November 10th, 2022Protectorate walk
THE Great Dividing Trail Association is offering a one-off opportunity
for the public to walk and explore the 1840s Aboriginal Protectorate
site at Franklinford this Sunday, November 13.
The 6km walk, mainly around the back streets of the Franklinford township
features interpretation of several important historic sites, many associated with the
former Aboriginal Protectorate (1841-1849) and Mount Franklin Aboriginal Station
The confronting history behind some of the sites on this walk were first brought
to light by the late Edgar Morrison in the 1960s and 1970s.
In brief, the Aboriginal Protectorate set up in 1841 centred on present day
Franklinford in southern Dja Dja Wurrung Country, following on from an aborted
attempt at setting it up in 1840 on the Loddon River north of Baringhup.
In an era of truth telling, this local walk on southern Dja Dja Wurrung Country
is very timely.
Hundreds of First Nations people from north of the divide were encouraged to
leave Country and seek the relative safety at the protectorate at a time when squatters
were forcefully and sometimes violently seizing their traditional lands.
The intention was to concentrate, civilise and Christianise people from diverse
nations into four small areas within present-day Victoria, each area just 10 miles
across, in the process relinquishing language, culture and Country.
The protectorate at Franklinford overseen by assistant protector Edward Parker
understandably failed. The system was abandoned in the Port Phillip Colony in 1849
to be replaced by a local guardianship system administered by Parker at the foot of
The people still living on site in the 1860s including children attending the
Aboriginal School, were mostly removed to Coranderrk near Healesville.
Although by the 1870s less than 20 Dja Dja Wurrung people remained, there are
now around 2000 descendants keen for this story to be told.
The walk led by Barry Golding, commencing with a Welcome to Country and
smoking ceremony by Elder Uncle Rick Nelson at 9.30am at the Franklinford
Streamside Reserve on Larnibarramul Yaluk, includes the Protectorate-era
Franklinford Cemetery, Thomas’ Spring, the monument to Edward Parker on the
main town intersection, views over Larnibarramul Lagoon towards Mount Franklin,
and the original main protectorate site, later the site of the Aboriginal School.
There is a $15 cost payable on the day in cash. Registration is essential before
Words: Barry Golding