By Ian Clark, Toby Heydon
The Yarra Bend Park marks the most very important post-contact areas within the Melbourne metropolitan region, and is of serious value to Victorian Aboriginal humans, relatively the Wurundjeri Aboriginal group. At this web site used to be situated the Merri Creek Aboriginal tuition, the Merri Creek Protectorate Station, the local Police Corps Headquarters and linked Aboriginal burials.The position has further value within the early 21st century, as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian deal with the legacies of our touch past.
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Extra info for A Bend in the Yarra: A History of the Merri Creek Protectorate Station and Merri Creek Aboriginal School, 1841-1851
Mr King . . said they have fire in each hand and that it resembles white man’s book. Mr King, I was told by my son, acted as a sort of priest. Mr King said it was like a long time ago when they were in the woods before white people came . . After the ceremony they went to Melbourne in their fancy coloring. This particular occasion concerned a young man named Kur-mul and a young woman named War-er-bur-er-bine (Robinson Jnl 20/11/1839). Reports of such privileged ceremonies in, or near Melbourne decreased during 1840.
From March 1841, Thomas regularly visited groups camping to the northeast of Melbourne in an attempt to affect their return to Narre Narre Warren. He concluded that only increased rations would have enabled this (Thomas 24/6/1841 in VPRS 4410, Item 69; 31/8/1841 in VPRS 4410, Item 70). 26 From December 1841 until 1847, Thomas frequently observed camps at the confluence of Merri Creek and the Yarra River, and sometimes in present day Studley Park (see VPRS 4410 passim). In 1842, although still based at Narre Narre Warren, Thomas spent considerable time visiting Woiwurrung and Daungwurrung camps north and northeast of Melbourne, and Boonwurrung camps south and southeast of Melbourne.
The sketch depicted ‘a host of blacks lying prostrate as dead’. This has been interpreted as signifying the site where, in 1833 or 1834, some Ganai clanspeople attacked the Boonwurrung people who were camped there, resulting in the deaths of 60–70 people. The name Worrowen, meaning ‘place of sorrow’, was subsequently given to this place. The carved tree was later struck by lightning and destroyed. On 28 December 1847, Thomas (1/3/1848 in VPRS 4410, Item 104) documented two graves at Worrowen, at the camp of a group of Aboriginal people.
A Bend in the Yarra: A History of the Merri Creek Protectorate Station and Merri Creek Aboriginal School, 1841-1851 by Ian Clark, Toby Heydon