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Reconciliation & Recognition


Uncle Rick Nelson at the launch of the RAP in 2018

Hepburn Shire Council recognises and values the unique relationship of Dja Dja Wurrung People to their traditional Country

Hepburn Shire is on the traditional lands of Dja Dja Wurrung or Jaara people who are the rightful custodians. The Dja Dja Wurrung are recognised as the Traditional Owners of Central Victoria through the Recognition and Settlement Agreement between the Dja Dja Wurrung people and the State of Victoria, signed in 2013.

In order to further recognise the unique relationship of Dja Dja Wurrung People to their traditional Country, and in response to our local community needs, Council developed a Reconciliation Action Plan.

Acknowledgement of Traditional Landowners

Hepburn Shire Council acknowledges the Dja Dja Wurrung as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters we live and work on. On these lands, Djaara has performed age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal.

We recognise their resilience through dispossession and is a testament to their continuing culture and tradition, which is strong and thriving.

We also acknowledge the neighbouring Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri to our South East and the Wadawurrung to our South West and pay our respect to all Aboriginal peoples, their culture, and lore. We acknowledge their living culture and the unique role they play in the life of this region.

Approved October 2021 by Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation

What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?

Hepburn Shire’s Reconciliation Action Plan is a 12 month business plan outlining what the organisation will do within its sphere of influence to contribute to reconciliation. The plan is based around three key areas of action:

  • Relationships
  • Respect
  • Opportunities

What does reconciliation mean?

Reconciliation as defined by Reconciliation Australia (2015):

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.

The aim of the Hepburn Shire Council Reconciliation Action Plan is to:

1. Further recognise, strengthen, protect and promote Dja Dja Wurrung culture and connection to Country, for the benefit of our local communities

2. Increase opportunities for reconciliation in the Hepburn Shire

3. Improve Hepburn Shire Council business processes to create a culturally safe work place

4. Ensure Council officers have the knowledge and resources to meet Council’s obligations for maintaining and managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage locally

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Hepburn Shire’s Reconciliation Action Plan was developed with Council Staff, Councillors and our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and representatives from relevant organisations.

The following two groups were established to assist with the development of our RAP:

The RAP Working Group – comprising staff from Hepburn Shire Council

The RAP Community Reference Group – led by Council and comprising Dja Dja Wurrung,  local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives and local community members with experience in reconciliation.

With our Reconciliation Action Plan, Council seeks to ensure reconciliation is at the core of our organisation and a foundation to all our services.

Manna Gums Frontier Wars Memorial

Council, in partnership with Djaara, opened the first Avenue of Honour to Acknowledge the Aboriginal lives lost in defending their Traditional lands during early contact and ‘settlement’. Mayor Cr Lesley Hewitt and Djaara CEO Rodney Carter spoke of the significance of the Avenue in acknowledging the truth of our shared history and laid a wreath together in memory of the Djaara lives lost. The opening ceremony took place at the site of the Memorial Avenue on the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road near Coomoora.

We captured the moving event on video – watch a short video (1 minute – ) or full length (16 minutes

Learn the Dja Dja Wurrung language on the memorial sign click on the sound files below:

Galk dhelk



Ngurari gurrk

Ngurari guli.


National Reconciliation Week Videos

Presented by Hepburn Shire Council in partnership with Jaara Elder, Uncle Ricky Nelson and Professor Barry Golding. Truth telling and reconciling our shared history at contact in the three part series ‘Peaks, Rivers and Wetlands’.  Council was a finalist in the HART Awards for its production video productions.

Time travel back 180 years to three seldom visited environments and events from the early contact period that marked the beginning of unimaginable loss and trauma for Dja Dja Wurrung people. Join Jaara Elder, Uncle Ricky Nelson and Professor Barry Golding as they stand together on the top of the iconic volcanic slopes of Mount Greenock. Explore the tranquil Merin Merin Wetland where kangaroos still graze and visit the deep pools on the Loddon River at Neereman, where traditional owners once camped and fished for Murray Cod.

Welcome to Country – Feel the spirit of Country as 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 –


Please visit the resource page to access booking forms for;

  • cultural services (Eg, Welcome to Country)
  • Language requests
  • Acknowledgement Plaque Orders.

Djaara (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation)


Reconciliation Action Plan

Terms of Reference – Reconciliation Advisory Committee 2021

For more information on reconciliation in Hepburn Shire, please contact Donna Spiller at