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Aboriginal Melbourne

In 1837, which was within two years of European settlement, Governor Bourke sent troopers from Sydney to establish order in the new township.

Interaction between settlers and Aboriginal people was officially discouraged. Corroborees, which often attracted many white onlookers, were outlawed. Mounted troopers patrolled the edge of town.

When men, women and children from local clans gathered in Melbourne in the spring of 1840 they were rounded up and imprisoned. Fences, laws and guns secured the settlers' new claim on the land.

Basket, shield and possum jaw tool
Basket, shield and possum jaw tool, used to engrave designs.
Source: Museum Victoria

Corroboree on Emerald Hill
magnifyCorroboree on Emerald Hill
© Museum Victoria Australia