Mokare’s Mob – Part 3

 Mokare and Captain Collet Barker

Our impression of life with the Aborigines at the garrison prior to the arrival of Captain Collet Barker can be compared to Scott Nind’s watercolours. From them we get a sense of place and time, but the landscapes Nind painted are unpeopled and vacant. In contrast, from the opening entry of Barker’s journal the story of day to day activity at the garrison explodes into life. In an instant we’re dropped smack-bang into the middle of a busy and highly unusual cross-cultural affair.

Nind - View of KGS Settlement from Mnt ClAbove: Another of Scot Nind’s technically accomplished watercolours from garrison era Albany. This view looks south-west from the lower slopes of Mount Clarence over the garrison and its cultivated surrounds to the harbour and Torndirrup National Park beyond. Image; View of Frederick Town, King Georges Sound, at the expiration of the first year of its settlement, Feby 7th 1828. Courtesy, Mitchell, Library, State Library of New South Wales.

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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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The Friendly Frontier Vrs The Not-So-Friendly Frontier

Originally Published 25 April 2014:

Albany Noongars Manyat and Gyallipert meet Yagan, leader of the Swan River Noongars, at Lake Monger, Perth, in 1833. The painting 'Yagan' is by the outstanding indigenous artist Julie Dowling. Julie Dowling Insight and Review

Albany Noongars Manyat and Gyallipert meet Yagan, leader of the Swan River Noongars, at Lake Monger, Perth, in 1833. The painting ‘Yagan’ is by the outstanding indigenous artist Julie Dowling. 

It’s well known that Albany’s indigenous engaged positively with the European newcomers from the time of permanent arrival (despite the hick-up) until about 1840. During the first decade as a free settlement relations between Albany’s two races continued in the same vein as that established by Lockyer, Nind, Barker, Nakinah and Mokare. This was for two reasons. First, the person of Alexander Collie could not have been more appropriate to the period of immediate post military reign. His compassion and humanity (as with Nind and Barker) transcended his position as leading official of the new, self-appointed regime. Had it been anyone else relations will probably have deteriorated sooner. The second reason was because hardly anyone came to King George’s Sound anyway.

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