William Barak

William Barak

William Barak was the last traditional ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri-willam clan. He was an influential spokesman for Aboriginal social justice and Wurundjeri cultural lore.

Barak c. 1824 – 15 August 1903 was born at Brushy Creek near present-day Croydon. His mother, Tooterrie, came from the Nourailum bulluk at Murchison, Victoria. His father, Bebejern, was an important member of the Wurundjeri clan. Barak was said to have been present when John Batman met with the tribal elders to 'purchase' the Melbourne area in 1835. Before he died he described witnessing the signing of the treaty in a ceremony he called a tanderem.

William Barak : King of the Yarra


1837 William Barak, at the around 13 years of age, attended, at times the colonial government's Langhornes Mission school 1837 to 1839 at the school site now occupied by the Royal Botanical Gardens.

1837 Christiaan deVilliers, established Native Police Corps. recruiting all John Batman's crew (Sydney blacks) that he had brought over from Hobart, and were present when an agreement was arranged on the banks of the Merri Creek, and the Yarra River. witness by, (William Buckley) and spoke person Elder Woiwurrung and from Boonwurrung tribe

The Native Police were stationed at a reserve (the site of the present-day Dandenong Police Paddocks, about 25 kilometres south-east of Melbourne) between 1837 and 1838 under Villiers, Christiaan de, and later under Henry E P Dana between 1842 and 1852. From 1837 there were several attempts to recruit members of the and people into an Indigenous force of mounted police (troopers). The most successful of these was the Native Police Corps pulled together under command H.E.P. Dana between 1842 and 1853

1842 William Barak, aged 22 in 1842 enlisted in Native Police Corp, (No.19) and remained till 1853, Due public outrage concerning the brutal force used by the Native police... using clubs, ".. pulverising women, children and babies head" this barbaric action forced to disband the Native police Corps Shortly before the Corps was disbanded, the number of Aboriginal troopers was 45, while European members numbered 15 out of the total of 60. Prince's Bridge, over the Yarra River in Melbourne, opened.

1851 Victoria became a separate colony, The first legislature was a 30-member Legislative Council, which advised the Lieutenant-Governor of the colony, C.J LaTrobe.

1863 William Barak, had taken on schooling and religious studies, his first wife Lizzie, whom died prior to the government gazetted, Coranderrk, (1863) as the permanent site, Where Barak moved in to neat cottage and garden, he worked for a small wage on the station farm and acquired a few horses and carried the little black book, the bible with him. Barak more or less was the Spokesperson for all at Coranderrk, In a publicized Presbyterian ceremony in 1865. He married Annie of the Murray tribe

1890 William Barak on 7 June, Married his third Sarah (Kurnai) by now his artworks, was the major attraction at Coranderrk during the 1880s . They are now highly prized and exhibited in leading public galleries in Australia.

1903 William Barak died at Coranderrk, records show that his only direct decedents, three in all, had all died as well as their mother Lizzie, before Coranderrk came into being. Barak is buried at the Coranderrk cemetery.

William Barak Apartment


William Barak apartment tower portrait revealed



After six months under wraps, a 31-storey portrait of indigenous leader William Barak was momentarily revealed to the world on Monday 2nd March 2015.

The 85-metre face has been created in the balconies of a new Grocon apartment building at the former Carlton United and Brewery site on Swanston Street.

The 530-apartment building face will undergo some minor cosmetic surgery before it is officially completed. Source: theage.com.au




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