Celebrating Bukareeyoo

Press Release

Celebrating Wadawurrung language returned to a part of Ocean Grove coastline

Barwon Coast is delighted to officially celebrate the return of Wadawurrung language to a very special part of the Ocean Grove coastline.

‘Bukareeyoo’ is now officially the name for the area of Wadawurrung Country known informally as the Ocean Grove Spit.

To celebrate officially returning Wadawurrung language to Country, Barwon Coast and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation are inviting the community to a sunrise ceremony on Saturday 26 August.

Bukareeyoo (pronounced Book-ar-ee-you) is a Wadawurrung word which means ‘between’, as Bukareeyoo sits between two waters – the ocean and the river. The name was given to the area by Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.

Wadawurrung people would traditionally visit this area in the warm summer months to camp and fish. It is culturally significant to Wadawurrung, with evidence of people gathering, connecting and feasting here for thousands of generations.

The process of naming Bukareeyoo was guided by the Geographic Place Names Act 1998 and the 2022 Naming rules for places in Victoria. The name was gazetted on 29 June 2023 and there will be a sunrise ceremony with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to celebrate the change on Saturday 26 August 2023 at the tip of Bukareeyoo.

Barwon Coast conducted an online survey from late 2022 to early 2023 to understand community and visitor thoughts in relation to the name Bukareeyoo, with the majority of respondents indicating they support the proposed name.

Quote attributable to Aunty Mary Shuttleworth, Wadawurrung Elder, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

“My Spirit lifts and my connection to Country deepens when I hear Wadawurrung Language, the mother tongue of my Ancestors spoken on Wadawurrung dja (Country).”

Quote attributable to Corrina Eccles Cultural Strengthening General Manager, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

“I often come to stand on this place, between two waters, to watch the beautiful colours of the sunrise over the water.”

Quotes Attributable to Gary McPike, CEO Barwon Coast

“At Barwon Coast we recognise and celebrate that the marine and coastal environment of the southern Bellarine Peninsulas as the traditional lands and sea Country of the Wadawurrung people.”

“We are delighted to officially celebrate the return of Wadawurrung language to this very special part of the Ocean Grove coastline.”

“Working collaboratively with Wadawurrung to protect the cultural heritage of this area is a core focus of Barwon Coast’s primary strategic planning document, the Barwon Coast Coastal and Marine Management Plan 2020-2025.”

“We are also committed to helping to achieve the aspirations of Paleert Tjaara Dja – Let’s make Country good together 2020 – 2030, Wadawurrung Country Plan, and understand the importance of language to Wadawurrung people and working together to keep Wadawurrung Country healthy.”

“Feedback from community and visitors through our online showed that over 80% of respondents supported the new name. We believe the new name will help educate our communities, campers and visitors about Wadawurrung stories and their long history of caring for the coast.”



Photo credit: Nikole Ramsay

Notes for editors:

Barwon Coast Committee of Management Inc. (Barwon Coast)

Barwon Coast Committee of Management Inc. (Barwon Coast) is appointed by the Victorian State Government to manage 19km of coastal Crown land through the Ocean Grove,  Barwon Heads and Breamlea townships, along the Bass Strait coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. Our vision is that the natural environment of our coastline will flourish whilst meeting the needs of our engaged communities. A major local employer in Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, we have more than 50 skilled employees from a diverse range of backgrounds working across the coastal reserve.

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