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'K' Indigenous Australian tribes/nations

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960259.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:52 am Reply with quote

Wikipedia lists about 100 Indigenous group names beginning with 'K'.
Here is some interesting facts taken directly from these pages. All credit to the original poster.
Note: According to Wikipedia's list, some tribes/names interchangably use either a "K" or a "G".

Kulin nation
- An alliance of five Indigenous Australian nations in Central Victoria, Australia, prior to European settlement

- When foreign people passed through or were invited onto tribal lands, the ceremony of Tanderrum – freedom of the bush – would be performed. This allowed safe passage and temporary access and use of land and resources by foreign people. It was a diplomatic rite involving the landholder's hospitality and a ritual exchange of gifts
- The signing of Batman's Treaty {GREAT QUESTION} was likely to have been interpreted as a tanderrum ceremony by the Wurundjeri and Boon wurrung peoples, according to some historians.
- Batman's Treaty was document signed on 6 June 1835 by John Batman, an Australian grazier, businessman and explorer, and a group of Wurundjeri elders, for the purchase of land around Port Phillip, near the present site of the city of Melbourne. It was the first and only documented time when Europeans negotiated their presence and occupation of Aboriginal lands directly with the traditional owners.
For 600,000 acres of Melbourne, including most of the land now within the suburban area, John Batman paid 40 pairs of blankets, 42 tomahawks, 130 knives, 62 pairs scissors, 40 looking glasses, 250 handkerchiefs, 18 shirts, 4 flannel jackets, 4 suits of clothes and 150 lb. of flour
On 26 August 1835, Governor Bourke issued a Proclamation which formally declared that Batman's Treaty was "void and of no effect as against the rights of the Crown" and declared any person on "vacant land of the Crown" without authorization from the Crown to be trespassing. The official objection to the Treaty was that Batman had attempted to negotiate directly with the Aboriginal people, whom the British did not recognise as having any claim to any lands in Australia.
Batman maintained until his death in 1839 that the treaty was valid.
Some historians continued to assume that the Treaty was a forgery, but the recollections of the aboriginal elder Barak, who was present at the signing of the treaty as a boy, established that Batman, with the aid of his New South Wales aborigines, did in fact participate in a signing ceremony.

Gunai or Kurnai
-Indigenous Australian nation of south-east Australia whose territory occupied most of present-day Gippsland and much of the southern slopes of the Victorian Alps
- Creation Story: It is told that the first Gunai came down from the north west mountains, with his canoe on his head. He was known as Borun, the pelican. He crossed the Tribal River (where Sale now stands) and walked on into the west to Tarra Warackel (Port Albert). He heard a constant tapping sound, as he walked, but could not identify it. At the deep water of the inlets Borun put down his canoe and discovered, much to his surprise, there was a woman in it. She was Tuk, the musk duck. He was very happy to see her and she became his wife and the mother of the Gunai people.
- Resistance to European settlement
the Gunai/Kurnai people fought against the European invasion of their land. The technical superiority of the Europeans' weapons gave the Europeans an absolute advantage. At least 300 people were killed, but other figures estimate up to 1,000; however, it is extremely difficult to be certain about the real death toll as so few records still exist or were even made at the time. Diseases introduced from the 1820s by European sealers and whalers also caused a rapid decline in Aboriginal numbers

A partial list from letters and diaries for an exhibition called Koorie, mounted by the Museum of Victoria in 1991, included:
(Note: Angus McMillian was a pastoralist in Gippsland, Victoria and the Victorian federal electorate of McMillan is named in his honour)

1840 - Nuntin- unknown number killed by Angus McMillan's men
1840 - Boney Point - "Angus McMillan and his men took a heavy toll of Aboriginal lives"
1841 - Butchers Creek - 30-35 shot by Angus McMillan's men
1841 - Maffra - unknown number shot by Angus McMillan's men
1842 - Skull Creek - unknown number killed
1842 - Bruthen Creek - "hundreds killed"
1843 - Warrigal Creek - between 60 and 180 shot by Angus McMillan and his men
1844 - Maffra - unknown number killed
1846 - South Gippsland - 14 killed
1846 - Snowy River - 8 killed by Captain Dana and the Aboriginal Police
1846-47 - Central Gippsland - 50 or more shot by armed party hunting for a white woman supposedly held by Aborigines; no such woman was ever found
1850 - East Gippsland - 15-20 killed
1850 - Murrindal - 16 poisoned
1850 - Brodribb River - 15-20 killed

In 1846 Gippsland squatter Henry Meyrick wrote in a letter home to his relatives in England:

The blacks are very quiet here now, poor wretches. No wild beast of the forest was ever hunted down with such unsparing perseverance as they are. Men, women and children are shot whenever they can be met with … I have protested against it at every station I have been in Gippsland, in the strongest language, but these things are kept very secret as the penalty would certainly be hanging … For myself, if I caught a black actually killing my sheep, I would shoot him with as little remorse as I would a wild dog, but no consideration on earth would induce me to ride into a camp and fire on them indiscriminately, as is the custom whenever the smoke is seen. They [the Aborigines] will very shortly be extinct. It is impossible to say how many have been shot, but I am convinced that not less than 500 have been murdered altogether.

In 1863 Rev Friedrich Hagenauer established Rahahyuck Mission on the banks of the Avon River near Lake Wellington to house the Gunai survivors from west and central Gippsland. The mission sought to discourage all tribal ritual and culture and replace it with Christian values and European customs.

Kurrama people
- The language is presently endangered, with perhaps only 20 speakers remaining.
- A number of linguists have carried out work on Kurrama however there is not yet a comprehensive grammatical description of the language

Kungarakany language
- An extinct Australian language spoken in the Northern Territory. It became extinct after the last speaker, Madeline England, died in 1989.

Kuku Yalanji people
- Indigenous Australian group originating from the rainforest regions of Far North Queensland. They are also known as the "Rainforest People".
- 1877 saw contact between European settlers and Kuku Yalanji through the discovery of gold, mineral exploration and the development of a coastal road.
- Contact between the groups was violent. By 1890, the tribe was decimated. From 1897 to the 1960s, the Kuku Yalanji like other Aboriginal tribes faced the Government's paternalistic legislation that allowed for Aboriginals to be placed under "protection" in attempt to preserve their culture.
- The Kuku Yalanji began concentrating around the Mossman Gorge Reserve around the time of World War II and the Daintree people were moved to the northern bank of the Daintree River. They were further subjected to more relocations by the government.
Their culture has survived.

Gurindji people
- Two Gurindji communities are Kalkaringi and Daguragu
- Kalkarindji and the nearby settlement of Daguragu are the population centres of the land formerly held under the Wave Hill Cattle Station. In 1966, the indigenous station workers, led by Vincent Lingiari, staged a walk-off in protest against oppressive labour practices; following this, much of the land was returned to the Gurindji people by UK-based station owners The Vestey Group and the Australian Government in 1975.
- Gurindji strike:
Gurindji – along with all Aboriginal groups in this predicament – found their waterholes and soakages fenced off or fouled by cattle, which also ate or trampled fragile desert plant life, such as bush tomato. Dingo hunters regularly shot the people's invaluable hunting dogs, and kangaroo, a staple meat, was also routinely shot since it competed with cattle for water and grazing land. Gurindji suffered lethal "reprisals" for any attempt to eat the cattle – anything from a skirmish to a massacre. There was little choice to stay alive but to move onto the cattle stations, receive rations, adopt a more sedentary life and, where possible, take work as stockmen and domestic help. If they couldn't continue their traditional way of life, then at least to be on their own land – the foundation for their religion and spiritual beliefs – was crucial.

In 1914, Wave Hill Station was bought by Vesteys, a British pastoral company comprising a large conglomerate of cattle companies owned by Baron Vestey. Pastoralists were able to make use of the now landless Aboriginal people as extremely cheap labour. On stations across the north, Aboriginal people became the backbone of the cattle industry, working for little or no money, minimal food and appalling housing.
There had been complaints from Indigenous employees about conditions over many years. A Northern Territory government inquiry held in the 1930s said of Vesteys:

It was obvious that they had been ... quite ruthless in denying their Aboriginal labour proper access to basic human rights.

However, little was done over the decades leading up to the strike. While it was illegal up until 1968 to pay Aboriginal workers more than a specified amount in goods and money, a 1945 inquiry found Vesteys was not even paying Aboriginal workers the 5 shillings a day minimum wage set up for Aborigines under a 1918 Ordinance.

The Gurindji established a settlement near by at Wattie Creek, which Gurindji have always called Daguragu. These were hard years, but they held strong to their belief in their right to the land.
Gurindji efforts during the strike years

While living at Daguragu, Gurindji drew up maps showing areas they wanted excised from pastoralist land and returned to them. In 1967, Gurindji petitioned the Governor-General, claiming 1,295 km˛ of land near Wave Hill. Their claim was rejected.

In this period, Vincent Lingiari, Billy Bunter Jampijinpa and others toured Australia, with the support of workers’ unions, to give talks, raise awareness, build support for their cause and have meetings with major lawyers and politicians. Frank Hardy recalled one fundraising meeting at which a donor gave $500 after hearing Vincent Lingiari speak. The donor – who said he had never before met an Aboriginal person – was a young Dr Fred Hollows.

In late 1966 the Northern Territory government offered a compromise pay rise of one hundred and twenty-five percent, but the strikers still demanded wages equal to those of white stockmen and return of their land. The Government also made moves to cut off means of Gurindji obtaining food supplies and threatened evictions. Offers of houses, which the Government had built for them at Wave Hill Welfare settlement, were resisted. The Gurindji persisted with their protest and stayed at Daguragu.

In 1969 the Liberal-National Country Coalition government was given a proposal to give eight square kilometres back to the Gurindji. Cabinet refused to even discuss the issue.
However, the tide of public opinion was beginning to turn in Australia. There were demonstrations and arrests in southern Australia in support of the walk-off, and many church, student and trade union groups gave practical and fundraising support to the Gurindji struggle.

In 1972 the Australian Labor Party (ALP) came to power. Aboriginal land rights was an issue high on its agenda, and it was quick to set up an Inquiry, and subsequently draft legislation, to this end. The Labor Government called a halt to development leases granted by the Northern Territory Land Board that might damage Indigenous rights, suspended mining exploration licenses, and gave a small grant of land at Daguragu/Wattie Creek, as an initial step towards the final land handback.

The Whitlam government established the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Land Rights in the Northern Territory, headed by Justice Woodward. The Inquiry's task was to examine the legal establishment of land rights. The Commission recommended government financial support for the creation of reserves and incorporated land trusts, administered by traditional owners or land councils.

Meanwhile, the Yolngu of northeast Arnhem Land were taking their grievances to the courts, in the case of Milirrpum v Nabalco, after unsuccessfully petitioning the Commonwealth government with a bark petition. The judge's decision in Gove had relied on the doctrine of terra nullius to deny the Yolngu rights to their land and ensure the security of a bauxite mine by Nabalco. Coupled with the ongoing Gurindji strike, this case highlighted the very real need for Aboriginal land rights in Australia.
As a result of the recommendations of the Woodward Inquiry, the Whitlam government drafted the Aboriginal Land Rights Bill. The legislation was not passed by parliament prior to the Whitlam government's dismissal in 1975. The subsequent Fraser government passed effectively similar legislation

In 1975, the Labor government of Gough Whitlam finally negotiated with Vesteys to give the Gurindji back a portion of their land. This was a landmark in the land rights movement in Australia for Indigenous Australians. The handback took place on 16 August 1975 at Kalkaringi. Gough Whitlam addressed Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji people, saying:

On this great day, I, Prime Minister of Australia, speak to you on behalf of all Australian people – all those who honour and love this land we live in. For them I want to say to you: I want this to acknowledge that we Australians have still much to do to redress the injustice and oppression that has for so long been the lot of Black Australians.

Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.

The photograph of Whitlam pouring sand into Lingiari's hand on that day, taken by Mervyn Bishop, has become an iconic one in Australian history.

In August every year, a large celebration is held at Kalkaringi to mark the anniversary of the strike and walk-off. Known as Freedom Day, people gather from many parts of Australia to celebrate and re-enact the walk-off.
The walk-off route has been entered on the Australian National Heritage List.

Guugu Yimithirr people
Sydney Parkinson, who arrived with Lt. James Cook at the mouth of the Endeavour River at the site of modern Cooktown, on 11th June, 1770 after their boat, the HM Bark Endeavour was damaged on a reef, described the local people:

"The natives, who were naked, though of a diminutive size, ran very swiftly, and were very merry and facetious. Their bones were so small, that I could more than span their ancles; and their arms too, above the elbow joint. The tallest we saw measured but five feet nine inches; though their slimness made them appear taller, most of them were about five feet five inches; and were painted with red and white in various figures. The colour of their skin was like that of wood-soot. They had flattish noses, moderate-sized mouths, regular well-set large teeth, tinged with yellow. Most of them had cut off the hair from their heads; but some of them wore their hair, which was curled and bushy, and their beards frizzled. On their breasts and hips were corresponding marks like ridges, or seams, raised above the rest of the flesh, which looked like the cicatrices of ill-healed wounds. Some of them were painted with red streaks across the body, and others streaked over the face with white, which they called Carbanda. Some of them had a small hair-rope about their loins, and one about an arm, made of human hair. They had also a bag that hung by their necks, which they carried shell-fish in. Their noses had holes bored in them, through which they drew a piece of white bone about three or five inches long, and two round. One of them had his ears bored in like manner, and pieces of bone hung in them. Some of them had necklaces made of oval pieces of bright shells, which lay imbricated over one another, and linked together by two strings. The women, who did not approach nearer to us than the opposite shore, had feathers stuck on the crown of their heads, fastened, as we were informed, to a piece of gum.

They had lances and levers, very neatly made of a reddish wood; and had two pieces of bone, joined together with pitch, that stood out at the end of them. To polish their lances they made use of the ficus riduola, which served the pur-pose of a rasp. Their canoes were made out of the trunks of trees; had an out-rigger; and eight outriggers on which they laid their lances. Their paddles were long in the blade. To throw the water out of their canoes, they used a large shell called the Persian-crown.

Their language was not harsh, as may be seen by the following vocabulary, and they articulated their words very distinctly, though, in speaking, they made a great motion with their lips, and uttered their words vociferously, especially when they meant to shew their dissent or disapprobation. When they were pleased, and would manifest approbation, they said Hee, with a long flexion of the voice, in a high and shrill tone. They often said Tut, tut, many times together, but we knew not what they meant by it, unless it was intended to express astonishment. At the end of this Tut, they sometimes added Urr, and often whistled when they were surprised. "

Kaytetye people
- The Devils Marbles, which the Kaytetye call Karlu Karlu, are located on a sacred Dreaming site. The Kaytetye believe the boulders are the eggs of the rainbow serpent, who passed through the area in the Dreamtime
- In the Coniston massacre of 1928, settlers killed Kaytetye.
- Coniston Massacre:
The last known massacre of Indigenous Australians. People of the Warlpiri, Anmatyerre and Kaytetye groups were killed. The massacre occurred in revenge for the death of dingo hunter Frederick Brooks, killed by Aborigines in August 1928

From 1927 to 1931, the Federal Government divided the Northern Territory into North and Central Australia . By July 1928, Central Australia was in its fourth year of a particularly severe drought with fewer than 25 millimetres (0.98 in) of rain falling in the previous seven months. Overgrazing by stock had denuded the country of its vegetation, leaving little feed for wildlife. Waterholes were drying up and even the most experienced Aborigines were finding game and water almost unobtainable. Almost all the permanent waterholes and soaks were on station properties and as Aborigines began to die from thirst and hunger they moved to the stations for the water where they became an "aggravation" by begging for food and spearing cattle. The pastoralists were forced to chase the Aborigines away from their water to ensure the survival of their cattle.

Sixty-seven year old Fred Brooks had worked as a station hand on Randall Stafford's Coniston station, 240 mi (390 km) north-west of Alice Springs, since the end of World War I, but due to the drought had not been paid for some time. In July he bought two camels and on 2 August, left with two 12 year-old Aboriginal children, Skipper and Dodger, to trap dingoes for the 10s (2011:A$35.65) bounty on their scalps. Approaching a soak 14 mi (23 km) from the homestead, he found around 30 Ngalia-Warlpiri people camped. Brooks knew some and decided to camp with them. The first two days were uneventful and Brooks caught several dingoes. On 4 August, Charlton Young and a companion who were exploring the area for a mining company, stopped by and warned Brooks that the Aborigines had been getting "cheeky" lately by visiting the mining camps heavily armed, demanding food and tobacco. Brooks had been approached several times to trade but had so far refused. On 6 August, Bullfrog with his wife Marungali asked him to trade and Brooks offered some food in exchange for Marungali washing his clothes. Bullfrog camped nearby but Brooks neither paid him the promised food nor did he return his wife. In the morning Bullfrog became enraged when he found his wife in bed with Brooks and attacked him, severing an artery in his throat with his boomerang. Bullfrog, his uncle Padirrka and Marungali then beat Brooks to death. Aboriginal elders fearfully banished Bullfrog and Padirrka and ordered Brooks' two boys to return to the homestead and say that he had died of natural causes. The following day an Aborigine named Alex Wilson camped at the now deserted soak and finding the body rode back to the station, where he described hysterically how Brooks had been "chopped up" by 40 Aborigines and the parts stuffed in a rabbit burrow.

Randall Stafford had been in Alice Springs requesting police to attend to prevent the spearing of his cattle. He returned to be told of the murder and "dismemberment" of Brooks but chose to wait for the police. No one returned to the soak and no one attempted to retrieve the body. On 11 August, the Government Resident J.C. Cawood sent Constable William Murray, the officer in charge at Barrow Creek who also held the post of Chief Protector of Aborigines, to Coniston to investigate the complaints of cattle spearing. Told of the murder, Murray drove back to Alice Springs and telephoned Cawood who refused to send reinforcements, telling Murray to deal with the Aborigines as he saw fit. Returning to Coniston, Murray questioned Dodger and Skipper who described the circumstances of the murder and named Bullfrog, Padirrka and Marungali as the killers. According to his own report, Murray also obtained the names of 20 accomplices (he never recorded the names, or explained how his informants, who were not eye-witnesses, knew them; nor were these inconsistencies ever questioned at later proceedings). Murray organised a posse consisting of tracker Paddy, Alex Wilson, Dodger, tracker Major (elder brother of Brooks boy Skipper), Randall Stafford and two white itinerants Jack Saxby and Billie Brisco.

Brooks was killed on or about 7 August 1928, and his body was partly buried in a rabbit hole in the Northern Territory. No eyewitnesses to the actual murder were ever identified, and there are conflicting accounts of the discovery of the body and subsequent events.

On 15 August, dingo trapper Bruce Chapman arrived at Coniston and Murray sent Chapman, Paddy and Alex Wilson to the soak to find out what happened. The three buried Brooks on the bank of the soak. In the afternoon two Warlpiri, Padygar and Woolingar arrived at Coniston to trade dingo scalps. Believing them to be involved with the murder Paddy arrested them but Woolingar slipped his chains and attempted to escape. Murray fired at Woolingar and he fell with a bullet wound to the head. Stafford then kicked him in the chest breaking a rib. Woolingaar was then chained to a tree for the next 18 hours. The next morning the posse, with Padygar and Woolingar following on foot in chains, set out for the Lander River where they found a camp of 23 Warlpiri at Ngundaru. With the posse encircling the camp, Murray rode in and was surrounded by Aborigines yelling, Brisco started shooting with Saxby and Murray joining in. Three men and a woman, Bullfrog's wife Marungali, were killed with another woman dying from her wounds an hour later, a search of the camp turned up articles belonging to Brooks. Stafford was furious with Murray over the shooting and the next morning returned to Coniston alone.

During the night, Murray captured three young boys who had been sent by their tribe to find what the police party was doing. Murray had the boys beaten to force them to lead the party to the rest of the Warlpiri but had they done so, they would have been punished by their tribe. To resolve the dilemma, the three boys smashed their own feet with rocks. Despite the injuries Murray forced the now crippled boys to lead the party. By nightfall they reached Cockatoo Creek where they sighted four Aborigines on a ridge. Paddy and Murray captured two but one ran with Murray firing several shots at him which missed, Paddy then knelt and fired a single shot hitting the fleeing man in the back and killing him instantly. After questioning the other three and finding they had no connection with the murder Murray released them. The next two days saw no contact with Aborigines at all as word had spread with many Aborigines heading into the desert, preferring to risk dying of thirst, rather than face the police patrol. Returning to Coniston, Murray left Padygar, Woolingar and one of the three boys, 11 year-old Lolorrbra (known as Lala, he became a chief witness at the enquiry), whose crushed feet had become infected, in Stafford's custody before heading north to continue the search.

Following tracks, the patrol came upon a camp of 20 Warlpiri, mostly women and children. Approaching the camp Murray ordered the men to drop their weapons, not understanding English the women and children fled while the men stood their ground to protect them. The patrol opened fire killing three men; three injured died later of their wounds and an unknown number of wounded escaped. By Murray's account, he met four separate groups of Warlpiri, and in each case was obliged to shoot in self-defense – a total of 17 casualties. He later testified under oath that each one of the dead was a murderer of Brooks. The Warlpiri themselves estimated between 60 and 70 people had been killed by the patrol.

On 24 August, Murray captured an Aborigine named Arkirkra and returned to Coniston where he collected Padygar (Woolingar had died that night still chained to the tree) and then marched the two 240 mi (390 km) to Alice Springs. Arriving on 1 September, Arkirkra and Padygar were charged with the murder of Brooks while Murray was hailed as a hero. On 3 September, Murray set off for Pine Hill station to investigate complaints of cattle spearing. Nothing has been recorded about this patrol, but he returned on 13 September with two prisoners. On 16 September, Henry Tilmouth of Napperby station shot and killed an Aborigine he was chasing away from the homestead, this incident was included in the later enquiry. On the 19th, Murray again departed, this time under orders to investigate a non-fatal attack on the person of a settler, William Nuggett Morton, at Broadmeadows Station by what Morton described as a group of 15 Myall Warlpiri people who were also in the same area.

Morton, a former circus wrestler, had a reputation for his sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and violence against both his white employees and Aborigines. On 27 August, he left his camp to punish Aborigines for spearing his cattle. At Boomerang waterhole he found a large Warlpiri camp, what happened here is unknown but the Warlpiri decided to kill Morton. During the night they surrounded his camp and at dawn 15 men armed with boomerangs and yam sticks rushed Morton. His dogs attacked the Aborigines and after breaking free Morton shot one and the rest fled. Morton returned to his main camp and was taken to the Ti Tree Well mission where a nurse removed 17 splinters from his head and treated him for a serious skull fracture.

From the station, on 24 September, a party consisting of Murray, Morton and half-castes Alex Wilson and Jack Cusack, embarked on a series of encounters (three incidents were later described by Murray in which 14 more Aborigines were killed, but it is likely there were more). At Tomahawk waterhole four were killed, while at Circle Well one was shot dead and Murray killed another with an axe. They then moved east to the Hanson River where another eight were shot. Morton identified all of them as his attackers. The party now returned to Broadmeadows to replenish their supplies before travelling north. No records of this patrol were kept. According to the Warlpiri, this patrol encountered Aborigines at Dingo Hole where they killed four men and 11 women and children. The Warlpiri also recount how the patrol charged a corroboree at Tippinba, rounding up a large number of Aborigines like cattle before cutting out the women and children and shooting all the men. There is anecdotal evidence that there were up to 100 killed in total at the five sites.

Constable Murray was back in Alice Springs on 18 October where he was asked to write an official report on the police actions. The report was only several lines long, he wrote: "....incidents occurred on an expedition with William John Morton, unfortunately drastic action had to be taken and resulted in a number of male natives being shot." No mention was made of the number killed, the circumstances of the shootings or where they occurred

The trial of Arkirkra and Padygar for Brooks murder took place in Darwin on 7 and 8 November before Justice Mallen.
The first witness was 12 year-old Lolorrbra (known as Lala) who testified in detail that he saw Arkirkra, Padygar and Marungali kill Brooks. He also testified that all the Aborigines that had helped them were now dead. Constable Murray took the stand next, his evidence becoming so involved in justifying his own actions in killing suspects that Justice Mallen reminded him that he himself was not on trial and to avoid facts not relevant to the guilt of the accused. The court then adjourned for lunch. The verdict was a foregone conclusion as all that remained was the reading of the confessions made by the accused in Alice Springs. Despite lunch for the jurors being provided by the local hotel, two of the jurors went home to eat. A furious Justice Mallen dismissed the jury, ordered a new jury be empanelled and a new trial to be convened the following day. The new trial began with Lolorrbra being asked to repeat his evidence. This time his evidence, although still maintaining that the accused were the murderers, was completely contradictory. Under cross examination it became apparent within minutes that he had been coached on what to say. When the prosecution tried to introduce the written confessions of the accused, Justice Mallen pointed out that as the accused had been charged by a South Australian rather than Central Australian magistrate he would disallow the statements. The prosecution declined to call the accused to testify. Murray took the stand next, angering Justice Mallen when he repeated his justifications for killing suspects. With no evidence of guilt presented, Justice Mallen ordered the jury to acquit the accused.

During his testimony, Murray said that the group had "shot to kill":

Justice Mallen: Constable Murray, was it really necessary to shoot to kill in every case? Could you not have occasionally shot to wound?
Murray: No your honour, what is the use of a wounded black fellow hundreds of miles from civilization?
Justice Mallen: How many did you kill?
Murray: Seventeen your honour.
Justice Mallen: You mean you mowed them down wholesale!
—The Northern Territory Times, 9 November 1928

In the courtroom to hear this and other evidence of massacre was Athol McGregor, a Central Australian missionary. He passed on his concern to church leaders, and eventually to William Morley, outspoken and influential advocate of the Association for the Protection of Native Races, who did the most to secure a judicial enquiry. The Federal government was also under considerable pressure to act. The British media had been reporting on Australia's treatment of Aborigines (Australia was in financial difficulties at the time and an economic mission from London was considering financial assistance), a federal election was due on 17 November and the League of Nations had publicly criticized the case.

During the trial Murray was billeted with the Northern Territory police. Although only officially admitting to 17 deaths, according to constable Victor Hall he was shocked with Murray's "freely expressed opinions of what was good enough for a blackfellow" and claimed he bragged to fellow officers that he had killed "closer to 70 than 17".

The Board of Inquiry was presided over by police magistrate A.H. O'Kelly and was deeply compromised from the start – its three members being hand-picked to maximise damage control; J.C. Cawood, Government Resident in Central Australia, and Murray’s immediate superior, being one of them. Cawood revealed his own disposition in a letter to his departmental secretary shortly after the massacre: “…trouble has been brewing for some time, and the safety of the white man could only be assured by drastic action on the part of the authorities … I am firmly of the opinion that the result of the recent action by the police will have the right effect upon the natives.”

The Board sat for 18 days in January 1929 to consider three incidents (Brooks, Morton and Tilmouth) that resulted in the deaths of Aborigines, and in one more day, finished its report, finding that 31 Aborigines had been killed and that in each case the death was justified.

The hearing decided, in the face of indubitable evidence to the contrary, that there had been no drought in Central Australia, evidence of ample native food and water supplies and thus no mitigation for cattle spearing. A journalist for the Adelaide Register-News who travelled with the board during its tour of Central Australia to determine the claims of drought reported; "Five years of drought have burnt every blade of grass from the plains and left a wilderness of red sand...the wonder is that any living thing survives. Every settler visited by the Board had lost between 60 to 80 percent of his stock [to the drought] this year alone." The day after this report was published, a settler replied in the letters to the editor that the drought made the life of one ewe worth more to Australia than "all the blacks that were ever here".

Cawood expressed his satisfaction with the outcome in his annual report for 1929, writing: “The evidence of all the witnesses was conclusive … the Board found that the shooting was justified, and that the natives killed were all members of the Walmulla (sic) tribe from Western Australia, who were on a marauding expedition, with the avowed object of wiping out the white settlers…”

Following his appointment, O'Kelly had stated his intention that the enquiry would not be a whitewash and it is speculated he had been "got at." To take up his appointment, O'Kelly travelled by train from Canberra to Melbourne with Prime Minister Stanley Bruce, who was campaigning for the upcoming election with the White Australia policy as his party's main platform, accompanying him. O'Kelly later said that had he known how the enquiry would turn out, he would have refused the appointment, stating that if the same circumstances happened again someone would be hung for the killings.

Constable Murray was quietly removed from his position and moved to Adelaide where he died in the 1960s. William Morton moved out of the area several years after the massacre. Bullfrog was never arrested and moved to Yuendumu where he died of old age in the 1970s.

Woollarawarre Bennelong
-A senior of the Eora tribe, which resided in the Koori area ("Koori" area typically represented by modern-day NSW and Victoria)
- Bennelong served as an interlocutor between the Eora and the British, both in Sydney and in the United Kingdom.

Bennelong was brought to the settlement at Sydney Cove in November 1789 by order of the governor, Arthur Phillip, who was under instructions from King George III to establish relationships with the indigenous populations. At that time the Eora conscientiously avoided contact with the newcomers, and in desperation Phillip resorted to kidnap. A man named Arabanoo was captured, but he, like many other Aboriginal people near the settlement, died in a smallpox epidemic a few months later in May 1789.Bennelong was captured with Colbee in November 1789 as part of Phillip's plan to learn the language and customs of the local people. Colbee soon escaped, but Bennelong stayed in the settlement for about six months. He then escaped also, but renewed contact with Phillip as a free man.

About three months after his escape, he organised for Phillip to visit Manly where he was speared in the shoulder, most likely as payback for the kidnappings. He maintained ongoing good relations with the colony and in a gesture of kinship, gave Phillip the Aboriginal name Wolawaree. He learned to speak English.

In 1790, Bennelong asked the governor to build him a hut on what became known as Bennelong Point, now the site of the Sydney Opera House.

Bennelong and also the another Aborigine named Yemmerrawanie (or Imeerawanyee) travelled with Phillip to England in 1792. Many historians have claimed that they were presented to King George III, but there is no direct evidence that this occurred. Although soon after their arrival in England they were hurriedly made clothes that would have been suitable for their presentation to the King.

Jack Brook reconstructs some of their activities from the expense claims lodged with the government. They visited St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. A boat was hired, and they went bathing. They went to the theatre. While in London they resided with Henry Waterhouse, and when Yemmerrawanie became sick, they moved to Eltham and resided at the house of Edward Kent where they were tended by Mr and Mrs Phillips, and met Lord Sydney.

Yemmerrawanie died while in Britain after a serious chest infection, and Bennelong's health deteriorated. He returned to Sydney in February 1795 on HMS Reliance, the ship that took surgeon George Bass to the colony for the first time. He taught Bass some of his language on the voyage.

Bennelong arrived back in Sydney on 7 September 1795. He returned to a respected position in the colony, advising Governor Hunter as he had advised and educated Phillip, and also returned to a prominent position in Eora political and cultural life. He frequently participated in payback battles, and officiated at ceremonies, including the last recorded initiation ceremony in Port Jackson in 1797. By the early 19th century, he was the leader of a 100-strong clan living on the north side of the river to the west of Kissing Point in Wallumedagal country.

A letter he had drafted in 1796 to Mr and Mrs Phillips is the first known text written in English by an indigenous Australian, thanking Mrs Phillips for caring for him in England, and asking for stockings and a handkerchief.

Bennelong's health was perhaps damaged by the consumption of alcohol, one of the most popular pastimes in the colony. He died at Kissing Point (now known as Putney, in Sydney's North West) on 3 January 1813, and was buried in the orchard of the brewer James Squire, a great friend to Bennelong and his clan. On 20 March 2011 Dr Peter Mitchell of Macquarie University announced that he had located the actual grave site in the garden of a private house in present day Putney. He stated that local aboriginal authorities will be consulted about possible further exploration of the site.

His obituary in the Sydney Gazette was unflattering, insisting that "...he was a thorough savage, not to be warped from the form and character that nature gave him...", which reflected the feelings of some in Sydney's white society that Bennelong had abandoned his role as ambassador in his last years, and also reflects the deteriorating relations between the two groups as more and more land was cleared and fenced for farming, and the hardening attitudes of many colonists towards 'savages' who were not willing to give up their country and become labourers and servants useful to the colonists.

Bennelong's people mourned his death with a traditional payback battle for which about two hundred people gathered. It was witnessed by a passenger on the schooner Henrietta who reported it in a letter to the Caledonian Mercury. They wrote that spears flew very thick, and about thirty men were wounded.

The seat of Bennelong in the Federal parliament is named after him.
Ironically, this seat was held by future Australian Prime Minister John Howard from 1974-2007.Throughout his prime-ministership, Howard was resolute in his refusal to provide a parliamentary "apology" to Indigenous Australians as recommended by the 1997 “Bringing Them Home” Report. Howard argued this was inappropriate, because "Australians of this generation should not be required to accept guilt and blame for past actions and policies." (*Australia only*)

966482.  Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:14 pm Reply with quote

Here's an interesting thing about the Guugu Yimithirr language (many spelling variants start with K instead of G, e.g. Kuku Yimithirr, so there's the K connection.)

In English, we show direction by using words like "left," "right," "in front," "behind," etc. These are called "egocentric coordinates" because they relate to the position of the speaker. In Guugu Yimithirr, however, they do not use these kinds of words. Instead, they use cardinal directions for everything, including small-scale things. In English, we would never say "my plate is west of my glass and my fork is north of my knife" but they would say things like that in Guugu Yimithirr. Guugu Yimithirr is not unique in this, but it certainly is quite interesting. What's more, apparently speakers of such languages develop a sense of orientation, so that pausing to calculate is not necessary and they can just "feel" it.

Last edited by EXE on Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

966712.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:49 pm Reply with quote

I don't know how I missed that long post by mickche earlier but kudos to you for that, and to EXE for managing to link the Guugu Yimithirr to K so neatly :-)


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