Photo: Dja Dja Wurrung

The Dja Dja Wurrung people are the traditional owners of Jaara country and the land on which Bendigo is located.

In a time when the landscape was bare and featureless, the ancestral spirits shaped the earth with Bunjil, creating song lines, raising trees out of the soil and making places of power where an object was left behind, where a spirit had entered the earth or where a journey was completed and a spirit sat down on the land. The ancestral spirits of the Jaara (people), that have shaped our Country and remain in the landscape today are Waa the Raven, Gamadgi the White Cockatoo and Mindi the Giant Serpent (punisher of lore-breakers) who travels through
the tree tops. 

Bunjil and his brother Waa created the people and bestowed the moiety/kinship system for the people to have Eagle children and Crow (raven) children that would be unrelated. Once the Jaara, animals and plants were created, Bunjil taught the people how to behave on earth and the lore to follow. A part of these lessons was how to conduct the ceremonies that would ensure the continuation of life. 

When Bunjil was satisfied with his work, he changed form into the Wedge-tailed Eagle and flew up into the sky to watch down on the earth. Today he is still looking down through the eyes of the Eagle and at night sits by his campfire in the sky known today as Jupiter. 

– Rebecca Phillips (Descendant of Caroline Malcolm), Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation