The land that Belgrave Survival Day falls upon is part of the Wurundjeri nation that lived here for tens of thousands of years before the colonial settlers re-named the area Belgrave in the late 19th century.
The Wurundjeri country covered a huge expanse of what is now metropolitan Melbourne: from the inner city to the Werribee river; south east as far as Mordialloc creek and over to Healesville. The Wurundjeri nation spoke Woi-wurrung language and were part of the wider Kulin nation comprising five language groups. Two social totems governed Wurundjeri: the Crow (in Woi-wurrung Waang) and Bundjil the Eagle Hawk.
Many Aboriginal nations were named after specific geographical features of their land. The word Wurundjeri is derived from the Woi wurrung word Wurun referring to the river white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Jeri is the grub that resides within that specific (ribbon gum) tree.
The Wurundjeri clan that inhabited the Melbourne area would often spend the summer months upon the banks of the Yarra and its tributaries. In winter, they would often head to the Dandenong Ranges (known as Banyenong) to make use of its timber for firewood and shelter. Wurundjeri divided their year into seven seasons rather than the familiar four. The arrival of a new season was based on the onset of a natural event such as the blooming of wattle or the first appearance of the blue wren.
For more information about the Wurundjeri nation, please contact:
Koorie Heritage Trust at 295 King St, City on (03) 8622 2600 or www.koorieheritagetrust.com
Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation Cultural Heritage Council
1st Floor Providence Building
Abbotsford Convent 1 St Heliers St
P: (03) 9416 2905