Case Study

"Working on Country provides a sense of belonging."

As a Community Engagement Ranger for Parks Victoria, Ebonee’s role is to encourage the Greater Geelong community to connect with their local parks. As a Wadawurrung woman, her role is much more than that. It’s about providing a way for the community and visitors to the region to connect with Wadawurrung culture. Ebonee says working on Wadawurrung Country gives her the hope to inspire others to continue their learning from Traditional Owners.

“I value working in the Djilang (Geelong) Area. The area has a strong Wadawurrung presence and offer many great learning opportunities which the community can benefit from,” Ebonee said.

“Our culture is incredibly old and will continue for thousands of years. Having the community connected to Wadawurrung culture creates awareness. My role allows me to educate visitors on the natural and cultural values of Geelong parks, including Youang.”

Another big part of Ebonee’s role is to educate students through the Parks Victoria ‘Discovering Country’ educational program and to deliver free Junior Ranger activities on school holidays.

“Educating visitors is really rewarding to me because it’s just a small step in guiding their learning journey. If I can teach visitors something they will share with others, then I’ve achieved what I need to which is exposing Wadawurrung culture to the community,” she says.

Ebonee has recently developed Victoria’s first Connection to Country Wadawurrung Junior Ranger booklet, in partnership with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Corporation.

“Developing this booklet has been a great accomplishment in my career with Parks Victoria,” Ebonee said.

“Collaborating with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation has provided the opportunity to educate others about Wadawurrung culture and the importance of caring for Country.

“This booklet is a reminder that Wadawurrung culture is strong. Wadawurrung People have cared for and sustainably managed these lands for thousands of years.”

“However, caring for Country is something that everyone can do. Connecting others to culture, provides a sense of appreciation and contributes to a collaborative approach to looking after Country. If Country is healthy, we all benefit.”

This painting by Wadawurrung artist Jenna Oldaker is called Gobata Dja, which means Take Care of Country.

Youang (You Yangs) is a very significant place for Wadawurrung peoples. Ebonee loves that she has an opportunity to working on Country and feel the connection to her culture through seeing evidence of my ancestor’s sustainable lifestyles.

“That evidence includes rock wells, stone tools and modified trees. These factors showcase Traditional Owners are more than just hunter and gathers and we have used the environment sustainably for thousands of years,” Ebonee said

“I believe it’s extremely important for Traditional Owners to work on Country and connect with other Traditional Owners in the community. It provides a sense of belonging and allows us to share and collaborate.”

For more information about Wurdi Youang and Junior Ranger programs, visit