Topics: Sites: Historic: North Coastal

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1833 - view

Mrs Felton Mathew, on a visit to Marramarra Creek with her surveyor husband on 3 rd August writes “then appeared a miserable hut of rough logs covered with bark, from whence issued a number of dogs barking … and then the inhabitants; two old men and a woman with child in her arms … These dreary solitudes might serve for the abode of a misanthrope so utterly are they secluded from all approach and so entirely destitute of all comfort” .

1833 - view

Despite the negative report about the Lewis family, the photograph of them on Marramarra Creek (probably taken at the mouth of Marramarra Creek at the home of Thomas Lewis some years later), reveals a well clothed and happy-looking large family.

1836 - view

Bowen (Toura Bungaree) and his wife Maria, and daughters Jonza, Nan, Theda (Jane), and son Mark, move to Pittwater, near Barrenjoey. Bowen has perhaps decided to lead his clan away from the destruction and poverty of Sydney life back to a semi traditional existence.

1846 - view

The government of NSW forms a Select Committee to look into conditions of Aborigines. Rev William West Simpson, the Anglican Minister at the Lower Hawkesbury (Wiseman’s Ferry) sends the following note:   In Marramarra Creek I have found a family of half castes, the children of John Lewis or Ferdinand, a white man employed in the lime burning trade …

1846 - view

Birth of twins John and James to Elizabeth and Israel Rose at Marramarra Creek.

1853 - view

Farrell describes Bowen as “one of the finest darkies I ever met. I looked upon Bowen almost as a brother … and was prepared to … have blood for blood” for Bowen’s murderer. His body is taken to St Lawrence Presbyterian Church cemetery but later his grave is moved to Pioneer Park at Botany.

1860s - view

At Christmas time Aboriginal people come in large numbers to camp at Cremorne Reserve in Cameragal country. They receive the annual gift of a blanket each, given by the government.

1862 - view

Her grave is in the Presbyterian section of Botany Cemetery. “In memory of Gooseberry Queen of the Sydney Tribe of Aborigines”.

1868 - view

Noraville, Brisbane Water

1868 - view

Corroborees held at Manly on the site of several churches above Careening Cove.

1870s - view

Manly carrier RJ Wild claims to have witnessed the last Aboriginal corroboree in Manly held on vacant land near St Matthew’s Church on the Corso in the late 1870s.

1874 - view

Mrs O’Shanessy, a daughter of ferry engineer Robert Grant recalls “Where the Catholic Church now stands in Whistler Street there was an aboriginal camp that was nearly always occupied by a tribe of the coastal blacks, then an everyday feature of Manly’s life.”

1880 - view

He is buried at Kincumber Churchyard where a stone bears tribute “respected by all”.

1925 - view

Father Browne, a Jesuit priest, visits people whom he identifies as ‘Aborigines’ at Middle Harbour, Spit and publishes two photographs. The site is probably Quakers Hat Bay, near the Spit.

1959 - view

The last community campsite on the northern Sydney coast, at Narrabeen, is destroyed to make way for the National Fitness camp.

1986 - view

A burial is discovered at Avalon Angophora reserve rock shelter site 1 km from coast in Avalon. Remains include a fully articulated woman’s skeleton and her 6 month old baby skeleton in her arms. The woman has a gypsum cap (clay) on her head used for mourning the dead. Two children are also buried in the rock shelter. The skeletons are ritually reburied in 1986 by Aboriginal Site Officers to acknowledge traditional respect for not disturbing the dead.

1990 - view

A Land Rights claim initiated by Susan Moylan-Coombs is made over land with Koori rock engravings at Wahroonga between the F3 motorway and Curtin Ave.