Friday, September 26, 2008

Koori in the South Coast

I'm moving on to the South Coast where we have Koori who spoke the Dharawal language.   Their land stretched from Botany Bay in South Sydney all the way down to Jervis Bay.

One clan was called Wodi Wodi.   Their land was between Wollongong and Shoalhaven.   

Europeans began to move into the area around 1815.   In 1816, the settlement became official.  What does that mean?   I'm not sure.

Moving to a new country is hard.   If you don't believe me, read an expat blog.   People want to cling to their original country.   Just as Americans in Australia today seek out grocery stores selling Lucky Charms and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups;  the British who sailed to Australia wanted European stuff that would make them feel like they were at home.     

They introduced animals and plants to Australia that did not belong there.   This wreaked havoc on the Australian fauna and flora.   And that caused major problems for the Koori.

Their whole way of life was totally messed up.

If that wasn't bad enough, there was the whole Smallpox thing going on.

Kooris died and if they didn't die, they were killed.  If they weren't killed, they were forced off the lands.

No, life wasn't sweet for the Kooris of the South Coast in the 19th century.  

Paradise Lost.

Paradise VERY lost.

Governor Macquarie announced that he was going to force the Koori off the lands. Those who stayed would be captured as prisoners of war. An explorer/settler named Charles Throsby in Wollongong wrote a letter defending the Aborigines.

In 1822, Governor Macquarie visited Illawarra for first time.  In this same year, Seth Hawker shot an Aboriginal woman and then watched as his dogs attacked her. He was arrested for murder but released because Aborigines were not allowed to testify.

An 1832 incident was a little more fair.   Joseph Berryman attacked some Koori in retaliation for killing his livestock. He was sent to jail.

In the 1870's, more of the white settlers started to show concern for the Koori.   

In 1889, A total of thirty-three aborigines were reported to be living in Wollogong area.  

In 1909-The Aborigines Protection Board Act is passed in NSW. This gives the state the power to remove Aboriginal children from their parents.   You know....the cultural superiority delusion is a complete bitch.

Today's population of Koori in Wollongong is 3100.   That's not bad.  It's good that the numbers are increasing.   

I'm now asking Lord Wiki for some information about Charles Throsby.   He seems like a pretty decent fellow.   Wiki says he was lost at some point (near Kangaroo Valley) and some Koori helped him out.   Is that why he was sympathetic towards them?  Or was he sympathetic towards them before that?    If one bad incident can turn someone against a whole race of people, can one good incident make someone become  an advocate for a group of people?