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Aboriginal Occupation From “The Footsteps Echo” by Lynne Douthat

Posted by on February 27, 2012

Once large in numbers, they declined to lesser tribes or families by the 1840’s when Methodist Minister E. S. Parker discovered them.

Parker established an Aboriginal Mission at Jim Crow (Mt. Franklin)with comparative success.

Observers state that Parker was well meaning and laboured for the blacks. He preached to his charges in their native language.

After the Aboriginal Protectorate was abolished Parker stayed on at Jim Crow for many years as a magistrate working for the aboriginals.

Munangatum was Jajoweroung chief in the early 1840’s, he dealt with one of the early European settlers Hector Nonnan Simson.

Although Simson saw the aboriginals friendly to whites and despite his good relations with the tribes, he built a water tank under his house and fortress gates, just in case of accidents.

The Jajoweroung tribe had no major clashes with settlers and no shootings occurred. Many of the settlers reported the tribes as ‘half civil’, and were pleased that the tribespeople could be used as servants, stripping bark, washing sheep and digging potatoes.

A few known relics of Aboriginal occupation have survived the turbulent early days of the colony. Apart from collections of hand tools still in the possession of early Loddon River families, many relics have been lost. But the Rock wells near Maryborough, Carisbrook’s ceremonial stone arrangements and a few canoe trees remain as signs of aboriginal traditional territories.

The total aboriginal population of Victoria in 1861 according to Census returns of that year was 1694, being 1046 males and 648 females. The aboriginal population diminished yearly under the influence of white settlement.

By 1879 Chief of the Jajoweroung, “King Tommy” was the last survivor of the tribe to live in the natural state in his own locality.

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