Wednesday, May 11, 2011


It is said that the Governor family were of the Wiradjuri tribe, noted for its warriors.
They were once the biggest tribe in New South Wales with the town of Mudgee within its northern border.
The territory further north was occupied by the Kamilaroi, and it is to this tribe I am starting to suspect the Governor family belonged.
The Kamilaroi were the second biggest tribe.
Its people occupied the land around Singleton in the Upper Hunter Valley and further north around Tamworth.
They also were on the Barwon and Namoi Rivers, the places where Jimmy Governor's father, Tommy, claimed to have been born.
Jimmy's maternal grandmother was a Wonnarua woman from the Upper Hunter area.
My reasons for thinking this are:
1) When Jimmy and Joe were on the run from the law, they initially stayed within Kamilaroi territory.
One of the reports I have read about Jimmy's capture said that he could give all the details of the country he travelled through until after he left Cobark, east of the Barrington Tops and west of Gloucester.
This could have been because he was now out of familiar Kamilaroy country and in that of the Kuringgai people (see Fraser's map).
Jimmy would have been educated about his country during his initiation at puberty.
2) Being Kamilaroi could explain why the Governors, Tommy in particular, did not mix with other Aboriginals in the Gresford, Paterson and Vacy districts.
They would have been of a different tribe or tribes.
The territory around Gresford, Maitland and Dungog was that of the Kuring-gai people, a sub-group of the Wonnarua.
Tommy was said to have been downright aggressive towards some of them.
Maybe this had something to do with his wife Annie who was half Wonnurua and half white.
Maybe the full-blood Wonnurua rejected her because of this.
She was self-conscious of her red hair, inherited from her Irish maternal grandfather, and used to wear a hood to hide it.
3) It was observed that Jimmy used to carve the shape of an iguana (goanna) into the ground.
This has been taken as an indicator that he was Wira djuri.
But the Kamilaroy also had a goanna as a totem for one of its four 'skin' groups.
4) Jacky Underwood, the friend of Jimmy and Joe Governor, was born in the vicinity of Idaville Station near the town of Cassilis in Kamilaroy territory.
5) Mudgee was in Wiradjuri country, but Gulgong where the Governors lived, was on the other side of the ranges, in Kamilaroy country.