Two Families: Side by Side
Two Families: Side by Side (film)
Contact Yarra Ranges Regional Museum
A reflection on the relationship between Wurundjeri leader, William Barak, and Swiss winemaking family the de Purys, by their descendants.
-This is the archive from Yeringberg, which dates from 1860s when Yeringberg was formed by the de Pury family. The archive material documents the intimate details of running a farm. So the day-to-day goings on, the comings and goings of the property. And all of a sudden you see this reference to William Barak building a mia mia and going hunting.
-Certainly what we've discovered through looking at the archive is that there was a relationship between the de Pury family and people at Coranderrk, in particular, William Barak.
It starts to come to life when you start to feel that the objects connected with these people, you see the illustrations of Victor de Pury who went on to paint the remarkable portrait of Barak with Arthur Loureiro while he was visiting at Yeringberg.
We've got it documented, the actual painting of that picture in these diaries. And all of a sudden, Loureiro's visiting. You can get it right down to that day of him arriving and sitting with William barrack and Victor de Pury.
-In 1863, you've got Coranderrk, and you've got Yeringberg. You've got Coranderrk with its hops and Yeringberg with its wine. So there's so many similarities between these two this family stories side by side, these two human stories.
It's kind of amazing. I suppose to me, of course they're friends. They're neighbours, they're farmers, they were mates. They respected each other as people regardless of their background.
Which-- well, I always keep saying, in those times, but maybe also right now, that's wonderful.
-I came across the painting that Barak had done one of the de Pury's vineyards. And one of the things that's really struck me about that Barak painting of the vineyard is that a lot of Australian winemakers talk about this French concept called terroir.
And it means that a wine from a specific place tastes of that place because of the soil and the weather and the climate, and how the people grow the grapevines. The interaction of all these things together produce terroir.
But it's a French word, terroir. You know, and I've often said, why can't we come up with an Australian version of it? Because it's a really beautiful concept. I look at that painting of that vineyard. As far as I'm concerned, that painting is all about terroir.
-It was clearly a really strong friendship back in the 1860s right through. And that connection was very close then. The connection sort of had diminished, I think, over the, you know, the past 100 years. But you know, this project has been fascinating to re-make those connections with the local Indigenous community.
-I really believe that Barak knew that we were coming. And even though it's taken a little while, it's been an absolute privilege to be a part of this rejuvenation, whether it's of Coranderrk or of the story.
And I'm just so pleased that I'm able to be part of it. But I still really believe that he would have held on to some hope that perhaps some of his family in the future would reignite this conversation.