26th March - 30th March 2025


Aboriginal Heritage Garden

For the first time ever, a co-designed, Aboriginal heritage garden, Wurundjeri biik, meaning ‘Wurundjeri Country’ in Woi-wurrung language, featured at the 2024 Melbourne International Flower and Garden show.

The garden, co-designed by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Landscape Designer, Andrew Laidlaw, Suzannah Kennett Lister and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation is an invitation to consider the ecological and cultural significance of Wurundjeri land stewardship and culture, and the importance of remaining areas of native vegetation.

“This garden provides an opportunity to instigate and encourage discussion, reflection and appreciation of Indigenous custodianship, Indigenous and native flora and the evolving interconnection between land, water, plants, animals and people,” said Andrew Laidlaw

“By acknowledging and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their connection to country, and their 65,000+ years of land stewardship, the nursery and garden industry can encourage a cultural shift, encouraging people to engage with their environments more respectfully, attentively and sensitively,” he said.

The new garden features three islands of planting, which represent three major plant communities within Wurundjeri Country: riparian zones and waterways, hills and foothill plant communities and drier heath forests and grasslands. Visitors will be gently guided toward a central clearing and gathering place where basalt boulders provide informal seating.

Charred branches of various native plant species rise out of the plantings, suggesting enclosure without cutting the view of the water beyond. These burnt branches surrounded by young foliage represent the cycles of fire and regeneration throughout Australia

Elders, Members and representatives of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation said that this garden represents the plants of their Country, which includes the inner city of Naarm/Melbourne, extending north beyond the Great Dividing Range, east to Mount Baw Baw, south to Mordialloc Creek and west to the Werribee River.

“We honour our Ancestors and Elders for their strength, resilience and sacrifice as they cared for Country, and we continue that legacy today. We welcome all those who gather at theWurundjeri biik and invite them to connect to our Country through spending time in this place,”they said

“Wurundjeri biik is an invitation to consider the ecological and cultural significance of the plants of Wurundjeri Country, and the importance of protecting them. It features rare, threatened and culturally significant plants from the diverse landscapes of Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country: Silky Blue-grass from the grasslands; Prickly Tea tree from the heath forests; Coranderrk from the riparian zones and waterways; and Soft Tree-fern from the hills. Prior to colonisation, these plants were plentiful throughout Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country, but many are now under threat,” said Andrew Laidlaw.

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne offers an Aboriginal Heritage Walk, where visitors can learn about Aboriginal plant uses, customs and ongoing connection to Country. Book via the website here:https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/melbourne-gardens/what-s-on-melbourne/aboriginal-heritage-walk/


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