Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation
The City of Greater Bendigo is located on the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung and the Taungurung Peoples of the Kulin Nation. They are the traditional custodians of this land.
The Dja Dja Wurrung are the Traditional Owners of a significant area of Central Victoria. Dja Dja Wurrung Country extends north from the Great Dividing Range including Mount Franklin and the towns of Creswick and Daylesford in the south east, to Castlemaine, Maldon and Bendigo, Boort and Donald in the north west, Rochester to the north east, and to Navarre Hill and Mount Avoca in the south west. It covers the catchments of Avoca, Loddon and Coliban Rivers.
The Taungurung are the Traditional Owner Group for the land encompassing the upper reaches of the Goulburn River and its tributaries north of the Dividing Range. It extends from the Campaspe River to Kilmore in the west, eastwards to Mount Beauty, through to Benalla in the north and south to the top of the Great Dividing Range.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and the Taungurung Land and Waters Council are the Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) for the municipality and are the voice of Traditional Owners in the management and protection of cultural heritage.
Further information on the role and services of the local RAPs can be found at:
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
13 – 15 Forest Street
Bendigo VIC 3552
Taungurung Land and Waters Council
37 High Street
Broadford VIC 3658
Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community
The City also recognises that there are many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with links to different language and community groups across Australia who live and work in Greater Bendigo. At the 2016 Census, Greater Bendigo had a recorded total of 1,846 residents who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This was an increase from 1,441 in the 2011 Census.
The City has a history of actively supporting local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Key initiatives have included the inclusion of Acknowledgement to Country protocols at Council and organisational meetings; flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags; and supporting the annual NAIDOC Week flag-raising and civic reception. We continue to work closely with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to advance reconciliation across the municipality.
Acknowledgement of Country
An Acknowledgement of Country is a protocol delivered at the opening of meetings, conferences, special events and official functions. It is a way for other people to acknowledge and pay respects to the Traditional Owners of the land on which they are speaking. Unlike a Welcome to Country, an Acknowledgement of Country can be given by any non-Aboriginal person or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who is not a Traditional Owner.
For example, at the City of Greater Bendigo the following wording is used:
I acknowledge that the City of Greater Bendigo is on Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung Country.
I would like to acknowledge and extend my appreciation for the Dja Dja Wurrung* People, the Traditional Owners of the land that we are standing on today.
Today, we pay our respects to leaders and Elders past, present and emerging for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and the hopes of all Dja Dja Wurrung* Peoples.
We express our gratitude in the sharing of this land, our sorrow for the personal, spiritual and cultural costs of that sharing and our hope that we may walk forward together in harmony and in the spirt of healing.
*If you are delivering an Acknowledgement of Country on Taungurung Country, please refer to Taungurung People.
This wording would be appropriate within the City of Greater Bendigo, and is the City’s official Acknowledgement of Country. This new wording has been approved by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporations as of May 2018.
City of Greater Bendigo Reconciliation Plan 2021-2025
The City of Greater Bendigo’s second Reconciliation Plan (2021-2025), Barpangu was endorsed by Council on September 16, 2020.
Read the Reconciliation Plan 2021-2025.
Meaning ‘build together’ in Dja Dja Wurrung language, Barpangu: Reconciliation Plan 2021-2025 provides a clear direction for the City in advancing reconciliation and supporting our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It articulates how the organisation, Council and our partners will engage in reconciliation over the next four years, and also includes our responsibilities under the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung Recognition and Settlement Agreements.
The Plan was developed through conversation and consultation with the Traditional Owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung Peoples, the Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-operative, the broader local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and City of Greater Bendigo staff.
The plan aims to:
- Continue building on the work and success of our first Reconciliation Plan 2016-2019
- Continue implementing local government commitments under the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung Recognition and Settlement Agreements, and strengthen our partnerships and engagement with the Registered Aboriginal Parties
- Increase the inclusiveness, equity, representation and quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Greater Bendigo
- Enhance the acknowledgement, recognition and respect for Traditional Owner culture and history in Greater Bendigo
- Promote and facilitate respect, trust and positive relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members as part of reconciliation
The Plan is intended to be a ‘living’ document, one that remains flexible and can respond to the changing needs and priorities of our local Aboriginal community. The City’s Community Partnership Unit and the Reconciliation Plan Steering Committee will advocate for and oversee the delivery of this Reconciliation Plan. It will be delivered through a whole-of-Council approach, and all units within the organisation will be responsible for delivering actions.
To ensure accountability to our local Aboriginal community, the City is committed to establishing an Aboriginal Community Engagement Group to review, monitor and provide feedback on the Plan’s implementation, and to provide input on important local issues and conversations. This Group will also ensure the Plan and our work remains relevant to the community.
City of Greater Bendigo Reconciliation Plan 2016-2019
In 2015, the City developed its first Reconciliation Plan 2016-2019. This was done in consultation with the Traditional Owners, the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and internally across the organisation. Our first Plan supported the City’s vision for reconciliation at the time, which focused on: building stronger healthy relationships between the City and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; adopting a ‘whole-of-Council’ approach; ensuring local accountability for our reconciliation work; and increasing the inclusion and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents within our programs and services.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols Guide 2018
The City of Greater Bendigo has developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols Guide to provide guidance to staff on engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
These protocols form part of a wider effort to make the City a more inclusive, welcoming and culturally safe environment, and to promote respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The guide provides practical advice and information on the appropriate use of terminology when engaging with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and assists staff to understand the use of Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement of Country, Aboriginal Smoking, and other protocols when delivering programs and services within Greater Bendigo.
For further information, contact our Inclusive Communities Team on 03 5434 6000.