Doing Justice: Treaty in Victoria

Eleanor Bourke1

1Chair of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group

After two hundred years of resistance and resilience, Aboriginal people have begun a revival of cultural practices and the benefits are far reaching. Join Keynote speaker, Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher as she explores how treaties can be the foundation stones of renewed prosperity and improved social, emotional and well-being outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.


Eleanor Bourke was born in Hamilton, Victoria, and is an Elder of the Wergaia people, and a Wamba Wamba descendant.  Her career in Aboriginal Affairs spans four decades in Victoria, the ACT and South Australia. In 2005 she became a Native titleholder through Victoria’s historic first positive determination, known as the Wotjobaluk native title claim, which includes the Wergaia, Jardwa, Jardwajarli and Japagulk

She is a graduate of RMIT in Journalism; holds a BA in Professional Writing, Canberra University and holds a Masters in Education from the University of Adelaide.

She was the Co-Chair of Reconciliation Victoria for six years and a board member of Native Title Services Victoria.

In 2008 she was formally recognised at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCAE) as a Respected elder and Education warrior for her work in Aboriginal education.  In 2010 Eleanor was inducted into the Victorian Womens’ Honour Roll.

She has held professorial positions at University of South Australia and the Centre for Aboriginal and Islander Studies at Monash University. She has lectured in Indigenous issues nationally and as far afield as Northern Arizona University, Harvard University, University of British Columbia and University College Dublin.

Eleanor has served on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) for over a decade and for much of this time she was either chairperson or deputy chair. She has been a member of the Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Treaty Working Group since 2016 and more recently appointed Co-Chairperson of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group.

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