Indigenous Victorians

Lucy Pepper (centre), with her children (clockwise from top left): Gwendoline, Phillip, Alice, Sarah, Lena and Sam. Photographer unknown, Image courtesy of the Watkins family.
Lucy Pepper (centre), with her children (clockwise from top left): Gwendoline, Phillip, Alice, Sarah, Lena and Sam. Photographer unknown, Image courtesy of the Watkins family.

Learn about the stories of Indigenous Victorians from their earliest contact with European settlers to the struggles of one family in the twentieth century and see key documents created by Aboriginal leaders in their quest for control of their own lives.

Discover why the Native Police (Victoria’s first police force) was formed in 1842 and their various duties in Melbourne, the gold fields and regional areas.

Who was William Barak? Why was he petitioning the government?

The Pepper family story demonstrates the rights, rules and regulations that dominated the lives of Indigenous people on mission stations well into the 20th century. The book 'Footprints: The journey of Lucy and Percy Pepper' is available through the Public Record Office of Victoria's website.

See a rare original map of tracks and camping places of Indigenous Victorians in the Western Port region in 1841.

Find out more about the Native Police Corps or access PROV's Koorie Records Unit.