Boon Wurrung

The ancestors of the Boon Wurrung people were among the Victorian coastal groups. They were linked with Tasmania but were disconnected by the rising seas that turned once-fertile plains into Port Phillip and Westernport Bays, including the Mornington Peninsula. Some of Tasmania's Palawa (Indigenous) peoples have Boon Wurrung ancestry.

Along the coastline near Black Rock and Beaumaris, a number of natural wells that once provided fresh water to the Boon Wurrung can be found. A famed ancestor of the Boon Wurrung is Derrimut. A Boon Wurrung Elder, Derrimut was honoured by the early settlers of Melbourne for informing them of an impending attack by the Woiwurrung group.

The following is a list of the Boon Wurrung clans:

  • Mayone-bulluk - area at the top of the Mornington Peninsula and the head of Westernport Bay
  • Ngaruk-Willam - Dandenong across to the Mordialloc area
  • Yallock-Bullock - near the Bass River on the eastern side of Westernport Bay
  • Burinyung-Ballak
  • Yowenjerre - the eastern-most side of Boon Wurrung land
  • Yalukit Willam - a small strip of coastline north of the Mordiallic Creek following around the head of Port Phillip Bay to the Werribee River

Boundaries

The Boon Wurrung territory extended south of the Mordialloc (moodi yallock, murdi yaluk) Creek and a small coastal strip around the top of Port Phillip Bay, including the land around Western Port and the Mornington Peninsula. Mount Martha and Mt Eliza are in ngaruk territory.

Language / terminology

Some key terms of the Boon Wurrung language, and their English equivalent, are noted here:

  • Bulluk / baluk / buluk / bullock - mob, people
  • Willam / wilam - hut, camp
  • Ngaruk / ngarruk - hill, mountain, rocks, stones
  • Yallock, yaluk - river

Totems

The two moeity totems of the Boon Wurrung people are Bunjil the Eaglehawk and Waang the Crow.

A Boon Wurrung Story

Click above for a story from Carolyn Briggs, a Boon Wurrung Elder.