Wominjeka – Welcome
Museums Victoria acknowledges the Woi Wurrung (Wurundjeri) and Boonwurrung peoples of the eastern Kulin Nations where we work, and First Peoples language groups and communities across Victoria and Australia.
Our organisation, in partnership with the First Peoples of Victoria, is working to place First Peoples living cultures and histories at the core of our practice.
Melbourne Museum Wominjeka Artwork
To celebrate the reopening of Melbourne Museum, we've given the entrance a brand new look.
A stunning collaboration between Tati Tati artist Brendan Kennedy and Museums Victoria, the artwork will be on display at Scienceworks and Immigration Museum in the coming months. The artwork features Bunjil/Wiripil and Waa/Wangi. In Tati Tati language Wangi is the crow and Wiripil is the eagle.
The eagle and the crow are significant to First Peoples across Victoria. Bunjil the Ancestral Wedge-tailed Eagle is the creator and Waa the Ancestral Crow is the protector for the Traditional Owners of Melbourne, the Boonwurrung and Woi Wurrung peoples. To learn more visit Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.
Bunjil the creator
Bunjil is the Ancestral Wedge-tailed Eagle, the creator. Waa is the Ancestral Crow, the protector. Bunjil created much of south-eastern Australia and the features and animals within it. He also created people, by breathing life into figures moulded from clay.
Stories of Bunjil and Waa provide meaning to south-eastern Aboriginal people. A person's affinity with either Bunjil or Waa defines their kinship relationships, marriage partners and social responsibilities.
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre was planned in collaboration with many Aboriginal people, including the traditional owners of Melbourne, the Boonwurrung and the Woi wurrung. The name Bunjilaka was chosen as it means 'the place of Bunjil', evoking a sense of ongoing creation.
Inside the First Peoples exhibition in Bunjilaka, you'll find Bunjil's nest – a thick tangle of branches and feathers from the outside.
Within the nest hangs a marvellous kinetic sculpture that represents Bunjil’s wings, the sinuous curves of the Country he created, and the cycle of creation itself. As it moves and glows, Koorie Elders speak of Bunjil singing the Country, Law and people of the Kulin nation into being.
The story of Wangi the crow
As told by Brendan Kennedy,
Dindi Thangi Wuthungi (River Country Man)
Wangi was one of the most beautiful birds in the world. He had all the colours of the rainbow on his feathers. One day, Wangi was showing off flying up high singing, ‘Look at me, I’m Wangi, I’m the most beautiful bird in the world.’ All of the animals watching called out, ‘No Wangi, you are flying too high!’ Wangi wouldn’t listen, and he flew higher and higher singing, ‘Look at me, look at Wangi, the most beautiful bird in the world.’
All the animals warned him ‘No Wangi you’re getting too high and close to the sun!’ Wangi would not listen. He flew too close to the sun and his feathers got burnt. That’s why Wangi has black feathers now and you don’t see Wangi flying higher than the trees.
About the artist
Brendan Kennedy was born on Tati Tati Country and is an artist and a member of the First Peoples Yulendj Group.
Yulendj is a Kulin word for 'knowledge and intelligence'. It is the name that members of the Bunjilaka Community Reference Group chose to describe their role in the First Peoples exhibition.
Brendan recently co-curated the exhibition River of Language in Bunjilaka, a multimedia soundscape exhibition that celebrates UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages and the 25th Anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL).