LBIJERRI Belvoir Coranderrk Trevor Jamieson - photo by James HenryCoranderrk returns re-written and remounted for a national tour presented by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and Belvoir with Regional Arts Victoria. Since April 2017, the production has played to capacity houses across Victoria and returns to Melbourne and Geelong before touring to Canberra, New South Wales, Toowoomba and Darwin.

In the neglected storehouse of Australian history sits this definitive story. 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, self-sustaining farming community they had established on the scrap of country left to them.

Directed by Eva Grace Mullaley, this incarnation of Coranderrk stars one of Australia’s most recognisable faces of theatre, film and TV, Trevor Jamieson (ClevermanThe Secret River, Namatjira, Ngaparti {One}), alongside Matthew Cooper, Ebony McGuire and Jesse Butler.

“One of the decisions we made for this production of Coranderrk was to have an all Indigenous cast,”says ILBIJERRI Artistic Director Rachael Maza. “This is absolutely critical to the concept that this is our story and we’re going to tell it from our perspective. The story of Coranderrk and the incredible capacity of that community to lobby and be politically strategic is an inspiration to all of us today.”

The production, which is inspired by transcripts of the 1881 Inquiry, 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 136 years ago, speaking for themselves, directly to us, as though the question at hand remains unanswered today.

The Coranderrk station was established 154 years ago in 1863 by surviving members of Kulin clans who had been displaced from their lands by the advancement of European colonisation. They settled outside of present-day Healesville, Victoria and established a thriving farming community. As white farmers began to settle in the area they lobbied to have the people of Coranderrk removed from the valuable farming land they were cultivating.

Faced with the prospect of being dispossessed of their land again, the men and women of Coranderrk mounted an unprecedented campaign. They wrote letters to Melbourne’s newspapers, petitions to Ministers, and formed deputations to the Chief Minister by walking into Melbourne, appropriating the power of the written word and white political discourse to demand justice, dignity and self-determination.

A Parliamentary Inquiry was appointed in 1881 to investigate the management of Coranderrk and decide upon the future of the station and its inhabitants. This special production pays tribute to the resilience and adaptability of a people who rose to the challenge despite the odds, appropriating the power of the written word to make their own voices ring loud and clear.

A collaboration between leading artists, researchers, education experts and community members, Coranderrk aims to encourage a shared understanding of the past between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. researchers, education experts and community members, Coranderrk aims to encourage a shared understanding of the past between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

“What ILBIJERRI is able to take from this painful history is a story of resistance and of strength.” – The Age

Director: Eva Grace Mullaley Performers: Trevor Jamieson, Matthew Cooper, Ebony McGuire & Jesse Butler Writers: Andrea James & Giordano Nanni Sound Designer: James Henry Audio Visual Designer: Keith Deverell Original AV Design: Peter Worland Set Designers: Brynna Lowen & Tegan Evans Original Set Design: Ruby Langton-Batty & Ralph Myers Lighting Designer: Tegan Evans Costume Designer: Brynna Lowen Production Manager: Sarah Wong Stage Manager: Brock Brocklesby

Coranderrk will be presented at the following Victorian venues: Altona Theatre: Thursday 18 May; Frankston Arts Centre: Saturday 20 May; Monash University Academy of Performing Arts: Tuesday 23 May; Clocktower Centre, Moonee Ponds: Wednesday 24 May; Footscray Community Arts Centre: 26 – 27 May; Kyneton Town Hall: Tuesday 30 May; and Geelong Performing Arts Centre: 1 – 3 June 2017.

The production will then tour to Canberra (14 – 15 June), selected venues in News South Wales (17 June – 1 July), Toowoomba (5 July) and Darwin (7 July). For more information, visit: for detail.

Image: Trevor Jamieson stars in Coranderrk – photo by James Henry

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences are warned that this production contains images of deceased persons