A Brief History

From the 1903 edition of the Australian Handbook
- Image credit: victorianplaces.com.au

An overview of the Wandin area and the Sebire family.

Mont De Lancey is located in Wandin (originally know as Wandin Yalloak).

Wandin is a rural town 42 km east of Melbourne, and its name was first recorded in the Parish of Wandin Yallock, which was surveyed between 1866-68. Wandin and Yallock are thought to be Aboriginal words for ‘running water’ or ‘running stream’, in reference to the creek that runs through it.

The Wurundjeri people are of the Woiwurrung language group, of the Kulin nation. They are the Traditional Owners of the Birrarung (Yarra River) Valley, and were called ‘the Yarra tribe’ by European colonists.

Map, H J Green, Acting Govt. Printer, Wandin Yallock, County of Evelyn (Parish Plan), c. 1910 - 1920
- Image credit: victoriancollections.net.au

Illuminated address presented by William Barak and 15 Coranderrk residents to Graham Berry - 1886
- Image credit: National Museum of Australia

European settlement and dispossession of the Wurundjeri lands resulted in Aboriginal people being killed and displaced. In the 1860s, the colonial government of Victoria created five missions and reserves for Aboriginal people, including Coranderrk in Healesville. It was located on the Yarra River flats and covered 2,300 acres and in 1863, the surviving members of the Wurundjeri tribe were forcibly resettled there.

Meanwhile, the Land Act of 1869 enabled European settlers to purchase or lease small holdings in the area, which provided perfect growing conditions for farming owing to the rich soil and regular rainfall. Fruit and vegetables were grown extensively in Wandin, and raspberries flourished, to the point that a jam factory opened in the 1870s, and pulp was exported interstate and overseas.

Following in the footsteps of his Wurundjeri elders, Simon Wonga and William Barak, Robert Wandin (also known as Wandoon) fought to make a better life for his people.

Robert was the son of William Barak's sister, Annie Borate. He was born in the Upper Yarra and was reported to have been rescued from drowning in the Wandin Yallock Creek by settler Robert Brierty and spent some time with the Brierty family. However, by 1863, at about the age of 7, he was living at the newly established Coranderrk Reserve, having come there with Scottish lay preacher (and first Superintendent) John Green and his wife. Robert was well cared for by the Greens, stating later in life that John Green 'took me when I was a baby, and looked after me as if I was one of his own sons.'

The Sebire family were one of the early families to arrive in Wandin. Originally French, they were forced to flee to Guernsey in the 1600s, persecuted for their Protestant religious beliefs. In 1849, Henry Sebire sailed from Guernsey to England. Records show that on 2 October, he boarded the barque ‘Maitland’ in Plymouth and set sail to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 9 January 1850. At that time, Melbourne was still part of NSW. Five passengers had died of cholera before the ship even left England and another eight died during the three-month voyage.

Given a license to occupy land, Henry was originally granted 80 acres and set about clearing it to build his family a home. He named the property Mont De Lancey after the area in Guernsey they came from. They learnt to farm the land, planting raspberries, and making jam that was sent overseas.

The rest, as they say, is history and it’s here waiting for you to discover it all in person, and we look forward to sharing it with you, when you visit Mont De Lancey.

Visit the Timeline page, the Museum page or book a tour to learn more about Mont De Lancey

A Little Piece of Australian History

Come and learn about pioneer life in the Yarra Valley.