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Koorie Heritage Trust

Last Updated: July 21, 2024 City Secrets
Tripadvisor Rating 4.5/5
5 46
Google Rating 4.6/5
avatar By Sam Baldwin

Immerse yourself in the beautiful Aboriginal culture. Experience how it used to be and how it came to be. Head to Koorie Heritage Trust and take a cultural walk through Federation Square.

The Yarra Building, Federation Square, Flinders St & Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia


The Koorie people are Aboriginal people inhabiting the southeast of the Australian mainland. The Koorie Heritage Trust’s walking tour offers insight into the fascinating history of Aboriginal Victoria.

Each tour is led by experienced guides, who share their perspectives about this rich culture. It commences with a Welcome to Country, to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land.  Check out the Birrarung Wilam (river camp) art installations as you go through Federation Square and the twisting Yarra River.

The entire tour takes only around an hour and is open to all members of the public on weekdays, starting at 1 PM.

Koorie Heritage Trust - Yarra Building photo by Canley (Wikimedia Commons)

The Story

When Ron Merkel, Ron Castan, and revered Koorie elder Uncle Jim Berg sued the University of Melbourne and the Museum of Victoria for the return of their collections of Aboriginal Victorian artifacts, they also founded the Koorie Heritage Trust. It is a not-for-profit First Nations owned and managed arts and cultural organisation. The establishment of the trust led to the re-acquiring of many cultural materials significant to the Victorian Aboriginal community.

The Trust uses its collection, exhibition programs, and walking tours to promote and rebuild Koorie Aboriginal culture and to connect the community to its roots. The exhibition programs focus mainly on showcasing new and emerging artists looking to strengthen their traditional links and identity.

The Koorie Heritage Trust also runs several cultural educational programs and a Koorie family history service.

Did You Know?

What is Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Walk Famous For?

The Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Walk, a guided walk led by experienced guides, is a must for any student of Australian history before the arrival of the Europeans. For regular sightsee-ers, it provides an introduction to Aboriginal culture and is sure to leave an impression.

While on tour, the guide takes you to the Birrarung Wilam Aboriginal art installations. Here, you learn about the significance of the Birrarung Wilam, an important gathering place for the Kulin Nation and one of Melbourne’s most popular meeting spots.

The tour ends at the Koorie Heritage Trust, where you can immerse yourself in one of the Trust’s most famous attractions, the shop KOORIE. The store features a variety of Aboriginal-themed artwork, jewelry, accessories, and much more at reasonable prices.

How To Get There?

Koorie Heritage Trust is situated in Yarra Building right in Fed Square. You can reach the square via bus, train or tram. The following transport lines have routes that pass near the area:

Nearest Parking And Cost

You can park your vehicles at the following spots:

Nearby Attractions – Make A Day Of It!

Make your day even more exciting by visiting these places:

Visit the largest moving image museum in the southern hemisphere, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image or ACMI.

Just across from the Koorie Heritage Trust is the twisting river of Melbourne, which is famous for its breathtaking view.

Named after a prominent Aboriginal leader, William Barak Bridge is a short walk from the Koorie Heritage Trust and offers stunning views of the Yarra River and Fed Square.

Top 5 Closest Hidden Gems – Recommended By Adventure Clues

Destination Distance
Federation Square 120 m
Hosier Lane 550 m
Ponyfish Island 600 m
Presgrave Place 850 m
Coop’s Shot Tower 2.8 km

Your Hidden Gems Itinerary

  1. Start your day at Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Walk. 
  2. Next, go to Fed Square for a short walk, a cultural hub that often hosts events and offers a vibrant atmosphere.
  3. Head to Hosier Lane to witness the colorful street art that Melbourne is renowned for, capturing the essence of the city’s creative spirit.
  4. Relax with a walk to Ponyfish Island, a floating bar beneath the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, offering a unique riverside experience.
  5. Explore the nearby Presgrave Place, known for its street art and hidden cafes, providing a quieter and artsy atmosphere.
  6. Conclude your day to Coop’s Shot Tower, an iconic historical site with a unique architectural presence.

Melbourne’s hidden gems showcase a mix of cultural, historical, and artistic experiences. From cultural hubs to quiet laneways and historical landmarks, Melbourne’s hidden gems offer a day filled with exploration and discovery.

Best Eateries

Whether you’re going out with the family or hanging out with your mates, Fed Square has a place for every occasion.

Located on the upper side of Fed Square, this restaurant offers a variety of incredible indigenous flavours.

A popular spot for fine dining, Victoria also includes a large outdoor terrace bar overlooking the Yarra River.

Indigenous Walking Tour Entry Price

The Koorie Heritage Trust Aboriginal Walking Tour is available for tour groups and individuals. You can book the tour online at $33 for adults. The concessionary rate for students is $16.50.

tables and chairs inside Koorie Heritage Trust photo by nicolas.boullosa

Final Thoughts

The Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Walk offers a one-hour guided tour through Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, providing insights into the fascinating history and rich cultural heritage of the local Kulin Peoples and  Aboriginal Victoria.

Want to experience the true Australian culture? Book Melbourne Scavenger Hunts by Adventure Clues and learn about the indigenous times, treasure hunt style!


Explore the offerings and cultural significance of the Koorie Heritage Trust, a beacon for Aboriginal culture, history, and educational initiatives in Victoria.

What does the Koorie Heritage Trust offer?

The Koorie Heritage Trust is a critical resource for Aboriginal Victoria, offering a variety of opportunities to experience and learn about Aboriginal culture and history. Their offerings include the walking tours, exhibitions, and various events which are well organised and managed by an arts and cultural organisation. They’re dedicated to preserving the living cultural heritage of Aboriginal people.

Can you tell me about the Aboriginal walking tours?

The Aboriginal walking tours, led by experienced Koorie guides, provide a unique opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal people of the Kulin nation and the history of Melbourne. These tour takes visitors through Fed Square and along Birrarung Marr, revealing the rich cultural heritage of Aboriginal Victoria and the Aboriginal history of the Birrarung.

What can I expect to see at the Federation Square?

When you visit Federation Square, you are actually standing on the land on which Melbourne was built. Here, you can expect to find a variety of art installations, especially the Birrarung Wilam Aboriginal art installations, which demonstrate the dynamic and contemporary Aboriginal culture.

What is Birrarung Marr and what does it represent?

Birrarung Marr is a significant place in Melbourne. It’s a historical meeting and gathering place for the Aboriginal Peoples of the Kulin nation. This area was, and continues to be, a crucial part of the Aboriginal history and culture.

Why are aboriginal art installations significant?

Art installations, such as the ones you can find at Birrarung Marr, play an important role in preserving and projecting rich cultural heritage. They aren’t just artworks – these installations tell the stories of the Koorie Peoples and the Aboriginal history.

What’s the cultural significance of the Kulin nation?

Kulin Nation is a collective term used to describe five distinct but allied tribes of the Central region of Victoria, including the Woiwurrung, Bunurong, Wathaurung, Daungwurrung and Djadjawurrung. These tribes form a central part of Aboriginal Victoria’s heritage, with their histories and cultures passed over time.


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