On Sunday 28 May 2023, Merri-bek City Council celebrated Ballerrt Mooroop Day as part of National Reconciliation Week 2023 with a traditional Smoking Ceremony and a Welcome to Country by Uncle Andrew Gardiner.
Ballerrt Mooroop (strong spirit in Woi-wurrung language) is a culturally significant site in Glenroy, and place of great importance to First Nations People on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country. The former school site is open to the public to walk through and enjoy, featuring a ceremonial site, many mature trees including Be-al (River Red Gum tree) and an abundance of birdlife.
Almost 200 attendees, including local Glenroy residents and many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gathered to learn about the history of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people. Other activities included the Djirri Djirri welcome dance, Wanyara traditional Aboriginal games, community planting of indigenous species, musical performances, face painting for children, boomerang throwing and a basketball workshop. Local organisations ITIKI Sports Club, Will Will Rook Kindergarten and Merri Health also attended to provide information on community services. There were also opportunities to hear more about possible future plans for the site which could include an educational and health hub as well as sporting facilities.
Merri-bek Mayor Councillor Angelica Panopoulos shared her optimism for the site's future.
"Together, we can create a bright future for the Ballerrt Mooroop site, which will not only serve as a cultural and educational hub for the First Nations community, but also as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all Australians who believe in the power of reconciliation,” Cr Panopoulos said.
“I thank everyone for joining us for Ballerrt Mooroop Day, we’ve heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees who valued the inclusive atmosphere, sense of community and connection, and informative activities.”
“The high interest from the community shows that engagement and inclusivity are vital as we work towards reconciliation.”
Merri-bek City Council is advocating to the State Government to transfer the Ballerrt Mooroop site to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. For more information about the site and our advocacy work, visit our website at Merri-bek City Council.
The Ballerrt Mooroop site is open to public to enjoy and Council encourages community to respectfully visit the site to learn more about its significance to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and local First Peoples.
Find out more on https://www.merri-bek.vic.gov.au/ballerrt-mooroop