The Traditional Owners

The Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples are the custodians of the lands and waters encompassed by the Great Ocean Road region and have been for millennia. As its First Peoples, these groups hold a unique position and we recognise there is much to learn from the Traditional Owners. We work respectfully with both groups to ensure we engage on the terms that they choose, realising their rights (including to self-determination) and respecting their cultures and knowledges.

We acknowledge Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples as the Traditional Owners and custodians of this place.

We acknowledge their ancestors who cared for the lands, rivers and sea, and all living creatures for thousands of generations.

We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future who continue this path.

We are committed to building genuine partnerships with Traditional Owners that embody self-determination and are led by their expectations. The foundation of this relationship is our commitment to building cultural competence into all levels of our operations and ensuring cultural safety for all Aboriginal People and parties engaging with the Authority.   

Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation

The Eastern Maar are Traditional Owners of south-western Victoria. Their land extends as far north as Ararat and encompasses the Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Great Ocean Road areas. It also stretches 100 meters out to sea from low tide and therefore includes the iconic Twelve Apostles.

Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation (EMAC) is the professional organisation that represents the Eastern Maar People of South West Victoria and manages their Native Title rights and Interests. EMAC has a board of directors of Traditional Owners and is a registered organisation under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Wadawurrung’s RAP area covers over 10,000 square kilometres on the western side of Melbourne and includes the major regional cities of Geelong and Ballarat. This area incorporates the activities of 11 separate local councils – including many that are experiencing very high rates of growth in terms of population, infrastructure, commercial and residential development. Wadawurrung Country also incorporates the start of the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most iconic and popular tourist destinations.

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) is the representative body for Wadawurrung Traditional Owners. The Corporation works to support their aspirations and protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in accordance with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020

The Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020  recognises, protects and promotes the values, rights and interests of Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples.

The Authority endeavours to support and equip Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples to play an active role in shaping the future of their traditional lands, waterways and seas. This includes acknowledging the intrinsic connection of  Traditional Owners to Country through partnership and involvement in policy development, planning, and decision-making for the Great Ocean Road, its coastlines, landscapes and seascapes.

Great Ocean Road and Environs Protection Act 2020

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The Parliament recognises the intrinsic connection of the Traditional Owners to the land and sea Country that the Great Ocean Road traverses, and that the area has nourished and sustained the Traditional Owners physically and spiritually and continues to be important to the Traditional Owners today and into the future.

Eastern Maar
Wadawurrung

The following statement (in a Maar language and in English) is from the Eastern Maar—

‘watnanda koong meerreeng, tyama-ngan malayeetoo’

Ngatanwarr

Ngeerang meerreeng-an
Peepay meerreeng-an
Kakayee meerreeng-an
Wartee meerreeng-an

Maara-wanoong, laka. Wanga-kee-ngeeye

Meereeng-ngeeye, pareeyt, nganpeeyan, weeyn,
wooroot, poondeeya-teeyt
Meerreeng-ngeeye, nhakateeyt, woorroong,
leehnan, mooroop, keerray
Meerreeng-ngeeye, thookay-ngeeye, pareeyt
pareeyt ba waran waran-ngeeye,
wangeeyarr ba wangeet - ngeeye, maar ba
thanampool-ngeeye, Ngalam Meen-ngeeye,
mooroop-ngeeye

Meerreeng-ngeeye Maar, Maar meerreeng

Wamba-wanoong yaapteeyt-oo, leerpeeneeytngeeye, kooweekoowee-ngeeye
nhakapooreepooree-ngeeye, keeyan-ngeeye
Wamba-wanoong nhoonpee yaapteeyt-oo,
tyama-takoort meerreeng

Peetyawan weeyn Meerreeng, nhaka Meerreeng,
keeyan Meerreeng, nganto-pay ngootyoonayt
meerreeng

Kooweeya-wanoong takoort meerreeng-ee ba
watanoo Meerreng-ngeeye, yana-thalap-ee ba
wanga-kee Meerreeng laka

Ngeetoong keeyan-ngeen Meerreeng, Meerreeng
keeyan ngooteen

Together body and Country, we know long time
(We see all of you), greeting.
Mother my Country.
Father my Country.
Sister my Country.
Brother my Country.

We are the Maar speaking Peoples. Hear us.

Our Country is water, air, fire, trees, life.
Our Country is thought, language, heart, soul,
blood.
Our Country is our Children, our youth, our Elders,
our men and women, our Ancestors, our spirit.

Our Country is Maar, Maar is Country.

We bring to the light our songs, our stories, our
vision, our love.

We bring these things to the light so All can know
Country.

To care for Country. To think about Country. To
love Country. To protect Country.

We invite all that choose to live on or visit our
Country to slow down. To tread softly and listen to
Country speak.

If you love Country, Country will love you

The following statement (in the Wadawurrung language and in English) is from the Wadawurrung—  

Comugeen budjo thalikiyu kin bil bengordi
ngadak. Ngarrwabil, boron, guli, bagurrk.
Comugeen budjo bengadak ngarruk dja, ngubiyt,
weagoon gobata gupma wurring baap bengordi
nganak, djarrima murrupnhuk bengadak

Gobata Wadawurrung balug jumbuk dirdalbil
murrupnhuk bundjil monomeet beeko weagoon.
Mutjakak noogie wada durralully.
Wangarrak Wadawurrung balug bengadak mirriyu
birraleedja gobata kia ying, ngarrimilli, wahak,
karrung, kuya, nyanayit yanunit, djilenawurr, baap
willam bengordi ngadak

Nyurrinana ngal bengordi ngadak

Willam wurdiwarri Wadawurrung Balug dja
bengordi ngadak, bullarto nerrigirr baap
monomeeth worrowing warree, gelanyi bulboluk

Koaka dorla, Godomut, Koornoo, Jan Juc,
Mangowak

Willamo weeagoon monomeetwa yonbarra baap
wirrapiyn, buniya, tarka binyak ngal. Waweagoon
nerrigurro kit baap bullarto gurrin kia wahak,
karrung, yanikan werrity. Corroborree bullarto
waik ngitj balugwa bengordi ngadak

Beek budj kanamo ngitj.
Mirr wurru ngarra dja bengadak.
Mirritonton dja Wadawurrung balug, gobata beak
yerraak murrup yanimirriyu ngarrwauk bengordi
ngadak

We deeply respect our people of the past. Elders,
children, men, women. We deeply respect their
knowledge of country, water, life, their care of the
traditions and of each other, we stand with their
spirit.

Great spirit Bundjil told us to take care of the great
life within the land. To only take what you need
without selfishness.
Wadawurrung shared their knowledge of singing,
dance, trade, camps, fishing, hunting, paintings,
and homes with us to protect for our future
generations.

We all need to help.

Our Wadawurrung family group lived within the
great sea, with a large land of forested areas and
wonderful banks of the ocean, near many water
bodies.
Anglesea, Point Addis, Barwon Heads, Jan Juc,
Aireys Inlet.

These homes all provide ideal life to birds and fish,
eels. Reeds turned into our baskets.
Life in the forest gave resources like food and lots
of tools to use for trade, building, journeys.
If there was lots to trade,

We love this earth will all our feeling
We would name our country, by what we could
see.
Our country is remembered by Wadawurrung, our
proud spirit walks to tomorrow to teach others the
care of our earth.