Blacks Camp | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Blacks Camp

Item details

Name of item: Blacks Camp
Other name/s: Black's Camp, The Spring Flats
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Aboriginal
Category: Occupational site
Location: Lat: -32.5608855648 Long: 148.9770947910
Primary address: University Road, Wellington, NSW 2820
Parish: Wellington
County: Wellington
Local govt. area: Wellington
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Wellington
Hectares (approx): 8.5
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT7017 DP1020743
PART LOT337 DP728783
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
University RoadWellingtonWellingtonWellingtonWellingtonPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA)State Government 

Statement of significance:

Blacks Camp is the earliest remembered Aboriginal camp in the Wellington area. The former camp site is part of a sequence of post contact Aboriginal settlements in Wellington, where Wiradjuri People lived segregated from the town's people. The site has the potential, through archaeological relics and deposits, to provide information and insight into the demographics, living conditions, social organisation and cultural practices of Aboriginal people living in the Wellington area in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Blacks Camp is significant to the Aboriginal community because the site tells part of the story of what became of the Wiradjuri People following the arrival of non-Aboriginal settlers in the Wellington Valley and the loss of Wiradjuri traditional lands. The former camp site is also significant to the local Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal burial ground and for its two traditional Aboriginal sites (a scarred tree and shell midden).
Date significance updated: 02 Feb 10
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

Physical description: Blacks Camp is an archaeological site approximately 21 acres in size. The former camp site is located above the river crossing near Wellington, where Falls Road runs into the river at Nanima Falls. Blacks Camp is situated on land identified as Portion 74 of the Parish of Wellington, County of Wellington. There are no above ground structures, associated with the Aboriginal camp, on the site.

Today, part of the former camp site is occupied by a research station, operated by the University of New South Wales. The remainder of the site (approximately 65%) is vacant land. Structures associated with the research station include: a caretakers residence, above ground tanks, a number of sheds and adjacent to the house is a stock yard. A field at the southern end of the site is used for cultivation purposes.

(Source: Blacks Camp Nomination Form by Lee Thurlow; Wiradjuri Places by Peter Kabaila; verbal comments from University of New South Wales caretaker Peter Grahame April 2011)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
A relatively small portion of the site (approximately 25 to 30%) has been subject to cropping and the site has also been subjected to river floods. Today, there are no standing structures associated with the Aboriginal camp on the subject site but building materials and artefacts, left behind by former residents, are scattered across the site.

(Source: Verbal comments from Lee Thurlow author of the SHR nomination form 2010)
Date condition updated:14 Dec 09
Modifications and dates: During the 1960s or 1970s a residence for the research station's caretaker was built on the site. Above ground tanks and a number of sheds have also been erected on the site. The southern end of the site has been used for cropping purposes. A small number of electricity poles are present on the site.

(Source: verbal comments from Lee Thurlow, author of the SHR nomination form 2010; verbal comments from the University of New South Wales' caretaker Peter Grahame April 2011)
Further information: Under Commonwealth native title legislation a claim has been made by the Wiradjuri People for a broad land area in the Wellington district and this claim is likely to include Blacks Camp. Under NSW native title legislation a claim has been made by the Wiradjuri People for the subject lots. This claim has not yet been resolved. The above advice was received from John Gibbins Department of Lands on 11/01/10.

The title documents indicate that the land is gazetted as a reserve.
Current use: Vacant land/agricultural land/residential
Former use: Post-contact Aboriginal occupation site

History

Historical notes: Aboriginal People of the Wellington Area
At the time of European settlement, the Wellington area was occupied by a group of Wiradjuri speakers. Wiradjuri designates the people of the land of three rivers; the Wambool (now the Macquarie River), the Kalare (now the Lachlan River) and the Murrumbidjeri (Murrumbridgee River). Wiradjuri territorial lands are thought to have extended from the Great Dividing Range in the east and were bordered by the Macquarie, Lachlan and Murrunbidgee Rivers. Evidence of the occupation of the Wellington area by the Wiradjuri in pre-contact times survives in the form rock shelters with deposits, a carved tree, scarred trees, open camp sites, grinding grooves sites and bora (ceremonial) grounds.

European settlement in the Wellington area commenced with the establishment of a convict agricultural station in 1823. By 1839 most of the frontage of the Macquarie River was taken up by squatters, and the first land holders in the Wellington Valley area date from the 1830s. As European settlement in the Wellington area intensified, the Wiradjuri were increasingly driven off their traditional lands. The Wiradjuri moved to a series of missions and camps around Wellington including: The Wellington Valley Mission, Apsley Mission, Blake's Fall Mission (also known as Apsley Mission), Blacks Camp, Wellington Town Common Camp and Nanima Reserve.

Blacks Camp
Blacks Camp was a riverside Aboriginal camp that appears to have been a remnant part of Rev. William Watson's privately run mission known as the Blake's Fall Mission. Rev. Watson and his wife Ann arrived in Wellington Valley in 1832 as part of a mission team sent by the London based Church Missionary Society to bring Christianity to the Wiradjuri People. A mission was established at the site of the former convict agricultural station in Wellington Valley.

Rev. Watson's policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families led to bitter confrontations between the Rev. Watson and other missionaries at the Wellington Mission. In circa 1839 Watson was dismissed by the Church Missionary Society. Watson and his wife left the mission along with a small group of Wiradjuri People and established a private mission, known as Apsley Mission, just outside the boundary of the Wellington Valley Mission site.

Approximately eight years after establishing Apsley Mission, Rev. Watson, his wife Ann and their small Aboriginal community of about thirty individuals, moved to a new site on the bank of the Macquarie River (portion 97 and portion 303 of the Parish of Wellington). Rev. Watson call the new site Apsley Mission, but it was also known as the Blake's Fall Mission.

Blacks Camp was situated on approximately 21 acres of land adjacent to the site of Blake's Fall Mission. The camp, which was located approximately 1km north of the mission, is the earliest known Aboriginal camp in the Wellington district. The date the camp was established is not known but it is likely that Wiradjuri People were camping at the site during the period the mission was in operation. According to Wiradjuri elders, some of the residents at the camp came from outside the Wellington district, including women and children who survived a massacre in the Rylstone area. Blacks Camp continued to be used as an occupation site by the Wellington Aboriginal population after the mission site was sold to the Offner family and run as a dairy in circa 1866.

A profile of the camp's inhabitants in the early 20th Century can be obtained from the 1908 application by Aboriginal families for a school. At the time the application was submitted, the population of the camp was about ninety people in fourteen households. Of the ninety or so residents, sixty of these were children, forty of whom were aged between four to fifteen. A few years later (circa 1910) the camp was inspected by the local Council's Sanitary Inspector. The Inspector reported that Blacks Camp comprised eighteen huts sheltering around eighty persons. In one three-roomed hut the inspector noted that as many as thirteen people lived and slept in the hut and he stated that other huts in the camp accommodated similar numbers. The inspector also noted in his report that a number of the camp's occupants suffered from lung troubles and several of the camp's residents had died from consumption.

In 1910 residents at the camp were relocated to the newly established Nanima Reserve, although it appears that a residual population remained at the camp site until circa 1940s. Today there are no standing structures on the site but building materials and artefacts left behind by former residents are scattered across the former camp site.

Oral testimony from Wiradjuri elders states that Blacks Camp contains burial sites. There are no headstones remaining to indicate the location of the graves. The camp site is thought to contain fourteen grave sites relating to the Dawkins, Goolagoon, Gotch, Holland, King, May, Mickey, Nolan, Riley, Stanley, Stewart and Wighton families as well as other families of Wellington and surrounding districts. In addition to the grave sites, the former camp site also contains two traditional Aboriginal sites: a scarred tree (NPWS 36-4-0077); and a shell midden.

Comparative Analysis
As various areas in the State were settled by non-Aboriginal people, Aboriginal people were moved off their traditional lands. Displaced Aboriginal communities established camps on vacant land and reserves on the fringes of newly established settlements. Blacks Camp is one of two 19th Century Aboriginal camps known to have been established in the Wellington area.

(Sources: Blacks Camp Nomination Form by Lee Thurlow; Blacks' Camp to 1910 by Lee Thurlow; Archaeological Assessment of Wellington Valley Settlement Site by Anne Bickford; Aboriginal People at Wellington by Barbara Le Maistre; They Came to a Valley: Wellington NSW by D. McDonald;; "Binjang" or the Second Vale of Tempe: The Frontier at Wellington Valley, NSW 1817-1851 by David Roberts; Maynggu Ganai Historic Site by Griffin nrm Pty Ltd; Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment for Area known as 'Blacks Camp' Wellington Working Farm Project University of NSW; Wiradjuri Places: The Macquarie River Basin by Peter Kabaila; Draft Wellington Thematic History by Terry Kass; Oral Testmony from Wiradjuri elders Joyce Williams and Violet Carr 2011)

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 - living in camps-
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 Living on the fringes without formal occupancy-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Blacks Camp is the earliest remembered Aboriginal camp in the Wellington area. The former camp site is part of a sequence of post contact Aboriginal settlements in Wellington, where the Wiradjuri People lived segregated from the town's people. The site is associated with the displacement, dispossession and social isolation experienced by Wiradjuri community following the arrival of non-Aboriginal settlers.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Blacks Camp was a post-contact occupation site for Wiradjuri People displaced from their traditional lands. The site was occupied by members of the Wellington Aboriginal community from at least the early 19th Century through to the 1940s. The Camp was also a place of refuge for Wiradjuri people from outside the Wellington area, including survivors of a massacre in the Rylstone area.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Blacks Camp is significant to the Aboriginal community, because the site tells part of the story of what became of the Wiradjuri People following the arrival of non-Aboriginal settlers in the Wellington Valley and the loss of Wiradjuri traditional lands. The former camp site is also significant to the local Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal burial ground and for its two traditional Aboriginal sites (a scarred tree and shell midden).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The site has the potential to provide, through archaeological relics and deposits, information and insight into the demographics, living conditions, social organisation and cultural practices of Aboriginal people living in the Wellington area in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The story of Blacks Camp, as a post-contact occupation site for Aboriginal people, is representative of the economic and social circumstances that many Aboriginal people found themselves in following the arrival of non-Aboriginal settlers.
Integrity/Intactness: There are no above ground structures present on the site. The site has been subjected to flooding and a section of the site has been cropped.
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 workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions SCHEDULE "C"
Exemptions:
1. Excavation of disturbance of land of the kind specified below does not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, provided that the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that the criteria in (a), (b) or (c) have been met and the person proposing to undertake the excavation or disturbance of the land has received a notice advising that the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that:

(a) an archaeological assessment, zoning plan or management plan has been prepared in accordance with Guidelines published by the Heritage Council of NSW which indicates that any relics in the land are unlikely to have State or local heritage significance; or

(b) disturbance of land will have a minor impact on archaeological relics including the testing of land to verify the existence of relics without destroying or removing them; or

(c) a statement describing the proposed excavation demonstrates that evidence relating to the history or nature of the site, such as its level of disturbance indicates that site has little or no archaeological research potential.

Reason/ comments:Should archaeological relics, deposits or burials be uncovered during excavation work, all work must cease in the immediate area. A suitably qualified archaeologist must be contacted to assess the archaeology and the Heritage Branch should be contacted immediately.
1. Excavation of disturbance of land of the kind specified below does not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, provided that the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that the criteria in (a), (b) or (c) have been met and the person proposing to undertake the excavation or disturbance of the land has received a notice advising that the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that:

(a) an archaeological assessment, zoning plan or management plan has been prepared in accordance with Guidelines published by the Heritage Council of NSW which indicates that any relics in the land are unlikely to have State or local heritage significance; or

(b) disturbance of land will have a minor impact on archaeological relics including the testing of land to verify the existence of relics without destroying or removing them; or

(c) a statement describing the proposed excavation demonstrates that evidence relating to the history or nature of the site, such as its level of disturbance indicates that site has little or no archaeological research potential.

2. Excavation or disturbance of land of the kind specified below does not require approval under subsection 57(1) of the Act:

(a) the excavation or disturbance of land is for the purpose of exposing underground utility services infrastructure which occurs within an existing service trench and will not affect any other relics;

(b) the excavation or disturbance of land is to carry out inspections or emergency maintenance or repair on underground utility services and due care is taken to avoid effects on any other relics;

(c) the excavation or disturbance of land is to maintain, repair, or replace underground utility services to buildings which will not affect any other relics;

(d) the excavation or disturbance of land is to maintain or repair the foundations of an existing building which will not affect any associated relics;

(e) the excavation or disturbance of land is to expose survey marks for use in conducting a land survey.

A person proposing to excavate or disturb land in the manner described in paragraph 1 must write to the Chief Executive Officer and describe the proposed excavation or disturbance of land and set out why it satisfies the criteria set out in paragraph 1. If the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that the proposed development meets the criteria set out in paragraph 1 (a), (b) or (c) the Chief Executive Officer shall notify the applicant

3. Fire management (in accordance with relevant fire management plans), pest management activities and vegetation management.
Such activities may include: controlled burning, weed and feral animal/insect eradication, tree pruning and removal of dangerous trees.
The stumps of dangerous trees are to left in situ or ground down.
The above exemption excludes animal and insect eradication activities that require excavation.

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

4. Repair, maintenance and upgrading of existing infrastructure (excluding buildings) provided such works do not affect fabric of heritage significance or significant archaeology.

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

5. Repair and maintenance of buildings provided such works do not affect fabric of heritage significance or significant archaeology.

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

6. Cultivation activities (teaching or research purposes only), in areas previously disturbed by such works.
Excavation of the land should not exceed that associated with the previous agricultural land use.

Reason/ comments:Should archaeological relics, deposits or burials be uncovered during excavation work, all work must cease in the immediate area A suitably qualified archaeologist must be contacted to assess the archaeology and the Heritage Branch should be contacted immediately.
Nov 18 2001
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.
Nov 18 2011

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0186518 Nov 11 1116085
Heritage study  29 Mar 05   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Wellington Community Based Heritage Study2004SHI 2640529Wellington Council  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnne Bickford1998Archaeological Assessment of Part of Wellington Valley Settlement Site
WrittenBarbara Le Maistre1993Aboriginal People at Wellington
WrittenD. I. McDonald1968They Came to A Valley: Wellington NSW
WrittenDavid Andrew Roberts2000"Binjang" or the Second Vale of Tempe: The Frontier at Wellington Valley, NSW 1817-1851
WrittenGriffin nrm Pty Ltd2004Maynggu ganai Historic Site Wellington Valley 1823-1844: draft conservation management plan
WrittenLee Thurlow2008Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment for Area known as 'Blacks Camp' (Wellington Working Farm Project) University of NSW
WrittenLee Thurlow2005Blacks Camp SHR Nomination Form
WrittenLee Thurlow2001Wiradjuri Tribes and Clans of the Wellington Valley 1817 to 1910
WrittenLee Thurlow1996Black's Camp to 1910
WrittenPeter Kabaila1998Wiradjuri Places: The Macquarie River Basin
WrittenRobert Porter1906History of Wellington: a record of the growth of the town and district
WrittenTerry Kass2001Wellington Thematic History (Draft)

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: 5056670
File number: H06/00026-001 & 10/02205


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