Aboriginal uprisings in the Hunter

Aboriginal uprisings in the Hunter. Shortly after an Aboriginal frontier uprising in Argyle County to Sydney’s southwest when many Aborigines gather to retaliate against stockmen forcing their affections on Aboriginal women, around 200 warriors gather at William Ogilvie’s new farm on Patrick’s Plains to seemingly demonstrate against his annexation of their land. Fearing trouble, Ogilvie’s wife Mary talks to them and gives them food and tobacco. Apparently happy with this exchange, the Aborigines go to a neighbouring farm where stockmen refuse their requests. The Aboriginal men kill and spear four men including the overseer, plunder huts and enrage settlers who are already frustrated with Aborigines who burn their grass, spear their cattle and threaten to destroy their wheat harvests. Like attacks in Argyle that lead to government sending troops to “pacify” the region, Governor Darling orders the Mounted Police to the Hunter Valley on 24 June 1826 to quash Aboriginal uprisings. With a reputation for action, the Mounted Police led by Lieutenant Nathaniel Lowe carry out a “campaign of terror”. The death toll amounts to five or six Aboriginal killings, all while in custody. The brutal shooting of Jacky Jacky outside the military barracks near Government House on Wallis Plains provokes public outrage and pressures a Governor inquiry. Lowe is charged with the murder of Jacky Jacky. He stands trial in the Supreme Court. After a court case that centres on the legal status of Aboriginal victims and affirms that “natives of this colony are within the protection of the laws”, the jury comprising seven military men take five minutes to deliver the verdict of not guilty. The courtroom breaks out in applause. Lowe’s acquittal creates a problem for the courts. It upholds the ideal of individual protection rights for Aborigines, but the acquittal of Lowe discounts that protection within the context of an expanding Hunter Valley frontier. (Chaves, “A solemn judicial farce, 2007).