In Search of Ngurabirding-Part 4 (a)

 

John McKail and George Cheyne: from the Swan River to The Ship Inn, Cape Riche and Eticup

 

Flinders chart -cut

 

In the continuing search for Ngurabirding we complete the background to John Maher’s 1854 arrival at Albany with a look at the activities, enterprises and connections of the disputatious pair John McKail and George Cheyne. These two figures headed-up influential family groups which ran maritime related businesses in the town while seeking to exploit land-based potential outside it and through their stories we gain a deeper understanding of how things were at Albany during this time.

I’ve covered much of George Cheyne’s background already so will only include what’s relevant here. Go to George Cheyne and the South Coast Fishery for information on the Cheyne family presence at Albany, including both George’s direct relatives as well as his wife Grizzel (Grace) Melville’s. For more on how the cash-starved Cheyne managed to claim Cape Riche from under the nose of the surveyor Henry Ommaney read George Cheyne and the Quest for Cape Riche.

In this post we also explore the working class elements of Albany society in the years leading up to the establishment of the Convict Hiring Depot in 1851. This element comprised sealers, whalers and town labourers, including a handful of well-known Menang men who interacted with the moneyed settlers by way of employment and by frequenting some of their more notorious drinking establishments. Continue reading

In Search of Ngurabirding – Part 3

Moorilup

 

In our search for Ngurabirding we are building  background to the arrival of his father, Ticket-of-leave man John Maher, in the Albany area during 1854. Maher took up work as a farm labourer or shepherd on one of the Spencer sheep runs closer to Mount Barker, north of the main settlement. Last post we looked at settlement along the Hay River, which runs west and north of the town, by the family of Sir Richard and Lady Spencer. This post we keep one eye on the Spencer family while looking at the uptake of land on the other river which has its source close to Mount Barker, but which empties into the sea just east of the Sound. The Kalgan.

 

Moorilup Banner

 

Attracted by the hills that lay about its general path, there were various forays and excursions up the old French River from the outset. Major Lockyer even attempted to overland  to the Swan River following its northward course during his three month stay into the new year of 1827. But it wasn’t until four years later when the Kalgan‘s source was located about 40 miles upstream, near to the historic location of Kendenup.

Moorilup  was first set eyes upon in a European context by the settlement’s original non-military leader, Dr Alexander Collie, late in April 1831. Collie, who was only 18 months at the Sound, was led on this particular expedition by Mokare, charismatic front-man of the King Ya-nup.  Mokare and his brothers were very closely associated with each of the key European figures at the Albany settlement as they came and went, transferring their allegiance and friendship in an apparently seamless fashion until death took them over.

Collie was the last European leader Mokare would know.

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In Search of Ngurabirding – Part 2

The Hay River Brigade

 

Before we go on with the story of John Maher after the issuing of his Ticket-of-Leave, it’s important to look into what had already taken place at Albany relative to his arrival. This applies to the earliest period of free settlement and the story of the Spencer family, in particular, who first lived at the Old Farm – Strawberry Hill, within Albany, as well as at another farm close to the Hay River about twenty miles away.

 

Strawberry Hill Farm 001Above: Panoramic view of the Gardens at the Old Farm -Strawberry Hill as it is today. Note the Norfolk Pine standing tall in the rear to the right. Image courtesy federation-house.wikispaces.com Continue reading

In Search of Ngurabirding – Part 1

 

Resolving the identity of a man known as John Jack Maher helps tell the story of early European/Aboriginal integration inland from Albany. By following the threads we learn how Albany’s pioneer pastoralists merged with those from York in and around what later became the railway town of Katanning; most notably at a place called Eticup. Many shepherds and labourers employed by the pastoralists fathered children to Aboriginal women, angering their men, causing incidences of cross-cultural recrimination and violence. But what of those European men who engaged in this; mostly the convicts and Ticket-of-Leave men of the 1850’s and 1860’s? The story of their lives reveals backgrounds of deprivation and misery. What hope did they bring to their new opportunity and what chance of a fulfilling life did they and the result of their Indigenous unions really have?

 

Jack Maher, Bordenan and NgalanganAbove: The controversial photograph of John Jack Maher. The man here is either Johnny Maher the cricketer with his Aboriginal-descent wife Emily Maggs and daughter Maria Louisa, or he is Ngurabirding,  also known as John Jack Maher, husband to Waiman and father to Rachel as shown in the Bates genealogies. If the former, the photograph will have been taken around 1910 (as Maria Louisa was born 1901) putting Maher in his mid-40s. If the latter, the photo was probably taken in the 1890s when Maher was about thirty. Continue reading

Quartermaine Country

Originally Published  30 November 2015:

 

Warning: This post is concerned with Indigenous family history and carries the names of many deceased persons. Content addresses heritage relating to the Noongar branch of the Quartermaine family and by extension many others. Some assumptions may challenge existing beliefs. I should also point out that the Noongar branch of the Quartermaine clan shares the same paternal ancestry as the Non-Noongar branch and therefore this post may contain information sensitive to non-indigenous family members who are not familiar with the beginning West Australian generation.

 

For Daryl ‘Djaye’ Quartermaine – Born 21st January, 2014

Djaye in cap - Qrtrmne Country

 

New Noongar names and their often misty origins

 

History runs through the West Australian Quartermaine family wide and deep, as does the life blood of the old Aborigines. Like all Aboriginal families today, the story of the Noongar Quartermaines is one of rebirth and regeneration under an entirely new guise. Still mysterious and painful in many respects, it is now 140 years since the birth of  Grandfather Timothy Quartermaine at Yowangup homestead near Katanning, in Western Australia’s Central Great Southern region. The Quartermaine name is French in origin, became Anglicised via the Saxon raids of post Roman England, then turned Australian on the back of the great Colonial invasion. The story of the Noongar branch is central not only to the beginnings of Katanning town but to the story of the Perth-Albany Road, the Wheatbelt and Great Southern Railway. Also, to the stories of many other southern Noongar families who survived the 19th Century early settlement period only to face the social and economic abyss which lay beyond.

 

Untitled by Les QuartermaineAbove: ‘Untitled’ by Les Quartermaine and G.Q. Woods. The painting, which is in the Carrolup Style, was made on a cell wall in the old Fremantle Gaol in 1991. Author David Whish-Wilson commented on it in his acclaimed 2013 publication; Perth  Wilson said; “…the last time I saw it I was taken by surprise -tears flooded my eyes. It was a gloomy winter’s day and the cell was darker than usual, and yet the painting’s radiant light completely overwhelmed me.”  My experience when I first saw this painting in March 2013, though it was a bright warm day, was similar. It is hauntingly beautiful.

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