Topics: Environment: North Coastal

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sacred sites


filled-in marshes

1804 - view

An increase in number of conflicts when the “maize was ripe”. Farming has largely prevented access to the river for food gathering for the Aboriginal people. Many are starving. The Koori view of life is that food is there to be gathered, in one’s own country, and the ripe corn has replaced the wild daisy yams that have grown on the river banks. Many farmers use Aboriginal labour to help them gather crops but fail to pay them adequately for their work. If Koori people cross farmers’ land they are liable to be shot at. Governor King hears testimony from three Koori men that if they can retain certain places on the lower Hawkesbury, they will be satisfied and not in trouble the farmers. King rashly assures them that no more settlements will be made lower down the Hawkesbury – north-coastal country. ( Historical Records of New South Wales , vol 5, p. 513)

1810 - view

Koori diets are already affected by the scarcity of fish in the harbour. To compensate, people are beginning to use European foodstuff.

1816 - view

Five more areas are set out as agriculture reserves for Aboriginal people. These people are to receive seed, tools, stores and clothes and are given convicts for six months to help with cultivation.

1820s - view

Northern Sydney clans are in decline due to dispossession of their land and removal of their access to the food traditionally gathered by the sea. The Koori birth rate decreases. Paintings of the period show Koori people with grog bottles and fighting, existing on charity in the streets of Sydney. Alcohol has tragic consequences in illness and mortality

1826 - view

Attacks on settlers continue, and probably are supplemented from warriors coming from further north. A punitive expedition is mounted by the British against Koories near Wyong. Twenty Koories are captured and later eight are imprisoned on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. Governor Bourke requests that a school teacher “should be prepared to teach elements of Christianity to the Aborigines held there”.

1826 - view

Expansion of farms leads to cutting Koories off from access to food from the sea and also from hunting and gathering.

1826 - view

Many incidents of Aboriginal people defending their land and attacking the English farms north of Broken Bay. The activities of bushrangers, escaped convicts, cedar getters, illicit grog suppliers and smugglers create a lawless frontier in the northern regions. The first Magistrate Willoughby Bean is appointed in a vain attempt to restore order.

1826 - view

Surviving Koories are estimated to be only 65 on the Central Coast. Diseases such as smallpox, syphilis and influenza have killed many and others have been killed by settlers.

1828 - view

William Cape, one of Wyong’s first farmers, reports that 200 Aboriginal people arrived on what he regarded as his land and took his potato crop. The visiting Darginjung tribe from Wollombi claimed that they needed extra food. Some time later one of Cape’s stockmen is speared. The district constable and 15 armed men pursue the Aboriginal men. Two prisoners are taken. Magistrate Bean records that Cape fired his gun at the Koories and had also alienated his sons and neighbours.

1834 - view

Attacks on farms by Koories on Central Coast continue. 16 Koories caught and imprisoned in a watch house for robbery.

1836 - view

76 land grants on Central Coast. The pastoral boom of 1830-42 is encouraging land speculation. Koori people are now sometimes working for settlers for no pay but receive some protection and supplies of food.

1838 - view

A Legislative Council Select Committee is established to report on the conditions and numbers of Aboriginal people in Sydney. The Committee finds a desperate plight of many Koories from alcohol, hunger, disease and misery. No action is taken.

1839 - view

Letter to the Editor, Sydney Gazette . Sir, the death of an aborigine on Wed last on the North Shore in open bush, induces me to enquire whether the Protectors of Aborigines have taken any measures to discuss and attend to cases of sickness amongst the black population in the neighbourhood of these towns where the police and medical establishments afford so many facilities. The poor creature “Whippem-up” or Newton … lay for some days with no shelter from the late rain storms under some sugar bags. He was attached to the Bungaree Tribe having originally been brought from Broken Bay by a gentleman named Newton. … When Bungaree … fell sick … he was not received into the hospital till an order had been received from the Colonial Secretary.

1850 - view

A great fire sweeps the North Shore from Hornsby to St Leonards, an area described as “dense forests and thick undergrowth prior to the fire”.