Baalijin Earth Laws Advocates (BELA) – Bellingen, NSW

BELA pays respect to Gumbaynggirr elders, past present and emerging. We acknowledge the damage that colonisation continues to cause Gumbaynggirr people, language and culture through alienation of people from Country and the continued denial of Gumbaynggirr lore. BELA also acknowledges the damage that colonisation continues to cause Gumbaynggirr Country through the imposition of a system of environmental law that in effect legalises harm to the environment by placing human economic desires above the needs of ecosystems. We are committed to facilitating truth telling, healing, and transformation, to right these wrongs.

 Yidaa jalumbaw! Yidaa yilaana! Gumbaynggirr wajaarr! (Always was! Always will be! Gumbaynggirr land!!)

 Who are we?

BELA is a community initiative advocating for systems change in the Bellingen Shire. We advocate for a shift from human-centred governance of our region, to earth-connected ecological law frameworks which respect local Gumbaynggirr lore/law, and recognise the intrinsic value of all nature, and the interconnectedness of all life on earth.

Where are we?

We are located in the place known as Baalijin (town of Bellingen), halfway between Sydney and Brisbane on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Baalijin, or Budaabang (referring to the whole Bellinger Valley), sits in the heart of Gumbaynggirr Jagun (Gumbaynggirr homelands). The Bellingen Shire includes the escarpment place of Dandarrga (town of Dorrigo) in the north west and the coastal place of (town of Urunga) in the east. We are blessed by the beautiful Bindarray Yurruun (Bellinger River) which flows through the centre of the Bellingen Valley, and Galang (Kalang River) which flows through the Kalang Valley to the south.

Looking out towards Bellingen and Urunga from Dorrigo

Our Mission

  • To build solid, lasting relationships with traditional custodians of Gumbaynggirr homelands and support a ‘caring with country’ approach to ecological governance in our Shire.
  • To plant/nurture the seed of Earth Laws in the wider community through social media presence, a monthly e-newsletter, events, conferences, and grassroots campaigns
  • Collaborate with Australia's emerging Earth-Laws communities, through our membership of the Australian Network for Earth-centred Communities (ANEC) - auspiced by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance
  • Collaborate with the growing global network of grassroots “earth laws” groups.
  • Create culturally safe spaces for community dialogue around Earth-Laws to unfold - join the conversation in our Baalijin Earth Law Advocates - Facebook Group


 Upcoming Events

  •  Monthly meetings take place on the first Sunday of the month from 2:30-5pm AEST at Maam Gaduying (Meeting Place Park outside the Bellingen Council Chambers). See our Facebook page for more info.
  • Earth Laws Workshop with the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (online) - details coming soon