Yarri and Jacky

For today's wide Wednesday challenge of history, I was determined to represent a lesser known aspect, the least acknowledged of which is the history of the Aboriginal people.

The Sydney area has a number of sites containing rock art, engravings, middens and other evidence of habitation by Australia's first nations people going back some 60,000 years. However, given the 5km radius beyond which due to lockdown we should not venture I couldn't find anything to photograph for what I wanted to do for today's blip. Note that within these constraints there are still plenty of monuments glorifying dead white men and other aspects of post colonial history.

This photo is reproduced from one I took in November 2020 when we were in Gundagai NSW, the site of what remains one of Australia's greatest natural disasters. In 1852 a severe drought broke with torrential rain breaking the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, destroying the Gundagai township. Prior to the rains the Aboriginal inhabitants warned residents to leave their homes for higher ground but their advice went unheeded, as was their advice not to build on low ground in the first place. Consequently at least 79 of the town's 250 residents drowned. The death toll would have been much higher were it not for four Aboriginal men who rescued an estimated 68 people in their bark canoes. Only the names of two of the men are known, Yarri and Jacky, and the bronze statue in the photo, made by the sculptor Darien Pullen, was unveiled in the main street of Gundagai in 2017, the 165th anniversary of the Great Flood.

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