Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Jimmy Governor was under a lot of pressure from his own family, both immediate and extended, before he snapped and murdered five women and children at Breelong.
Firstly, he had four extra mouths to feed that had not been included in his original fencing contract with John Mawbey.
By inviting these additional Aboriginal men to stay with him, he had brought this difficulty onto himself.
Two of them, an old man and a young boy, would not have been able to contribute much to the job at hand.
They were probably offloaded onto Jimmy by his relatives who thought he was making money so he could support them.
As an Aboriginal man, he was obliged to do so.
Then there was Jacky Underwood with one eye missing and a limp who would not have been much good on the job either.
The only able-bodied male among the four was Jimmy's younger brother, Joe.
When Jimmy realised he could not feed the extra four mouths, he tried to push Mrs Mawbey into requesting government rations for the two full-bloods, Porter and Underwood.
They were entitled to these, but only if they were living on Aboriginal reserves.
Jimmy must have become angry with Mrs Mawbey when she refused because after this incident she told her husband she did not want the Aboriginal man coming to the house any more.
In hindsight, she had been warned of what was to come.
The biggest stumbling block for Jimmy was that he could not accept responsibility for his own actions.
It was his fault the four extra males were there, and that he could not support them, not the Mawbey's.
He had invited them to come.
It must have been lonely, living with his wife and small child in a lean-to beside a creek in the middle of nowhere.
He probably wanted some male company, and there may have been kinship obligations.
He either did not consider the consequences in terms of his fencing contract, or thought he could force the Mawbeys to accommodate his changed circumstances.
Secondly, there was Ethel, his wife, constantly complaining to him about being put down by the women at the house.
And about there not being enough food, not even the basics like flour and sugar.
If he had not invited the four men to stay with them, there would have been enough food.
He already knew that he and Ethel had been ridiculed by other people in both Gulgong and Dubbo because of their socially unacceptable inter-racial marriage.
And that the negative comments being made about it by the women at the house was nothing new.
He had been so mad about comments made about him and his white wife at the Gulgong show, he had complained to the police about it.
The female offender was made to have a retraction published in the local newspaper.
Thirdly, there was the criticism and rejection of some of his work by his employer.
All employers want the job done properly because they're paying for it.
Mr Mawbey would have been no different.
Ten percent of the 1,000 fence posts had not been cut to the right size.
Jimmy was digging the holes for the posts, so this must have been the fault of his fellow workers.
But his loyalty to them and his pride in his own workmanship made him defensive.
After bad experiences with previous employers, Jimmy was a ticking timebomb just waiting to explode.
What happened with his wife on the night of the murders - her badgering him about being a man or a mouse in his dealings with his employer - pulled the pin.