• Wonnarua people are using the month of August for truth-telling about their history. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
From the execution of Jacky Jacky to a mounted police massacre of 18 people, the series illustrates the escalation of 19th-century frontier violence in the Hunter Valley.
Keira Jenkins

2 Aug 2021 - 5:51 PM  UPDATED 2 Aug 2021 - 5:51 PM

In 1826, Wonnarua man Galmahra, known as 'Jacky Jacky' to the colonists, was shot dead in police custody.

He'd been arrested over an alleged murder by Lieutenant Lowe from the New South Wales mounted police, and was executed without a trial.

In 1827, Lieutenant Lowe was charged with having his troops kill three Aboriginal people in custody, including 'Jacky Jacky'.

He was acquitted, despite having admitted to the killings.

Tasmanian path to treaty and truth-telling welcomed
The state government will consult with the palawa about a way forward for a truth-telling process and what a pathway to a treaty would consist of.

The Wonnarua man's story is one of many that illustrate the escalation of frontier violence in 19th-century Wonnarua Country, and in particular at Ravensworth Station. 

This month, Wonnarua people are releasing a series of videos alongside NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, aimed at truth-telling the history of their Country.

'Admitting to atrocities'

Wonnarua man and archaeologist Scott Franks told NITV News the videos aim to tell an "incredibly important" but rarely acknowledged part of history in the Hunter Valley.

"(Jacky Jacky) was essentially rounded up, accused of a crime he certainly didn't commit and effectively had his brains blown out," he said.

"Even after it was confirmed he wasn't (the murderer).

"And... it was just shrugged off as a native who didn't have a right to be on his own traditional lands. It's appalling."

Mr Franks said while these truths may be uncomfortable for some, and are emotional for his people to tell, it is important for our future as a nation to know and accept them.

"...if we're going to ever survive, and to have reconciliation, we've got to accept what happened," he said.

"It's not about shaking hands and having a cup of tea, it's about admitting to the atrocities that happened."

Mine threatens massacre sites

The truth-telling campaign has been born out of the Wonnarua people's frustration with the expansion of a Glencore coal mine.

The expansion of the miner's Glendell Coal Mine would threaten the Ravenworth Station, where Mr Franks said between 20-30 Aboriginal people were killed during frontier violence, including Jacky Jacky.

The Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People has lodged a Section 10 application to the Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, hoping to protect the area under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protection Act.

They are now awaiting a decision.

In the meantime Mr Franks said he hopes Australians can learn some of the true histories of the Hunter Valley through the video series, and that the area is protected from development.

"We haven't said the mine needs to go away - we don't want to put people out of jobs - we've said it needs to go underground," he said.

"This area is hallowed ground and it needs to be protected."

Campaign to convert former Aboriginal boys home into Stolen Generations museum
As the country marks National Sorry Day, a new campaign hopes to turn the site of a former Aboriginal boys home into a truth telling museum and a centre for healing.