1790c Wattorgin (“Charley Myrtle”) is born probably in Wollombi (Blair, 2003, 82).

Worimi society is accepting of escaped convicts at Port Stephens. Four convicts seize a small boat in Port Jackson and make off to the North. They land and integrate with a tribe of Aborigines with whom they live for five years. Before they are recaptured, it is highly probable that during their travels with Aboriginal people they visit other parts of the Hunter River. Undoubtedly one of the challenges for the convicts would have been to abide by Aboriginal laws to remain part of the group. (Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association, ACRA)


Escaped convicts, William and Mary Bryant seemingly locate Glenrock Lagoon.

March. Governor Phillip is determined to follow the Hawkesbury River through the mountains on foot from the point at which he turned back during his last expedition. He brings with him two coastal Aborigines, Colebe and Ballederry to act as interpreters. William Dawes brings notebooks of the coastal Aboriginal language, which he refers to while conversing with his female Aboriginal partner, Patyegarang. When Phillip’s overland party crosses from the Port Jackson/Parramatta River catchment into the Hawkesbury River catchment near Cattai Creek, it is apparent that the language spoken there is different to that spoken by Colebe and Ballederry. Phillip’s party camps with local Aborigines Gomebeere and Yellowmundy, and David Collins records some of their speech. He and Governor Phillip conclude that the “inland language” is different to the “coastal language”.

While setting their campfires at dusk, the exploratory party sends Colebe and Ballederry to convince local people to join them. A man shields himself from attack while a boy carrying a torch of flaming tea tree bark is sent ahead. Colebe later expresses the man is a stranger, a possum hunting man. Upon reaching the Hawkesbury the following morning, the party proceeds along the edges through the reeds, passing Aboriginal campsites on the banks. Closer to Portland Head Rock, they observe Aborigines in canoes and smoke from their fires. Near Pitt Town, Aborigine canoeist Gomebeere joins them. That evening, another canoeist with a small boy leaves their families on the opposite bank and joins the expedition. His name is Yellowmundy. Gomebeere later not only guides the party along a path unfamiliar to the coastal guides. He also describes the healing of a spear wound in his side, prompting Colebe to recognise that Yellomundy is a practicing koradji. Watkin Tench similarly encounters friendly Aboriginal men with canoes from the mountain side of the river: Deedora and Morunga help ferry their equipment across the river while Deedora paddles up the river before them. Writing to Sir Joseph Banks after his return, multilingual Governor Phillip expresses his amazement that Australian natives are not a uniform group: “It was a matter of great surprise to me…I found on the banks of the Hawkesbury, people who made use of several words we could not understand…it soon appeared that they had a language different from that used by those natives we have hitherto be acquainted with”. (Ford 45, 172-189)

Tench reports: “We saw several canoes on the river…A native, from his canoe, entered into conversation with us…He was a man of middle age…marked with the small pox, and distinguished by a nose of uncommon magnitude and dignity…Two stone hatchets, and two spears, he took from his canoe, and presented to the governor, who in return for his courteous generosity, gave him two of our hatchets, and some bread…” (Barkley and Nichols, Hawkesbury 1794-1994, p3).


1792c “Branch Native” Mioram (“Miles”, “Myles” or Moran) is born.

Chughi is born at “Broken Bay, Narara”. (Blair, 2003, p66).

Biddy, daughter of Bungaree is born. She becomes known as Biddy Salamander. She is thought to be the daughter of Matora, one of Bungaree’s wives. (Ford, timeline)


Army Captain William Paterson confirms that Hawkesbury Aborigines are different to those on the Cumberlain Plains after travelling within the Grose River catchment. (Ford, 61-71).

The river and mountain Aborigines are colonised shortly after Paterson’s expedition. Settlers led by two soldiers begin to occupy river flats and flood plains. A small river port township develops at Pitt Town Bottoms. It is referred to as the “green hills”, present-day Windsor. 22 settlers select 25-30 acre farms. The district of Mulgrave Place is established in 1794. Small sloops become a familiar scene in the lower Hawkesbury River. This view is visible from the entrance to Marra Marra Creek. (Ford p69, Nichols p9-10).

As settlement progresses, some Aboriginal people retaliate at having their yam crops and rushes destroyed along the riverbanks. Banks are cleared and Aborigines are also denied access to the river for fishing. When European farming starts on the western left hand side (mountain side) of the Hawkesbury, Darkinung seek to protect their own lands and resources. They spear and kill a white man. They momentarily retain a hold on the slopes of the ranges until floods drive settlers to higher ground. Aborigines begin to come in to the new river port, surviving as fringe dwellers, following precedents at Sydney & Parramatta.

Once Governor Macquarie establishes the township of Richmond, people cross the river to travel further north into Darkinung country. Some from the ranges come in to Richmond. Settlers recognise some of the more prominent Aboriginal identities as “chiefs”. Settlers later bestow a gorget to gain loyalty for themselves. Darkinung are willing to go along with this while it benefits them (Ford, 70).


The first party of settlers in the Sackville Reach region is driven back by intense Aboriginal attack. Their isolation and the narrow river flats hard up against steep rocky ridges make the farmers easy targets. (Karskens, The Colony, 449)

A detachment of the NSW Corps is despatched to the Green Hills after skirmishes between the Aborigines and settlers. Governor Paterson fears that the settlers might abandon the settlement entirely and give up the most fertile spot yet discovered in the colony. By 1799 barracks are built and housing for the commanding officer of the military. By 1799, over half of the cultivated land in the colony is on the Hawkesbury. (Nichols p10)

The first white men to penetrate the mountains of “The Branch” natives. Settler William Reid together with convicts John Ramsay and Matthew Everingham set out to cross to the northwest. They follow a ridgeline without the advantage of local Aboriginal knowledge and note two rivers coming out of mountains are branches of the Hawkesbury. (Ford p93-99)


Emery (“Lawyer”) is born and forms the Belmont Tribe, North Richmond.

1796c We-Pohng or “Johnny M’Gill”, later known as Biraban is born in the Lake Macquarie region. (Threlkeld’s Return of Aboriginal Natives, in Blair, 2003, p50).


Lieut. John Shortland arrives in Muloobinbah (Newcastle Harbour) and makes the first official white landing in Hunter region. Following in the wake of convicts who return to Sydney Cove and report on the vast coal deposits lying along beaches, Shortland is the first Englishman to officially set foot on Awabakal lands. The discovery of coal by whites has significant impact on future relations between the two peoples. Shortland reports the vast timber resources along the river. (Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association, ACRA)


The first incident of Europeans being tried for murdering Aborigines takes place following the murders of two teenage Aboriginal boys in the Hawkesbury district. Five men appear in Court and after four days of evidence and deliberation the prisoners are found guilty. A despatch from England later relays the news that the five men charged with murder are acquitted. It also conveys that the natives are in future to be treated as humanely as possible (Nichols, Pictorial History: Hawkesbury, p5).