Darumbal History

This photo taken in 1907 is of a group of Aboriginals who were “dispersed” from Rockhampton to the Barambah (now known as Cherbourg) Aboriginal Settlement, some 466 kms away from Rockhampton. These people were subject to the confines of “The Aboriginal Protection and Restrictions of the Sale of Opium Act 1897”. Unfortunately, these people are not identified. (Photo courtesy of John Oxley Library)

This photo taken in 1907 is of a group of Aboriginals who were “dispersed” from Rockhampton to the Barambah (now known as Cherbourg) Aboriginal Settlement, some 466 kms away. These people were subject to the confines of “The Aboriginal Protection and Restrictions of the Sale of Opium Act 1897”. Unfortunately, these people are not identified. (Photo courtesy of John Oxley Library)

Pre contact

King Billy was the last of the known Darumbal “Kings”.

In 1883 he had his image immortalised by JF Powell.

 

The image was sent to America to be used as an advertising medium for the Hammoquette Reclining Chair Company.

 

It was also to give the Americans an idea of what an Australian Aboriginal looked like.

 

King Billy’s breast plate was one of 3 photographed Darumbal King gorgets.

 

Photo is courtesy of the Rockhampton Historical District Society

 

The Darumbal people lived in harmony with their country. There were six clan groups which constituted the Darumbal Nation. These clans all lived within their own territorial boundaries they considered theirs. They would gather with other clans for ceremonial purposes and all shared a common language.

Contact

The European history associated with the Darumbal people began in 1853. With the arrival of European settlers in the region, some Darumbal were tolerated as fringe communities of the new settlements, but most were systematically removed to make way for pastoral development*. Central Queensland was the centre of activity for colonial warfare. The decimation of Darumbal people was a reflection of the relationship which existed between the Darumbal people and the “invaders”.

Post Contact Information

It was written that there were no more Darumbal people still alive. There are now over 1000 descendants of those who were here when colonial contact was made.

In 2007 Mt Wheeler was formally handed back to the Darumbal people by the Queensland Goverment. Mt Wheeler was given the Darumbal name of “Gawula”. Gawula was a well know meeting place for the Darumbal people before non-Indigenous contact.

In 2008, the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton formally acknowledged Rockhampton’s Indigenous heritage by unveiling a plaque at St Joseph’s Cathedral, recognising the land on which the Cathedral is built is on the homelands of the Darumbal people.

* Information sourced from Gumoo Woojabuddee Section Fact Sheets – Great Barrier Reef Marine Park »