Indigenous History

Bpangerang People

We are the Bpangerang People. For thousands of years, we have belonged to this country.

‘Wangaratta’ is  the Bpangerang word for the long neck of the cormorant. ‘Wanga’ meaning long neck, and ‘Ratta’ meaning cormorant. These birds are a common sight on our two beautiful rivers, the Torryong (Ovens) & Poodumbia (King) Rivers. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land and pay respect to their Elders, past and present.

The Bpangerang tribal boundary goes from the Great Dividing Range in the south to Waddi near the Murrumbidgee River in the North.  Then from the Baranduda Range (Mt Pilot) in the East to Echuca in the West, especially along the waterways that flow throughout the country.

Waterways are important to the Bpangerang People; they nourish the plants and animals that feed, heal and allow the Bpangerang to build communities.  Bpangerang People are river people, with Bpangerang Country having numerous rivers and creeks that flow throughout and provide plentiful resources. The Bullawah Cultural Trail is a fantastic self-guided walk along the Torryong (Ovens) River where you can discover ancient Aboriginal stories, spirituality, culture, food, sculptures and interpretive signage.

"Land is the starting point from where everything in our world began.  We don't own the land, the land owns us.  We see our bodies as the land and our veins are the rivers that flow through us, nourishing us and sustaining life.  We are spiritually connected to the land, like an artery and its tributaries- like the life-giving water that flows through the Ovens River and its tributaries, from the mountains, down across the plains and into the mighty Murray River."- Uncle Sandy Atkinson.

Many spots along the King River flats, especially at Oxley, had significant camp sites and corroboree grounds for the local Aboriginal peoples, some of whom maintained a semi-traditional lifestyle there as late as mid-1880s.

More information on the Bpangerang People can be found on the below links.



Taungurung People

The Taungurung people occupy much of central Victoria. Our country encompasses the area between the upper reaches of the Goulburn River and its tributaries north of the Dividing Range. From the Campaspe River to Kilmore in the West, eastwards to Mount Beauty, from Benalla in the north down to the top of the Great Dividing Range, our boundaries with other Aboriginal tribes are respected in accordance with traditional laws.

Traditionally, our people lived a hunter/gatherer existence. The various clan groups migrated through their territory dependent upon the seasonal variations of weather and the availability of food.

The Taungurung people are closely affiliated with their neighbouring tribes through language, ceremonies and kinship ties. We are part of an alliance with the five adjoining tribes to form the Kulin Nation.

Many Taungurung people still live on their country and participate widely in the community as Cultural Heritage Advisors, Land Management Officers, artists and educators, and are a ready source of knowledge concerning the Taungurung people from the central areas of Victoria.

Elders assist with the instruction of younger generations in culture, history, and language and furthering of their knowledge and appreciation of their heritage as the rightful custodians of the Taungurung lands in Central Victoria. Evidence of scar trees, rock shelters, rock art, and even place names all indicate that Taungurung people have been in this part of Victoria for thousands of years.