A yarn with Brie…”Everything I do is for my community”

August 17, 2023

We love to take you behind the scenes to get to know our team. Brie Antonopoulos is a proud Taungurung woman who has worked with the Taungurung Land and Waters Council for three years and provides both on-ground support and marketing for wawa biik. With Taungurung heritage from her Mum’s side and Greek heritage from her Dad’s side she believes she has the best of both worlds. Brie affectionately describes growing up with three annoying brothers in Hampton on Bunurung Country. At one stage her and her brothers all worked together for TLAWC which was a proud moment. She admits that it has only been in the last four years that she has deeply connected to her Taungurung culture, thanks to her work. We had a yarn to learn more of her story.

What do you love doing when you're not working.

I love spending quality time with my family, friends, and my 4-legged furry daughter Kobi, especially away from my everyday life. I have a holiday house at Lake Glenmaggie, and any chance I get, you will find me there. Spending the day on the boat, fishing, water skiing, or having a parma at the local pub. In the last few years, my partner and I have enjoyed renovating our homes, although he does all the work and I just watch! It is such a rewarding feeling and I love the creative design side. If I had all the money in the world I would definitely be obsessed with interior design.

What does Country mean to you?

Country to me means freedom – whether I am by water or the bush, I always feel a sense of freedom where I am calm, relaxed and happy. There never seems to be any problems on Country, everyone is always smiling and embracing our beautiful home. It is a time to slow down, reflect and connect with nature.

Is there a part of Taungurung Country that is most special to you?

I don’t have a “special” location on Taungurung Country, I honestly think there are so many beautiful places. However, I’m definitely a water girl over bush, so anywhere with beautiful lakes and rivers is my go-to. My parents have recently moved to Lake Eildon and I could honestly just be by the water all day every day – it's picture perfect. I do love the Alpine High Country as well, Mt Stirling is gorgeous. I don’t live on Country, so any chance I get to explore new places is always fun and working for TLAWC has provided so many opportunities.

Describe how it is been to connect with Taungurung culture over the years

Honestly, it’s a been a bit of a rollercoaster. I spent a lot of time as a young child doing cultural activities at Camp Jungai but unfortunately, I do not remember much. I lost all connection as I grew up and found it quite uncomfortable to call myself Aboriginal when I knew absolutely nothing, almost felt like I was being a fraud. It was not until Covid hit and I got made redundant from my job that I stepped back into my cultural heritage, through getting a job with TLAWC. So for me, its only really been the last 3-4 years that I have learnt about my heritage and embraced my background. I’m still learning every day and it’s been so lovely to connect with my Taungurung family and see how passionate everyone is. I’ve learnt so much already and have a lifetime of learning ahead.

What are you most proud of?

This is a tough one, but I would have to say buying a house. I wouldn’t say I was “poor” growing up however we definitely weren’t wealthy. There was a lot of struggles when it came to money so my goal was always to buy a house, I always knew it would be such an accomplishment, especially in the market we are in today its almost near impossible. I’m definitely proud to say I bought my first home at 25 years old, and a holiday house at 28 years old. One day, I’ll have the house of my dreams.

What inspires you most about working at TLAWC?

I think being able to see and create changes for our community. I have worked for big organisations before and having a great idea does not always mean its implemented. With TLAWC, it usually always is. There is so much opportunity for growth and its inspiring to be apart of it. The feeling I get after an event that connects people with their culture is so rewarding. Everything I do, is for my community.

What have you loved most about being part of wawa biik?

Its so incredible to see so many people wanting to know our story! There is so much knowledge to be shared and I absolutely love seeing our tour guides being in their happy place and sharing their personal stories so passionately. wawa biik is a huge opportunity for non-Indigenous people, and for our community to keep Taungurung culture alive.

They say a photo speaks a thousand words. What's your favourite photo and why?

All my millions and one photos of my dog… I just love her so much! But seriously, I would actually have to say my family photo we took in 2021. It was right after my beautiful grandmother passed away, we went to her funeral and back to my house for the wake. She was the first person in my life that passed away, and through all the pain and tears my family came together and shared smiles and laughter. It was so special hosting the wake at my house, and meant I was the only one who could get changed into comfortable clothes! My family bonded like no other, and I am blessed to be able to look back at this time and see our support for each other. It’s not an attractive or good quality photo, it’s just special.

Take a closer look at the beautiful images on the wawa biik website and newsletter. You may notice they communicate not only the warmth and excitement of the wawa biik journey, but also hint at the pride and connection that the photographer Hunter Callaghan has to his mob and Country. Hunter belongs to the Nira-illim Bulluk Clan of the Taungurung Nation and was born and raised in the western suburbs of Naarm, Bunurong Country. He works as a content producer for RMIT University but is also a freelance photographer driven to capture the faces and places that tell the Taungurung story. Check out our yarn with Hunter to find out more about his culture and photography. Link in bio

#gonagambie #tahbilk #kooriepride #culture #taungurungcountry #nagambielakes #visithighcountryvictoria #visitvictoria #supportlocal #blog #photography
Now presenting - the wawa biik Taungurung Cultural Experiences video premiere!

wawa biik (hello Country in Taungurung language) offers immersive cultural experiences that contribute to the positive future of Taungurung culture and Country. This video provides insight from the wawa biik guides (Uncle Shane and Aunty Jo, Taungurung Elders) into the available experiences and the deep connection to Country shared by Taungurung people. 

Special thanks to Ryan from @luminairepictures and the @wawabiik team for dedication to such a moving outcome. 

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

We look forward to seeing you out on Country!

#gonagambie #euroa #tahbilk #culture #nagambielakes #visithighcountryvictoria #visitvictoria #taungurungcountry #tourismaustralia
“Our wawa biik experiences are built on dhumbak gadhaba (yarning together). We create a safe space for everyone to share and be part of the conversation. We acknowledge that we are all coming to biik (Country) from different places, experiences, understanding and knowledge and that’s ok. Our yarns are about sharing our culture, story and experience but this can only happen when we are there respecting each other, listening to each other, and to biik, our Country, so that we can walk together” - Aunty Jo 

 #culturaltours #tourism #travel #Victoria #explore #SeeAustralia #culturalexperience #culture #history #Taungurung #taungurungcountry #gonagambie
Debbie’s melt in your mouth lemon myrtle cookies have become a much-loved staple of our wawa Euroa experience.  Debbie Redding of Debbie’s Delights has been baking delicious food for over 37 years but more recently has enjoyed learning and experimenting with Indigenous ingredients, including our delicious wawa biik morning teas. As a small business owner living and working on Taungurung Country, taking part in the wawa biik partnership program has given Deb the opportunity to connect with Taungurung Elders and deepen her connection to the land. Deb’s philosophy is all about sharing good food, laughter and quality time on Country with family and friends – we are delighted to have Deb as part of our extended team. Check out our yarn with Deb, link in bio! 

#gonagambie #tahbilk #kooriepride #culture #taungurungcountry #nagambielakes #visithighcountryvictoria #visitvictoria #supportlocal #euroa
Great day on Country today! Thank you to this beautiful group for coming along on our wawa Nagambie Experience. 

#gonagambie #tahbilk #kooriepride #culture #taungurungcountry #nagambielakes #visithighcountryvictoria #visitvictoria #supportlocal