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 the Yarra Strategic Plan, which will give effect to the vision, are to be developed. The Yarra Strategic Plan will also give effect to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples place based policy response to the Act. 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 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: 07/01/20