The Lake Condah Mission site includes bluestone ruins and a reconstructed timber building, as well as the cemetery which were part of the original settlement.
With European settlement in the 1830s came conflict. Gunditjmara people fought for their land during the Eumerella wars, which lasted more than 20 years. As this conflict drew to an end in the 1860s, many Aboriginal people were displaced and the Victorian government began to develop reserves to house them. Many Aboriginal people refused to move from their ancestral land and eventually the government agreed to build a mission at Lake Condah, close to some of the eel traps and within sight of Budj Bim (Mt Eccles). The mission opened in 1867.
The Mission was formally closed in 1918, and Aboriginal people were forced off the Mission, some moving to Lake Tyers. The Gunditjmara protested against the Mission’s closure and many continued to reside in the buildings until the majority of the reserve land was handed over to the Soldier Settlement Scheme in the 1940s.
The mission was destroyed by the government in the 1950s in an effort to force the integration of Gunditjmara people with the general community but the Gunditjmara people continued to live in the area and protect their heritage. The mission lands were returned to the Gunditjmara in 1987.
Lake Condah Mission is a place with special meaning to the Gunditjmara community - as a community meeting place, an administrative centre, a symbol of political struggle and a link to family histories. As a result the Gunditjmara community do not want open public access to this site.
Key Features of Interest
Ruins of stone cottages and plot remains of buildings such as the church
Reconstructed dormitory building (https://www.budjbim.com.au/visit/cultural-sites/lake-condah-mission/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz6j36ZvF-QIV8ZhmAh2tmA3qEAAYASAAEgLxrvD_BwE, accessed 2022)
Colour photographs of the former Lake Condah Aboriginal Mission