A rural New South Wales hotel displays picture of an Aboriginal man's dead body spread out "like he was a trophy".
By
Madeline Hayman-Reber

Source:
NITV News
20 Aug 2019 - 5:17 PM  UPDATED 20 Aug 2019 - 6:25 PM

Musician and proud Dunghutti man Jimmy Kyle has taken to social media to make a complaint about a graphic picture of a dead Aboriginal man displayed in a New South Wales Hotel.

Mr Kyle was working in Singleton in regional New South Wales and had just checked into the Caledonian Hotel when he saw the picture of one of his family connections, Joe Governor.

Mr Governor and his brother Jimmy were fugitives and supposedly notorious bush-rangers in the late 1800s.

Joe was killed by two white settlers, as published in the Town and Country Journal on November 10, 1900, which also describes the incident as a "satisfactory event".

The Caledonian Hotel was the location of the inquest into Mr Governor's death and the photo on the wall depicts Mr Governor's dead body laid out on what appears to be a bed. 

NITV News has chosen not to publish the photo for cultural sensitivity reasons.

"I think commemorating this historical figure is one thing, but you wouldn't do that with Ned Kelly so I think it talks to the lack of empathy that people forget that we're human beings," Mr Kyle told NITV News.

After immediately checking out from the hotel, Mr Kyle made a complaint on the hotel's Facebook page.

"Paid for three nights, thought great what a lovely spot only to walk in and see a picture of an Aboriginal man who my family is connected to up on the wall," Mr Kyle wrote.

"This picture was disgusting, repugnant, insensitive and disrespectful. He was shot in the back and killed and his dead body was then spread out on display like he was an animal, like he was a trophy.

"This picture hung openly in the pub! So thoughtless at best, It’s 2019 not 1819. I can’t put into words how disgusted I am and what’s worse is no one else thought for a second it was inappropriate."

Mr Kyle added that even his non-Indigenous taxi driver, who transported him to his new accommodation, thought it was "tasteless and abhorrent".

"Show some bloody respect and smarten up. I’ll be following this up with the anti-discrimination board and the local Aboriginal representative groups. Out of respect I won’t post the picture," Mr Kyle said.

The Caledonian Hotel did not respond to Mr Kyle's public complaint, but later responded to him in a message to say he should "do a bit of research", and that they would "take it up with the local aboriginal [sic] leaders and ask their standing on the matter".

Upon approaching the the Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation, CEO Uncle Laurie Perry told NITV News he believed the Aboriginal community had a divided opinion on the issue.

"I think if [Mr Kyle] is related to Joe Governor, then he has every right to question the photo. But from my perspective, to me it tells what happened at that time and it will never happen again. It's history," Uncle Laurie Perry said.

He also said that the hotel previously had a kitchen named after the bush rangers, which closed "a few years ago" after allegedly receiving a slew of complaints.

NITV News reached out to the Caledonian Hotel for comment, but did not receive a response.

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