Lake Condah Mission
Visitor access is currently restricted and managed by Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (GMTOAC).
The Lake Condah Mission site includes bluestone ruins and a reconstructed timber building, as well as the cemetery which were part of the original settlement.
With European settlement in the 1830s came conflict. Gunditjmara people fought for their land during the Eumerella wars, which lasted more than 20 years. As this conflict drew to an end in the 1860s, many Aboriginal people were displaced and the Victorian government began to develop reserves to house them.
Many Aboriginal people refused to move from their ancestral land and eventually the government agreed to build a mission at Lake Condah, close to some of the eel traps and within sight of Budj Bim (Mt Eccles). The mission opened in 1867.
The Mission was formally closed in 1918, and Aboriginal people were forced off the Mission, some moving to Lake Tyers. The Gunditjmara protested against the Mission’s closure and many continued to reside in the buildings until the majority of the reserve land was handed over to the Soldier Settlement Scheme in the 1940s.1
The mission was destroyed by the government in the 1950s in an effort to force the integration of Gunditjmara people with the general community but the Gunditjmara people continued to live in the area and protect their heritage. The mission lands were returned to the Gunditjmara in 1987.
Lake Condah Mission is a place with special meaning to the Gunditjmara community - as a community meeting place, an administrative centre, a symbol of political struggle and a link to family histories. As a result the Gunditjmara community do not want open public access to this site.
Key Features of Interest
- Ruins of stone cottages and plot remains of buildings such as the church
- Reconstructed dormitory building
Future Plans for the Site
- Establish a new Administrative Centre and Keeping Place within the existing building precinct.
- Establish Lake Condah Mission as primarily a Gunditjmara community place which may form a part of an interpretive ‘journey’ (escorted tour only) that takes in a number of key sites.
- Pursue the long term acquisition of privately owned sites where the acquisition would allow significant environmental and landscape rehabilitation, visual and environmental buffering to adjoining roads and farms.