Whitefella Contact Story
Severe conflict with Aboriginal people throughout Australia in the early days of European settlement has been well documented. The Wardaman people were well regarded for their resistance. Here Yidumduma Bill Harney shares a story with Ernie Dingo, passed on to him by the Elders around the campfires as he was growing up. Segment used with permission from CAAMA Productions series Talking Languages with Ernie Dingo.
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Well this...where I am standing,
I'm going tell you some important story.
This where the many Aborigine lived in this country here.
It's Muy Muy. This where all the Aborigine lived with many bush yam,
porcupine (echidna), kangaroo and so forth.
And later, that all the white people come in here,
first explorer, back in 1800 or sometime.
They saw many Aborigine here and they said,
"We don't want them anyway, we have to get rid of them".
And they rode up with the horses and start firing the shot up to the hill to the pocket.
Then of course, when they was firing the shot at them,
the Aborigine was up to the top of the hill
and they start throwing the spear at those people at the same time.
Then, later on, one of the blokes threw the spear
and hit the horses and a horse fell over.
Then, the (white) bloke picked up the Chinaman cook,
put him on the back of the horse
and galloped away with him and all the others went with him.
And they packed up and everything and went.
And all the Aborigine come down,
sneaked up to have a look,
if they're still there, they seen nobody around.
And they said, "They're all gone."
Ernie: HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Well, it was them old people was telling us, they're parents,
with all our great-grand-parents,
they're the ones that speared (fought) from 1700 up, all the way up to 1800...
All the way. But they still survive here,
with the language group all the Wardaman, different languages.
Ernie: SO, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN...SPOKEN FIRST OF ALL IN LANGUAGE, TO TELL ALL THE MOB THAT STORY
Yeah, everything was language, they told all of us with the language,
the whole lot.
Ernie: AND WARDAMAN LANGUAGE?
Yeah, Wardaman language...
And later on we picked it up and we come together with the English then,
put it together...