This Friday in Parramatta, a ceremony will begin to remember our great warrior Pemulwuy. The fire ceremony will begin at 5pm in King Alfred Park, Parramatta. The commemoration will continue throughout the weekend, with workshops to be held on Sovereignty & multiculturalism; Sovereignty & Constitutional Recognition; Birth rights not Native Title and G20 Planning & discussions.
Pemulwuy was a warrior and resistance leader whose people were the first to encounter and then resist the British colonialist occupation of this land. Pemulwuy was born near what was later named Botany Bay.
In March 1797 Pemulwuy led a raid on the government farm at Toongabbie. The colonists formed a punitive party and tracked him to the outskirts of Parramatta. He was wounded, receiving seven pieces of buckshot in his head and body. He was taken to the hospital and restrained in leg irons. He was expected to die from his injuries. The next morning he had vanished leaving behind his leg irons.
On 1 May, 1801 Governor King issued a government and general order that Aborigines near Parramatta, Georges River and Prospect could be shot on sight, and in November a proclamation outlawed Pemulwuy and offered a reward for his death or capture.
Pemulwuy was shot dead on 1 June 1802. George Suttor described the subsequent events: ‘his head was cut off, which was, I believe, sent to England’. On 5 June Governor King wrote to Sir Joseph Banks that although he regarded Pemulwuy as ‘a terrible pest to the colony, he was a brave and independent character’. He further wrote: ‘Understanding that the possession of a New Hollander’s head is among the desiderata, I have put it in spirits and forwarded it by the Speedy’. His head has not been found in an English repository to date and its return is an outstanding issue for all First Nations people.
“We want to honour Pemulwuy in Sydney and would like to see many warriors black and white people come and celebrate the life and strength of this man who defended his family and friends against the invaders. We have neglected him long enough they cant shoot us any more or force us on to missions be brave not brain washed in shame”, said Kooma man and First Nations sovereignty campaigner, Wayne Wharton.
“What was one of the most important events in our society before colonisation? Ceremonies people, nation would come to show their respect and their loyalty to each other, it brought more shame and dishonour if you didn’t participate. Our nations fought many wars against each other, but none were over land. We used to run this continent before, what made it so was the governance our nations agreed to up hold a governance that was based on respect, honour, loyalty, rights and responsibility.
“These created social order that enabled peace, happiness and freedom to be. We as our own people from our own nations have the opportunity to put this back together – that is education black fella 101. Sovereignty is not given it is practiced”.
For more information or interviews phone:
Richard Green 0447 018 336
Wayne Wharton 0408 064 900