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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Trip to Historical Coranderrk, Healesville

In the Healesville District, 50 km east of Melbourne, is Coranderrk. This is the site of the early Aboriginal Station, and the name survives in the "Coranderrk Aqueduct", the "Coranderrk Weir", the "Corandeerk Bushland", the "Coranderrk Cemetery", the "Coranderrk Homestead" and the "Corandeerk Walking Track".

Coranderrk Station was established in 1863 as part of a ‘protectorate’ for original Aboriginal inhabitants. But increasing pressure came from neighbouring farmers wanting the fertile land. From 1886, the government sought to integrate ‘half-castes’ into white society.

Activist William Barak and others sent a petition on behalf of the Aboriginal people of Coranderrk to the Victorian Government in 1886.

Regardless of the residents’ protests, Coranderrk was scaled back. It continued as an Aboriginal reserve until 1924, when the remaining community was relocated to Lake Tyers in Gippsland. Healesville Sanctuary now occupies part of the original Coranderrk reserve.

The large remaining part of the original Station is gazetted as Public Land, known as the Corandeerk Bushland, but public access is prohibited. A high steel fence surrounds it, with "entry prohibited" signs prominent.

The original Coranderrk Homestead survives, on private property, off Barak Lane, to the west of the Koo Wee Rup Rd. At the end of Barak Lane is the Coranderrk Cemetery, open to the public. The private land nearby, formerly part of the Station, includes the Worawa Aboriginal College, and the large commercial flower and alpaca farm "The Big Bouquet".

Worawa Aboriginal College is Victoria’s only independent Aboriginal school. Located in "Barak Park", about 65 hectares of spacious grounds, it was established to provide an education for Aboriginal students with emphasis on Aboriginal teachings and cultural values, academic achievement and the development of practical skills important to everyday life and employment.

tudents are encouraged to develop academically, culturally and socially to their full potential.

It was opened in 1983 by Sir Doug Nicholls. Conducted tours are offered from time to time, including a walk on the Dreaming Trail, conversation with Aboriginal Elders and the opportunity to learn something of Victorian Aboriginal lives – in both historical and contemporary contexts. The tours provide opportunity about the College and its aspirations for young Indigenous Australians.

I explored the Corandeerk district on October 28, 2008, which included the Cemetery and the Big Bouquet farm.

See the full set of Photos of my trip, which include some images of historical significance of 1886 and the early 1900s.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I really found this interesting and informative. Well done. I was hoping to be able to walk in the Bushland reserve, not even aware of its cultural significance to indigenous people. I am thrilled to hear there is a dedicated college there for making sure the traditional ways don't die out. Thanks!