Understand the country in which we reside

By on July 7, 2021 0

The notion of Heal the country – this year’s theme for NAIDOC Week – aims to recognize the importance of the land and calls for stronger action to recognize, protect and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

So for all of us Heal the countryit is important to understand the history of the land in which we reside and its importance to the indigenous community.

Special thanks to proud Boonwurrung man and diehard Sainter Rudi Louis Taylor-Bragge for passing on his knowledge of the course now known as RSEA Park, Moorabbin.


For thousands of generations, wherever St Kilda Football Club has settled, it has been Boonwurrung The country.

From Junction Oval, to Seaford and back to Moorabbin, they all reside on traditional lands where, incidentally, the game of Marngrook – recognized by the AFL as the antecedent of our great game – was played.

Boonwurrung is the name given to the language and to the traditional peoples who were the guardians of the land; a clan of the five eastern Kulin nations alongside the Woiwurrung, Taungwurrung, Djadjawurrung and Wadawurrung.

Boonwurrung The country extends around what is now known as Western Port Bay (Warnmarin), the Mornington Peninsula and Point Nepean (Monmar), around Port Phillip Bay (Naarm) as far west as Werribee, as far east as Warragul, and to the southernmost part of the continent – Wilson’s Promontory (Yirruk Wamoun).

The earth is protected by the creator, Bunjilwho travels like a wedge-tailed eagle, and by Wowwho protects the many waterways and travels like a crow.


Moorabbin comes from the native word mooroobon Where mooroobin – believed to be from the Kulin language – meaning either “resting place” or “mother’s milk”.

The present suburb of Moorabbin received its name in 1909 following changes from the earlier South Brighton (1857) and Brighton South (1886).

Given the English translation of the two Boonwurrung words, the flat area of ​​land is believed to have been one of tranquility and harmony.

This was unfortunately not the case less than three miles to the north, with the once-connected Hurlingham and Landcox parks being the site of terrible massacres of Boonwurrung people in the 1830s.

Today the location of the warrow massacre remains a place of mourning for the traditional peoples of the country.

Euro Yuroke

Euro Yuroke is the Boonwurrung name of St Kilda. In the traditional language of the region, St Kilda Football Club translates to Euro Yuroke Marngrook Kerrupinon.

The red, white and black house called St Kilda and Junction Oval since its inception in 1873, before moving to Moorooboon in 1965.

Tucked behind Junction Oval is something that predates both the club and colonization: the Ngargee Tree, or Corroboree Tree, an impressive red gum tree estimated between 350 and 500 years old.

The Ngargee tree. Photo: Zoe Ali.

The site has been and continues to be a place of communion and celebration, as well as a source of cultural peace and strength.

To this day it stands proudly and continues to hold significant spiritual significance for those of Boonwurrung Earth.

Functioning similarly to the substantiated trees near the MCG, the Ngargee The tree served as a meeting place for the six Boonwurrung Clan- Yalukit-Willam, Mayone-Bulluk, Ngaruk-Willam, Yallock-Bulluk, Burinyung-Bulluk and Iowendjeri – as well as the great Kulin nation.

Given tradition and nature Ngargee (meetings), it’s not such an exaggeration to think that our old game of Marngrook would have been played in the immediate vicinity of those beautiful trees, and that in many ways we keep those traditions alive today, together.