The Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017 is the first legislation in Australia to be co-titled in a Traditional Owner language. ‘Wilip-gin Birrarung murron’ translates as ‘keep the Birrarung alive’ in Woi-wurrung, the traditional language of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people. Woi-wurrung was used in recognition of the Traditional Owners’ custodianship of the river and their unique connection to the lands through which the river flows. It is also a Victorian and Australian first in legally identifying a large river and its corridor, which transverses many boundaries, as a single living and integrated natural entity for protection.
The Act prescribes how a long-term Community Vision and a Yarra Strategic Plan, which gives effect to the vision, are developed. The Act also prescribes the establishment of a new statutory body, the Birrarung Council, to be the first independent voice of the Yarra River, as part of recognising it as a living entity.
- Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017.
- Watch Elders of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation deliver the Woi wurrung language preamble to the Act and Parliamentary Speech to the Lower House (seen, left).
- Woi wurrung language Preamble to the Act.
- A speech delivered by Aunty Alice Kolasa, an Elder of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to the Lower House prior to the reading of the Woi wurrung language Preamble to the Act.
Above: Photograph depicting the historic moment in June 2017, prior to the introduction of the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Bill in which Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders addressed the Victorian Parliament in both English & Woi wurrung language for the first time, to explain their connection to the Yarra River (Birrarung) and the importance of protecting the river for generations to come. Photograph credit: Jim McFarlane.
Page last updated: 11/02/22