“My great, great grandmother, Louisa Briggs was known as a vocal activist, described in an 1872 edition of the Melbourne Argus as ‘a most resolute lady’. Louisa was often spoken about as being strong-minded, hard working, known for her kindness, her love of children, her humour, fearlessness and courage. In 1876, Louisa led a rebellion against government plans to sell Coranderrk and relocate its residents by writing numerous letters of protest to the Aborigines Protection Board. It is through the sheer strength and resilience of Louisa and the many other of our Matriarchal Ancestors that we are reminded, that women are not the silent partners in history - we all come from strong sovereign women; our Matriarchs defined history and because of them, we will continue to do so. Bargurrk provides us our genetic responsibility to ensure that our murni-gurrk’s (old wise women's) legacy is carried forward for many generations: just as it has been, so may it continue to be."
- Caroline Briggs, Boon Wurrung Custodian & Director, Yalukit Marnang
BAGURRK is a ground-breaking First Nations theatre project that will bring to life the stories of generations of Victorian Koorie women. Today the project received the Victorian Government’s first ever Creative State Commission.
Through the work ILBIJERRI, in partnership Yalukit Marnang, will celebrate the untold stories of Victorian Koorie women from before colonisation to the present day. The work is based on source material including Board of Protection records, the hundreds of letters written by Koorie women in the 1800s and oral histories that will be collected from Koorie women and their families across the state. BAGURRK will pay tribute to the tenacious women who defied great odds to keep their families, community and culture alive.
ILBIJERRI and Yalukit Marnang will work closely with Elders in Residence N'arweet Carolyn Briggs and Uncle Larry Walsh who will act as advisors in every aspect of the work. The project will research and establish innovative consultation protocols and create a blueprint that can be used by other projects in the theatre and broader creative sectors that tell First Nations stories.
First Nations artists and practitioners will lead all stages of the production and a range of attachments and work placements will be available to up-skill our next generation of First Peoples theatre makers.