2019 Williamson Welcome Retreat

25 March 2019

The 2019 Williamson program is underway. Now in its 30th year, Williamson (WCLP) officially launched with the three-day residential Welcome Retreat in Marysville which was opened with a Welcome to Country performed by Anthony Cavanagh (WCLP ’15) on behalf of the Taungurung people. Anthony is the CEO of Ganbina, a charity organisation based in Shepparton Victoria which provides programs that help gain economic and social equality for Indigenous people within a time frame of two generations. Anthony was kind enough to share his Welcome to Country:


Welcome to Country – Taungurung (pronounced Toonn gu rung)

Wa Wa – Hello in my language - My name is Anthony Cavanagh and I am the CEO of Ganbina.

Ganbina is a charity organisation based in Shepparton Victoria which provides programs that helps gain economic and social equality for Indigenous people within a time frame of two generations

We are taking action to break the common cycle of Indigenous generational welfare dependency by:

Implementing programmes which enable Indigenous children and youth in the Goulburn Valley to explore and realise their full individual potential.

It is my pleasure as an Alumni of the 2015 Williamson program mob, and a proud descendant of the Taungurung people to see you all here this morning.

Welcome to our land …….. The land of the Rivers and Mountains of my People, the Taungurung People.

On behalf of my Family, the Franklin family from Yea in Victoria, and Elders Past, Present and Future, of the Taungurung peoples, I welcome you on country today.

With respect to those who have gone before us, Australians from all walks of life… I say thank you…. Thank you for caring for our Land….our Fauna….our Rivers, and Mountains… and for allowing us to take up our responsibilities of nurturing this land through our time on country.


Why Welcome to Country;

Welcome to country is an important ceremony for the Taungurung people, as traditional owners and ongoing guardians of this land we meet today.

It is a ceremony grounded in traditional law and provides an opportunity for non-indigenous people to recognize and pay respect to Aboriginal culture and history.  The ceremony is a cultural practice performed by Indigenous Elders or Traditional owners of the land we meet, where visitors are greeted and welcomed, and traditionally offered safe passage through their lands.


Where We Live;

The Taungurung people occupy much of Central Victoria. This land encompasses the area between the upper reaches of the Goulburn River and it tributaries north of the dividing range. From the Campaspe River to Kilmore in the West, Eastwards to Mount Beauty, Benalla in the north and south to the top of the dividing range.

Townships such as Wallan, Kilmore, Broadford, Seymour, Yea, and Marysville are on Taungurung Country…

Traditionally, our people lived a hunter/gatherer existence. The various clan groups migrated on seasonal basis through their territory dependent upon the seasonal variations of weather and the availability of food.

The Taungurung people are closely affiliated with the neighbouring tribes, through language, ceremonies and kinship ties. We are part of an alliance with the five adjoining tribes to form the Kulin Nation.

Other members of the Kulin Nation are the Woiwurrung – Wurundjeri (Melbourne) Boonwurrung – (Port Phillip bay area), Wathaurung – Geelong area, and Djadjawrung – Bendigo area.

The Kulin Nation group also shares common dreamtime ancestors and creation stories, religious beliefs and economic and social relationships.

Womenjika – Welcome to Taungurung country, and on behalf of my people we hope you enjoy your time here.