Early Settlement

Passages to the North West Plains by Michael O'Rourke.
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18



late summer 1832:
No mention of Aborigines.
Breton, 1832:No blackfellows were met with in the upper Mooki Valley; he was told the local communities had left the area temporarily, evidently proceeding to the Namoi for ‘war against the Never-Never blacks’.
Williams, 1833:Mentioned various ‘tribes’ on the Liverpool Plains, including one belonging to the ‘Mocai’.

 [3] The Peel River at Tamworth: 

Oxley crossed about 10 kilometres downstream from the site of Tamworth; no sign of Aborigines. But earlier, from a distance, ‘a great many smokes arising from the fires of the natives’ were seen in the direction of Gunnedah, Carroll and Attunga.
1831:Brown’s ‘Wollomal’ run was formed in early or mid 1831. Clarke and his Boggabri blackfellows stole materiel and cattle from Brown.
Mitchell and White,
in the dry summer
of 1831-32:
No mention of Aborigines other than a few ‘station blacks’. Mitchell’s party crossed to the Peel through the hinterland west of Goonoo Goonoo Creek.
Parry, 1832:A small group near Manilla seemed generally familiar with the ways of the British

[4] Somerton on the Peel, and the Peel-Namoi Junction below Keepit Dam:

Oxley, spring 1818:Smoke at about Somerton or Attunga, observed from a distance.
in a season of
drought, winter 1827:
Voices only. Paths, hatchet-marks and fireplaces, but no Aborigines seen
1830-31:Smallpox. It came up the Namoi from the interior, reaching the Boggabri region of the middle Namoi in October 1830 (see details in Campbell 2002).
January 1831:Clarke guided the squatters Singleton and Yeomans on a trek down the Peel almost as far as its junction with the Namoi.
Mitchell and White,
summer 1831-32:
No sign of blackfellows.
Parry, 1832:No mention of Aborigines.

[5] Upper Namoi River and Manilla:

winter 1827:
Met up with one hearth-group.
late summer 1832:
Several hearth-groups.
1834, Threlkeld:A community of ‘164’ people lived near his son’s holding in the Barraba district.

[6] The Namoi River at Boggabri:

Cunningham 1825:Smoke at several points.
Summer 1827-28:The escaped convict George Clarke arrived in the Boggabri district (Barbers Lagoon).
Summer 1830-31
 [from October
Smallpox swept up the Namoi.
Mitchell and White,
   summer 1831-32:
Found Clarke’s large camp at Barbers Lagoon. No local people were observed, although the countryside was on fire on all sides.
Forbes, during a
flood in the autumn
of 1832:
A small group observed on the Boggabri side opposite Barbers Lagoon.
1832-34:Cattle-men occupied the Boggabri-Narrabri region.

[7] Nandewar Mountains:

Winter 1827:The escapee-convicts’ camp at Courada or Guaramei was probably already in existence. Cunningham found fresh cowpats in Bingara Valley, and a ‘shed’ near Warialda.
Mitchell and White,
in the dry summer
of 1831-32:
Several individual Aborigines were seen and met on and around upper Maules Creek; for the most part, however, it would seem that the blackfellows avoided Mitchell’s large party.
Forbes, 1832:Encountered several individuals and groups while searching in vain for the Courada camp.
Williams, 1833: Met up with a ‘tribe’ in the western foothills.
1834-40:Escaped convicts active among the Aborigines in the Nandewars and the surrounding region.


ADB: Australian Dictionary of Biography. Available online: http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm.
Harry ALLEN 1974: The Bagundji of the Darling basin: cereal gatherers in an uncertain environment, World Archaeology, 5(3), 309-322.
Anna ASH, John Giacon and Amanda Lissarrague, 2003: Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay & Yuwaalayaay dictionary. Alice Springs, NT: IAD Press.
J. F. (John Francis) ATCHISON & Nancy GRAY, 1974: Henry Dangar, surveyor and explorer. Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society
James ATKINSON, 1826: An Account of the Agriculture and Grazing in New South Wales. London. [Reprint Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1975.]
M. AUSTIN 1980: Bayonet and baton [police history], Defence Force Journal [Canberra], vol 20, 50-59.
Peter AUSTIN, Cori Williams and Stephen Würm, 1980: The linguistic situation in north central New South Wales. In B. Rigsby and P. Sutton (eds): Papers in Australian linguistics No. 13: Contributions of Australian linguistics, 167-180. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics
Jim BELSHAW, 1978: Population distribution and the pattern of seasonal movement in northern New South Wales. In I. McBryde (ed.), Records of Times Past, pp.65-81. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
John Bingle, 1873: Past and present records of Newcastle, New South Wales. Newcastle NSW: Bayley, Son and Harwood.
Keith BINNEY, 2005: Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788-1900) and the Serpent's legacy. Neutral Bay NSW: Volcanic Productions
Dean Boyce, 1970: Clarke of the Kindur: Convict, Bushranger, Explorer. Carlton: Melbourne University Press. (On George ‘the Barber’ Clarke, the first white man to live on the Namoi River.)
Christine BRAMBLE, 1981: Relations between Aborigines and White Settlers in Newcastle & the Hunter District, 1804–1841, with Special Reference to the Influence of the Penal Establishment. B.Litt. Thesis, University of New England, Armidale. (Brief references only to the troubles of 1826; some discussion of Lowe’s prosecution. Argues that the number of hardened convicts in the region was a major factor in bad relation wit the Aborigines.)
    Online at www.newcastle.edu.au/service/archives/.../1981-bramble-aborigines.pdf.
Helen BRAYSHAW, 1986: Aborigines of the Hunter Valley: a Study of Colonial Records.  Scone: Scone & District Historical Society. (With a good selection of illustrations from before 1850.)
    Available online at www.newcastle.edu.au/service/.../aboriginalstudies/pdf/brayshaw1987.pdf
W H BRETON, 1834: Excursions in New South Wales, Western Australia and Van Diemens Land, 1830-33. London: Richard Bentley. Reprinted New York, 1970: Johnson. (Among other places, Breton visited the Hunter Valley and Liverpool Plains.) Extract online at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/archives/chrp/1821-1840.html#Breton.
A W BUCKNELL, 1933: Some Aboriginal beliefs and customs (Kamilaroi), Australian Museum Magazine 5 (1), 33-36.
N. G. BUTLIN, 1982: Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: Modelling Aboriginal Depopulation and Resource Competition, 1788-1850. Canberra: Australian National University.
Roy CAMERON and Kathielyn Job, 1993: Around the Black Stumpt: The History of Coolah, Dunedoo, Mendooran Areas. Coolah Shire Council.
J F CAMPBELL, 1922: Discovery and early pastoral settlement of New England, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 8 (5), 225-273.

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