Powel Account of Kulin Nation

QuickTime Audio/Image file describing the Kulin Nation by Bryon Powel

Bryon Powel is a former Cultural Heritage Officer for the Kulin Nation Cultural Heritage Organisation.

Extracts from his keynote address at the Yarra Deanery Reconciliation Event, held at the Veneto Club Bulleen, May 2000.

The Kulin Nation was made up of five Aboriginal tribes which took up a fair swag of land in Central Victoria, centering on Melbourne itself. The five tribes are the


The five tribes are the Wathaurong, of which I am a member, and they are based from the Werribee River, down to Aireys Inlet, across to Colac, up this side of Lake Corangamite, up to the back of Ballarat, back down to Bacchus Marsh, and the Werribee River again.

The Woiwurrung, of which Wurundjeri are a clan, stood from the Werribee River, around the bay to I think it's Mentone Creek, up to the Great Dividing Range all the head waters and the tributaries of the Yarra, down across the ranges and back across to the Mentone Creek.

The Boon Wurrung occupied from Mentone Creek, down through the Mornington Peninsula, around Westernport, Phillip Island and as far south as Wilson's Prom. But that is - that's been argued about at the moment - trying to sort out our own boundaries.

The Taungerong, north of the ranges, took in all the tributaries and the head waters of the Loddon and went up as far as Beechworth; from Mount Buller across to Seymour.

The Dja Dja Wrung, out west of Ballarat. I don't know a great deal about the Dja Dja Wrung. I'm still trying to find out everything I can.

So we have five tribes. They were made up of clans, family groups. And what happened with the five tribes, they had commonalities in language, custom, traditions, burial rights, and very strong trading links. And I know with the Woiwurrung and Boon Wurrung, they were exceptionally close, they actually inter-married to strengthen those ties, they traded between themselves and they were two fairly strong tribes. Everybody else was fighting amongst ourselves as families do, but if somebody from outside like a Gunnai from Gippsland or the Gunditjmara people from down south tried to encroach into our land, we'd band together and we'd have one hell of a good fight.

That's the Kulin Nation. And it's one of the strongest confederacies or loose confederacies within Victoria and within Australia as far as I'm aware of.