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The Film

Delatite Indigenous Reference Group, DIRG received a State Government Local History grant in 2002 in order to:

  • Retrieve and record stories of the interface between settlers and the Indigenous population which will preserve community history for ongoing public awareness.
  • Create portable display units depicting significant Indigenous stories, which will provide an opportunity for participation in community festivals and events.
  • Research and develop material for inclusion in a film and web page.

Fact sheets were produced about the Taungurung people and about Aboriginal scarred trees and stone tools which help to record their way of life.

Download the PDF files


These were published in November 2002, and displayed as part of a collaborative exhibition with the Mansfield Historical Society about the history of Mansfield’s farming and timber industries. This was the first time that an exhibition had featured Indigenous use of the land resources and pre-white settlement information.

A film on DVD and video entitled “Good Country, My Country: Mapping Mansfield’s Indigenous Heritage” was also produced.

Cover of the video & DVD. Cover painting by Karin McMillan.

This film records stories from the descendents of some of Mansfield’s pioneer families recounting the interaction between Indigenous people and first settlers. It also contains an interview with Joy Murphy Wandin, descendent of William Barak. This project has enabled these significant recollections to be recorded for the benefit of current and future generations. The film also features the music of Blackfire from their album Nightvision.

Mansfield was the country of the Yowen-illums, one of the nine clans which made up the Taungurung people. There is little written information about the Yowenillum people, the main source was from the Chief Protector of the Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate, George Augustus Robinson who travelled through the Mansfield district in the 1840’s. This is an extract from his journal Tuesday 12 May, 1840: "…The chief of the Yowengilum[sic] tribe, Bitteruc, a fine good natured old man, 50 [is]called by the whites after the hill, Bayerlite…..
Bayolite [sic] called by the whites Mt Battery from its great resemblance to such a fortress having in appearance breastwork ambraceous and facines, is the country of the Yowenillums. ….This country is the head station of Hunter and Watson and comprises beautiful undulating downs of several miles in extent. Bitteruc assured me it was his country and in his own language said good country, my country…"

Mt Battery

View of Mansfield Valley from Bayolite, or Mt Battery

Bayolite is one of Mansfield’s most distinctive landmarks, an imposing rocky outcrop rising like a fortress above the surrounding landscape. Robinson drew a sketch in his journal which features groups of Aboriginal men, women and children walking at the base of Bayolite. He states in his journal “ … this must have been a favourite resort of the tribes for discussing matters regardingtheir nation."