It’s a story that was hidden for too long.
Coranderrk was a reserve outside present-day Healesville, established in 1863 by dispossessed Kulan clans in what had become the colony of Victoria.
At a Victorian parliamentary inquiry in 1881, the men and women of Coranderrk took on the Aboriginal Protection Board to keep their land.
Their story is told in Coranderrk, a play by Ilbijerri Theatre Co-operative and Belvoir that is touring Australia.
The all-Indigenous cast was rehearsing in Footscray last week ahead of performances at Altona Theatre on May 18 and Footscray Community Arts Centre on May 26 and 27.
Trevor Jamieson in the lead role, alongside Matthew Cooper, Ebony McGuire and Jesse Butler, said the play told the story of the first Aboriginal land rights activists.
“They were the leading people, under William Barak … to see if they could get justice,” Jamieson said.
“To this day – when you think about the Tent Embassy in Canberra or all those other different cities, and Aboriginal affairs – these guys back then were the first guys to put this out there.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences are advised the play contains images of deceased people.