More on my link to Flinders and Bungaree

By marriage, not directly — but directly in the case of my nephew Warren. See the previous post, where I mentioned that he would be posting some pics on Facebook. Here are some of them:

Warren at Yarralumla with then Governor-General Michael Jeffery. See Placenames Australia December 2004 (pdf).


Warren with partner Leonie and NSW Governor Marie Bashir. Relates to the 2004 story mentioned in the previous post.


The Matthew Flinders the Ultimate Voyage exhibition was presented at the State Library of New South Wales from 1 October 2001 to 13 January 2002 and then toured nationally. Warren had a part in it. I attended; it was very good.



Matthew Flinders rediscovered

Recently we had this interesting story, as told here by London blogger Stephen Liddell.


Matthew Flinders

Over the weekend I had a fascinating conversation with my nephew Warren who lives in Cooktown. It can be summed up in a comment he wrote on a Facebook post by a grand-nephew in Adelaide, Mitchell, whom I have never actually met.

I don’t know if you are aware or not, but you are a direct descendant of the Guringai nation through your father and directly descended from King Bungaree who circumnavigated Australia on the Investigator with Mathew Flinders and later again with Philip Parker King on the Mermaid. King Bungaree was the first individual to be called an Australian and the first Aboriginal person to be given a gorget. Your ancestral land extends from north head in Sydney to Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle. The Prime Minister’s residence is on our ancestral land. Our ancestors were the Broken Bay Clan. I have photos, birth and marriage records and blanket lists as well as other records all relating to our history and much more. Mate you are indigenous to this country.

See also my post How indigenous are you? and Warren’s own 2006 version at Family stories 4 — A Guringai Family Story. In the weekend conversation Warren confirmed that Sophy Bungaree — Warren’s direct ancestor on his mother’s side — was the daughter of Bungaree, as stated here.

Bungaree pictured in red colonial coat with black and gold details for hand-drawn portrait.

Do read Keith Vincent Smith, Bungaree. See also Bungaree was the first Australian to circumnavigate the continent, but he’s less well known than Matthew Flinders. Circumnavigated Australia TWICE in fact, which Flinders never did — or of course, James Cook, despite the impression left recently by our Prime Minister.

Not detracting at all from the achievements of Flinders — or Cook. On Flinders see Flinders Memorial.

Another topic in my conversation with Warren concerned the earlier (1804) version of Flinders’s famous map. This is the later version (1814):


See this 2004 news story The chart that put Australia on the map:

At 11.30am today in the Parkes Room of Parliament House, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, will present a chart to the president of the Legislative Council, Dr Meredith Burgmann. The chart is singularly plain: a simple, if meticulous, pen and ink rendition of the continent we call home.

Yet behind today’s ceremony lies a fascinating tale of two men, separated by two centuries. The first is Matthew Flinders, the explorer and map-maker who died in 1814, aged just 40. The second is Bill Fairbanks, 66, a company secretary from Wahroonga. What the two share is obsession. Flinders – born in Lincolnshire on March 16, 1774 – was obsessed with becoming the first man to circumnavigate the continent (a mission he achieved on June 9, 1803 when his ship, Investigator, limped back into Sydney harbour).

As for Fairbanks, he is obsessed with reminding us that 2004 is the 200th anniversary of an emotional moment in our history, the first time the name “Australia” was ever used on a map….

Warren was at a presentation earlier in Canberra involving the Governor-General and three descendants of Flinders —  great-great-great granddaughters Martha, Rachel and Susannah.

Just spoke to Warren by phone. He may be sending me pics of that occasion.

In the Herald story State Librarian Paul Brunton noted:

Flinders began drawing his chart in the middle of 1804 after being imprisoned by the French on Mauritius on his way home to Britain.

The Englishman had arrived on the island the previous December, and had been promptly arrested as a spy. He spent the next 6 years detained on Mauritius, despite his eagerness to get back to London to share his discoveries with the world.

By August 1804, Flinders had completed his chart, the first time the continent that had been named New Holland or Terra Australis had ever been accurately depicted. Perhaps even more symbolically, he had clearly labelled his chart “Australia or Terra Australis” – the first time, literally, Australia had been put on the map.

Yet despite its emotional significance, says Brunton, the 1804 map has never achieved the public acclaim it deserves….

More from John Hunter’s journal

See Australian Dictionary of Biography.

On 2 October 1788 Hunter sailed in the Sirius for the Cape of Good Hope to lay in stocks of grain to replace that lost on the voyage from England and because of the failure of the first harvest; he was also to take on supplies for the medical department. On his return to the colony on 8 May 1789, having circumnavigated the globe, he resumed his former duties as magistrate and as a surveyor of the rivers and harbours in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson, and on 13 February 1790 his sketch of the Hawkesbury River was sent to London. Next month the governor had to record the disastrous loss of the Sirius under Hunter’s command off Norfolk Island on 19 February. This was a very heavy blow to the colony, which was on short rations, but the Norfolk Island roadstead was always dangerous. Hunter took advantage of his enforced stay of eleven months on the island to make a detailed survey there, and in his dispatch of 1 March 1791 Phillip recorded Hunter’s suggestions in favour of an alternative landing place at Cascade Bay. This was the third shipwreck in which Hunter had been involved, and the first of two for which, in accordance with naval regulations, he was court-martialled as commanding officer; in both cases he was honourably acquitted of all blame.


Now to Hunter’s journal May 1789-January 1790:

As soon as the ship was secured, I went on shore to wait on the governor, whom I found in good health; he was sitting by the fire, drinking tea with a few friends; among whom I observed a native man of this country, who was decently cloathed, and seemed to be as much at his ease at the tea-table as any person there; he managed his cup and saucer as well, as though he had been long accustomed to such entertainment.

This man was taken from his friends, by force, by Lieutenant Ball, of the Supply, and Lieutenant George Johnston, of the marines, who were sent down the harbour with two boats for that purpose; the governor having found that no encouragement he could give the natives, would dispose them to visit the settlement of their own accord: this method he had therefore determined upon, to get one man into his possession, who, by kind treatment, might hereafter be the means of disposing his countrymen to place more confidence in us. This man, whose name was Ara-ba-noo, was taken, as I have already said, by force, and in the following manner.

After having been a short time in conversation with some of the gentlemen, one of the seamen, who had been previously directed, threw a rope round his neck, and dragged him in a moment down to the boat; his cries brought a number of his friends into the skirts of the wood, from whence they threw many lances, but without effect. The terror this poor wretch suffered, can better be conceived than expressed; he believed he was to be immediately murdered; but, upon the officers coming into the boat, they removed the rope from his neck to his leg, and treated him with so much kindness, that he became a little more chearful.

He was for some time after his arrival at the governor’s house, ornamented with an iron shackle about his leg, to prevent his being able to effect his escape with ease; this he was taught to consider as bang-ally, which is the name given in their language to every decoration; and he might well believe it a compliment paid to him, because it was no uncommon thing for him to see several (of the most worthless of the convicts, who had merited punishment) every day shackled like him; the cause of which he could not of course understand. However, he was very soon reconciled to his situation, by the very kind treatment he received from every person about him, and the iron growing uneasy, it was taken off, and he was allowed to go where he pleased.

He very soon learnt the names of the different gentlemen who took notice of him, and when I was made acquainted with him, he learnt mine, which he never forgot, but expressed great desire to come on board my nowee; which is their expression for a boat or other vessel upon the water.

The day after I came in, the governor and his family did me the honour to dine on board, when I was also favoured with the company of Ara-ba-noo, whom I found to be a very good natured talkative fellow; he was about thirty years of age, and tolerably well looked.

I expressed, when at the governor’s, much surprize, at not having seen a single native on the shore, or a canoe as we came up in the ship; the reason of which I could not comprehend, until I was informed that the small-pox had made its appearance, a few months ago, amongst these unfortunate creatures…

See Arabanoo and Smallpox epidemic.

And in 1788….

No comment. Just read! Available on Project Gutenberg.

A Few days after my arrival with the transports in Port Jackson, I set off with a six oared boat and a small boat, intending to make as good a survey of the harbour as circumstances would admit: I took to my assistance Mr. Bradley, the first lieutenant, Mr. Keltie, the master, and a young gentleman of the quarter-deck.

During the time we were employed on this service, we had frequent meetings with different parties of the natives, whom we found at this time very numerous; a circumstance which I confess I was a little surprized to find, after what had been said of them in the voyage of the Endeavour; for I think it is observed in the account of that voyage, that at Botany-bay they had seen very few of the natives, and that they appeared a very stupid race of people, who were void of curiosity. We saw them in considerable numbers, and they appeared to us to be a very lively and inquisitive race; they are a straight, thin, but well made people, rather small in their limbs, but very active; they examined with the greatest attention, and expressed the utmost astonishment, at the different covering we had on; for they certainly considered our cloaths as so many different skins, and the hat as a part of the head: they were pleased with such trifles as we had to give them, and always appeared chearful and in good humour: they danced and sung with us, and imitated our words and motions, as we did theirs. They generally appeared armed with a lance, and a short stick which assists in throwing it: this stick is about three feet long, is flattened on one side, has a hook of wood at one end, and a flat shell, let into a split in the stick at the other end, and fastened with gum; upon the flat side of this stick the lance is laid, in the upper end of which is a small hole, into which the point of the hook of the throwing stick is fixed; this retains the lance on the flat side of the stick; then poising the lance, thus fixed, in one hand, with the fore-finger and thumb over it, to prevent its falling off side-ways, at the same time holding fast the throwing-stick, they discharge it with considerable force, and in a very good direction, to the distance of about sixty or seventy yards*. Their lances are in general about ten feet long: the shell at one end of the throwing-stick is intended for sharpening the point of the lance, and for various other uses. I have seen these weapons frequently thrown, and think that a man upon his guard may with much ease, either parry, or avoid them, although it must be owned they fly with astonishing velocity.

While employed on the survey of the harbour, we were one morning early, in the upper part of it, and at a considerable distance from the ship, going to land, in order to ascertain a few angles, when we were a little surprized to find the natives here in greater numbers than we had ever seen them before in any other place: we naturally conjectured from their numbers, that they might be those who inhabited the coves in the lower part of the harbour, and who, upon our arrival, had been so much alarmed at our appearance, as to have judged it necessary to retire farther up; they appeared very hostile, a great many armed men appeared upon the shore wherever we approached it, and, in a threatening manner, seemed to insist upon our not presuming to land….


See also Grace Karskens, Governor Phillip and the Eora: governing race relations in the colony of New South Wales.

So Australia Day is coming up again…

And I am so over the recycling that happens every year — which is a cue of course to recycle myself!

2017 for example: Australia Day: I like it. And there I link to 2014: Anniversary Day/Survival Day

Some things are not new: Edward Palmer (1842-1899) was a conservative Queensland politician, squatter and public servant. In his Early Days in North Queensland (available from Project Gutenberg) he wrote:

The treatment of the native races has always been a difficult question. Whenever new districts were settled, the blacks had to move on to make room; the result was war between the races. The white race were the aggressors, as they were the invaders of the blacks’ hunting territory.

Yes, the INVASION word! But he went on to rationalise thus:

The pioneers cannot be condemned for taking the law into their own hands and defending themselves in the only way open to them, for the blacks own no law themselves but the law of might…. The vices and diseases of the white race have been far more fatal to the blacks than the rifles of the pioneers, more particularly when they were allowed about the towns, where they always exhibit the worst traits of their character, becoming miserable creatures, useless for any purpose, and an eyesore to everyone. Those employed on stations as stockriders and horse-hunters become very useful and clever at the business…

I don’t have a problem with recognising the 26 January 1788 event — can walk and chew gum at the same time! It is BOTH a solemn day of reflection AND a day to celebrate the achievements of all Australians. And as I said in 2014:

I was there that day and joined all these people in their march. 26 years ago on the 26th!


26 January 1988 – image by the great Michael Riley

But none of us are going anywhere, are we?

There may be a time in the future when we have an opportunity to forge a new national day, free of the ambivalence that accompanies Australia Day. But for now, January 26 is it. Let’s use it as an occasion to celebrate our achievements and reflect on the things that we share as Australians.

Let’s also use it to ask whether our country is living up to the best of its traditions. In the words of one patriot, ”My country, right or wrong: if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

See also my 2012 post  There is a land where summer skies…  Some earlier Australia Day posts: 20072008 – 12008 – 22009 – 12009: 22009 – 320102011 – 12011 – 22011 – 32011 – 42011 – 52011 – 62011 – 7; the page series Being Australian2012 photo blog; 2013 – 12013 — 2.

This year I will be reprising a pleasant day at Mount Kembla with my cousin Helen and her husband Jim. See the 2016 version at Australia Day at Mount Kembla.