Photo: Sovereign Hill Education

Aboriginal heritage

The Wadawurrung people are the Traditional Owners of Brown Hill, and more broadly all of the land between Ballarat and Geelong. Their families have lived here for tens of thousands of years, and their elders continue to care for Country, Wadawurrung language, and the stories that have been shared for many millennia.

Due to the speed at which Victoria was colonised by Europeans after 1835, traditional Wadawurrung language, culture and land management systems were gravely disrupted. Wadawurrung sovereignty of the land was never ceded.

The descendants the Wadawurrung community members who survived the European diseases, Frontier Wars, Victorian gold rushes, and the systematic, structural racism of state and federal governments in more recent history, are now represented in by the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation (trading as Wadawurrung) who are the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) for the Ballarat/Geelong region. They facilitate cultural competency workshops for schools and businesses, perform 'Welcome to Country' ceremonies, and undertake archaeological surveys. More information about Wadawurrung can be found at

More information about Wadawurrung language can be accessed through this free App.

More information about Wadawurrung history relating to the Ballarat gold rush can be accessed through the Sovereign Hill Museum Association's free digitour 'Hidden Histories: The Wadawurrung People'.