Friday, April 23, 2010


Reading about the brutal attacks on the Wiradjuri people by the white settlers and police in the Bathurst district in 1842 has helped me understand the psychological legacy carried by Jimmy Governor.
The whites had tried their hardest to annhilate his people after taking their land and its sources of food.
Unlike the whites, the Aboriginal people did not view the land in economic terms, as a means to make money and to get rich quick.
Their hearts and souls were intricately attached to it.
The land was their way of life.
The land was who they were.
But then as now, 'might' was 'right'.

I've been reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes (1987) and have gained some insights into something else Jimmy would have been up against: being perceived as second class citizen as a farm labourer.
Because all the work on country properties was done initially by assigned convicts, native born white men shunned agricultural work because they did not want to be associated with 'them'.
This was despite the fact that many of their parents would have been convicts - 'them'.
Agricultural work was generally viewed within the colony as degrading.
As a result, a stigma against farm workers developed and may have still been in existence in Jimmy's time.
I have the impression that it was hard for John Mawbey to find labour to work on his properties.

Hughes says that the native born white men were also very 'clannish' and committed to 'mateship and class solidarity'.
Jimmy would have been excluded from white male society by this cultural factor too.
And also by the English class system that put everyone in their place, and which had also been 'transported' to Australia.