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Aboriginal Heritage


This section contains a video and several articles by Jim Poulter on our rich Aboriginal history and heritage. In writing these articles, Jim has drawn on his family’s rich history over five generations, as well as his own personal experiences of being On Country  with many famed Elders and tribal people. These personal experiences have inspired his ongoing personal research, consultation and collaboration with Elders across Victoria.

Life as it was in Traditional Aboriginal Society

The Pound Bend area in Warrandyte was a traditional Aboriginal living area, and it now has a number of interpretive signs.

Local historian, Jim Poulter, takes a brief tour through this area, explaining some aspects of traditional life.

Video on Pound Bend - Life as it was in Traditional Aboriginal Society

1. Understanding the Dreaming 

The term ‘The Dreaming’ is universally recognised as Aboriginal Australian, but there is very little understanding of it as a religious philosophy. For many years, Senior Elder Uncle Reg Blow and Jim Poulter discussed these deeper levels of Wandjinist religion, while also consulting their tribal sources. They only completed their work in the week of Reg’s death in 2012, and Jim has dedicated this paper to Reg’s memory.


2. Australian Sovereignty, Past and Present

This paper is the 2018 submission made by Jim Poulter and Woiwurrung Elder Uncle Bill Nicholson, to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Change. The paper explores the concepts of sovereignty and social pluralism within the context of traditional Aboriginal society, draws parallels with the levels of government in contemporary Australian society, and recommends two basic principles be embedded in the constitutional preamble.


3. Mapping of Traditional Aboriginal Land Use

Using the outer Melbourne, Yarra Valley municipality of Manningham as a case in point, traditional Aboriginal land use is described. The area is seen as having been a typical example of permaculture farming practices that were traditionally conducted across the whole of Australia. Also included is an appendix, developed in consultation with Woiwurrung Elder, Bill Nicholson, on how to identify local Songlines. These are the Aboriginal travel routes that are today, still embedded in the major road systems of every large city in Australia.


4. What Treaty?

Research has, in recent years, increasingly shown Batman’s account of his journey through Port Philip in June 1835 to be a tissue of lies. In this paper, the author builds on previous research and shows that Batman’s claim to have concluded a  ‘treaty’ to be clearly fraudulent. Using a little known or understood account dictated by William Barak in 1888, it is shown that Batman’s meeting with the Woiwurrung took place on the Plenty River, at present-day Greensborough.


5. Marngrook - Original Australian Rules Football

The Aboriginal football game Marngrook is the oldest football game in the world. It was a precursor to Australian Rules Football, a popular national sport.


6. Simon Wonga - Life Journey

A charismatic Kulin leader, Simon Wonga had a profound effect on the survival of Aboriginal people in the Melbourne area during the colonial period. However the magnitude of his contribution has not been fully appreciated. This paper maps his life journey from birth to death, but ends with a macabre mystery. Where is his body?


7. Birrarung - the Original Name of the Yarra River
    and its People

The Birrarung river sustained Wurundjeri communities for ages. It was mistakenly named Yarra by colonialists.


8. Ngaruk - The Forgotten Woiwurrung Clan

In this brief paper, the plight of the Dandenong Valley clan of the Woiwurrung is exposed. They have seemingly been wiped from the pages of history. This is partly due to their last leader Mooney-Mooney having been involved in massacres of other tribes by the Native Police in 1842, but it also relates to contemporary politics.


9. Understanding Contemporary Cultural

In his professional career as a Forensic Social Worker, Jim Poulter's ability to relate to Aboriginal clients and to build trust with them, was used by his employers to guide the delivery of their services. Using a number of anecdotes and examples, contemporary Aboriginal cultural differences are explored and a list of ‘handy hints for helping professionals’ is developed.

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