Mary Jane MilawaPrint Page Print this page

06-June-2015 (Chris McLaughlin)
06-June-2015 (Chris McLaughlin)

Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin / Sandra Brown

The cairn erected by the North-Eastern Historical Society commemorates Mary Jane Milawa, the last member of the Pangerang Aboriginal tribe.

Mary Jane or Gunyuk Milawa was a Pangerang woman whose traditional life was broken by European settlement in Victoria, but who chose to maintain her contact with her country.

She is thought to have been born around 1830 in the area now covered by the City of Wangaratta in north central Victoria. Non-Aboriginal pastoralists began to settle in this country around 1837.

It is not known what became of Mary Jane’s parents. However, she and her sister Luana went with Wiradjuri people to live at Wahgunyah or Lake Moodemere, near present day Rutherglen. Lake Moodemere was a traditional camping place and remained a semi-official reserve until it was gazetted as a permanent reserve in 1892. It remained a reserve until around 1937.

Mary Jane, however, pined for home and returned to live her life as a single woman ‘eeking’ out a meagre existence along the river flats east of Wangaratta, just below where the town of Milawa is today. Mary Jane died in 1888, aged about 60, and is buried in the Wangaratta cemetery. 


Address:Tone Road & Mason Street, Wangaratta Cemetery, Wangaratta, 3677
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.372666
Long: 146.290837
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 26th January, 1982
Front Inscription

A tribute to the memory of Mary Jane Milawa who died 6th November, 1888

She was the last member of the Pangerang Tribe, the Aboriginal People who once lived & roamed through this beautiful  valley.

Plaque :

Erected by the North Eastern Historical Society on Australia Day 1982

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