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Coranderrk 1890 – courtesy of  State Library Victoria

Significant Historical Events

1835  John Batman arrives in Victoria and a treaty is signed by leaders of the Kulin Nation to 'purchase'

          land around Port Phillip Bay.  Melbourne is founded.


1838  A protectorate is established to defend the interests of the Aboriginal population.


1840  Lieutenant Governor La Trobe issues orders banning Aboriginal people from Melbourne.


1842  Victoria is occupied by over 12,000 settlers as well as 100,000 cattle and 1.5 million sheep.


1843  Ngurungaeta Billibellary requests land to be reserved for the Woiwurrung clans. His request is not granted.


1846  Billibellary dies and is succeeded as Ngurungaeta by his son Wonga.


1849  The protectorate is disbanded. William Thomas was employed as ‘Guardian of the Aborigines’.


1851  Victoria becomes a separate colony from New South Wales. The population of settlers explodes due to the                            discovery of gold.


1850s William Thomas and Simon Wonga strive to obtain a parcel of land for the remnant Kulin population, at Acheron                   Station.


1855  Victoria now has its own Parliament.


1857  John and Mary Green arrive in Victoria from Scotland.


1858  Anne and Jon Bon arrive in Victoria and settle at Wappan Station, on Taungerong country.


1859  A recommendation to establish several reserves to house and ‘civilise’ the surviving Aboriginal population. A                         deputation of Taungerong men, together with Wonga request land at Acheron, on Taungerong country.  They are                 successful.


1860  The Central Board to Watch Over the Interests of the Aborigines is formed. The Taungerong clans are forcibly                        removed from Acheron. They are relocated to Mohican Station.


1861  John Green is appointed Inspector for the Central Board.


1863  40 Kulin people, together with John and Mary Green, abandon Mohican Station and settle at a site which they name            Coranderrk, in the Yarra Valley outside present-day Healseville. It is gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve (2300 acres) on            30th June.  Green assumes management of the station without pay.


1864  The township of Healesville is established in the proximity of Coranderrk.


1866  Coranderrk’s population grows to approximately 100. A further 2550 acres of land extends the site to a total of 4850              acres.


1869  The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 (Vic) is passed and the Central Board is renamed the ‘Board for the Protection of             Aborigines’ (The Board).


1872  The Board recommends that Coranderrk should focus on the cultivation of hops and takes control of agricultural                   development of the station.


1874  Board members visit Coranderrk to inspect the station. John Green is harassed into offering his resignation.


1875  Wonga dies and Barak becomes Ngurungaeta, leader of the Coranderrk people, who now number close to 150.                    Barak leads a deputation of seven men to attend a Board meeting in Melbourne. Their complaints about                                station management are ignored. A group from the Board again inspect Coranderrk.  They report that the station                  should be abandoned due to the cold climate and residents should be relocated to a warmer location on the Murray            River. Christian Ogilvie is appointed temporary manager of Coranderrk.


1876  Barak leads a second protest deputation into Melbourne, this time going directly to the Chief Secretary to protest                 Ogilvie’s management and ask for Green’s reinstatement. Ogilvie resigns as manager of Coranderrk.  Hugh Halliday             takes his place.


1877  In response to the Coranderrk debacle, a Royal Commission to investigate the condition of the Victorian Aboriginal              reserves.  It recommends they should be maintained, under missionary supervision. A general election is held in                    Victoria, giving a massive majority to the radical party led by Graham Berry.


1878  Barak leads another deputation into Melbourne to meet with Chief Secretary Berry to complain of Halliday’s                          management and Green’s removal. Reverend Strickland replaces Halliday as manager of Coranderrk.


1880  Coranderrk is in a state of ‘revolt’. The residents strike and write letters in protest against Strickland’s management.


1881  Coranderrk wins award for high quality hops. Barak leads a deputation of 22men into Melbourne.  They spend the                 night at Anne Bon’s house in Kew. The following day they urge Chief Secretary Berry to abolish the Board and allow             them to manage Coranderrk together with John Green. Barak travels into Melbourne with his son, David who has                 tuberculosis, to hospital.  David dies soon after. Graham Berry loses office. The Government Gazette announces                   that a Parliamentary Board of Inquiry has been appointed to enquire into the management of Coranderrk.  The local             MLA Ewan Cameron is appointed Chairman; and Anne Bon in named as one of the Commissioners. The Enquiry                   begins: the first two hearings are held at Coranderrk. Anne Bon holds her ‘unauthorised’ hearing at Coranderrk.                   Cameron refuses to include the evidence in the official minutes. The 3rd, 4th and 5th hearings take place in                           Melbourne. The Enquiry returns to Coranderrk. The 7th hearing is held in Healesville. In total 10 hearings are held.


1882  The Commissioners submit their final report to the Chief Secretary. Following Strickland’s removal, William Goodall               is appointed manager of Coranderrk.

1883  Graham Berry wins the election and returns to office. Barak travels to Melbourne to submit a petition asking Berry to             implement the recommendations of the Inquiry.


1884  Berry orders that Coranderrk be permanently reserved ‘as a site for the use of the Aborigines’.


1886  Berry retires from Parliament and prepares to return to England. Barak leads a deputation of 15 men to farewell and              thank him for his support over the years. The Aboriginal Protection Law Amendment Act, otherwise known as the                  Half Caste Act passes both Houses of Parliament.  No longer considered as ‘Aboriginal people’, all ‘half-castes’                    between the age of 15 and 35 are ordered to leave the reserves.


1893  Taungrong clan head Thomas Bamfield dies. Only 17 men and 14 women remain at Coranderrk.  Government                        cancels the reservation of 2400 acres of Coranderrk to create the Badger Creek settlement.


1901  Federation of the Australian colonies.  Australia becomes a nation.


1903  William Barak dies at Coranderrk.


1908  Robert Wandon and John Green die.


1920  Sir Colin MacKenzie, a leading medical researcher, leases 78 acres from the Aboriginal Protection Board to begin his            work in comparative anatomy with Australian fauna. This was the catalyst for the creation of the Healesville                            Sanctuary.


1924  Coranderrk is officially closed as an Aboriginal reserve.


1930s Elderly residents are permitted to stay.


1934  Anne Bon re-dedicates her husband’s headstone in honour of Barak’s memory; an unveiling ceremony takes place in            Healesville.


1936  Anne Bon dies in Melbourne.


1948  The Coranderrk Lands Bill is passed revoking the reservation of Coranderrk’s remaining land and setting it aside for              solider resettlement. No Aboriginal sliders are eligible for the land.


1955  Barak’s headstone is relocated to the Coranderrk cemetery, where it still stands.


1991  Coranderrk Cemetery handed back to the Wurundjeri people (Wurundjeri Council).


1992  Wurundjeri acquire 38 hectare former Army School of Health (on former Coranderrk land) (Wurundjeri Council).


1999  The 200 acre parcel of Coranderrk was handed back to Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation – WEAC.


2013  Walk to Coranderrk and Coranderrk Festival, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Coranderrk.


2014  Walk to Coranderrk and Coranderrk Festival.


2015  Walk to Coranderrk.


2016  Performance at Coranderrk of the play: Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country.

         The Coranderrk Property Management Plan is developed and work starts on regeneration of the farmland.


2018  The Plants of Coranderrk project is commenced (completed September 2020).


2019  The Coranderrk River Restoration Project is commenced. Art installation untitled (seven monuments) is launched at           Coranderrk.

2020  The Coranderrk Bush Food Garden and Orchard project is commenced.

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