Grave of Windradyne | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Grave of Windradyne

Item details

Name of item: Grave of Windradyne
Other name/s: Windradyne's Grave
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Aboriginal
Category: Burial
Location: Lat: -33.3271160693 Long: 149.6099831290
Primary address: Brucedale, 1361 Sofala Road, Sofala, NSW 2795
Parish: Peel
County: Roxburgh
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Bathurst
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART PORTION 12DP755787
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Brucedale, 1361 Sofala RoadSofalaBathurst RegionalPeelRoxburghPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private 

Statement of significance:

The site of Windradynes Grave is a site of State significance. Windradyne was a warrior of the Wiradjuri people and a leader during the frontier war period. During the frontier war his family was massacred and he declared war on the settlers. He was given a traditional burial with all his weapons and his grave was marked with carved trees and it is recognised to by the Bathurst Historical society when in 1955 they erected a plaque in Windradynes honour and is revered as special Wiradjuri warrior by the Wiradjuri people today, as well as being representative of cultural contact with the relationship between Windradyne and the Suttor family settlers of Bathurst.
Date significance updated: 28 Jun 04
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Wiradjuri people
Builder/Maker: Wiradjuri people
Construction years: 1835-1835
Physical description: Grave site is located in a paddock on "Brucedale' property, in the northwest corner with protective fencing that has been provided by NPWS. Within the curtilage there are remains of 2 grave sites, the other which is unknown. In front of Windradyne's grave a stone pillar has been placed with a plaque and a stone axe head placed in the centre. A scatter of new trees has been planted within a diamond shape within the fencing. There are no remains of the several carved trees that have been noted within the reference material.
Modifications and dates: 2000 Voluntary conservation works undertaken by NPWS consisting of a boundary fence around the grave sites
Current use: Grave site
Former use: Grave Site

History

Historical notes: Windradyne was a warrior and a leader of the Wiradjuri near Bathurst. He established the friendly relations with William Suttor, whose father George crossed the Blue Mountains in 1822 and took up land that he named 'Brucedale'. During the frontier wars Windradynes family was massacred and he declared war on the settlers. William Suttor learnt the local Wiradjuri dialect, and speaking with Windradyne he was able to defuse the situation at Brucedale homestead. The two men remained friends, and when Windradyne died he was buried on Brucedale. The grave was marked by Bathurst Historical Society in 1955, and continues to be revered by local Wiradjuri, who have recently planted trees around the grave in a traditional diamond pattern (Jopson 2002).

Windradyne, typical of all Wiradjuri Kooris, was a very handsome, well-proportioned young man. He was dark brown in colour, with thick black curly hair held back by a head band. He wore his long beard plaited into three sections. He was powerfully built, with broad shoulders and muscular arms and legs. Windradyne was a great hunter and a fierce warrior and because of his great fighting ability he was recognised throughout the area as a warrior leader.

The first invader into Wiradjuri country was Evans in November 1813.

The first attack, led by Windradyne occurred early in 1822. The residents of Bathurst were outraged that black men actually attacked stockmen and killed stock. They demand military assistance to protect them from the wild natives. A party of Redcoats was despatched by Major Morisset to bring in as many prisoners as possible to teach these blacks a lesson. Windradyne learnt of the soldier's plans and to stop the murder of many of his people he walked bravely out to meet them before the soldiers reached his camping area. The Redcoats on see Windradyne, quickly pounced on him, but so great was Windradynes strength that the only way the six soldiers could hold him was to break a musket over his ribs. Windradyne was then chained and taken into Bathurst. The Sydney Gazette quoted Windradynes capture on 8 January 1824. Taken into Bathurst in chains, Windradyne for his exploits was sentenced to a month's imprisonment. Saturday was the name given by the Whites to Windradyne.

For Windradyne, the breaking point came in May 1824 at Kelso. While his family was passing a potato garden on the river flats opposite the settlement, the settler offered them potatoes which they gladly accepted. The following morning whilst passing the same garden they helped themselves to the potatoes, but this time the settler gathered several neighbours and ran towards Windradyne and the others firing their guns. The settlers' attack surprised Windradyne. It had caught him off guard with no time to react. As the shots rang out, Windradyne saw his family killed by the white men. The Wiradjuri people were willing to share their land and expected others to share with them. They let the settler grow his crops. But this man shared his potatoes one day and the next day killed Koori's for taking what they had previously been offered.

To see his family, his loved ones, shot down in front of him was more than he could take. It was the last straw, he would take no more of the white man's cruelty against his people. He would avenge his family and his brothers and sisters under Wiradjuri law.

All the Wiradjuri people gather together and Windradyne told his elders he would meet force with force. He asked his people to support and join him, to strike back against the white men, to let them feel the rage of the Wiradjuri people. The warriors prepared themselves, they painted the faces, thighs and ribs with ochre, marked their shields and boomerangs with symbols of their own totems. At night the warriors, led by Windradyne, started out on their campaign for justice. The first white man the warriors came upon was a man called Suttor who on occasions had been a friend to the Koori people and had treated them with respect. Suttor's son gives an account of this meeting.

"The blacks were troublesome at Bathurst in those days, the cause very frequently was their ill-treatment by the whites ..No wonder reprisals took place. Our hut was one day surrounded by a large party of blacks, fully equipped for war, under the leadership of their great fierce chief and warrior, named by the whites 'Saturday'. There was no means of resistance so my father, then a lad of eighteen years, met them fearlessly at the door. He spoke to them in their own language in such a manner as not to let them suppose he anticipated any evil from them.

They stood there, sullen, silent, motionless. My father's cheerful courage and friendly tone disarmed animosity. They consulted in an undertone, and departed as suddenly and noiselessly as they came. The next thing known of them is that they killed (was it not just retribution?) all the men at a settler's place some miles distant, the very place where it was rumoured, the poisoned bread had been laid for them. This place is called the 'Murdering Hut' to this day ..They never molested man or beast of my father's. He had proved himself their friend on previous occasions but if at this time he had shown mistrust or hostility they would certainly have killed him."

Windradyne could have easily taken Suttor's life that night but he spared him. Suttor had never committed acts of murder against the Wiradjuri people. The warriors were not carrying out the same type of indiscriminate killings the whites did. They were only interested in paying back those whites who had murdered their people. The Wiradjuri warriors were not cold-blooded killers under Wiradjuri law. The attack Suttor mentioned occurred at Millah-Murrah and it happened on 24 May 1824.

Windradyne and his warriors silently surrounded the hut of Samuel Terry, a man who had laid poisoned dampers out. Terry had also built his hut on there Burbung ground. The warriors attacked Terry and his men before they knew what hit them. Terry was speared six times by the Wiradjuri warriors and his hut burnt to the ground. They killed the sheep and cattle.

Windradyne sent his runners out into the surrounding districts with news of what was happening in the Bathurst region. The Wiradjuri people in the surrounding districts knew their brothers and sisters need their help and together they would fight to help drive their mutual enemy from the land. Warriors from the surrounding districts came to help Windradyne. Soon 600 warriors had joined Windradyne. With 'Old Bull' from the south and 'Blucher' from the northwest and Windradyne they sat in a council of war to plan their next attack against the invaders.

Windradyne would go directly to the government, for it was the custom for the Governor to issue invitations to all kooris to assemble at the marketplace in Parramatta at the end of each year to attend a feast, supposedly in their honour.

Windradyne gathered his surviving people and together they travelled over 194 kilometres in Parramatta on 28 December 1824. He walked into the gathering and his arrival caused great commotion. He walked tall and proud with the words 'peace' on his hat. He knew the soldiers were unable to touch him because of the number of koori people there who had attended the feast. If the soldiers tried to take him it would have caused a riot, right on the doorstep of the Governor.

Windradyne announced he wished to see the Governor, Windradyne tried to end the slaughter of his people by going to Governor to make 'friends' - make friends with people who had invaded his lands, had stolen his country and in cold blood had slaughtered hundreds of his people, make friends with this cruel race of people who think of nothing but their greed. In a dispatch to Earl Bathurst, Governor Brisbane reported that:

"I am most happy to have it in my power to report to Your Lordship that Saturday their great and most warlike chieftain, has been with me to receive his pardon, and that he with most of this tribe, attended the Annual Conference.

Windradyne died in 1835 after being wounded in a fight. He was taken to the Bathurst District Hospital but it was too much for Windradyne to be shut up inside again. He tore away the bandages and returned to his people, camping on the property which had become known as Brucedale. He died when gangrene set into his wounds.

Windradyne was given a Wiradjuri burial by his people at sunrise. He was placed sitting up facing the rising sun, wrapped in his possum skin cloak with all his weapons beside him. There was great mourning at the passing of their mighty warrior and many kooris gathered to farewell Windradyne. Several trees were carved at mark out the grave. These trees were meant as a living memorial to the dead and the kooris did not return to the place of his burial until twelve months passed. (Coe, Mary - Windradyne A Wiradjuri Koorie)

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. Wiradjuri Nation - marking places of burial-
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. Wiradjuri Nation - defending the land-
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 - place of first contact between Aboriginal and European 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. Windradyne Nation occupation sites-
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 - places of battle or other early interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Burying the dead in customary ways-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Burying and remembering notable persons-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Windradyne is associated with the frontier war and his grave is still reverend by local Wiradjuri people today. It is also significant as a contact story between local Wiradjuri and the Suttor family.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Windradyne is associated with a significant event in Australia's settlement, the frontier war and his grave is still reverened by the local Wiradjuri people today. It is also significant as a contact sotry between local Wiradjuri and the Suttor family.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Windradyne is associated with Wiradjuri nation. His grave is still recognised and respected by Aboriginal especially Wiradjuri today as a warrior.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Windradynes Grave provides information on the Frontier war wagered between Aboriginal groups and settlers in Western NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Windradynes Grave is a good example of contemporary Aboriginal burial site. It is also one of the only burials of a warrior that is marked in Wiradjuri country.
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

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0171410 Mar 06 321348

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAdell Hyslop, Samira Boney and Bronwyn Hanna (Heritage Office)2004Site Visit
WrittenMary Coe1989Windradyne A Wiradjuri Koorie

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5051560
File number: H04/00179


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