Over the 25 year neo-colonial period from 1850 to 1875, one Aboriginal figure, Simon Wonga, stood head and shoulders above all others, yet he is hardly known. Wonga’s vision for the Kulin people within the new world confronting them was to establish a viable economic base as farmers, whilst still retaining their cultural roots. Against enormous odds and skulduggery, Wonga achieved the establishment of Coranderrk Aboriginal Station at Healesville in 1863. Coranderrk went on to become economically and socially the most successful mission in Australia. The article maps Wonga's life journey and shows how William Barak continued Wonga's legacy after succeeding him as paramount Kulin leader in 1875.
The sections in the article are:
- Simon Wonga, a man of destiny.
- Wonga's baptism of fire.
- Warrandyte‘s first festival in 1852.
- The original Aussie Rules.
- Three experiences of Burke and Wills.
- Let’s celebrate Wonga Day on 24th May.
- How Barak got his act together.