Colebee and Nurragingy Land Grant | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Colebee and Nurragingy Land Grant

Item details

Name of item: Colebee and Nurragingy Land Grant
Other name/s: Colebee and Nurragingy's Land Grant, Colebee Release Area, 773, 777, 783 Richmond Road
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Aboriginal
Category: Post-contact Site
Location: Lat: -33.7256204042 Long: 150.8485806690
Primary address: Richmond Road, Colebee, NSW 2761
Parish: Gidley
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Blacktown
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT30 DP1076671
LOT32 DP1076671
LOT41 DP1100854
PART LOT101 DP1109052
PART LOT30 DP1204396
LOT86 DP752030
LOT9 DP976148
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Richmond RoadColebeeBlacktownGidleyCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Roads and Maritime ServicesState Government05 Jul 11

Statement of significance:

The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is a site of state heritage significance because of its combination of historical, social and cultural values. The site was the first land grant ever given to Aboriginal people in Australia. The land grant is associated with two significant Aboriginal figures from the early colonial period-Nurragingy and Colebee-to whom the land was jointly granted in 1816. The location of the land grant is significant because it was an Aboriginal choice, being on land belonging to Nurragingy's clan. The land grant is valued by the contemporary Aboriginal community and the wider Australian community as a landmark in the history of cross-cultural engagement in Australia. For Aboriginal people, in particular, it represents a key historical site symbolising Aboriginal resilience and enduring links to the land (Godden, Mackay, Logan, 2010)
Date significance updated: 25 Jan 11
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Physical description: The site of the Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is today predominantly undeveloped rural land. The land grant is bounded by Richmond Road along its western side and is surrounded by rural land parcels to the east and south. Immediately north of the site is an industrial complex. The subject site retains a rural character, although some residences have been constructed along the Richmond Road frontage. The land grant is bisected by Bells Creek, which runs in a north-easterly direction. The site retains remnant vegetation across its eastern half and along Bells Creek, while clearing has had a greater effect across the western half of the property, towards Richmond Road.

(Source: Nomination Form prepared by Godden, Mackay Logan October 2010; Six Viewer LPMA http://imagery.maps.nsw.gov.au)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
A historical archaeological assessment conducted by ERM in 2003 registered Colebee and Nurragingy's land grant on the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System as a Potential Archaeological Deposit (PAD) - Contact Site. The site listing notes that while the area contains no physical evidence of Colebee's house or associated fencing or structures, the area of the original land grant is designated as a PAD because the following items are historically documented as having been constructed within the land grant:

-a bark and log hut with a chimney
-gardens
-fencing
-domestic structures such as sheds and animal enclosures
-vegetable patches
-crops

The listing also states that there is some potential for the study area to contain evidence of Aboriginal camps which date to 1819 to 1823 and prior to this time.

A PAD has also been registered by Navin Officer Heritage Consultants. The area is considered to have moderate potential to contain subsurface archaeological deposits. This PAD is located on either side of Bells Creek between the creek and Richmond Road and a track into a dirt bike track. The registered area is outside the original land grant however, according to Navin Officer Heritage Consultants it is likely that the PAD extends along the length of Bells Creek .

(Source: Nomination form prepared by Godden, Mackay, Logan October 2010; Information received from Navin Officer Heritage Consultants 28/03/2011)
Date condition updated:01 Dec 04
Modifications and dates: Residential development has occurred on the Richmond Road frontage of Lot 30 DP1076671, Lot 86 DP752030 and Lot 9 DP976148.
Further information: The subject site encompasses four of the nine lot attributed to Maria Locke's subdivision of the Colebee and Williams land grants dated 1884. The four lots that comprise the original grant are located at the north end of the 60 acres owned by the Lock family.
Current use: Rural residential and pasture land
Former use: Agriculture

History

Historical notes: The history of the Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant must be understood within the context of the early colonial history of Sydney. The spread of colonial settlement from Sydney Harbour to the western plains occurred quite rapidly within the first 15 years of European arrival in Australia. As British settlers took up allotments, their farmlands expanded to the west across traditional Aboriginal hunting grounds. With this increasing European presence, traditional Aboriginal resources were subsumed and conflict inevitably developed. Conflict between the two communiites was particularly prevalent during periods of drought.

A period of drought between 1814-1816 resulted in the escalation of violence between settlers and local Aboriginal people, particularly along the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers. When the local Aboriginal people found their traditional food resources gone, they utilised the settlers crops and animals that had replaced them. However, the European settlers, seeing this as theft, often shot Aboriginal people, resulting in subsequent reprisals and violence.

In April 1816 Governor Macquarie responded to the violence by ordering a punitive expedition. Groups of soldiers were sent from Sydney to Cowpastures, the Appin, Parramatta and Windsor districts and along the banks of the Nepean. Governor Macquarie directed the soliders to capture or kill Aboriginal people involved in the disputes with settlers. A number of Aboriginal guides accompanied these parties, including Colebee and Nurragingy.

Following the punitive expedition of 1816, Macquarie presented Nurragingy with a breastplate inscribed 'Chief of the South Creek Tribe' and, in recognition of their involvement in the punitive expeditions, jointly granted Colebee and Nurragingy 30 acres of land. This was the first such grant to be issued to Aboriginal people in Australia's history. The grant was registered in 1819, but was only registered in Colebee's name. Colebee did not stay long on the grant but Nurragingy stayed there growing various crops and practising animal husbandry.

The location of the land grant was significant because it was an Aboriginal choice, being on land belonging to Nurragingy's clan. The land also included sites such as 'Iron Bark Range' which was a high campsite well above the flooding of eastern creek and a source of silcrete. Archaeological surveys of the Blacktown (and specifically Plumpton Ridge) area have recorded a range of evidence in this area. The area became a centre of Aboriginal life during this early phase of colonisation.

After the passing of Colebee and Nurragingy, the land was claimed by 1843 by two of Nurragingy's sons and Colebee's younger sister, Maria Locke. Maria, a student at the Parramatta Native Institution from 1815, married Robert Locke, a convict from Norfolk, England, in 1824. As the original land grant had been registered in Colebee's name only, the land was passed to Maria, and Maria and Robert along with their ten children took up residence on the land grant. Some time later they also acquired the 30 acre grant to the south that had originally been granted to Sylvanus Williams and had been purchased by the Native Institution in 1822. Maria Locke died in 1878 and was outlived by nine of her children. Following her death, the 60 acres was divided into nine lots for her nine surviving children.

The Locke family lived on the property until around 1917 when the Aborigines Protection Board acquired the land. The Aboriginal Protection Board sold the land off after World War II. When Mr Walter Locke attempted to reclaim the land in 1970 he was informed by authorities that this was not possible, because the family had left the land. In the late 1970s local Blacktown author Kevin Moore wrote a series of pamphlets in which he called this resumption of the land grant 'a scandalous malversion of Macquarie's grant for the use of the Aborigines'.

In the late 1970s Lots 1 and 2 of Maria Locke's subdivision were purchased by the NSW Planning and Environment Commission, and in 1980 by the Commissioner for Main Roads. In 2003, a small portion of the land fronting Richmond Road was required for road widening. This included part of Lots 1 and 2 of Maria Locke's subdivision. The land resumed for road widening was referred to as Lots 14 to 18 in DP 1048332. In 2006, a further strip of land adjacent to Lots 14 to 17 DP 1048332, was resumed for road widening. This strip of land was resumed from Lots 1, 2 and 3 of Maria Locke's subdivision and is referred to as Lot 51 DP 1104950 (Godden, Mackay, Logan, 2010).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. All nations - controlling dispossesed peoples-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Daruk nation - sites of first contact or early interaction with colonisers-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Expressing lines of early grant allotments-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Aaron Muron Bolot, architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
For Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people the Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is an important landmark in the history of black and white relations in Australia. The site represents the earliest attempts of Aboriginal people to engage with and to establish their autonomy within European society.

The land grant was the first to be issued to Aboriginal people, and thus reflects a colonial policy asserting the belief that Aboriginal people did not own their traditional lands but that they should be granted land by the government of the time. In this way, the government policy behind the issuing of the land grant can be viewed as a genesis of the later Aboriginal land rights struggle in Australia.

The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is also associated with the nearby Blacktown Native Institution, being the place where many Aboriginal families camped to be near to their children within the institution. Therefore the land grant also represents parents' refusals to accept separation from their children by remaining on land nearby. The land grant is significant as a symbol of the persistence of Aboriginal traditions, especially kinship ties and attachment to place.

(Source: Nomination form prepared by Godden, Mackay, Logan October 2010)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is strongly associated with Colebee and Nurragingy, two key historical Aboriginal figures, as well as Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who issued the land grant in 1816. As a part of the Black Town it is also associated with the Aboriginal people who formed a community around this area, which has persisted to the present day.

Both Colebee and Nurragingy feature within the early colonial history of western Sydney, participating in Macquarie's punitive expeditions and being the first Aboriginal people to be granted land. Nurragingy selected the location of the land grant, choosing land within his traditional clan territory. This settlement became a centre for Aboriginal life in the early colonial period and thus influenced the siting of the nearby Blacktown Native Institution.

The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is associated with Governor Lachlan Macquarie, reflecting the outcomes of Macquarie's policy towards Indigenous people. The land grant reflects Governor and Mrs Macquarie's concern for the Indigenous inhabitants of the colony and their philanthropic objectives, featuring the beliefs that Aboriginal people should be segregated from the corrupting influence of European society.

The land grant is also strongly associated with the Locke family. Maria Locke was the first pupil of the Parramatta Native Institution to be judged a 'success' by Europeans. Maria married ex-convict Robert Locke in 1824. Their marriage was the first officially sanctioned union between a convict and an Aboriginal woman. After Nurragingy's death Maria petitioned Governor Darling for the Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant. Her claim was successful and the Locke family took up residence on the grant.

(Source: Nomination form prepared by Godden, Mackay, Logan October 2010; Maria Lock - Australian Dictionary of Biography http:adbonline.anu.edu.au)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant does not possess qualities which meet this criterion of State significance.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
For the Aboriginal community the site represents Aboriginal peoples survival following colonialism and the damage inflicted upon their society by colonial dispossession. The site provides a link with the early Aboriginal settlement at Blacktown and specifically to Colebee and Nurragingy.

(Source: Nomination form prepared by Godden, Mackay, Logan October 2010)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has the potential to contain archaeological relics and deposits that could provide information (that may not be available from other sources) about the nature, extend and experience of Aboriginal occupation of the land grant during the early contact period. Archaeological remains could contribute to a better understanding of the spatial occupation and use of the land grant by Colebee, Nurragingy and their families, as well as others who may have occupied the site during the period. Potential archaeological remains associated with the Colebee and Nurragingy land grant may include historically documented domestic features, including a bark and log hut with a chimney, as well as associated rural features and structures (e.g. gardens, fencing, sheds, animal enclosures and evidence of former vegetable patches and crops). There is some potential for the site to contain evidence of Aboriginal camps which date to 1819-1823 and prior to this time, as well as Aboriginal burials.

(Source: Nomination form Godden, Mackay, Logan October 2010)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant is the first land granted to Aboriginal people in Australia's history. The site is rare in its direct connection to several prominent Aboriginal historical figures, Colebee and Nurragingy.

(Source: Nomination form prepared by Godden, Mckay Logan October 2010)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant does not possess qualities which meet this criterion.
Integrity/Intactness: The land grant retains much of its original natural setting and character, with remnant vegetation surviving along Bells Creek and across the eastern side of the property. The site has undergone some clearing and modification associated with the construction of houses and other buildings along the Richmond Road frontage; some sections of Bells Creek appear to have been modified to facilitate water flow. The creek and its setting serve as a visible feature within the site, retaining links with the former landscape and helping the land grant to retain some of its original integrity.

(Source: Nomination prepared by Godden, Mackay, Logan October 2010)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions SCHEDULE C

The following exemptions apply to land parcels included in the Colebee-Nurragingy Land Grant SHR item.

Exemptions
---------------------
1. All activity carried out in accordance with section 57(1) of the Heritage Act, including the development, construction, alteration, maintenance and sub division of the land subject to :

(a) Excavations or disturbance of land being carried out in accordance with an Archaeological Management Plans prepared on behalf of the owners as part of any approvals for the projects (and conditions of consent) issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979; and
(b) Development having regard to any assessments prepared on behalf of the onwers as part of any approvals for the projects (and conditions of consent) issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 with regard to Aboriginal, historic, natural heritage or archaeology.

Reason/ comments
-----------------------------
Should archaeological relics or deposits be uncovered during excavation work, all work must cease in the immediate area. A suitably qualified and experienced archaeologist must be contacted to assess the archaeology and the Heritage Branch should be informed immediately.

Exemptions (as amended in Government Gazette 100, Page 413, 28 Sept 2012)
---------------------
The following exemptions apply to the Richmond Road upgrade and the future Castlereagh Freeway (Lot 41 DP1100854, Lot 101 DP 1109052, Lot 32 DP 1076671).

1. All activity carried out in accordance with section 57(1) of the Heritage Act, including the development, construction, alteration and maintenance of the Richmond Road upgrade and the future Castlereagh Freeway subject to :

(a) Excavations or disturbance of land being carried out in accordance with an Archaeological Management Plans prepared on behalf of the RTA as part of any approvals for the projects (and conditions of consent) issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979; and
(b) Development having regard to any assessments prepared on behalf of the RTA as part of any approvals for the projects (and conditions of consent) issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 with regard to Aboriginal, historic, natural heritage or archaeology.


Reason/ comments
-----------------------------
Should archaeological relics or deposits be uncovered during excavation work, all work must cease in the immediate area. A suitably qualified and experienced archaeologist must be contacted to assess the archaeology and the Heritage Branch should be informed immediately.
Feb 10 2012

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0187710 Feb 12 18405 & 406
Heritage Act - Nomination Lapsed     
Register of the National Estate     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Other 2011Six Viewer Land and Property Management Authority View detail
Written 2011Maria Lock - Australian Dictionary Biography View detail
WrittenGodden, Mackay, Logan Pty Ltd2010Colebee/Nurragingy Land Grant Nomination
WrittenJane Lydon2005'Men in Black' The Blacktown Native Institution and the Origins of the 'Stolen Generations,' in Object Lessons: Archaeology and Heritage in Australia edited by j. Lydon and T. Ireland
WrittenJane Lydon and Tracy Ireland for Godden, Mackay, Logan Pty Ltd2004Blacktown Native Institution Draft Conservation Management Plan
WrittenKelleher Nightingale Consulting Pty Ltd2009Marsden Park Industrial Precinct: Aboriginal Heritage Assessment
WrittenM. Hinkson2001Aboriginal Sydney: A guide to important places of the past and present
WrittenV. Attenbrow2002Sydney's Aboriginal Past: Investigating the Archaeological and Historical Records

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5056189
File number: 11/01496 & H04/00324


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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