Norman McVicker OAM
Norman McVicker

The Wiradjuri Story: Aborigines of Henry Lawson Country by Mudgee’s Local Historian and Writer, Norman McVicker OAM written in 1991. The story is relevant only up to that time as many changes have taken place since.

About Norman McVicker

Norman McVicker OAM, Launched this site on the 20th February 2009

The Wiradjuri Story cont., P.21

Windradyne—The Warrior

Windradyne, according to written records and diaries of the first settlers, was a handsome, powerfully built man with broad shoulders and strong muscular arms and legs. He was a great hunter. A great warrior. He was reputed to know every feature of Wiradjuri territory which had, according to tribal legend, spiritual meanings for his people. The Wiradjuri people believed their souls lived in the trees, rocks and waterholes after they died, waiting to be reborn in a new child. This accounts for them always believing they were at one with the land, which owned them as much as they owned it. They were taught, from the Dreamtime, that they were only caretakers of the land they called their tribal territory.

Family Groups

There were many family groups living together as a band. The members of a band were all related and hunted and fished together in their recognized hunting grounds, according to family groups. Family groups were related to other family groups by a sign or totem. People of the same sign were regarded as brothers and sisters. Wars of conquest between groups were unknown as each group was content to stay within the confines of its tribal territory. The Wiradjuri were a happy and peaceful people based on co-operation and conservation. On special occasions they would gather, perhaps on the banks of the Cudgegong River, to hold corroborees and other ceremonies.

The Coming of the White Man

The idyllic conditions of the Wiradjuri people and their tribal leader, Windradyne, were soon to change. To understand the change it is necessary to understand English law. In 1788 when Governor Phillip established the convict colony at Sydney Cove his instructions were: “You are to endeavour by every possible means to open an intercourse with the natives, and to conciliate their affections, enjoining all our subjects to live in amity and kindness with them.” English law distinguished between conquered and settled colonies. The convict settlement under Governor Phillip was regarded as a ‘settled colony’.


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