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Un Magazine 13.1

His legacy to the colony; their ongoing privilege

Dale Harding

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Artist statement, 2019

In October 1857, Aborigines attacked a sleeping homestead on the Dawson River, Queensland, and killed all the inhabitants except a young boy who was knocked unconscious and left for dead. After the raiders had gone, he escaped and raised the alarm. The subsequent white retribution, headed by William Fraser, the eldest son who had been away at the time, led to the decimation and dispersal of the Jiman people and some of their allies. As many as 300 may have died in retaliation for the deaths of eleven whites at Hornet Bank station.

The Jiman attack was largely in response to the indignities they had suffered in the ten years following white settlement in the Upper Dawson district. The taking of their lands, the deprivation of food supplies, the killing of hunting bands and the abuse of their women had become intolerable. And in 1857 the Jiman and neighbouring tribes decided to strike back with a campaign of terror beginning with a dawn raid on the isolated Hornet Bank Station. They almost succeeded.

Instead of trying to reach an accomodation with the Jiman, the whites set out to destroy them. Revenge led to counter-revenge until revenge became a tragic obsession.’

Gordon Reid, A Nest of Hornets, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1982.

Dale Harding was born in 1982 in Moranbah, Australia and is currently based in Brisbane, Australia. He is a descendent of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples of central Queensland. Working in a wide variety of media, Harding is recognised for works that explore the untold histories of his communities.

Dale Harding
His legacy to the colony; their ongoing privilege (2015)
Mixed media, 85 x 140 x 40 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane