Today historian, Gary Presland, whose work focuses on Indigenous people of south eastern Australia, gave an insightful lecture on Indigenous Melbourne.
He provided an introductory overview of the social organisation of indigenous Australians in the Melbourne region, particularly during the time of European invasion.
At the time of European invasion, a large part of central southern Victoria was owned by a loose confederation of five language groups who identified themselves as the 'Kulin' nation.
In traditional Koorie society the most common day-to-day group was the foraging band, composed generally of one or two families, plus visitors. The most important social group, however, was the clan. The clan was the land-owning unit in traditional society and was also the group with which an individual Koorie would firstly identify herself or himself. All members of a clan spoke the same language and identified with a particular area of land, or estate, which they regarded as their own. In traditional Koorie society a number of clans who spoke the same language and had adjacent estates made up a larger group usually referred to as a tribe. The tribal territory was the total area of the clans estates.
It was particularly interesting to learn about the variance of language and how language groups differences were often based on the expression of the negative.
The 'Kulin' nation was made up of language groups which included Boon Wurrung, Taun Wurrung, Woi Wurrung, Djadja Wurrung, Watha Wurrung and Ngan-illam Wurrung.
The word 'kulin' was common to all the languages and meant 'human being'.
Presland, G. (1994) Aboriginal Melbourne, Penguin, Victoria