Healesville Sanctuary remembered Aboriginal leader William Barak today, with Wurundjeri Elders, Murrindindi and Auntie Joy unveiling a commemorative life-size bronze sculpture and opening Wurundjeri Walk to mark the 110th annviersary of Barak's passing.
The bronze sculpture, named Between Two Worlds, depicts a man caught between two worlds, but able to bridge both, as an ambassador and protector or Wurundjeri traditions and culture.
Barak was a highly respected Aboriginal leader at Coranderrk station, established as an Aboriginal refuge from 1863 until its closure in 1923.
“Barak had a kind and gentle heart, I believe, thats what’s been passed down to me. He was a man of integrity, he was a man who would stand up for his people... and what he spoke, he spoke with respect” Barak's descendent Murrindindi said.
Auntie Joy Wandin Murphy described Barak as "proud, brave and strong. He was a strong link between the old and the new in ways of community, in ways or traditional life, in ways of contemporary life. Barak was a bridge between two worlds; he was a man of strength and stamina.”
“In the 1880’s Barak was the most famous Aboriginal person in Victoria and was noted by white society as a living treasure.”
Visitors will be able to celebrate Healesville Sanctuary’s connection to Coranderrk through a new Aboriginal cultural experience that takes them on a journey down Wurundjeri Walk from the Barak sculpture, to a Dreaming Place that will be used to storytelling, then onto a 250 year old canoe tree. From there, visitors continue along the pathway where the story of Coranderrk Station, a significant Wurundjeri spiritual heartland unfolds.