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Justice for Debbing Creek

According to Willie Mackenzie, an Aboriginal man born in Kilcoy in 1875, there were three tribal subdivisions which frequented the Ipswich area. The tribes resided in locality groups, each group occupying a portion of the tribal territory that was recognised as its peculiar right. One of the groups occupied the area from Ipswich to Oxley….

It is well established that the Yerongpan clan lived in the Centenary, Rocklea, Greenbank area. There are some indications of a smaller group in the Wacol – Ipswich area.

The whole number of Aborigines in this district (Moreton Bay) cannot be much under 5000… the Settlement blacks about 200 in number, the Limestone about 150 and the Woogaroo Tribe about 40

Annual Report on the State of the Aborigines in the Moreton Bay District for the year ending December 1843. Dr Stephen Simpson, Letters  p 26, Lang… p12

Support for a clan border through Wacol is suggested by a single earth ring found in Ellen Grove (single rings are often found near clan borders as dispute resolution venues).

9-Aborigines-Brisbane-district-(2)

The Woogaroo country stretched from Wacol west towards Redbank and Ipswich and south towards the Ripley Valley.  The northern border was the river and the eastern boundary of the Woogaroo territory with the neighbouring Yerongpan clan was seemingly through today’s Wacol and Ellen Grove.”  Archaeologist Michael Strong

Dr Simpson’s observations at Woogaroo/ Wacol (1840s)

The first Lands Commissioner, Dr Stephen Simpson, established his Border Police Station on Woogaroo Creek/ Brisbane River in early 1843. He travelled throughout Moreton Bay for his work, part of which concerned the Aborigines. The native name Woogaroo was adopted by Simpson for his station:

Simpson at his Woogaroo Station had “rarely less than five or six (Aborigines). . . either assisting the Police in the Bush or labouring in the Garden.”    
Simpson to Colonial Secretary 1 January 1844

In September 1844, Simpson reported that tribal pressure had required him to employ a white man “… instead of Jemmy the aborigine – threats from his tribe if he joined the Police, Toby another aborigine also threatened…” However, Jemmy and Toby were named as troopers in later reports – until the troop was disbanded in 1847.

31 December 1844 – from Commissioner Simpson to the Colonial Secretary
“It is impossible to keep any one aboriginal consistently at the Station. They change about – sometimes Jemmy, at others Toby or Bomburrah etc…
Letters relating to Moreton Bay & Queensland: A2 series – Reel A2.13 p 729+

“My Station is much frequented by the Aborigines from many parts …
Simpson to Colonial Secretary 20 February 1847

We look forward to further research which will add information and clarification to the story of the Aboriginal cultural landscape in and around Wacol.

Sovereignty – Brisbane City Hall, 20 Jan 2020 Images: Brisbane Times
For more information:

“Wacol, Wolston, Woogaroo 1823-2014”

150 Years – Richlands, Inala and Neighbouring Suburbs in Brisbane’s South West”

http://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/about_ipswich/history/indigenous_history (2012)

From https://rihghistory.org.au/our-suburbs/wacol?fbclid=IwAR3g8vpvzLdOTdt8_GSTLi4xg_sowyFPBgE-OFmApbDL49qVvbtoTsFIxeU

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