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Angus McMillanPrint Page Print this page

05-December-2015
05-December-2015

Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

An obelisk marks the grave of Angus McMillan, discoverer of Gippsland, his wife Christina and his sons, Ewen and Angus. Annual pilgrimages were made to the grave commencing in 1922 and were initiated by Mrs Whitelaw, a teacher at Myrtlebank State School.

Angus McMillan (14 August 1810 - 18 May 1865), was an explorer and pioneer pastoralist in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. The Victorian Federal electorate McMillan is named for him.

McMillan completed several expeditions, and while he was not necessarily the first to visit many locations, his explorations were the most important in terms of European settlement of Gippsland proper. In 1841, on the final of his early expeditions he located a suitable port for the region, at present day Port Albert.

Public interest in Angus McMillan and Sir Paul Edmund de Strzelecki was initiated in a 1920`s campaign to recognise the European explorers in Victoria, and a chain of commemorative cairns was erected across the region. McMillan’s contribution to the region was also conferred in naming the Federal Electoral Division of McMillan in 1948, which includes original lands of the Gunai Kurnai in west and south Gippsland.

The view of McMillan as heroic explorer and pioneer was disrupted in the late 1970`s when historian Peter Gardner highlighted the extent of the frontier conflict in Gippsland, naming McMillan as a key figure. The attack on the Brataualung camped at Warrigal Creek following the murder of Ronald Macalister in 1843 was the foremost of several incidents that resulted in the loss of Gunai Kurnai lives. Historian Don Watson named McMillan as the leader of the ‘Highland Brigade’, a group of Gaelic-speaking Scotsmen who conducted reprisals against the Gunai Kurnai.  The extent of McMillan’s leadership of these conflicts has been contested although his own accounts indicate that he was involved.

McMillan was responsible for raising fears of a European woman held captive by the Gunai Kurnai, firstly in 1840 and again in 1846 - 47. Little was made of the earlier claim, but in 1846 with the European population of Port Phillip District expanding and frontier conflict a matter of public anxiety, McMillan’s reports sparked a heightened reaction to the missing ‘White Woman of Gippsland’. Two search parties travelled throughout Gippsland, bringing much disruption and more violent deaths to the Gunai Kurnai despite there being no firm evidence of a kidnapping.


 

Location

Address:Grassdale Road, Cemetery, Sale, 3850
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.084075
Long: 147.050258
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Exploration

Dedication

Front Inscription

Erected to the memory of Angus McMillan

Discoverer Of Gippsland

Died 18 May, 1865
Aged 55 Years

Source: MA,MED,VMR,RHSV,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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