In 1860 the Wurundjeri Elder, Wonga, petitioned the Victorian Parliament for a piece of land in his people’s own country where he could establish a settlement. The land later named Coranderrk was granted. When Wonga died in 1875 his nephew William Barak, known by settlers as ‘King William, last chief of the Yarra Yarra tribe’, became the leader, the Ngurungaeta.
William Barak believed strongly in justice for his people, and time and again made the arduous walk to Melbourne to petition to Parliament and to Queen Victoria for his people. ‘Freedom for our lifetime’, he said.
The community at Coranderrk welcomed Aboriginal people displaced from other parts of Victoria; they established an economically self-sufficient settlement by growing and marketing hops.
Barak negotiated with the Victorian Government officials as they made promises and broke promises. They finally promised to export the whole of a hop harvest of one year. The people worked around the clock to fill the contract; the Government pocketed the proceeds. The community never recovered. Barak died in 1903— a broken-hearted man. (from http://www.sosj.org.au/_uploads/_cknw/files/Corenderrk.pdf)
Artist William Barak is buried in this cemetery.
Photographs of graves in grass and bushland. It is the Corenderrk Cemetery, and is associated with the former Corenderrk Aboriginal Reserve.