Country is the term often used by Aboriginal peoples to describe, not just the lands and waters to which they are connected, but ideas about law, place, custom, language, spiritual belief, cultural practice, material sustenance, family and identity.
Using traditional place names is a powerful reminder that we are, and always have been, living on Aboriginal land.
The Westsider is distributed throughout Wurundjeri Country and Bunurong Country. If you live in the northern region of our distribution, such as Sunshine and Maribyrnong, you are probably living on Wurundjeri Country. Bunurong Country covers the more southern region of our distribution, such as Williamstown, Altona, and Hoppers Crossing.
The map on this page is fairly accurate but if you live close to the border, you may want to investigate which Country you live on using the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Register and Information System (ACHRIS) at achris.vic.gov.au.
The Traditional Owners of Wurundjeri Country are represented by the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and the Traditional Owners of Bunurong Country are represented by the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.
Only Traditional Owners can conduct a welcome to Country but everybody can acknowledge Traditional Owners online, in print or when public speaking. Visit the Victoria Government’s First Peoples – State Relations website to check what is most appropriate.
Another simple way we can acknowledge the rich history of First Nations Peoples, is by adding traditional place names to our address on mail or email. In 2020, Australia Post updated their address guidelines to include traditional place names following a campaign by Gomeroi woman, Rachael McPhail.
You can include as shown:
Check Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners — firstpeoplesrelations.vic.gov.au/acknowledgement-traditional-owners
Find whose Country you live on — achris.vic.gov.au
Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation – wurundjeri.com.au
Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation – bunuronglc.org.