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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sarah and John Thomas Mawbey
c. 1875
Shirley, the daughter of Garnet Mawbey, one of the boys who survived the Mawbey massacre at Breelong in July 1900, sent me this photo of his parents and her grandparents [and my great grandparents], Sarah and John Thomas Mawbey.
A huge thank you Shirley!

The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 23 November 1900
John Thomas Mawbey, sworn, said he was a farmer living at Breelong, 36 miles east of Dubbo.
He was a married man and had nine children.
In July last, Miss Kerz and Miss Clark (his wife's sister) were living in his house.
Miss Kerz used to teach a school.
Near the house witness had his old house...
On the night of the murders he was sleeping at the old house.
In his new house he left his family.
His eldest son in the new house was 14 years old.
[After getting a message from his little boy, Bertie], he went direct to the new house.
There was a track and a creek to cross.
On the way, his boy called out, and running in that direction, he found his daughter Grace lying down and groaning.
He picked her up and took her into the house.
There was a cut right across her forehead.
He then went to help Miss Kerz who was lying on the other side of the track where his daughter had been. Miss Kerz was dead...
Witness then searched for his little daughter, Hilda, and found her in half an hour in the creek, 100 yards further on.
Hilda was between 11 and 12 years of age.
In the house, he found his wife and son Percy both lying on the floor.
 He thought they were dead.
Here was Miss Clark too.
She was in her bed injured.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, 23 July 1900
The deposition of Sarah Mawbey are as follows: "My" - "My name is Sarah Mawbey, I believe I am dying.
I know I am badly hurt.
Jimmy Governor hit me with a tomahawk;
I also saw Jackey.
He had a tomahawk.
I only saw two men.
I could hear more outside.
I could hear all of them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I spoke to another very special person today who has contacted me as a result of seeing this blog. I will not reveal this person's identity unless I am given permission.


This photograph (C) Pamela Mawbey 2010
Please acknowledge my copyright if reproduce.
Thomas Keneally
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972)
Whenever I've tried to tell people about Jimmy Governor, the part-Aboriginal man who brutally murdered my great grandmother and three of her children near Gilgandra in central west of NSW in 1900, they've looked at me blankly, like they've never heard of him.
But when I say by way of explanation - "Jimmy Blacksmith, you know, the guy in the movie, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith" - they straight away know who I am talking about.
It is a great pity in terms of Australian history that a fictional character is more well know than the real person on which the unreal one was based.
And that the name of the real character has been forgotten, virtually erased from popular memory.
Yet the story of Jimmy Governor is one of the most dramatic in the annals of Australian history.
Jimmy and his younger brother Joe were the last official outlaws in this country, with a price put on their heads for capture dead or alive.
Before he ran amok, Jimmy had talked about imitating Australia's best known outlaw, Ned Kelly, by derailing a train.
In the end what the two men had in common was that they both had Irish blood, took a final stand against what they saw as injustice, and were hanged in gaol.
After murdering my ancestors, Jimmy and his brother went on a killing spree of old men, women and children.
Yet in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, they are depicted as heroic victims of white society.
I am sure victimisation by white society had a role to play in what happened, but there was more to it than that.
Have a look at my JIMMY GOVERNOR FORENSIC blog at