The Meeting Place

Victoria's Secret Shame

The government is planning on removing 3000 trees over a 12km stretch of sacred land outside Ararat. Why? To cut just three minutes off existing highway travel time.

The plan to build a freeway bypass between Ararat and Buangor will destroy culturally significant land belonging to the Djab Wurrung people, disrupting song lines and tearing out sacred trees. Among these stands an 800-year-old tree that has seen more than 50 generations born inside its hollow and a 350-year-old directions tree.

On the 8th of August traditional owners of the land were furious after being issued an eviction notice giving Djab Wurrung people 14 days to leave their sacred land.

The site sits near a mountain range that closely resembles a pregnant woman lying on her back. “This country belongs to the women and children of the Djab Wurrung people, our ancestors and our future generations.” says Zellenach Djab Mara, Lore Man at the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy.

Currently, first nations people are camping on the land, using their bodies and presence to protect the sacred sites. Thousands of people have passed through the Djab Wurrung Embassy to show their support for the Traditional Owners and their protection of culturally significant sites, song lines and sacred trees.

Zellenach says that they have never been opposed to a highway, only opposed to the development of a highway covering this particular 12.5 kilometre culturally significant stretch.

Lawyer Michael Kennedy believes that “there is an issue of institutional control, and institutional denial. If the government would open up and admit they have made a mistake, everyone would win.”

There is a Northern Route option, that would follow an existing treeless power-line easement and have no impact on culturally significant sites. People have also protested claims that the freeway bypass is necessary for road safety, as the speed limit could easily be decreased from 110 kph.

Zallanach Djab Mara, of the Djab Wurrung Embassy states “I’m prepared to die for my country, as my people have done before me. I’m prepared to die for my country, to give a place to our women and children, which is our cultural inheritance anyway.”

“At the end of the day there’s nothing to negotiate. This is women’s country we’re not going anywhere. Daniel Andrews needs to intervene and stop the destruction of our heritage. The eviction notice must be lifted and Major Roads Victoria needs to restart planning for this project, with Djab Wurrung at the centre of any negotiations.”

Environment minister Sussan Ley has the ability to go above the state and protect these sacred lands… should she choose to. You can contact Minister Ley here to let her know that the Australian people care about protecting this country’s sacred sites.

For more information visit the Djab Wurrung Embassy website or watch Sacred trees VS a freeway bypass: The fight for Indigenous land.

This is an issue for all Aussies, not just first nations people. I wonder, if this was an 800-year-old church, would the government be so quick to tear it down?



This is very concerning but it seems to me a very much State issue,who are the only ones that can do anything about the situation.

You may beter off writing to members of your State Parliament.

Destroying trees to save motorists three minutes of time is worse than wreckless driving. Daniel Andrews is a good Premier and can listen to reason.

"Daniel Andrews is a good Premier".


Just because something is believed, does not make it true!


This really comes down to who owns the land, not those who think they own the land. The Mabo case was quite definite in its conclusion that it, inter alia, upheld any indigenous land rights which had not been extinguished by subsequent grants by the Crown. Information passed down by word of mouth is always open to interpretation and as the Aborigines didn't have the ability to record in writing the myths and legends of their ancestors there will always be a doubt over claims such as these.

Doubt? Are you dismissing the existence of birthing trees? Are you disputing they are of great significance to Aboriginals?

Taking the 'facts' as described as real, and indigenous land rights or sacred sites aside, the destruction of 3000 trees, including some very ancient trees, disturbs me, particularly as an alternative route is available that will require no further mass destruction of trees. Furthermore the land is described as 'belonging to the Djab Wurrung people', if true then surely federal intervention is warranted.

3 minutes less driving for thousands of cars per day Vs 3,000 trees, most of which will be replaced in new plantings.  The carbon win for the planet is on the side of the road.

Like the rest of the world are we not going to have electrically powered cars with solar panels ???

How will your stats add up then Mindy.

And there's the rub, Eddy, are the "facts" real. Are there 3000 trees to be removed, who does own the land and is it really "culturally significant"? Remember the Hindmarsh Bridge debacle when the proposed bridge was going to intrude on land which was culturally sacred for women's business? How did that eventuate? It was proven to be a fiction and held up the construction at some cost to the SA government. When I was much younger we were told that Aborigines had been here for 4,000 years and the updates since then have gone to 20,000 years, 40,000 years and just last week on radio an indigenous man proclaimed that his people had been here 500,000 years. Various Courts of Law have decided who owns which particular piece of land in Australia and as far as I am aware, the land soon to go under tar and cement doesn't belong to the Djab Wurrung people.

So Suze, hope you are enjoying your EV.

Currently my car is some 13 years old which will be replaced by EV.... actually I feel in a few years I doubt if new petrol cars will be available at all....of course the motor vehicle companies will try to dump them on us as long as possible.

My bro has had a hybrid now for about 6 years and it is magic.

We are losing vegetation and habitat at an alarming rate, and in the process koalas, and other wildlife pitched out of their trees with nowhere to go. 


Shameful. Some 3000 trees are due to be cut down by VicRoads on the Western Highway bypass in Victoria. All trees are sacred but three hundred of these trees are sacred birthing trees.Some of these trees are over 800 years old and have birthed more than 10,000 Djapwurrung babies. This is not only Aboriginal history, it's our history.


Image result for birthing trees

                            Add your name to the petition here.

Hi KIAH..I have signed but noticed at the bottom of the petition it says elders have asked the sacred trees not to be put online. I personally can't see why because the pictures are rampant on the internet, instagram, twitter. 

I am sure no one means any disrespect and this request is a bit over the top. Anyway..hope it's successful :)

Seems the petition started over a year ago 

.... beside signing the petition, they ask for money ...did you donate any ?

No..I did not donate any money. I have enough commitments within my own State. 

Have a nice weekend!

Good on you Sophie. Every signature helps.