Framlingham, Victoria

Coordinates 38°14′0″S 142°42′0″E / 38.23333°S 142.70000°E / -38.23333; 142.70000Coordinates: 38°14′0″S 142°42′0″E / 38.23333°S 142.70000°E / -38.23333; 142.70000
Postcode(s) 3265
LGA(s) Shire of Moyne
State electorate(s) Polwarth
Federal Division(s) Wannon

Framlingham was an Aboriginal reserve established by the Board for the Protection of Aborigines in Victoria, Australia in 1861. It was located beside the Hopkins River in the territory of the Girai wurrung near the boundary with the Gunditjmara, not too far from Warrnambool on the south-west coast of the state. The reserve operated until it was closed in 1916, with the aboriginal community continuing to the present.[1]


The Church of England in Warnambool formed the Anglican mission in 1861 which requested establishment of the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve. The reserve was occupied in 1865 by many of the surviving members of the Girai wurrung along with surviving Djargurd Wurrung who were forcibly relocated and Gunditjmara from Warrnambool. Gunditjmara from Portland and Lake Condah refused to settle at Framlingham leading to the establishment of Lake Condah reserve in 1869.[2]

In 1867 the reserve was closed by the Central Board appointed by the Government of Victoria and attempts were made to relocate the residents to Lake Condah Mission but in September 1868 the Girai wurrung won the re-establishment of the reserve. Residents of Warrnambool campaigned from 1877 to 1890 to close the reserve and turn it into an experimental agricultural farm, and in 1894 the reserve was reduced to 222 hectares (2.22 km2) and the majority of the land given to the Council of Agricultural Education. However the agricultural farm pans never eventuated with this land becoming the Framlingham Forest.[1]

In 1916 the Government of Victoria decided to concentrate Victorian aborigines at Lake Tyers Mission in Gippsland. The reserve was closed but some residents were allowed to remain with the community being granted ownership in 1971 of the 237 hectares (2.37 km2) they held at that time.[1]

When Framlingham was established, it was declared to be 3,500 acres (14 km2) in area, although its actual size may have been closer to 4,400 acres (18 km2). As parts of the reserve were sold to private landowners, its size diminished, until only the 586 acres (2.37 km2) remained when it was closed in 1971. Some of this land was also set aside as a State Forest.

In 1957 the Board for the Protection of Aborigines was abolished, and in 1970 the Aboriginal Lands Act 1970 was passed by the Parliament of Victoria. Under the provisions of that act, ownership of Framlingham was handed over to a trust held by Aboriginal residents of the site on 1 July 1971. Along with Lake Tyers, in the eastern Gippsland region of the state, Framlingham was the last reserve to close in Victoria.

In 1976 the Framlingham community began a campaign to regain rights to the Framlingham Forest that had been excised from the original 1861 reserve in 1894. In April 1979 the community blockaded the road to the forest picnic ground. The Victorian Government proposed allowing aboriginal management of the forest in 1980 but it would remain as crown land. The proposal was rejected by the community who resumed the blockade.[1][3][4]

In 1987, the Victorian Labor government under John Cain attempted to grant some of the Framlingham State Forest to the trust as inalienable title, but the legislation was blocked by the Liberal Party opposition in the Legislative Council. However, the federal Labor government under Bob Hawke intervened, passing the Aboriginal Land Act 1987, which gave 1,130 acres (4.6 km2) of the Framlingham forest to the Framlingham trust. Although the title is essentially inalienable, in that it can only be transferred to another Indigenous land trust, the Framlingham trust has no rights to prevent mining on the land, unlike trusts or communities holding native title.

Reg Saunders, famous aboriginal soldier, was born in Framlingham in 1920.

Ash Wednesday

On 16 February 1983, one of the Ash Wednesday fires started here and swept through the district killing nine people, destroying many homes, farm buildings and livestock. The cause was believed to be poorly maintained power lines. [5]

Post Offices

Framlingham Post Office nearby opened on 1 March 1859 and closed in 1975. A Framlingham East Post Office was also open from 1925 until 1945.[6]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Ian D. Clark, pp125-133, Scars on the Landscape. A Register of Massacre sites in Western Victoria 1803-1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1995 ISBN 0-85575-281-5
  2. Ian D. Clark, pp12, Scars on the Landscape. A Register of Massacre sites in Western Victoria 1803-1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1995 ISBN 0-85575-281-5
  3. Kerry Wakefield, pp3, Warrnambool blacks had century of misery: report, The Age, September 2, 1980. Accessed from Google News Archive on September 29, 2009
  4. ABC News archival video, Framlingham Blockade, Koorie Heritage Trust, Accessed September 29, 2009
  5. "About Ash Wednesday". Country Fire Authority Victoria, Australia. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  6. Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 2008-04-11
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