Our History

The name “Wollangarra” is a combination of two indigenous words, ‘Wollanbin’, meaning high country, and ‘Kollangarra’, meaning young people. The homestead is built on Gunaikurnai land, specifically that of the Brayakaulung clan, and Wollangarra would like to acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and pay our respect to all elders past, present and emerging.

When the council first met at Wollangarra in December 1989, it was merely a block of land covered in blackberry bushes. In the year leading up to December 2nd 1990, Wollangarra’s official opening day, thousands of volunteers put in countless hours of tireless work to create the homestead, built in the old pioneer style, to be used as the base for Wollangarra’s programs. Today, Wollangarra is a thriving outdoor education centre backed by a strong community of people from all walks of life. Though small changes are constantly being made to meet the demands of the organisation, Wollangarra is largely the same physically as it was upon opening. 

All building materials used in the construction of Wollangarra were dragged through the river or hauled across the flying fox by an army of young people and volunteers. These materials included:

  • 1476 sleepers
  • 400 bags of cement 
  • 1200 sheets of corrugated iron 
  • 5.5km of floorboards
  • 1.8km weatherboards
  • 36 window frames
  • 450 panes of glass
  • 30 gallons of paint 

If you’d like to find out more about the history of Wollangarra, Ian Stapleton’s book “Secondhand & solid” goes into great depths about the plans, challenges and rewards of its creation. If you’d like to purchase a copy, please enquiry by calling the homestead on 5148 0492.


Ian Stapleton
Ian Stapleton