Angus McMillan ExpeditionPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin / Roger Johnson

The cairn commemorates explorer Angus MacMillan who passed through the area in 1840. 

At the unveiling of the Bulla memorial for Hume and Hovell,Charles Daley the Secretary of the Victorian Historical Society suggested that the idea be extended to other explorers and a committee was formed to mark out the routes of Charles Sturt, Thomas Mitchell, Angus McMillan, and Sir Edmund Paul de Strzelecki.

Eighteen cairns or tablets to McMillan were erected at Benambra (to Macfarlane, Pendergast, McKillop) Omeo, Swifts` Creek, Ensay, Bruthen, Mossiface, Sarsfield, Lucknow, Calula (2), Bushy Park, Stratford, Bundalaguah, Sale, Rosedale, Tom`s Gap, Yarram, Port Albert.

Note: The Royal Historical Society of Victoria notes that the plaque on this monument is incorrect and McMillan was in Bruthen on 14 January 1840, and not on 14 April 1840.

The State Governor and party were entertained by the shire president at dinner last night. This morning the cairn to the memory of Angus McMillan was unveiled by Lord Somers. Speeches were delivered by tho Governor, Cr. Archibold, Mr. R. S. Buchan (chairman of the local memorial committee), Sir James Barrett and Mr. Hansford. Items were given by the school children. 
The Age (Melbourne), 6 April 1927. 

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.




Address:Great Alpine & Bruthen - Nowa Nowa Roads, Bruthen, 3885
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.708367
Long: 147.834263
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape
Actual Event Start Date:14-January-1840
Actual Event End Date:14-January-1840


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 5th April, 1927
Front Inscription

Angus McMillan 


Passed Here 14th April 1840.

Unveiled 5th April 1927.

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design