Mornington, a city located in the southeast of Melbourne, Australia, has a rich history of Indigenous culture and tradition. The city and its surroundings were home to various Indigenous communities long before the arrival of Europeans in the late 18th century. The Indigenous people who lived in this area were known as the Boonwurrung, part of the Kulin Nation. The Boonwurrung had a complex and sophisticated culture, including a deep spiritual connection with the land, which is still evident in Mornington today.

Despite the arrival of European settlers in the 1800s, the Indigenous communities of Mornington have managed to preserve and maintain their cultural heritage. This has been a testament to the strength and resilience of these communities, as they have navigated the impacts of colonialism and continued to fight for their rights and recognition.

Historical Context

The Boonwurrung people had a rich and complex culture that was deeply connected to the land. They were known for their skill in hunting and gathering, with a diverse diet that included kangaroos, wallabies, possums, and fish from the nearby bay. The Boonwurrung also had a strong spiritual connection to the land, with various Dreaming stories that explained the creation of the world and the role of different natural features.

The arrival of European settlers in the 1800s had a profound impact on the Boonwurrung people. The settlers took over their land, disrupted their hunting and gathering practices, and introduced new diseases that decimated Indigenous populations. Many Boonwurrung people were forcibly removed from their lands and placed in reserves or missions, further eroding their cultural traditions.

Despite these challenges, Indigenous communities in Mornington have continued to preserve their culture and traditions. One example of this is the ongoing efforts to protect and maintain Indigenous language. The Boonwurrung Language and Culture Aboriginal Corporation was established in 2013 to promote the preservation and revival of Boonwurrung language and culture. This includes running language classes, producing educational materials, and advocating for the recognition of Indigenous language in official settings.

Impact of Indigenous Culture Today

Indigenous culture has had a profound impact on the city of Mornington, with many elements of Boonwurrung culture still evident in the city today. One of the most notable examples is the Boonwurrung Foundation, which works to promote Indigenous culture and history in the Mornington area. The foundation provides educational resources for schools, runs cultural tours, and organizes events and workshops to promote understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture.

Another way in which Indigenous culture has influenced the city of Mornington is through art and design. Indigenous art, with its intricate patterns and symbolic imagery, has become increasingly popular in recent years. The Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery has a significant collection of Indigenous art, including works by contemporary Indigenous artists.

Indigenous culture has also had an impact on the local environment, with a focus on sustainable land management and conservation practices. The Boonwurrung Foundation has been involved in various projects aimed at preserving the natural environment, including revegetation and habitat restoration programs.


The Indigenous communities of Mornington have faced significant challenges over the past two centuries, from the impact of colonialism to ongoing struggles for recognition and rights. Despite these challenges, Indigenous culture and tradition has persisted, with communities working tirelessly to preserve their heritage and promote understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture in the broader community.

Today, Indigenous culture has a significant presence in the city of Mornington, with many initiatives and organizations dedicated to promoting Indigenous history, language, and culture. This legacy of Indigenous communities in Mornington is a testament to the resilience and strength of these communities and a reminder of the importance of recognizing and preserving the