Wurundjeri people spoke the Woiwurrung language. Wurundjeri refers to the people who occupy one tribal territory, while Woiwurrung refers to the language group shared by the other tribal territory groups and clans within the Woiwurrung territory. Some tribes in this territory are Gunung Willam Balluk, Kurung Jang Balluk, Marin Balluk and others. The Woiwurrung people's territory extended from north of the Great Dividing Range, east to Mount Baw Baw, south to Mordialloc Creek and west to Werribee River. Their lands bordered the Gunai/Kurnai people to the east in Gippsland, the Bunurong people to the south on the Mornington Peninsula, and the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurong to the north. Wurundjeri people take their name from the word wurun meaning Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) which is common along Birrarung, and djeri, a grub found in the tree.
The Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council was established in 1985 by descendants of the Wurundjeri people.
The Wurundjeri have lived in the Woi Wurrung area for up to 40,000 years, according to Gary Presland. They lived by fishing, hunting and gathering, and made a good living from the rich food sources of Port Phillip both before and after its flooding about 7,000–10,000 years ago, and the surrounding grasslands.
At the Keilor Archaeological Site a human hearth excavated in 1971 was radiocarbon-dated to about 31,000 years BP, making Keilor one of the earliest sites of human habitation in Australia. A cranium found at the site has been dated at between 12,000 and 14,700 years BP.
Archaeological sites in Tasmania and on the Bass Strait Islands have been dated to between 20,000 – 35,000 years ago, when sea levels were 130 metres below present level allowing Aboriginal people to move across the region of southern Victoria and on to the land bridge of the Bassian plain to Tasmania by at least 35,000 years ago.