The Wadawurrung are the seven family groups who are the sole descendants of John Robinson, our apical ancestor.

According to John Robinson’s birth certificate, he was born in 1846 and lived until 1919. His final resting place is the Warrnambool cemetery.

John had two children (Emily and William) with his wife Esther in Skipton. In 1892 John left Esther and walked to Woolsthorpe with Margaret Anne Matthews. He fathered another five children with Margaret after leaving Skipton.


Descendants of John Robinson researched their ancestry and succeeded in 1997 to acquire enough information to be recognised as Traditional Owners. Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) was incorporated under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 to act on behalf of and represent the interests of all Wadawurrung people.

The WTOAC, was accorded Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) status on 21st May 2009.

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) recognises Aboriginal people as the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal cultural heritage. At a local level, Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP’s) are the voice of Aboriginal people in the management and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

RAP’s have responsibilities relating to the management of Aboriginal cultural heritage under the Act. These include evaluating Cultural Heritage Management Plans, providing advice on applications for Cultural Heritage Permits, decisions about Cultural Heritage Agreements and advice or application for interim or ongoing Protection Declarations.

WTOAC, representing Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, also coordinates the performance of ceremonial duties. These include Welcome to Countries and Smoking Ceremonies for community groups, corporations, events and special occasions where cultural protocols are valued and practised.

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation was incorporated on 12th October 1998, has had an active Australian Business Number since 1st April 2008 and was registered for GST on 1st July 2009.

The Corporation’s application to be recognised as a Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP) was received by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council on 10th October 2007.  The Corporation was appointed for part of its application area and had RAP status awarded on 21 May 2009.  On 20th March 2013, the Corporation was appointed for the remainder of the initial application area.