By March 29th, 2018

The Nandergoroke Room at the Ian Wark Laboratories is named in her honour.

Early life

The Nandergoroke Room at the CSIRO Clayton site was so named during NAIDOC celebrations at that site in November 2015. Nandergoroke, a Bunurong woman was born in 1811 and died in 1882. She married the Bunurong head clansman, Derrimut. They had one child and she was pregnant with their second when she was taken by sealers at Point Nepean beach in 1833 near a sacred women’s birthing place. There were six taken that day, including two sisters; one later escaped. Nandergoroke was named Elizabeth Maynard by the man that held her captive, the sealer Henry Richard Maynard. They later had a daughter, Sarah Maynard. No- one knows what happened to Nandergoroke’s first child, Gin-Dock or her unborn baby at the time of her capture.

Nandergoroke and Derrimut both yearned for each other for a very long time. It is well documented that Derrrimut attempted to make deals with powerful European people to get his wife back to him. She had no way to return to him; a slave trapped on an island. She is buried on Cape Barren Island in Bass Strait. Derrimut was once documented by William Hull Esq. as saying:

‘You see Mr Hull, Bank of Victoria, all this mine, all along here Derrimut’s once, now I have nothing to live for, no gin, no lubras, nothing; no matter now, me soon tumble down and die very soon now’.

He was begging for money in the city opposite the old Bank of Victoria that stood on the corner of Market St and Flinders Lane. He died not long after in 1864 and is buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery. The Melbourne suburb of Derrimut is named after Derrimut.

The descendants of Nandergoroke have maintained intact oral histories of Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Maynard. Senior elders of the Bunurong Community and direct descendants of Nandergoroke, Aunty Dyan Summers and Mr Dan Turnbull, were present at the naming celebration for the room where a plaque describing this history and a commissioned work of a local artist were put on display.


Prepared by Greg Simpson and Katherine Locock based on information provided by Aunty Dyan Summers and Mr Dan Turnbull.