Uncle Brien recognised on honour roll

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 23-Nov-2017

Uncle Brien Nelson

UNCLE Brien Nelson has been included on this year’s Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll recognising his profound contribution to his community.

Mr Nelson is a Jaara Elder who life’s work included efforts to reconnect younger Aboriginal people to their culture and language.

In his 17-year employment with the Parks Victoria branch of the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, he helped establish cooperative land management arrangements between the department and Aboriginal communities.

He has shared his knowledge of indigenous culture with La Trobe Unversity which recognised him in 2009 by naming him as an Honorary Emeritus Scholar.

He also provided expert advice on the protection of Indigenous heritage during major projects, such as the duplication of the Calder Highway and the central Victorian water pipeline through Dja Dja Wurrung country.

Mr Nelson was involved in the movement towards achieving recognition of Dja Dja Wurrung land rights and he has played a leading role in the reconciliation process in north central Victoria.

He was born on the Goulburn River Flats at Mooroopna, grew up in Shepparton but with his family, later in life, returned to live on Dja Dja Wurrung country near Bendigo.

Over the years, local government authorities have called upon him to perform countless Welcome to Country ceremonies at civic occasions and gatherings. 

His daughter Justice, who attended this week’s ceremony, said Mr Nelson could not be present because he is the advanced stages of Parkinson disease.

She played a video of her father in which he said: “I like this country and we have enough places and sites to see and teach our kids.”

“We won’t stop teaching the ways of preserving and protecting those sites, for a long time yet.

“Thank you for taking the time to listen to a person’s dreams.”


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