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Kinnear, Robert (1851–1935)

from Argus (Melbourne)

Robert Kinnear, by Percy Leason, 1934

Robert Kinnear, by Percy Leason, 1934

State Library of Victoria, H86.82/​8

Last of the full-blooded aborigines of the Ebenezer station, the now defunct Moravian mission at Antwerp, on the Wimmera, Robert Kinnear, has died at Antwerp, aged 84 years. He was a noted athlete in his youth, and in 1883 he won the Stawell Gift off 14 yards in 12½ seconds. He was a member of the Yarra Yarra tribe, of the Charlton-Avoca district.

Kinnear was born near Stawell in 1851, but because his father, Mapooundum, threatened to kill him he was taken away from his parents and lived with the tribe. In 1880 he married Sarah Smith, a half-blood, of the Wamba Wamba tribe, of the Swan Hill district. He lived at the Ebenezer mission, which was founded by the late Mr. Horatio Ellerman by permission of Governor La Trobe. Although it was more than 50 years since he left the tribe, Kinnear retained the tribal dialect. For the last year of his life he was blind. He leaves a widow and three sons.

Kinnear's death removes another from a rapidly diminishing race. A century ago, it is estimated, there were between 6,000 and 7,000 aborigines in Victoria. There are now only 45. Recently Percy Leason, the artist, visited Kinnear in his hut and painted a portrait.

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Citation details

'Kinnear, Robert (1851–1935)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/kinnear-robert-15991/text27252, accessed 23 May 2017.

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