William Barak

William Barak (c1824 - 15 August 1903), was the last ngurungaeta of the Wurundjeri-willam clan, based around the area of present-day Melbourne, Australia.

His mother, Tooterrie, came from the Nourailum bulluk at Murchison, Victoria. His father, Bebejern, was an important member of the Wurundjeri clan. Originally, his name was Beruk. He was said to have been present when John Batman met with the tribal elders to 'purchase' the Melbourne area.

He attended the government’s Yarra Mission School from 1837 to 1839.

When he joined the Native Mounted Police in 1844, Beruk was given the name of William and Beruk, mispronounced by Australians as Barak, became his surname. He was Police Trooper No.19.

In early 1863, Barak moved to Coranderrk Station, near Healesville, Victoria with about thirty others.

Upon the death of Simon Wonga in 1875, Barak became the Ngurungaeta of the clan. He worked tirelessly for his people and was a successful negotiator on their behalf. He was a highly respected man and leader, with standing amoungst the indigenous people and the European settlers.

Barak is now best remembered for his artworks, which show both traditional indigenous life and encounters with Europeans. Most of Barak's drawings were completed at Coranderrk during the 1880s and 1890s.