Coranderrk Aboriginal Station began on the banks of the Yarra River in 1863 when missionary John Green, his wife Mary and elders Simon Wonga and William Barak, led members of the Kulin nation from Acheron to a site on the banks of the Yarra River. The station was gazetted at 4,850 acres at its largest, and Healesville Sanctuary now sits at what would have been its approximate centre.
It was a thriving self sufficient community, complete with hop kilns, kitchen, stores, dairy, school room and houses. The fields were under crop, the paddocks were fenced and there were roadways and drainage systems. In 1877 and 1881 respectively, a Royal Commission and a Parliamentary Enquiry were held into conditions at Coranderrk. Residents showed political and personal strength by walking to Melbourne to make their case to retain their home. Despite this, new laws were introduced, including the Half Caste Act which required all non- full blooded Aborgines to leave Coranderrk. This broke up families, removed all the working aged people and ultimately resulted in Coranderrk’s closure in 1924.
Most of the built structures were demolished and now only the superintendents house, the main roadway and the cemetery remains. In 1998, 300 acres of Coranderrk land was returned to the Wurundjeri Council. The land is now managed by the Wandoon Estate and is occasionally open to the public.
Nicola has had involvement with Coranderrk since 2012, at first developing a series of interpretive panels for the inaugural Coranderrk Festival, and has continued to work with the Wandoon Estate. She has recently received a Creative Fellowship from the State Library of Victoria to research and interpret daily Life at Coranderrk.