Walking to embrace Country

November 22, 2021 BY

Ms Eccles welcoming participants to country. Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

THERE was a full turnout at Point Roadknight on Sunday morning as locals and visitors were educated on the history and culture of the Wadawurrung people.

Visitors and residents of Anglesea and surrounding towns undertook the second of two Walk on Country tours as part of the Anglesea Community House’s Yarning Sessions program.

The tour was hosted and narrated by Wadawurrung traditional custodian Corrina Eccles and coordinated by the Anglesea Community House thanks to volunteer member Wendy Clark.

All participants engaged in a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by Ms Eccles before walking around Point Roadknight talking about the Wadawurrung peoples’ history and connection to Country.

Ms Eccles, a Torquay resident with a long-standing record of educating people of all ages about the Wadawurrung culture and traditions across the Surf Coast, Bellarine, and Geelong, said it is more important than ever to teach the community about the land her people have lived on for thousands of years.

Participants and passers-by listen to Ms Eccles’ stories.

“We are living in a time of change with our sea levels rising, the water temperature changing and the horrific erosion that we are seeing here along Wadawurrung country, our coastlines and our sand dunes,” Ms Eccles said.

“If we can bring people here as residents and get them to understand how we can all care for Country and what that really means, with Wadawurrung people being such a small minority we can get all people to walk alongside us, learn about Country and ultimately embrace Country.”

Volunteer member of the Anglesea Community House Wendy Clark said the large number of attendees is promising with more educational Aboriginal events in the works.

“It’s incredibly exciting and important to see local residents engaged with these events,” Ms Clark said.

Corrina Eccles prepares the fire for the smoking ceremony.

“It’s not been surprising to see this many people interested, but we are really pleased to see it. We have a really long waitlist for people wanting to get involved in this type of thing and the way we have structured it, there are a number of activities to participate in.”

A Welcome to Country was held at the first Anglesea Farmer’s Market two weeks ago and there are talks of a storytelling event being held at a future Farmer’s Market in March.

This will be conducted by Nikki McKenzie, a proud Aboriginal woman with Wadawurrung Country heritage and Norm Stanley, a proud Aboriginal man with heritage connected to the Kurnai and Wotjabaluk people of Victoria.

The Yarning Sessions program was made possible thanks to a $5,000 grant approved by the Surf Coast Shire’s Small Grants Program.

For more information head to anglesea.org.au.

Ms Eccles encourages everyone to view the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation’s Healthy Country Action Plan video (2020-2030) named “Paleert Tjarra Dja”.
Head to wadawurrung.org.au/healthy-country-plan-video to view the video.

 

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