When Europeans first settled the region in the early 1800s, the area was already occupied by Taungurung people. From that time, life for the Taungurung people in central Victoria changed dramatically and was severely disrupted by the early establishment and expansion of European settlement. Traditional society broke down with the first settler’s arrival and soon after, Aboriginal mortality rates soared as a result of conflict, introduced diseases, denial of access to traditional foods and medicines.
At various times, Aboriginal settlements were established in the area by missionaries and governments at Mitchellstown, Acheron and Coranderrk. These however, despite relative success, were eventually dissolved through various government policies.
Taungurung and other members of the Kulin nation were deeply impacted by the dictates of the various government assimilation and integration policies. Today, the descendants of the Taungurung Clans form a strong and vibrant community. Descendants from five of the original clan groups meet regularly at Camp Jungai – an ancestral ceremonial site.
Elders assist with the instruction of younger generations in culture, history, and language and furthering of their knowledge and appreciation of their heritage as the rightful custodians of the Taungurung lands in Central Victoria. Evidence of scar trees, rock shelters, rock art, and even place names all indicate that Taungurung people have been in this part of Victoria for thousands of years.
Many Taungurung people still live on their country and participate widely in the community as Cultural Heritage Advisors, Land Management Officers, artists and educators, and are a ready source of knowledge concerning the Taungurung people from the central areas of Victoria.
We are pleased to welcome you to our country – to enjoy the landscapes, the flora and fauna. Taungurung people will continue to care for this country and welcome those who share a similar respect.