To help this site grow,

Advertise in this space!

Email Now!

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people are advised that this site may contain photos and information of people who are deceased.  

Would you like to sponsor this Wiradjuri Nation history to grow it more?  

Contact Us Now!

Wiradjuri Nation: Aaron, Early Settlers, Martial Law, P.2

wiradjuri painting cave

across the Turon River to the bold granite hill now known as Aaron’s Pass—but Aaron refused to pass this spot - the new land belonging to another tribe. Sadly, Aaron was killed by Aboriginals at the long-water hole at Dabee, near Rylstone at a later date. But at this time, Aaron pointed Blackman in the general direction, and Blackman went on to explore the Cudgegong River region. Blackman followed the Cudgegong River for about 20 miles (42 km) and came to the Burrundulla Swamps, but did not reach the Aboriginal camp at Mudgee, as Lawson did later that year, claiming the discovery of Mudgee for himself.
In 1822 Blackman and Lawson traced a route from Wallerawang to Dabee, near Rylstone. Later that year, Lawson returned to Bathurst and persuaded George and Henry Cox of Mulgoa in Sydney to settle the land with him. They agreed between them that Cox would have the land south of the Cudgegong River and Lawson the land north of the river. The first settlement of Mudgee was at ‘The Camping Tree’ on Menah. The tree still sits beside the river on the Wilbertree Road (see map, P.3).
Although at first relationships between the white and black people were amicable, soon the early settlers battled with the local Wiradjuri tribes over pastoral grazing land, the settlers wanting the prime land along the Cudgegong River, which was the Wiradjuri home. As settlement escalated in the 1820s, kangaroos and possums, major food sources for the Aboriginal people were slaughtered by the white people and sacred sites were desecrated. There were many massacres in the Mudgee district, most stories of them passed down by local folklore rather than official records. Some of them are listed in the section on massacres following.



Aarons Pass; Past & Passing

by Mickel Murphy Cowie (C) Michael Cowie

Aarons Pass so named by James Blackman circa 1820 to acknowledge his native guide’s help in marking the trail from Bathurst to the Cudgegong River Valley. Soon after Lieutenant W M Lawson’s diary records “they crossed the Turon River, went North East to Crudene (sic) to a long granite hill where “the guide Aring or Aaron” after pointing out the direction of the country they were seeking, resolutely refused to move any further, as he feared the hostility of the tribe beyond his own saying: “Baal that not my country, there is where you are seeking, me go no further” and no inducement could alter his resolve.”

But it seems Aaron soon overcame his fears, perhaps assuaged by the white settlers protection for Lawson journal entry for 26 November circa 1821 records that Ering the black native led him “S.E. by S. through a fine grazing country to Troben called Davy” (Dabee or The Dabee Plains).

Aaron’s collaboration with the white settlers was also acknowledged in August 1822, W M Lawson, then Commandant at Bathurst requested brass plates for five of the local aboriginal chiefs, including Aaron “Chief of the Tabellbucco Tribe”.

Soon after W M Lawson was exploring the Goulburn River his journal entry on the 30th November 1822 says he enquired of his native guide “Ering” (Aaron) regarding the mouth of the river and the native replied “where the white man sits down”. Identifying Newcastle as the confluence and confirming the Goulburn as a tributary of the Hunter River.

In September 1823 Thomas Hawkins, was the acting coroner investigating the brutal murder of Peter Bray an assigned servant of William Lee at Bathurst Plains. Hawkins reported to the Judge Advocate “Earing, (Aaron) a black Chief of the Tabellbucoo Tribe states that he went to the hut in company with the Jurors and saw the tracks of the natives”…”the Jury are of the opinion from the statements of Earing, that the deed was perpetrated by the four Black Natives known by the names of Jackey, Taylor, Charley and Cougo-gal.” There is no evidence of any investigation into the events that precipitated the murder of Peter Bray or the motive of the four natives that Earing identified as the perpetrators.

In his History of Mudgee circa 1910, GHF Cox tells of Aaron’s aid to the Cox family “the faithful native guide Aaron having so frequently mentioned Dabee, in high terms” the Cox’s investigated and selected the property later known as “Rawdon…for many years it was used as a breeding station”. And then adds “Aaron, who was killed in a tribal warfare between the blacks at the long-water hole at Dabee”.

Rumours of Aaron’s death moved a correspondent identified as “Candid” to write to the Editor of The Sydney Gazette on Thursday 12 August 1824; “Do not the despatches, that arrived at Head-quarters (Parramatta) in the beginning of this month affirm, that in an affair that took place at or near Mudjee (sic) five blacks were killed? Is old Aaron dead or alive? If dead in what way did he die?”  A press clippings from the Cox family papers says “immense number of the native men women and children were slaughtered at Mudgee….And amongst them poor old Aaron, he was shot in the long reach of water at Dabee.” Thus Aaron’s forebodings were realised, murdered in alien tribal country probably by associates of the white men he led to the Cudgegong Valley and Dabee Plains 

The pioneer Blackman; Lawson; Cox and Lee families lost a willing guide and servant commemorated at Aaron’s Pass. But I suspect the Aboriginal tribes of the Cudgegong, Capertee and Goulburn River Valleys had mixed feelings about Aaron, the Wiradjuri Tribal Chief who eagerly led the white dispossessors to their tribal country.

Mickel Murphy Cowie



Previous |  Content |  Next

Sources for The Wiradjuri Nation: aborig_history/transgressions/ mobile_devices/ch08s07.html winbourne%20indigenous%20(2).doc Bushrangers/governor.htm
Article by Andrew Stackpool.
The Wiradjuri Story: Aborigines of Henry Lawson Country
Mudgee’s Local Historian and Writer
Norman McVicker OAM

Chimney in the Forest
Belle Roberts
George Cox of Mulgoa and Mudgee: Letters to his sons 1846 – 49.