Wiradjuri Nation: Aaron, Early Settlers, Martial Law, P.2
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.
Aarons Pass; Past & Passing
byMickel Murphy 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
Sources for The Wiradjuri Nation:
http://epress.anu.edu.au/ aborig_history/transgressions/ mobile_devices/ch08s07.html