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.

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

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The Wiradjuri Story cont., P.29

William Cox in his memoirs 1901: “The last of all the blacks of the district was Tom Penney and he died about 25 years ago (approx. 1876), so that the present generation has scarcely seen a black in the district. Mudgee Shire Library.
Draft State Heritage Inventory, 1990: “By 1840 apprehensions about dangers from the Aboriginal inhabitants had abated and there was widespread dislocation of Aboriginal culture. At Mudgee blankets and other government supplies were still being handed out to Aborigines in the 1840s and corroborees were still held on the hills around Mudgee in the 1850s, but these were the last signs of an independent Aboriginal presence. NSW Department of Planning.

The Wiradjuri – A Pyrrhic Victory

The Earl of Bathurst puzzled by the lack of information about the Declaration of Martial Law and the events that followed sent a number of despatches on to Governor Brisbane one read in part: “I am commanded by the King to signify to you that his Majesty is pleased to relieve you of the exercise of the Government of New South Wales.” A similar despatch was sent to Major Goulburn, the Colonial Secretary, relieving him of that position. A few days later, Major Morisset, the Commandant at Bathurst was relieved of his post. This was poetic justice for the Wiradjuri. However, the events could not be undone. Nor the truth obliterated although attempts were made to obscure it. The Wiradjuri story is a microcosm of Aboriginal history, in many respects – except that the Wiradjuri were annihilated – their ‘reason to exist’ was taken away from them and despair substituted. They were dispossessed of their tribal hunting grounds, their food, their birthright of ritual and initiation, their harmony with each other and their being at one with the land. Nothing was substituted except continual neglect. The quatrain of Omar Khayyam, with all it’s wisdom, seems to sum up:
The moving finger writes: and, having writ moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line. Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.


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