Ebenezer Mission is located on Wergaia/Wotjobaluk country, specifically near the Wimmera River.

To learn more about Aboriginal stations check out our history timeline entry Creation of reserve system.



Ebenezer mission was established in 1859 by Moravian Missionaries, Reverend Friedrich Hagenauer (who later established Ramahyuck Mission) and Reverend F.W. Spieseke. It was also known as Lake Hindmarsh Aboriginal Reserve, Wimmera mission, Hindmarsh mission and Dimboola mission.

Like many other missions at the time, the goal of the missionaries was to ‘civilise’ our people by stripping them of their traditions and culture and encouraging them towards Christianity. At Ebenezer, the residents would attend church for 3 separate services every Sunday. Two of these services were for prayer, the third was for singing and the women and girls were expected to attend Sunday school alongside these services. At its peak, Ebenezer was home to over 100 residents and had more than 20 buildings

The children lived in dormitories away from their parents, usually attached to the mission managers home or the schoolhouse. Discipline was the responsibility of the manager no matter what the parents wanted.

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Moravian Mission, Dimboola Feb 19, 1885. Image source: State Library Victoria.



Ebenezer Mission closed as a result of the 1886 Aborigines Protection Act that stated all those that were considered to be ‘half-caste’ were removed from the missions and reserves. After the implementation of this act, numbers at Ebenezer continued to drastically decline as residents were removed and by 1892 there were only 30 people left. You can read more about the protection legislation in our history timeline entry "Protection" legislation introduced in Victoria.

Ebenezer operated for almost 50 years before it was officially shut down in 1904, those who remained were relocated to other missions and reserves.

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Moravian Church, Dimboola, Feb 19, 1885. Image source: State Library Victoria.



After Ebenezer closed, the land was handed back to the Victorian Lands Department. In 1971 the National Trust was given ownership of a section of the estate that contains several 19th century Mission buildings, being the kitchen, dormitory and toilet block, and footings of the Mission House. Then, in 1980, another part of the former Mission area, containing the church and cemetery was reserved for "Conservation of an Area of Historical Interest".

This site was managed by the National Trust until 1991 when it was sold as freehold land to the Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative. In 2013, the remaining land managed by the National Trust was handed over to the Traditional Custodians, the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.

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Ebenezer Mission Station. Image source: State Library Victoria.



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