Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reconciliation

Traditional Owners

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 through 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 also 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 Great 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.

More 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 2021 Census, Greater Bendigo had a recorded total of 2,738 residents who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island. This was an increase from 1,847 in the 2016 Census.

The City has a history of actively supporting local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Key initiatives have included Acknowledgement to Country protocols at the start of 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. 

January 26 Statement of Intent

Council adopted the January 26 Statement of Intent at the July Ordinary Meeting 2023.

The Statement of Intent was developed following a series of conversations held since 2021 between Councillors, staff and members of the local First Nations community. These conversations provided an opportunity to increase our understanding of what this date means to the local Aboriginal community and to consider how we can mark the day respectfully. The Statement of Intent was supported by DJAARA and the Bendigo & District Aboriginal Cooperative, while the Taungurung Land & Waters Council developed its own ‘Taungurung Statement on January 26’ in early 2023 to help guide partners on their own approach to January 26.

From 2024, the City of Greater Bendigo will move its Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony to January 25 and work with First Nations community to plan for more inclusive events on January 26.

Our Vision for Reconciliation