Some fine Saturday I would like to recommend you idle away an afternoon doing the Billibellary’s Walk at the University of Melbourne.  I work in the precinct so it felt like a good fit to contextualise what was happening in this specific place 300 years ago, 200 years ago, 100 years ago, now… or maybe what’s not happening…?


Billibellary’s Walk

Wominjeka. Welcome to Wurundjeri Country

Billibellary’s Walk is named after the Ngurungaeta, or clan head, of the Wurundjeri people at the time of Melbourne’s settlement. The walk is a cultural interpretation of the University’s Parkville campus landscape that provides an experience of connection to Country which Wurundjeri people continue to have, both physically and spiritually.

The walk is designed to help participants hear the whispers and songs of the Wurundjeri people that lie within the University of Melbourne’s built environment. The walk alerts us to signs and stories that may not be apparent to visitors, but which provide some insight into the experience of the Wurundjeri people of the Woiwurrung language group who have walked the grounds upon which the University now stands for more than 40,000 years. It is intended to provide the impetus for further exploration of issues pertinent to the Aboriginal community.

Smart phone App




The actual talking-point sites around the campus don’t often have a strong link to what you’re talking through but probably understanding that little remains from earlier times is precisely part of the journey they are taking you on.  I was lucky enough to do it with Samara from the Indigenous Hospitality House in Carlton so the talking points and questions were enriched by having someone along so much more deeply invested and holding wisdom in cultural awareness.  You could do it as a tourist, as a social studies class, as someone seeking to hear truth… being open to ideas, history, stories and what they have to teach us about the impacts of colonisation.  You could do it as someone who likes to look at a big, tall, beautiful tree and know that it’s been there since before you came along and will stand for many years after you go – bearing witness.


The walk poses a lot of questions.  It doesn’t necessarily have the answers.  You have to sit in that. Not having the answers.  This is something we’re still living out hey…

I find myself getting fired up as our conversation canvasses: religion, authoritarianism, institutionalisation….  from colonisation to terrorism to the Royal Commission investigating child abuse… it all somehow feels like the same thing and it feels broken.

“We’re not going to be the ones who fix it” Samara points out.

“Then who?” I demand.

“We be a part of it.”

This walk invites you to do that.  Be a part of it.