Attendance record for students attending Merri Creek School, 1846.
Public Record Office Victoria, VPRS 4410/P 0, unit 3, item 89Contributors
One of the earliest Aboriginal schools in Victoria was established in 1846 near the Yarra Aboriginal Protectorate Station, on land between the Merri Creek and the Yarra River. This early Aboriginal school was supported by the local tribe, the Wurundjeri. Clan leader Billibellary sent his children to the school and encouraged others to do the same.
In a five-room house, boys studied spelling, grammar, arithmetic and carpentry; girls learnt needlework, cooking and other domestic skills. Pupils also grew vegetables and, in an entrepreneurial spirit, constructed a bridge over the creek and collected a toll!
After Billibellary’s death in 1846, student numbers dwindled and the school closed in 1851.