In an historic moment for the Taungurung Clans, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Hon Natalie Hutchins attended a celebration with the Traditional Owners at Camp Jungai, Rubicon last Saturday.
The celebration marked Taungurung Clans’ official ownership of Camp Jungai and an adjoining parcel of land, identified as an Aboriginal Keeping Place.
Camp Jungai has historical significance for Indigenous communities and in the 70s and 80s served as an educational camp facility for many Victorian Koori children.
The premises continues to function as an educational camp facility and remains a symbolic place for the Taungurung people to gather and practice culture.
There were over sixty Taungurung Traditional Owners in attendance alongside the Minister and other dignitaries.
Taungurung Elder, Mick Harding performed a ‘Welcome to Country’ and attendees came forward to receive cleansing during the ‘Smoking Ceremony’, performed by Taungurung man, Shane Monk.
Taungurung singers and dancers also performed a traditional dance and song ritual to celebrate the special occasion.
Ms Hutchins described the moment as a “landmark achievement” and presented Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (TCAC) with a grant for $18000 on behalf of the State Government.
TCAC is the corporate representative and ‘face’ of the Taungurung people and serves to uphold their interests with respect to culture and country.
Quote attributable to TCAC CEO Matt Burns.
“Taungurung Traditional Owners have been advocating for Taungurung ownership of Camp Jungai for many years. Now, finally Minister Hutchins has delivered this land justice to the Taungurung people and for that we are grateful. The Minister also announced a financial contribution to ensure Taungurung’s continued connection to Camp Jungai. The financial contribution is being allocated to four cultural camps at Camp Jungai to be scheduled in the coming calendar year.”
Quote attributable to Chair of Directors, Grant Hansen.
“Our ancestors would be very proud that we have survived to be able to stand here today on land that we, as Taungurung people, actually own. Today is about our people, our history, our ceremonial grounds and our ownership of some of our traditional lands.”
Dignitaries in attendance:
- Hon Natalie Hutchins, Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
- Eleanor and Colin Bourke, who have had a long association with Camp Jungai and have worked hard for it to be a place where Aboriginal culture and values are celebrated
- Cindy McLeish, the State member for Eildon
- Charlotte Bisset, Mayor of the Murrundindi Shire
- Richard Thornton, CEO of the Outdoor Education Group, the current lessee of Camp Jungai
- Josh Smith, CEO of Aboriginal Victoria
- Neville Atkinson, representing the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (and our Yorta Yorta neighbours)
- Marcus Stewart, CEO of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations – and a Taungurung man