Topics: Events: North Coastal

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bulldozed in 1959 and the people taken away in a truck


describe their different links to this place


power of individual’s stories, knowledge from past generations, relating to cultural heritage


visited Biddy’s grave


the battle at Toongabbie Creek in the late 18th Century that led to enmity between the Darug and the Gai-mariagal


the battle at Toongabbie Creek in the late 18th Century that led to enmity between the Darug and the Gai-mariagal , and how a recent ceremony and re-understandings have brought them together again

1789 - view

In many places our path was covered with skeletons and the same spectacle were to be met with in hollows of most of the rocks of that harbour”. Captain Hunter saw at Broken Bay “a native girl … just recovered from small pox, and lame, she appeared to be 17 or 18 years of age, and had covered her debilitated and naked body with wet grass … she was very much frightened on our approaching her and shed many tears … we soothed her distress a little, and the sailors were ordered to bring up some fire for her.

1789 - view

In a second expedition (to Broken Bay) ”the river received the name Hawkesbury … natives were found labouring under small pox. They did not attempt to commit hostilities against the boats” (Tench 1996, p. 110)

1790 - view

Willermarin, a Koori man visiting from the north, spears Governor Phillip at Manly Cove. Phillip has taken up the invitation of Bennelong to attend a whale feast. Phillip is the victim of an attack and is speared in the shoulder, staggers back to his longboat while his soldiers disperse the Aboriginal people. Phillip does not order retribution and Bennelong is later welcomed back into Phillip’s confidence.

1790 - view

Pemulwuy, a Koori from near Parramatta, fights the invasion by the English through attacks upon the settlement. His group commits many raids killing or wounding 17 people. Pemulwuy spears Governor Phillip’s game keeper John McIntire who dies from his wounds. Governor Phillip orders a punitive party to bring back six Aboriginal people dead or alive, and even issues bags for the heads. Phillip is under much pressure from the famous English naturalist Joseph Banks to obtain Aboriginal skulls promised to other scientists.

1797 - view

James Webb, a ship builder on the Hawkesbury River, sails a new boat with his crew to Sydney with a load of corn. They are drifting peacefully down the river when they come upon a party of Koories who were friendly and unarmed in their canoes. The Koories board the boat, and begin inspecting the rigging and masts. James Webb watches suspiciously and calls one of his crewmen to position himself near the muskets and shoot. Webb and his mate fire point blank at the Aboriginal men. Four are shot and the rest jump into their canoes and paddle away out of range of the guns. The Koorie bodies are pushed overboard. (Swancott 1967, p. 25)

1804 - view

Newspaper Sydney Gazette reports Aboriginal people on a beach saving crew from the sinking ship Speedwell near Lion Island. “The very humane, friendly and precautionary conduct of an ancient native … would reflect the highest credit to a polished member of civilized society”. ( Sydney Gazette )

1809 - view

The Hazard lost at sea with 400 bushels of wheat is driven ashore at Box Head, Ettalong, while tribespeople save a young boy from drowning. (Macken 1991)

1828 - view

Magistrate Willoughby Bean reports incidents between Aborigines and settlers.The district had within the last 5 to 6 months been greatly disturbed by the inroads of several tribes of Aborigines, I believe from the Hunter River, the Wollombi and the Sugar Loaf. These tribes have frequently assembled in great numbers (upwards of 200) and they have destroyed the settlers’ crops … Mr Henderson, the district Constable … deemed it prudent to arm 15 men from home and to go in pursuit of them. He overtook and drove them before him along the coast to the northward till night came on, when they doubled upon him and returned. He took two of them home and released them some days. They confessed that it was their intention not only to rob the settlers but likewise to capture and burn the gentleman of the name Cape who had fired upon them … during the stealing of his corn.

1829 - view

15 European households are recorded in the Brisbane Waters district, for the first time outnumbering Koories. Fish are netted in such large quantities that they are fed to pigs. Lobsters, a favourite food for Koories are at first so plentiful that 70 can be caught each night by whites. The habitat for marsupials is cut down by timber getters while kangaroo grass is cut and carried to Sydney for fodder. The Aboriginal land-based traditional foods begin to be severely depleted in the Gosford area. 

1836 - view

Bowen is a very effective black tracker in detecting illegal stills in the upper reaches of McCarrs Creek, Church Point. He leads John Howard from the Customs House at Barrenjoey, Pittwater, up the creek to where a man William Farr is detained. Howard recognizes Bowen’s skills and recommends to the Collector of Customs in Sydney that he should ”have a second boat which would cost about four hundred pounds and enable him to get a living for himself and family consisting of two daughters and a son. … as he will be liable to insult and oppression for having aided me”. Later Howard writes “I am reluctant to employ (Bowen) … without the protection of a constable as I have reason to believe that violence would be used towards him.”

1838 - view

Local Central Coast constables spend six nights defending a settler’s farm from Aboriginal attacks.

1842 - view

Last blanket distribution in Brisbane Waters and Gosford, 27 men received blankets.

1843 - view

Charlotte is incarcerated in a psychiatric institution. The family recall that once the police found out they were Aboriginal, they moved them on, saying “She’s only a blackfella anyway”.

1845 - view

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney gives evidence for the reasons for decline in Aboriginal numbers, referring to “the aggressive mode of taking possession of their country which necessarily involves a vast loss of life to the native population … I have heard myself a man, educated and a large proprietor of sheep and cattle, maintain that there was no more harm in shooting a native, than in shooting a wild dog … I fear also, though I am ashamed to say it, that I have reason to believe that poison has been, in many instances, used.”