Manningham City Council acknowledges the Wurundjeri people as the traditional custodians of the land now known as Manningham. We pay our respects to Wurundjeri Elders past and present, and value the ongoing contribution to the cultural heritage of Manningham.

Manningham Reconciliation Action Plan

Reconciliation is about building positive relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians. The journey of reconciliation is important for all Australians, as it recognises the need to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and acknowledges the enormous impact of the colonial settlement of Australia and the forced removal of children from their families (Stolen Generations), a trauma still being felt today by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Reconciliation is based on the knowledge that all Australians play an active role in creating a better future, where all Australians enjoy the same standard of living, life expectancy, education and employment opportunities and wellbeing. Reconciliation respects that people have the human right to access their traditional culture, and for all Australians to share pride in our Indigenous heritage.

Local Government plays a key role in activating reconciliation within local communities by:

  • Delivering activities that provide positive outcomes for local Indigenous people and traditional custodians
  • Supporting the local community and education sector to take participate in and lead reconciliation initiatives
  • Providing opportunities for Wurundjeri people to reconnect with, share and celebrate their cultural heritage within Manningham
  • Preserving and sharing where appropriate the Aboriginal Heritage Sites of Significance in Manningham
  • Offering public programs, projects and events that are educational and celebrate Indigenous arts, culture and heritage

Council articulates how this can be achieved through a ‘Reconciliation Action Plan’.

The current plan for 2013 – 2017 presents a series of clear and measurable actions and targets for reconciliation within our community, and welcomes partnerships within the local and Indigenous community to support the plan’s delivery.

For more information call Cultural Services on 9840 9246 or email the Cultural Services team.

View Icon for application/pdf Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2017 (2.99 MB)

Aboriginal History in Manningham

The Aboriginal peoples of the Kulin Nation have lived in the area now known as Melbourne, for more than 40,000 years harnessing the rich resources of the Yarra River and surrounding bush lands and ranges. Part of the Kulin alliance are the Wurundjeri people who spoke the Woiwurrung language and have particular significance to the history of Manningham.

During the summer months, the Wurundjeri people, would inhabit the banks of the Yarra and its tributaries and visit many important sites in the area. In winter they would move to the Dandenong Ranges for shelter and along the way, they would stop by Bolin Bolin Billabong in the region now known as Doncaster/Bulleen, to fish for eel or hunt for food.

Wurundjeri people called the Yarra River "Birrarung" – 'river of mists and shadows' and it marked the centre of their traditional land and dreaming stories. For thousands of years the Wurundjeri nurtured and protected this land and its dreaming stories and in return enjoyed the highest standards of living, health and wellbeing. The river was plentiful with teeming wildfowl in the wetlands of Bulleen, continual harvests in the fish traps and freshwater mussel farms along the Yarra. The Stringybark and Manna Gum forests also provided abundant game and bush tucker for a population of several hundred people.

The Wurundjeri often hosted inter-tribal events that involved thousands of guests. The last of these, at Pound Bend, was held in Warrandyte in 1852. It was here the last inter-tribal game of Marngrook (the original of Australian Football) was played. Soon after, the government withdrew Aboriginal people's right to practice traditional life, relocating most of the tribe to the Coranderrk Aboriginal Mission in Healesville.

The Wurundjeri people shared the same belief system as other Kulin Nation territories. The Dreamtime stretches back to when the creator ancestors known as the First Peoples travelled across the land, creating and naming as they went.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia's oral tradition and religious values are based upon reverence for the land and a belief in this Dreamtime and totems. The two moiety totems (forms of social organisations) of the Wurundjeri people are Bunjil the Eagle (also known as "Eaglehawk Man") who is the Creator spirit of the Kulin People, and Waang the Crow, the protector of the waterways.

Some very famous Wurundjeri people are associated with Manningham. In particular William Barak and Simon Wonga who were both leaders of their community and have descendants still living in the region, some of whom are now Senior Elders themselves.

Aboriginal Heritage Sites of Significance in Manningham

Aboriginal Heritage Sties of Significance means that a particular site is considered to be a sacred or historically important place for Aboriginal people. Within Manningham, we have more than 25 sites of Wurundjeri significance, some of which are the most significant within regional Melbourne. These sites include burial or birthing sites, trading places, songline routes, campsites and ceremonial sites, gathering places, mission sites, reserves and places where conflict took place.

Archaeological evidence or artefacts verify where such sites exist within Manningham, as well as stories passed down from generations of Wurundjeri Elders. Such sites are protected through the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. Manningham Council seeks guidance from legislative bodies including Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and the ‘Registered Aboriginal Party’ for Manningham, Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council to ensure the sustained protection of known and suspected sites, as well as further research and appropriate cultural sharing of such sites.

Manningham has worked closely with Wurundjeri Elders, local historians and Parks Victoria staff to acknowledge some of the known Aboriginal Heritage Sites of Significance within Manningham through signage trails, walking trails or special planting ceremonies. These sites include:

Wurundjeri Stories Trail at Pound Bend

Pound Bend Tunnel Reserve, Warrandyte State Park, Pound Bend Road Warrandyte

Wurundjeri Stories is a fascinating and beautifully presented interpretive signage trail at Pound Bend that explores the Wurundjeri history, culture, traditional life, spirituality, events and the people linked to this sacred site.

There are seven signs, each containing in-depth historical accounts presented by a Wurundjeri working group, with stunning artwork and historical photographs, following a flat 1km riverside path, which walkers may wish to continue along the 3.5km River Walk or Loop Walk. Each sign features a section entitled ‘Bunjil’s Challenge’ which encourages walkers to explore the local surrounds in search of key features such as bush tucker, and to consider traditional lifestyle scenarios, making the trail an incredibly engaging, thought provoking and interactive experience.

Wurundjeri Stories is ideal for the casual walker, organised school and pre-school excursions, community groups and a ceremonial space for special Wurundjeri events. Groups are able to arrange for a Wurundjeri Elder or Educator to lead their organised excursion to the site.

A Wurundjeri Stories interpretive sign is also located at Wittons Reserve in Wonga Park, which shares the Wurundjeri history of this site, considered to be Sacred Women’s Country. The sign marks the beginning of the scenic Mount Lofty walk, a section of the Wurundjeri Songline route, the major Wurundjeri travelling route to the Yarra Valley.

For more information about the trail content, or to organise an Elder please contact the Wurundjeri Tribe Council at  or phone 9416 2905.

Resources to support your visit to Wurundjeri Stories at Pound Bend:

Icon for application/pdf Wurundjeri Stories General Flyer (1.71 MB)

Icon for application/pdf Wurundjeri Stories Visitors Guide (769.04 KB)


Indigenous Resources and Helpful Links

Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country

Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country are important ways to recognise and respect Traditional Owners.

A Welcome to Country can only be performed by an Elder from the traditional custodial tribe, and for Manningham this is the Wurundjeri People.

The Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council (Wurundjeri Tribe Council) is the nominated Wurundjeri Registered Aboriginal Party for Manningham, and Council recommends booking an Elder through Wurundjeri Tribe Council to conduct Welcome to Country ceremonies held within Manningham. The Wurundjeri Tribe Council is also responsible for Wurundjeri Heritage Site Assessments and offer other services including performances and cultural education. For more information, please contact Wurundjeri Tribe Council on 9416 2905.

An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement a speaker makes at the beginning of an event to acknowledge the traditional owners. There are various ways you can word your acknowledgement, and Manningham City Council consulted with Wurundjeri Elders to determine the current wording for the statement used at Council meetings and events, which is as follows:  “Manningham City Council acknowledges the Wurundjeri people as the traditional custodians of the land now known as Manningham. We pay our respects to Wurundjeri Elders past and present, and value the ongoing contribution to the cultural heritage of Manningham”.

You can find out more about an Acknowledgement of Country at the Reconciliation Australia Website.

Indigenous Presenters, Performers and Services

There are many skilled Indigenous performers, presenters, cultural educators and training consultants available to businesses, community groups, schools and kindergartens. Manningham Council’s Cultural Services team can assist you finding the right person to employ to deliver the activities you seek, or visit the Aboriginal Business Directory. For more information, please contact Wurundjeri Tribe Council on 9416 2905.

Community Grants support for Reconciliation

Manningham City Council offers a variety of Community Grants that invite applications from eligible organisations to deliver activities that deliver Manningham Reconciliation Action Plan objectives. For more information please call Community Services on 9840 9305.

Helpful Links

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