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William Barak Print Page Print this page

A plaque commemorates William Barak, leader of the Wurundjeri tribe and a famous artist.

William Barak (c. 1824 – 1903), was the last traditional ngurungaeta (elder) of the Wurundjeri-willam clan, first inhabitants of present-day Melbourne, Australia. He became an influential spokesman for Aboriginal social justice and an important informant on Wurundjeri cultural lore.

When he joined the Native Mounted Police in 1844, he was given the name of William Barak. He was Police Trooper No.19. In early 1863, Barak moved to Coranderrk Station, near Healesville, Victoria with about thirty others. Upon the death of Simon Wonga in 1875, Barak became the Ngurungaeta of the clan. He worked tirelessly for his people and was a successful negotiator on their behalf. He was a highly respected man and leader, with standing amongst the Indigenous people and the European settlers.

Barak is now best remembered for his artworks, which show both traditional Indigenous life and encounters with Europeans. Most of Barak's drawings were completed at Coranderrk during the 1880s and 1890s. They are now highly prized and exhibited in leading public galleries in Australia. His work is on permanent display in the National Gallery of Victoria Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square, Melbourne. Ceremony (1895) is housed at the Ballarat Fine Art gallery. 

Location

Address:2 Watt Street, Aborigines Advancement League Centre, Thornbury, 3071
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.753552
Long: 144.997873
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Indigenous
Approx. Event Start Date:1824
Approx. Event End Date:1903
Link: http://adb.anu.edu.au

Dedication

Front Inscription

In honour of
William Barak
(1824-1903)
an Aborigine of the Wurundjeri tribe.

He experienced the beginnings of the white settlement in Port Phillip, helped to develop the Aboriginal community at Coranderrk, near Healesville, represented Aboriginal people in dealings with the Victorian Government, and was a custodian of Aboriginal culture

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