Tuesday, May 3, 2011


There is no doubt in my mind that Jimmy loved his young white wife, Ethel, or 'Mrs Jimmy Governor' or 'Mrs James Ethel Governor' as she was commonly known.
The prospect of her leaving him on the night of the Breelong murders made him want to die.
Ethel was probably the only person in his life who had truly made him feel good about himself.
She thought he was special and took pride in the fact that she had won his heart in competition with other girls.
And he had asked her to marry him.
No other man had done that.
Jimmy had shot through when faced with a previous shotgun marriage, but he was happy to stay with Ethel when she became pregnant out of wedlock.
He even dressed in white cricket clothes and borrowed a sulky for their wedding so they could marry in style.
But then their romantic bubble was soon burst by the pointed looks and remarks of the townsfolk who objected to the marriage of a white woman to a black man.
To them it was shocking, confronting, unacceptable.
Jimmy and Ethel were shunned, by both blacks and whites.
This was the tragedy of their times, as well as their relationship.
Their love match had no chance of succeeding under such negative public scrutiny.
I think they would have struggled to gain public acceptance today in certain quarters, even in these relatively racially enlightened times.
They would have been a source of curiousity, as have other Aboriginal men married to white women who have been written about in magazines in more recent times.