Reconciliation and recognition

Graphic of eagle flying over hills

The majority of Hepburn Shire is on the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung. They are the traditional custodians of this land, formally recognised in a Recognition and Settlement Agreement, signed in 2013.

Council recognises and values the unique relationship of the Dja Dja Wurrung people to their traditional country and accordingly has developed the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan(PDF, 16MB) and is working on the development of an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.

Council also acknowledges the neighbouring Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri to our South East and the Wadawurrung to our South West, and pays respect to all Aboriginal peoples, their culture and lore.

Reconciliation Action Plan

What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?

A Reconciliation Action Plan is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. There are four types of Reconciliation Action Plans in the Reconciliation Australia framework – Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate.

Council is moving from a Reflect RAP to a Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan that will outline actions for achieving a shared Council and community vision for advancing reconciliation with Traditional Owners and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It builds on significant reconciliation projects undertaken in the past few years.

The Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan will guide Council’s commitment to achieving a deeper understanding and the best approach to advance reconciliation.

“…a reconciled Australia is one where our rights as First Australians are not just respected but championed in all the places that matter…”

- Kirstie Parker - Board Member, Reconciliation Australia.

What does reconciliation mean in Hepburn Shire?

Council is committed to:

  1. Further recognising, strengthening, protecting and promoting Dja Dja Wurrung culture and connection to Country, for the benefit of our local communities
  2. Increasing opportunities for reconciliation in the Hepburn Shire
  3. Improving Hepburn Shire Council business processes to create a culturally safe work place
  4. Ensuring Council officers have the knowledge and resources to meet Council’s obligations for maintaining and managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage locally

Reconciliation is about unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-indigenous Australians. It is about respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and valuing justice and equity for all Australians.

- Reconciliation Australia (2022)


Reconciliation Action Plan outcomes

Council’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan was developed with staff, Councillors, our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and representatives from relevant organisations. It guided our commitment to ensuring reconciliation is at the core of our organisation and a foundation for all our services.

Significant Reconciliation Action Plan projects and initiatives implemented to date include:

  • Council’s formal recommendation to rename Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yaluk
  • Opening the Manna Gums Frontier Wars Memorial Avenue
  • Formal support for the key principles of the Uluru Statement of the Heart
  • Cultural awareness training for Council staff
  • Recognition of Sorry Day
  • Celebration of Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
  • Commission of Dja Dja Wurrung public art by Aunty Marilyne Nicholls
  • Increased engagement of Traditional Owner decision making in Council’s services, strategies, masterplans and overall vision for Hepburn Shire.

Renaming of Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yaluk

In April 2022, Council recommended changing the name of a creek which flows between Newstead and Hepburn from Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yaluk.

Council proposed the name change to:

  • Recognise Aboriginal heritage and to reinstate the Dja Dja Wurrung language into the landscape,
  • Remove a name that is offensive and derogatory. The term ‘Jim Crow’ is rooted in racial segregation and anti-black racism. 

On 11 May 2023, Geographic Names Victoria gazetted the renaming of Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yalk.

Council has worked closely with the community and project partners Mount Alexander Shire Council, North Central Catchment Management Authority and DJAARA to campaign for the renaming of the creek over many years.

We hosted a renaming ceremony at the Franklinford Streamside Reserve on 18 July 2023. This short video captures the celebration of partnerships and reconciliation at work.


Around 50 people standing on the banks of Larni Barramal Yaluk in Franklinford

Franklinford Streamside Reserve on 18 July 2023

Manna Gums Frontier Wars Memorial

Manna Gum Frontier Wars Memorial

In July 2021, Council, in partnership with Djaara, opened the first Avenue of Honour to Acknowledge Aboriginal lives lost in defending their traditional lands during early contact and ‘settlement’. The Memorial Avenue is on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road near Coomoora.

View the ceremony below.

One minute video

16 minute video

The Manna Gums, along the Malmsbury-Daylesford Road in Daylesford, is the site for an Aboriginal Peoples Memorial Avenue, opened at the conclusion of NAIDOC Week 2021.

Cr Lesley Hewitt said the memorial was an opportunity to honour the loss of lives, the sacrifice and suffering inflicted on Aboriginal people during the frontier wars.

“This year’s NAIDOC theme is Heal Country and we hope this Memorial is a step forward in healing Country and healing people, acknowledging that the two are deeply connected.”

“Council is taking a leading role in honouring the lives and acknowledging the suffering of Aboriginal people in our region.  Acts of reconciliation such as this, change attitudes to settlement and show a willingness to work together for a better future,” said Cr Hewitt.

The establishment of this Avenue of Honour is a public acknowledgement, the first of its kind in our country.

Rodney Carter, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation CEO, said “The Frontier Wars Memorial Avenue affords a greater recognition to our fallen Ancestors and helps us all heal”.

This is an initiative of the Hepburn Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee.

Reconciliation Videos

‘Peaks, Rivers and Wetlands’

‘Peaks, Rivers and Wetlands’ is a three-part film series about truth telling and reconciling our shared history at contact. The films take viewers on a journey across the landscape with Djaara Elder Uncle Rick Nelson and Professor Barry Golding to environments and events from the early contact period that marked the beginning of unimaginable loss and trauma for Dja Dja Wurrung people.

An initiative of Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee, ‘Peaks, Rivers and Wetlands’  was highly commended in the 2021 HART (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) Awards in the Local Government category. 

Welcome to Country – Uncle Rick Nelson welcomes you on to Dja Dja Wurrung lands, to commence your Tour of ‘Peaks, Wetlands and Rivers’.

Peaks, Wetlands and Rivers - PART ONE Mount Greenock

Peaks, Wetlands and Rivers - PART TWO Merin Merin 

Peaks, Wetlands and Rivers - PART THREE Loddon River at Neereman 

'We’re getting our voice back' video

We’re getting our voice back is a narrated short film, with Uncle Rick Nelson and Professor Barry Golding AM that will take you on a journey of truth, moving across the sites Neereman, Lalgambuk (Mount Franklin) and Coranderrk.

Produced by Daylesford Museum in partnership with Djaara Elder, Uncle Rick Nelson and Hepburn Shire Council.

Hepburn Shire commitment to Reconciliation

The Uluru Statement from the Heart

Tuesday 16 August 2022, Hepburn Shire Council unanimously passed a motion to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The motion put forward by Councillor Lesley Hewitt;

That Hepburn Shire Council supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and requests the Chief Executive Officer and Mayor to write to our local Federal Member of Parliament noting the recent announcement from the Prime Minister that there will be a referendum to support Constitutional Recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and noting our support for the key principles of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation to the Australian people from First Nations Australians. It asks us to walk together to build a better future by establishing a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution.  

Read the statement here - The Statement - Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Voice to Parliament

Council has formally stated its unanimous support for the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the Voice to Parliament. This stance is consistent with Council’s position to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart in August 2022. 

Council adopted the following motion:

That Council:

1. In recognition of the position advocated by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and consistent with the Council motion of August 2022 supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, formally supports constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, through a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Australian Constitution;

2. Commits to sharing clear, credible information on the Voice to Parliament and all aspects of the upcoming referendum to assist residents in making their own considered and informed choice on the day; and

3. Acknowledges that any position resolved by Council is without prejudice to individual position each Councillor, or Council officer, may privately or publicly pursue.

Read more about the Voice to Parliament





Traditional Custodian-owned businesses

There are many talented Traditional Custodian-owned businesses throughout Victoria.

Search these websites to find them in your local area. 

Supply Nation | Australia's largest national directory of Indigenous businesses

Victorian Aboriginal Business Directory



Visit Djaara (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) to book cultural services (e.g. Welcome to Country), language requests and acknowledgement plaque orders.

For more information on reconciliation, contact Council’s Reconciliation Officer via Council’s customer service on 5348 2306 or email