In Search of Ngurabirding-Part 4(b)

This post is continued from Part 4 (a) previous:
John McKail and George Cheyne: Town, Sea or Land?

 

albany-to-cape-riche-von-summer-1848Above: John McKail arrived at Albany immediately prior to the 19th Century’s great off-shore whaling boom (1836-1842), a phenomena which should have resulted in much greater migration of moneyed settlers to the area despite world-wide economic recession. But King George’s Sound was already a hard-sell being neither farming country nor flush with Colonial resources and it’s chances were halved again as it was left to languish in the shadow of Sir James Stirling’s beloved but deeply troubled Swan River settlement, Perth. Image:  King Georges Sound to Cape Riche  Survey by F. Von-Summer, 1848.

 

At Albany, George Cheyne escaped the self-serving clutches of Richard Spencer’s local governance by removing himself eastwards up the coast in order to take advantage of the shipping traffic, but the ex-garrison’s tiny population still improved by way of labouring class and small-time investment level immigrants. After Cheyne, Spencer, Sherratt and Symers, only one other man was persuaded to take a big-time investment plunge at Albany. Captain John Hassell did so from 1839 with the most Machiavellian of land-based assaults, thereby commencing the highly competitive South Coast pastoralist era, subject of the In Search of Ngurabirding sub-series. In the meantime, McKail’s sea-based heritage, modest means and exploitative trader mentality, along with his sizable persona and penchant for social discourse (pub-going), kept him focused on the settlement’s immediate facilities and short to medium-term prospects, the result of which came to serve him well.

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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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