The 2014 Walk to Coranderrk commemorates the historic trek made by Wurundjeri elders William Barak, Simon Wonga and others in the first few months of 1863 as they travelled across the Great Divide from Acheron to the Yarra River in search of a permanent home for the surviving people of the Kulin nation. Barak’s dream of a permanent, safe home for the Kulin people was finally realised when a government allocation of 4,850 acres at last created a refuge for the remaining indigenous people of Melbourne and its surrounds.
Despite the efforts to keep Coranderrk functioning, in 1924 the station was closed and the people forcibly dispersed.
75 years after the station was closed and the people forced to leave their home, the Coranderrk spirit remains strong and ready to be heard again. The 2014 re-enactment of part of the 1863 walk invites us all to reflect on history and to show our commitment to the strengthening of unity between all Victorians.
Descendant Andew Peters opened the event and spoke about the importance of all Australians embracing the concept of our shared history. Jacqui and Brooke reiterated their message to everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous, to feel welcome at Coranderrk, saying ‘Ours is a shared history, let’s celebrate it together.’
The walk wound its way from the Watts River through the town of Healesville. The walkers sauntered easily along Dalry Road toward Barak Lane. and as they went alongside the boundary of the present-day Healesville Sanctuary, once part of Coranderrk, it was possible to go back in time and imagine the landscape and vegetation as it was in 1863.
Allan Wandin met the walkers along the Coranderrk lane. He warmly welcomed everyone to his People’s Country and spoke movingly about the strong and enduring friendships that were developed from such events as these.
The 2014 Walk to Coranderrk finished at the homestead where once the station superintendent lived. An appropriate and just twist of fate has resulted in the homestead now being the home of Allan and his family.
A very welcome barbeque and salad lunch awaited the walkers while musical entertainment was provided by Sebastian Jorgensen and Alesa Lajana.