta Yorta region. These bloodlines link our past, present and future to one another, with traditional laws, customs, beliefs, and sovereignty intact.
During the pre-colonial period Australia was an autonomous country. Yorta Yorta people lived in sync with the environment and the biodiversity was plentiful. Yorta Yorta people conserved the landscape and waterways for thousands of generations. We are freshwater people that maintained and occupied a landscape containing floodplains and grasslands that continue to provide an abundance of natural resources that are easily accessible throughout the seasons. Our social, spiritual, economic, and cultural links with the area have never been broken and our relationship and connection to country continues today.
Our ancestral land and waterways are equally important for the continuity of the Yorta Yorta connection with our inherent right. We hold a spiritual connection to the land; it’s our mother. The human spirit is born from our land and creator and returns to it upon death. The land supplies us with everything that we need for living. We must look after it, so that it will look after us in return.
“We never wanted for anything, everything was free, down to the clear air we breathed, no pollution and clean water, plenty of birds, plant life and animal life. We lived and respected each other’s right to co-exist, to care and practise those rights for our land and water. We resent the system that makes us beggars in our own land” – (Yorta Yorta Elder, Elizabeth Morgan 1927-2009).
To Wadi Wadi people, water is life because water connects us to all aspects of our lives both physically, culturally, and spiritually. We have an obligation to our ancestors to be on country protecting our cultural heritage, waterways, flora, and fauna but since colonisation, this has never happened.
Naturally, we would love to see a healthy country and at the moment, we are not seeing that and although we would ideally like our waterways and country (bush) to go back to the way it was before colonisation, we fully understand that is never going to happen. But we, the Wadi Wadi are willing to collaborate with government departments to ensure the health and wellbeing of our waterways and country is sound for many years to come.
Our partnership should be played like the black and white keys on a piano, which creates harmony but without these two keys coming together, we will only have disharmony. We see a future where our Indigenous knowledge can combine with western science to help solve the issues of our waterways and country, but Wadi Wadi people must not be excluded from this process.
There are two vital elements that country (bush) is missing, one is water and the other is Traditional Owners (TO) rangers, if our rangers are not on country, then country will never heal or get better, even if you put millions of dollars into it. To us is like making coffee, you need coffee, milk and sugar to make a cup of coffee, if one of these elements are missing, it’s just not coffee. To us country needs a healthy bush, water and Indigenous rangers on country, if one of these elements is missing, it’s not a healthy country and it can never heal.
Places of significance include Nyah/Vinifera forest, Lake Tyrell, Tyrell creek, river junctions and all waterways on country.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council
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.
We are part of our Country and our Country is part of us.
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.
For more about Traditional Owners of the region including priority directions and outcomes, go to the Traditional Owner page. For more specific information about each of the Traditional Owners, their values and priorities for the future click on the labels of the map here.