Bella Wein

Looking more. Can you ...

  • Find a Bay Ray on the panel?
  • List the colours in the rainbow sky?
  • Remember the Wathaurong name for the land known now as the Bellarine Peninsula?
  • Count the number of sparkling fish in the bay?
  • Create a flag to fly over the Bellarine Peninsula?
  • Count the total number of Bunjils on the 12 panels in the Arcade?

Learning more. Do you know ...

  • What is the meaning of the Wathaurong name for the Bellarine Peninsula?
  • Why are there different ways to spell 'Wathaurong'?
  • Where else did Wathaurong people live, as well as the Bellarine Peninsula?
  • Any other Wathaurong words?

Learning more

What "Bella Wein"?

According to Aboriginal historian Bruce Pascoe (a Bunurong man of the Kulin nation), the name “Bellarine” is derived from the Wathaurong name for the area - “Bella Wein”, which translates as:

“Where we lean on our elbow (bella) beside the fire (wein) while looking out over the sparkling sea.”


Who are the Wathaurong people?

Wathaurong, also called the Wathaurung or the Wadawurrung, are an Indigenous Australian tribe living in the area known now as Melbourne, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. They are part of the Kulin alliance. The Wathaurung language was spoken by 25 clans south of the Werribee River and between the Bellarine Peninsula and Streatham. Their sacred emblem 'Bunjil' (Wedge-tailed Eagle) soars overhead in this panel and in many of the others.


The name of this tribe of the Kulin nation is spelt in many different ways, of which Wathaurong, Wadda Warung, Wadthaurung, Wudthaurung and Woddowrong are just a few.

The variations in spelling reflect the fact that when European explorers and settlers first encountered Australia’s Aborigines, they had an oral culture, i.e. they communicated by voice and nothing was written down. Consequently, early Europeans could find no definitive spelling of an Aboriginal word. Each one had to do their best to transcribe what they heard Aborigines say. No two people would necessarily ‘hear’ the same word in the same way, so their transcriptions of the same word weren’t necessarily the same, either.

Many other peoples around the world have had oral cultures; and the spread of written communication (literate cultures) has been associated closely with European colonisation and domination.


Relevant organisations