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Wiradjuri Nation: Jimmy Governor, P.12

wiradjuri country mystique tree


Mystique Country:

Wiradjuri
Country

1824

Billiwilinga Station, 14 miles north west of Bathurst, past Mt Rankin. An Aboriginal family of about 30 people killed by soldiers offering food.

1824

Bathurst, Bells Falls Gorge, Wattle Flat, north on Macquarie River. The Bells Falls Massacre.
Aboriginal families surrounded and driven off a cliff at the gorge. Those who tried to escape shot. Windradyne officially accepted defeat and was put in solitary confinement. Oral folklore says Windradyne attended a public gathering at Parramatta, where he accepted forgiveness, wearing a straw hat with an olive branch to make peace with the governor, though no treaty was signed.

Jimmy and Joe Governor

Much has been written about Jimmy and Joe Governor.
One version of the story of Jimmy and Joe Governor was told in Thomas Keneally’s book, made into a film, ‘Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith’.  There is also much local folk lore about the two infamous outlaws.
 
The area around Wilpinjong and Wollar was first inhabited by Wiradjuri people, with many camping places and Aboriginal paintings remaining.
The area has a local ‘gilgai’, a waterhole caught in a rock, which would also have been an Aboriginal watering place.
Jimmy Governor traditionally camped at Wilpinjong. He frequented the area with his brother, Joe, and a full blood Aboriginal Jacky Underwood.
 
Jimmy and his brother were part Aboriginal/part white. The three men slaughtered ten people over a three month rampage in the Ulan/Wollar area in 1900, retribution for ill treatment and discrimination. One victim, 70-year-old Kiernan Fitzpatrick, was shot in front of his hut near Wollar.
 
In her book Chimney in the Forest, Belle Roberts tells that Jimmy and Joe Governor killed Alex McKay of Sportsman’s Hollow Creek, near his home just west of Ulan on the Gulgong Road on July 23, 1900. He was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Gulgong Cemetery, his headstone inscription saying: “Brutally murdered on July 23, 1900 at Ulan”.
Belle says the outlaws stole horses, food and ammunition from other nearby properties and headed to the Turill-Durridgere area, intending to kill members of the well known pioneer family, the Nevell family, but did not find them.
They circled back and killed Kierman Fitzpatrick, an Irishman who lived about a mile from Wollar.
Belle says Jimmy Governor was wounded by Bert Byers, from a local pioneer family. Joe Governor was shot by a farmer near Singleton and Jimmy was also captured, bringing their reign of terror to an end.
 
Belle writes that Roy Governor, a brother of the infamous two, visited the Turrill, Ulan, Wollar and Moolarben area in the late 1940s to see his brothers haunts, disturbing the local residents considerably by his presence.

 

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