A-   A+  
Wappan Station
Wappan Station - a sanctuary for dispossessed Aborigines

Wappan Station
Wappan (from the Aboriginal word: Wappang) was the head station of the Hunter and Watson run in 1840. John Bon became the manager of Wappan Station and later took over the lease of Wappan in 1845, when the wool industry suffered a temporary decline.




Wappan Station circa 1880 on the banks of the Delatite River, Bonnie Doon


John Bon
John Bon gave sanctuary to many of the Yeerun-illum-balluk Aboriginal people who had survived retaliatory massacres in the 1840s. The leader or ngurungaeta of the Yeerun-illum-balluk as named Baalwick.   He led his people to live at Wappan Station which was over four thousand acres of prime pastoral land on the Delatite River.  In the book by Alexander Sutherland, Victoria and its metropolis: past and present, it states: "At any one time there were over 500 natives camped along he river flats at Wappan".

Many of the Aboriginal men worked as stockmen for John Bon who was said to be a fair and compassionate man. He was one of the few pastoralists who paid his Indigenous workforce and allowed them to continue their traditional lifestyle.

Baalwick remained devoted to John Bon and was buried on the property when he died. Baalwick's son, Birdarak or Thomas Banfield led some of the remaining Taungurung people to Coranderrk, Healesville in the early 1860s. Tommy Banfield became one of the leading figures in the fight for Aboriginal rights at Coranderrk and was on occasion sent away from the station because he was deemed a troublemaker. He returned to die at Coranderrk in 1893.

After John Bon's death, his wife Anne Bon continued to farm the station. She became champion of Aboriginal rights until her death in 1936. The State Rivers and Water Commission compulsorily acquired Wappan Station in the 1920s pending the building of the Sugar Loaf Dam. When the waters did not flood the land, it was resold to the Tehan family in 1934. In 1952 construction was started on Eildon Weir, ten times larger than Sugarloaf. would definitely be flooded and so once again the land was acquired by the Water Commission.

With the imminent flooding of the property in the 1950s, the Tehan family dismantled the Wappan homestead brick by brick and rebuilt the homestead. Wappan Station continues today on part of the original property as a cattle station and farm holiday retreat.Foundations of the original Wappan homestead and cattle yards emerged from the receded waters of Lake Eildon during the drought of 2002.