Acknowledging Traditional Owners

We acknowledge Wadawurrung People are the Traditional Custodians of the Bellarine Peninsula land, waters and sea, and have been for thousands of generations.

Bellarine Bayside is privileged to manage coastal Crown Land that forms part of Wadawurrung Country and we recognise the ongoing connections Wadawurrung People have to the coastal reserve. We are committed to working in meaningful partnership with them to progress their aspirations for Wadawurrung Country.

Bellawiyn

‘Bellawiyn’ is a commissioned piece by artist Billy-Jay O’Toole, a proud Wadawurrung man.

‘Bellawiyn’ was commissioned as an important step to connect Bellarine Bayside as an organisation to the rich Wadawurrung culture of the coastal reserve and to demonstrate the organisation’s ongoing commitment to acknowledge, respect, understand and celebrate Wadawurrung culture and history.

The artwork features Wadawurrung stories and reflects the importance and use of the area for Wadawurrung People as well as highlighting aspects of the coastal reserve still seen today.

'Bellawiyn' will be displayed in our administration offices and utilised in a digital format to weave Wadawurrung culture through aspects of our work as a prominent symbol of our ongoing commitment.

Artist's Description

Bellawiyn – original Wadawurrung name for the Bellarine which means place of resting by the fire.

Bunjil is the creator spirit of Wadawurrung Country. We still see him today watching over Country. Bellawiyn is a place of freshwater, salt water which provide many resources including the abundance of Murnong daisy as a food source collected by Wadawurrung women.

From the waters of the Bellawiyn you will see colours of a beautiful sunrise looking over the waters you can see our mountain Country. Kunuwarra the Black Swan flies over Bellawiyn to nest and feed off the lakes and wetlands. Bellawiyn was a place of gathering, living and groups travelling across Country to come together bringing Eucalypt from Country for peace.

Billy-Jay O’Toole
Wadawurrung

About the artist

Billy-Jay O’Toole is a proud Wadawurrung man residing on Country in Mount Duneed near Geelong. He is a field representative for Wadawurrung, managing cultural heritage sites on Wadawurrung Country.

Billy-Jay has always had a passion for art; growing up he has created many pieces for corporate businesses, Reconciliation Action Plans, football jumpers and murals. He is an up-and-coming artist who likes to share stories of Wadawurrung Country through his art and the use of bright and natural earthy colours in his work.

Billy-Jay has recently started up his own Facebook page, follow Papul art if you would like to check out more of his work.