The Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017 is the first legislation in Australia to be co-titled using the language of Traditional Owners, ‘Wilip-gin Birrarung murron’. It is Woi wurrung language of the Wurundjeri people for ‘keep the Birrarung alive’, and is used in recognition of the Traditional Owners’ custodianship of the river and 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 the Yarra Strategic Plan, which will give effect to the vision, are to be developed. It 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.


Photograph depicting the historic moment in June 2017, prior to the introduction of the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Bill in which the Wurundjeri Elders addressed the Victorian Parliament in both English & Woi wurrung language for the first time, to explain their connection to the Yarra River and the importance of protecting the river for generations to come.

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 the Wurundjeri Elders addressed the Victorian Parliament in both English & Woi wurrung language for the first time, to explain their connection to the Yarra River and the importance of protecting the river for generations to come. Photograph credit: Jim McFarlane.

Page last updated: 03/10/19