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Hunter Valley Indigenous Notes and Links



Indigenous Names & Events - A collection of indigenous information including names, events and customs of tribes in the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast districts of New South Wales.



Hunter Valley Place Names - Notes on the origins and locations of Hunter Valley place names including many aboriginal place names.


1795 - Charles Grimes Account of the Natives of Port Stephens from An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales.


1796 - David Collins records in his narrative An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales that in June 1796 a group in a fishing boat returned from a bay near Port Stephens and brought with them several large pieces of coal which they found some little distance from the beach, lying in considerable quantity on the surface of the ground. Collins remarked that the fishermen had conducted themselves improperly while on shore, two of them were severely wounded by the natives, one of whom died soon after he reached the hospital. (p.328)


1808 - Murder at the Hunter


1818 - A Description of Newcastle Aboriginal people by traveller W.B. Cramp written in 1818



1819 - John Howe's Expedition



1821 - John Bingle's excursion to Lake Macquarie



1825 - An account of  Missionary Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld's first few months in Newcastle in 1825 in which he provides descriptions of the native tribe and their customs


1826 - Robert Dawson's Arrival in Australia & Travels North from Port Stephens 1826


1831 - Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's description of the remnants of the aboriginal tribe of Brisbane Water in 1831.


1839 - United States Exploring Expedition to Lake Macquarie in 1839 with mention of indigenous guides.


Biraban and John Mander Gill



Reminiscences of Aboriginal Customs Hunter and Paterson Rivers




Barbarisms - From The Australian Language as spoken by the Awabakal people of Lake Macquarie - Rev. Lancelot Threlkeld.........

Certain Barbarisms have crept into use introduced by sailors, stockmen and others who have paid no attention to the aboriginal tongue, in the use of which both blacks and whites labour under the mistaken idea that each one is conversing in the other's language. The following list contains the most common:

Barbarism Meaning Aboriginal
Boojery good murrorong
Bail no keawai
Bogy to bathe nurongkilliko
Bimble Earth Purrai
Boomiring a weapon turrama
Budgel sickness munni
Cudgel tobacco kuttul (smoke)
Gammon falsehood nakoiyaye
Gibber a stone tunung
Gummy a spear warre
Goonyer hut kokere
Hillimung a shield koreil
Jin a wif porikunbai
Jerrund fear kinta
Kangaroo an animal karai
Carbon large Kanwul
Mije little mitti; warea
Mogo axe baibai
Murry many muraiai
Pickaninney child wounai
Piyaller to speak wiyelliko
Tuggererrer cold takara
Wikky bread kunto
Waddy a cudgel Kotirra
Wommerrer a weapon yakirri







TOM DILLON - BURIED IN SANDGATE CEMETERY


Old Tom died in 1923
..........


Perpetuating Hunter River Identity's Memory
A link with the past was broken when Tom Dillon died at Newcastle hospital recently at the age of 90 years 'Old Tom' was a well-known figure in Newcastle, and had many friends, who not only respected the flne old man, but had learned to love him. He was born on the Hawkesbury River, but early in his life was taken 'up country' by one of the pastorallsts of the upper Hunter.

There he was taught station work, and became an expert in handling blood stock. As a trusty farm hand his career in the Hunter valley is well-known. In his declining years he entered the mission station at Karuah, where he received every care and attention, and always had a hut to himself. It was only when he reached eighty and was unable to do any further work, that he could be persuaded to leave farm life.

This flne old native had many friends, who attended to his wants during the twilight of his life, and to many he proved an entertaining companion especially on the days of Governor Gipps, of which time he had a vivid recollection, and being an intelligent man was able to tell many stories of the early life in Australia. When 'Old Tom' died an effort was made to have him buried in one of the cemeteries accessible to the Hawksbury. But there was no public fund available which could spare a few pounds to mark the last resting place of the final representative of that great tribe of people, with whom Governor Phillip and his successors were so closely in touch for over 70 years. However, official callousness has conferred an historic favor on Newcastle, for Tom's grave in Sandgate cemetery is being marked in such a substantial manner as will perpetuate his memory - The Newcastle Sun 4 August 1923



HARRY BROWN ACCOMPANIED LUDWIG LEICHHARDT ON HIS EXPEDITION

Harry Brown of the Lake Macquarie tribe


Harry Brown of the Lake Macquarie tribe accompanied Ludwig Leichhardt on his 1844 expedition

In July, 1844, Leichhardt was back in Sydney, and on August 13, 1844, left for Brisbane in the Sovereign steamer. He took James Calvert, John Roper, John Murphy (a boy of 16), a ticket of-leave man named Bill Phillips, and Harry Browne, a Newcastle aboriginal. On the Downs he added Pemberton Hodgson,- Charles Gilbert (a collector for Gould), Caleb (an American negro), and Charley (a Bathurst aboriginal), but Caleb and Hodgson returned to the Downs after the first month, leaving Leichhardt with five white men and two aboriginals, a small party to face that long journey through wild, unknown country to Port Essington. His provisions included 12001b. of flour, 2001b. of sugar,801b. of tea, and 201b. of gelatine. They had 301b. of powder, eight bags of shot, chiefly 4 and 6, seven muzzle loading guns, four pistols, and two cutlasses. His instruments included sextant, chronometer, Katers compass, artificial horizon, and small thermometer. Thus that small party journeyed on across creeks and rivers, through thick Brigalow scrubs, over rough ranges, through country where game and fish were abundant, the aboriginals either friendly or keeping out of sight, eating goannas, opossums, flying foxes, eels, fish, carpet snakes, mussels, and any bird or animal that could be cooked and eaten. Flying foxes were a favourite dish, and are excellent if roasted on red coals. The long-continued safety from the blacks led to a suicidal want of common precautions, especially at night, and on the night of June 28, 1845, the party camped beside a small lagoon on a box-tree flat on the present Nassau River, in latitude 15.55. Though surrounded by hostile and dangerous blacks, they camped in tents far apart, PhiUip3 actually on the opposite side of the lagoon, and there was nobody on watch. The blacks made a night attack, with a shower of woomera spears and a chorus of fearful yells. The party were all asleep, and even the fires burning brightly to reveal their position. The stupidity of it all seems incredible. Even the guns were not capped. Calvert and Roper received several spears, and were severely bruised by blows from the woomeras. A spear was driven into Gilbert s left lung, and he walked over to where Charley and Leichhardt were standing by the fire, gave his gun to Charley, saying, The blacks have killed me, drew the spear, and died at once. Drawing the spear was the very act he should not have done. How all the others escaped death on that unfortunate night passes all comprehension. Just 38 years afterwards I stood by that lagoon and heard the story from blacks who were among those who speared Gilbert. They told me that Leichhardts two blacks had improperly interfered with two aboriginal women a couple of days before, and the men were seeking revenge. Roper told me the same story in one of several letters I received from him when he was stock inspector at Merriwa, in New South Wales. The blacks told me that two of their people were killed and three wounded, and that when Leichhardts party went away, they dug up the body of Gilbert and cooked and ate it. So Gilberts grave, like that of Leichhardt, is lost for ever to the knowledge of mankind - The Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advocate 12 August 1922




EXTERNAL LINKS


An Australian Language as spoken by the Awabakal, the people of Awaba, Lake Macquarie, being an account of their language, traditions and customs - Lancelot Threlkeld


Rev. Threlkeld's Report on the Aborigines in 1836 - Sydney Gazette 16 July 1836


Notes on the Aborigines of New South Wales - R.H. Matthews


Hunter Valley Aboriginal Arts and Culture -  Wollombi


Heritage listing for NSW Aboriginal cave - Australian Geographic


Weaving program connects students with Indigenous culture in Hunter Valley schools - ABC News 2017


Mixed-race unions and Indigenous demography in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, 1788-1850  - Greg Blyton and John Ramsland


Koori History - Traditional Aboriginal Clothing - The oldest known cloak is the Hunter Valley cloak, which forms part of the collections held at the Smithsonian Institute, in Washington D.C. The cloak was collected in 1839-1840, is made of both possum and kangaroo skin and measures 146 by 125cm.


Australian Dress Register - Aboriginal cloak


New England's History Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England Hunter Valley Aboriginal Groups


Aborigines of the Hunter Valley - A Study of Colonial Records - Helen Brayshaw - University of Newcastle


The Percy Haslem Collection - University of Necastle


Deep Time Project - University of Newcastle


Aboriginal History of the Paterson district



Scraps of Early History - The Blacks - Vocabularly of the Williams River Aborigines - Dungog Chronicle 12 January 1906

P.P. King's Report re the employment of natives by the A.A. Company 1841


24 November 1830.......   Death of Boongarie (Bungaree), chief of the Broken Bay and Sydney tribes. Interred at Rose Bay on Friday 26th November 1830.

A portrait painted in 1819 by naval officer Phillip Parker King, son of Governor Philip Gidley King P P King: Album of sketches and engravings. f48. PXC 767. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.)