wawa biik partner: Trawool Estate
October 6, 2023
Trawool Estate is named after the Taungurung word Traawool meaning wild water.
Located on Taungurung Country in a breathtaking valley, it is a haven amongst the River Red Gums, expansive green acres, close to the Waring (Goulburn) River and located right on the newly launched Art on the Great Victorian Rail Trail which features works by Taungurung artist, Uncle Mick Harding.
With 20 accommodation rooms, friendly staff and excellent conference and event facilities, Trawool has been the venue for many celebratory events for the Taungurung community, including the launch of wawa biik in February this year.
Trawool Estate has been part of the inaugural wawa biik partnership program. For wawa biik, every partnership is developed with a mutual desire for learning, connecting and celebrating the Taungurung story through Taungurung-led visitor experiences. The team at Trawool Estate has been fully engaged in the wawa biik partnership program with an interest in deepening their relationship with the Taungurung community and supporting cultural aspirations. We love that they want all their guests to acknowledge that they’re on Taungurung Country and build awareness and respect for Taungurung People as the Custodians of the land. We yarn with GM Dave Burrows about this beautiful venue and what partnership with wawa biik means for him and the team.
Tell us about you Dave, how long have you been at the hotel?
I began in March 2020 – a time when uncertainty reigned, working through the challenges the business faced I’ve taken great satisfaction in solidifying our offering and partnerships to fuel innovation and motivation to the team. I’ve come from hospitality in big cities in both Europe & Australia, however working in central Victoria has given me a real sense of fulfilment developing a young team and creating what we believe to be an exceptional regional offering.
Trawool Estate has been part of the inaugural wawa biik partnership program. Why is this partnership important to you?
Trawool takes immense pride in our partnership with wawa biik. Our relationship aligns with our values, enriches the guest experience, fosters inclusivity, and allows us to contribute to the preservation and promotion of First Nations Culture.
Having been on a wawa biik experience, has this changed your awareness and understanding of Taungurung Culture and Country?
Participating in the wawa biik experience made me realise the depth of passion and love that Taungurung People have for their Culture and Country. It was evident that that the Taungurung Culture is deeply intertwined with the land, and this connection to Country left a lasting impression on me. The experience gave me a delightful & enriching feeling of connection to Country. It highlighted the importance of respecting and preserving the natural environment, which is not just a physical space but a spiritual and cultural one as well.
Do you feel that your own connection to Trawool as a place has deepened through Welcome Smoking Ceremonies and by connecting with the Taungurung community on site?
Yes, truly valued the Welcome Smoking Ceremony that was hosted at Trawool, it was both moving and therapeutic. The experience was a safe space that I felt freed me of the troubles of day to day and it gave me an opportunity to reflect and be still. Chatting with the Taungurung community on site was fabulously enriching and inclusive, it really gave me a great sense of pride in the partnership we're building.
Can you share any learnings about the best way to partner with wawa biik to develop new experiences?
To develop new visitor experiences in collaboration with wawa biik, we feel it's essential to approach the partnership with cultural sensitivity, respect, and a commitment to shared goals. Building trust and relationships and focusing on education and sustainability are key. I feel that we have learnt to listen more, embrace feedback and be available to involve ourselves by supporting Taungurung aspirations.
The beauty of Taungurung Country is really is a hero of the experience at Trawool. Tell us about what guests love about the area
Guests at Trawool develop an immediate appreciation for the natural beauty and tranquility of the area. As they approach the hotel along Upper Goulburn Valley Highway, the first sight of our majestic hotel nestled in the Trawool Valley has a breathtaking impact and really does create that "wow" moment. Our guests love that Trawool is a picturesque escape that transports them from the hustle and bustle of the city. As guests settle into their stay there seems to be a deeper interest in exploring the area and there are always a lot of questions around the history of both our building and the beautiful surrounds.
We thank Dave and his team at Trawool Estate for coming on the wawa biik journey with us. It can be a slow and deliberate journey in crafting meaningful partnerships with us but the Trawool team has been energetic, respectful and ever so patient. Watch this space for exciting wawa biik/Trawool Estate visitor experiences to launch in 2024.