In February1802 a small group of mostly Scottishfamilies sailed from England on the Coromandel. They had come to London from the Scottish border country, casualties of the movement which enclosed the small, tenant farms where their families had worked over generations.
In 1972 I purchased a copy of Alex Hood’s Boomerang Songster No 1, Australian Folk Songs. It contained songs from Alex’s LP recording The First Hundred Years, which included the song The Exile of Erin. This convict lament, its setting the foot of the Blue Mountains at Emu Plains, had caught my attention when I first heard Alex’s recorded version of it. There had been a penal settlement established at Emu Plains in Governor Macquarie’s term in office. In April 1827 there were over 134 convicts housed there.
In January 1859 both Aboriginal people and missionaries began clearing the Mallee scrub and native cypress from the site of the new mission station at Ebenezer, which meant “the rock of hope”. Situated on the vast, flat Wimmera region of Victoria, this area was one of the last to be settled by Europeans. It also saw its share of violence against the Aboriginal people. Innocent native blood had been spilt on the very site where Ebenezer was located.