Friday, May 13, 2011


There are many tragic aspects to the Jimmy Governor story, including what happened to him.
He was good looking and athletic, talkative and sociable and worked for his own keep instead of relying on the government for food rations.
Young white women found him very attractive and Ethel was not the only one to fall pregnant to him out of wedlock.
What I find particularly touching is his tendency to spontaneously burst into song.
It suggests he was an emotional, passionate man, ruled more by his heart than his head.
On the steamer bringing him from Taree to Sydney for his murder trial, he was singing Scottish songs, 'Bonnie Mary of Argyle' and 'Annie Laurie'.
And while he was in gaol he was singing what his goaler called 'native songs'.
It's a pity more information about them was not recorded.
This may have helped determine what 'tribe' he was from.
A journalist on the steamer who reported the songs Jimmy was singing, also said he was a heavy smoker and good at four-handed euchre (card game).
He was very chatty and open, but also had 'a quiet reserve which seems to be natural to him'.
The reporter said:
The outlaw has no trace in his speech of the usual dialect of the Aboriginal.
His language is just the same as that of any white Australian, native-born or of English descent.
His grammar is not, of course, of the most elegant description, but his only dialect is the dialect of the average bush labourer.
He is a master of the latest slang terms and freely uses 'flash' talk and slang in his conversation.
He never says he ran away.
He always 'slithered'.
'Slithered' is a favourite words of his.
Jimmy's totemic animal, the goanna (large lizard), would also have 'slithered'.
The journalist also observed that Jimmy did not seem at all anxious to hide a single detail of his days during the period in which his name was a terror to thousands.