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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Badger Weir park in Spring

The Badger Weir Park is 65 km east of Melbourne, near the town of Healesville, in the Melbourne Water catchment area. Walking tracks lead from the picnic ground to the Weir, passing through superb sub-tropical rain forest and tree ferns.

The Lyrebird Track has been reconstructed and passes along the creek.

The area is a habitat for lyrebirds.

The picnic ground is excellent, with innumerable rosellas and cockatoos!

I visited the Park on October 25, 2008, on a 3 km spring-time hike which took me along the Coranderrk, Lyrebird and Slip Creek Tracks.

"Coranderrk" refers to the the site of the early Aboriginal Reserve, and the name survives in the "Coranderrk Aqueduct", the "Coranderrk Weir", the "Corandeerk Bushland", the "Coranderrk Cemetery", the "Coranderrk Homstead" and the "Corandeerk Walking Track".

Coranderrk was established in 1863 as part of the ‘protectorate’ for original Aboriginal inhabitants. But increasing pressure came from neighbouring farmers wanting the fertile land. From 1886, the government sought to integrate ‘half-castes’ into white society.

Activist William Barak and others sent a petition on behalf of the Aboriginal people of Coranderrk to the Victorian Government in 1886.

Regardless of the residents’ protests, Coranderrk was scaled back. It continued as an Aboriginal reserve until 1924, when the remaining community was relocated to Lake Tyers in Gippsland. Healesville Sanctuary now occupies part of the original Coranderrk reserve.

The large remaining part of the original Reserve is gazetted as Public Land, but, amazingly, public access is prohibited. A high steel fence surrrounds it, with "entry prohibited" signs prominent.

The original Coranderrk Homestead survives, on private property, off Barak Lane, to the west of the Koo Wee Rup Rd. At the end of Barak Lane is the Coranderrk Cemetery, open to the public. The private land nearby is known as "Barak Park", near the commercial "Big Bouquet".

See the full set of Photos of my trip, which include some historical images of the early 1900s.

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