'Coranderrk: We will show the country embodies the authority of the written word with oral history and allows us to reconsider the 19th century Victorian frontier.'
'Deriving from the highly popular verbatim-theatre, professional actors bring to life those who gave evidence before the 1881 Coranderrk Inquiry, rescuing Aboriginal men, women and children from dusty archives and giving them voice. They include the renowned Wurundjeri leader, William Barak.'
'As well as talented farmers, the Kulin were also skilled communicators who engaged in adroit lobbying of government and drew in vocal supporters.'
'By including bios of the witnesses and a contextual history, Nanni and James have captured the drama of their heartfelt petitioning the colonial government, along with their allies — and the Aboriginal Protection Board, and the local pastoralists, who opposed them.' (Source: AIATIS website)
'Coranderrk is about what might have been. In the neglected storehouse of Australian history, this is one of the definitive stories. At a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry in 1881, the men and women of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve went head-to-head with the Aboriginal Protection Board. Their goal was both simple and revolutionary: to be allowed to continue the brilliant experiment in self-determination they had pioneered for themselves on the scrap of country left to them.'
'Coranderrk recreates the Inquiry. This is both great theatre and great history. It revives the voices of all those, black and white, who fought for a better compact between the country’s oldest and newest inhabitants – three dozen of them from 132 years ago, speaking for themselves, directly to us, as though the question at hand remains unanswered today.' (Source: Belvoir website)
Dedicated to the spirit of justice, friendship and collaboration between the Coranderrk families, John Green and Anne Bon.
May their story be known.
Epigraph: We want the board and the inspector, captain Page, to be no longer over us. We want only one man here, and that is Mr John Green, and the station to be under the chief secretary; then we will show the country that the station could self-support itself.
Coranderrk, 26 November 1881
Minutes of evidence, Coranderrk Inquiry, p. 98.