NEW SOUTH WALES
WINDRADYNE'S GRAVE - BATHURST
A young aboriginal man called Windradyne, became well known to the white community in the early nineteenth century. He belonged to a clan called the Wiradjuri who occupied the land where Bathurst in New South Wales Now stands. European settlers first came to this lush pastoral area in 1812. By 1815 their numbers had increased dramatically. The whites had taken possession of almost all the arable land as well as the Watering Places. They showed little regard for the local Aboriginal People whose Lives they had disrupted. Aggression towards Aborigines increased month by month. Many settlers gave them food laced with poison or blatantly shot to kill whenever one or a group was sighted. Windradyne their young leader was captured in 1822 while attempting to rescue a small group of his People. They'd been unlawfully taken into custody. He was a tall, extremely strong man: It took six soldiers plus a blow from a musket breaking his ribs, before he was subdued. Once captured the authorities decided to make an example of him. (nothing's changed) He was kept in chains for a month despite protests from a few fair minded members of the white community. During his imprisonment other groups of settlers from the area continued to blatantly murder, torture, and terrorise his people. The white man's law offered no protection. Consequently, when Windradyne was finally released, he quickly organised and led a group of his men in a retaliatory raid. They planned to face up to a group of whites who were meeting one night at a place known as the 'Murdering hut'. It was so named because many of Windradyne's People had been taken there on previous occasions, subjected to all sorts of indecencies then murdered. Windradyne's raid was successful. Seven white men, the seven he had gone after, were killed. Significantly only those who were directly responsible for previous Aboriginal deaths were killed. Other white men were accosted but spared on that same night. Following this daring incident, official reprisals were swift in coming and extremely vicious. Martial Law was declared. The local soldiers police and settlers were given totally free rein; that is, they were given official permission to murder or maim every Aborigine they could find, with no questions asked. Most of the local men quickly began their brutal campaign and a reward was offered for the recapture of Windradyne. After witnessing this ruthless destruction of his people for several months, Windradyne; hoping to bring it to an end, finally came in to negotiate. His subsequent trial aroused much interest. Some settlers in the area had come to realise he was a proud and noble leader and organised such retaliatory action in a vain effort to defend his people. His trial was long and complicated. Some members of the white community argued forcefully he should be hanged; while others argued against it. Eventually he was pardoned. For Windradyne however there was no joy in this decision. By the Time he was released, most of his people were either murdered or driven from the area. He died shortly afterwards, dispirited and alone.