Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

William Barak

In their own words

William Barak
Audio: 2 minutes

I was 11 year old when Bateman visited Port Phillips. I am born at Brushes Creek – I never forget it. I remember Buckley’s word every time. Captain Cook landed at Western Port. Then Bateman came in. They were looking for country. Looked around the sea and he found a lot of blacks on the other side of Geelong and found Buckley in camp. No trousers, all raggedy. He wore opossum rug and he fetched him home to Bateman’s house. Bateman sent some potatoes from Melbourne to camp of Yarra blacks.

Then the blacks travel to Idelburge. All the blacks camp at Muddy Creek. Next morning, all went down to see Bateman. Old man and women and children and they all went to Bateman’s house for rations, everything ready there, and killed some sheep by Bateman’s orders.

Buckley told the blacks to look at Bateman’s face. He look very white; any man that you see out in the bush not to touch him. When you see empty hut not to touch the bread in it. Make camp outside and wait till man comes home and find everything safe in the house. They are good people. If you kill one white man, white fellow will shoot you down like kangaroo. A lot of white fellows come here by and by and cleared the scrub all over the country.

Captian Lancell just coming in and Mr Focner and Mr Latrobe come from England that time. We heard our minister Mr Lanon. We got a school room in German garden and the school master’s name Mr Smidht. He were singing Hallalooler.

Henry Barkly coming in when Mr Latrobe went home.

All the protectors; Mr Thomas protector belong to Melbourne blacks; Mr Le Seut belong to Loddon tribe; Mr Bright belong to Geelong tribe; Mr Dockfill, Colac tribe. Buckley say bring all stone tomahawks and give them to Mr Bateman. Then stone to go to England all Aboriginals.

Acknowledgements

Barak, William (1882) My Words, transcript of Barak’s reflections dictated at Coranderrk, published 1931 by Mrs Aeneas Gunn in The Argus, Melbourne

Attribution

Voiced by Wurundjeri Elder Colin Hunter Jr

Related people

William Barak

Related information

King Barak, last of the Yarra Tribe, 1899
King Barak, last of the Yarra Tribe, 1899
King Barak, last of the Yarra Tribe, 1899
King Barak, last of the Yarra Tribe, 1899

Barak, respected elder

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2009

Dr Christopher Chapman looks at the life of Wurundjeri elder William Barak through the portrait painted by Victor de Pury in 1899.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency