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Monday, March 29, 2010


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