Sunday, February 15, 2015


I caught the second half of the movie based on the life Jimmy Governor, "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" on National Indigenous TV (NITV) last night.
When I first saw it after it first came out in 1978, I was shocked by the cruelty depicted in it.
I walked out when the fictional Jimmie's brother was brutally shot.
It had seemed to me at age 30 a dark and brooding angry film.

Last night I was impressed with all its positive features.
In particular the top class cinematography and music.
I also picked up on things I would not have noticed, or even known about, before.
Like the symbolism of rocks and tree branches and other motifs woven throughout the visual narrative.
There were lots of factual errors in the story, but the book written by Thomas Keneally, was always presented as a novel, as fiction, not fact.

The movie is free to watch on YouTube.
I'll get back to you with more commentary when I've had another look.

Meantime, I recommend the director Fred Schepisi consider relaunching the film on the Australian national cinema circuit.
The general viewing public is much more educated about Aboriginal culture now, and negative attitudes towards Aborigines have changed.
That's a huge step forward in less than 40 years since the film first appeared.
Schepisi deserves to recoup some of the $250,000 he invested in the film, all of which he lost.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Here are my six most popular posts on this blog, each with over 100 views.
Jimmy's murder victims 239
Jimmy Governor's hit list 184
John and Sarah Mawbey 179
Ripple effect of Governor's reign of terror 166
An Insider's Report 128
Links to Foley, Dixon, Donovan families 102

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


On 22 April 1842, an Irish-born axe murderer and serial killer, John Lynch, was hanged at Berrima Gaol.
I wonder if Jimmy Governor knew about him and was trying to outdo him?
Lynch was believed at the time to have murdered nine adults and children, but he confessed to 10.
He also, like Jimmy Governor, raped a young girl.
His alias was 'Dunleavy'.

Monday, July 8, 2013


On 20 July 2013 it will be 113 years since Jimmy Governor led a murderous attack on members of the NSW Mawbey family on their farm at Breelong.


This 1908 Coat of Arms for the City of Sydney is interesting.
It features images of the First Fleet used by the British government in 1788 to transport its first convicts to the penal colony of New South Wales.
An Aboriginal man and a British sailor stand on equal footing, but do the words of the motto, "I take, but I surrender", apply to both, or just the white man?
And what exactly does this mean?

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I have noticed in some of the books written about the Jimmy Governor story a left wing bias which explains why the white people who were murdered 'had it coming' and the black murders were their 'victims'.
The first book published on the subject was supposedly authored by Frank Clune, a tax accountant and travel writer.
But his ghost writer, the man who really authored his books, was a card-carrying Communist, Percy Reginald Stephensen.
The Queensland-born radical and political activist, had been one of the first members of the newly formed Communist Party in 1921.
He took on the Aboriginal cause when he was a student at Queensland University, turning the conservative newspaper on its head by giving it an Aboriginal name.
Unlike his fellow travellers today, he was a nationalist, not an internationalist.
He hated both business and businessmen, dismissing them contemptuously as 'bourgeosie'.
One of his contemporaries at Queensland University was another champion of the worker, 'Banjo' Paterson.
In 1924, Stephensen was made Queensland Rhodes Scholar and spent eight years in England, dabbling in publishing, including with Aleister Crowley, an exponent of the black arts.
During World War II, after his return to Australia, he was interned as an enemy alien.
John Mawbey
John Thomas Mawbey was born in August 1849 in harbourside Wooloomooloo, Sydney, and brought up in rural the fruit-growing district of Dural, to the north-west of the 'big smoke'.
His two elder brothers had died earlier as small boys, so he was effectively the eldest son of English-born emmigrants, George and Ann Mawbey, who had married in Sydney in 1838.
At the time of his birth, his father had just started working as the schoolmaster at the Church of England diocesan school at Dural.
John Thomas was baptised in the local Church of England, St Jude's.
At the end of 1860, when he was 11, the family moved back to Sydney, to the inner suburb of Newtown.
Two years later, when he was 13, his father died of a stroke leaving his mother with eight children between the ages of 17 years and three months to raise on her own.
When old enough to work, John Thomas was a carrier, transporting goods with a horse and cart, as was his younger brother, George.
He contributed some of the money he made to the fund to build St Stephen's Church of England at Camperdown.
When John Mawbey married Sarah Clarke in Mudgee in 1875, his occupation was a 'dealer', in other words, a businessman, someone who buys and sells goods.
He moved to Mudgee and ran a fruit shop there for about six years before taking up a selection of land at Breelong in 1884 when the old squatters' holdings were carved up for smaller farmers.