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Wiradjuri Nation: Windradine, A Dying Race, P.3

aMartial Law was declared by the Governor  from August 14 to December 11, 1824 by His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane, Knight, Commander of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, Captain-General in and over His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales, and any Wiradjuri person could be shot without impunity. Armed settlers patrolled the countryside, murdering the Aboriginal people on sight. The Aboriginal people fought back for their land, many massacres of the white people being in retaliation for the war crimes against them.

wiradjuri baby feet cave bylong

The leader of the then Wiradjuri Nation, Windradyne, known to white people as ‘Saturday’, led his people in the resistance against the invasion. In December 1824 Windradyne met with Governor Brisbane at an annual gathering in New South Wales to try and make peace.  Windradyne had travelled 200kms to attend the meeting. Governor Brisbane later wrote to his superior, Earl Bathurst, secretary of state for war and the colonies in England : “I am most happy to have it in my power to report to your lordship that Saturday, their great and most warlike chieftain, has been with me to receive his pardon, and that he with most of his tribe, attended the annual conference.” Windradyne, thought to be born about 1800, died in 1829, the details of his death vague, though it is believed he was injured in a tribal fighting, sent to Bathurst Hospital, but discharged himself and  on removal of his bandages, died of gangrene. He is buried on ‘Brucedale’ on the Sofala to Bathurst Road on the outskirts of the Mudgee district. His gravesite is recognised as of State significance.
 
From 1835 to 1845 the Aboriginal population went down 50 percent, and even further by the Gold Rush days, but the Gold Rush destroyed what little evidence of Aboriginal culture was left, the people largely gone and the sacred places fading into the background. Today there has been a resurrection of Aboriginal pride in their culture and those places are being found again and honoured. However, some of the most beautiful of them, particularly The Drip, are being threatened once again by white man’s culture—coal mining (more information coming). Many Aboriginal people moved to the plateau above Hill End (west of Mudgee) and to Wollar (48km north-east of Mudgee) where they mixed marriages and the purity of the race gradually died out. The Maitland Mercury noted on September 11, 1900 that Aborigines at Wollar were forcibly moved to a mission station at Brewarrina, for the safety of the Gulgong townspeople, because of the fear of Jimmy and Joe Governor, the Aboriginal brothers who went on a  three month murder rampage, killing 10 people, one victim being 70-year-old

 

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