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Photographs supplied by Masha Marjanovich

The plaque commemorates the life of Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy and his campaign of resistance.  It was unveiled as part of the National Museum`s Defining Moments project, which explores key dates that have defined the country's history over more than 50,000 years.

Pemulwuy (c.1750 - 1802), Aboriginal warrior, was born near what was later named Botany Bay, on the northern side of the Georges River, New South Wales. From 1792 Pemulwuy led raids on settlers at Prospect, Toongabbie, Georges River, Parramatta, Brickfield Hill and the Hawkesbury River.

To check at once 'these dangerous depredators', military force was used against Pemulwuy and his people. Captain Paterson directed that soldiers be sent from Parramatta, with instructions to destroy 'as many as they could meet' of the Bediagal. In March 1797 Pemulwuy led a raid on the government farm at Toongabbie. Settlers 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. Extremely ill, he was taken to the hospital. Yet, late in April that year when the governor met several parties of natives near Botany Bay Pemulwuy was among them.

Pemulwuy's close escapes resulted in the Darug believing that firearms could not kill him.  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 about 1 June 1802 by Henry Hacking. Pemulwuy's head was preserved in spirits. It was sent to England to Sir Joseph Banks accompanied by a letter from Governor King, who wrote: "Although a terrible pest to the colony, he was a brave and independent character." The whereabouts of his skull is unknown. 

Note : The photograph on this entry is of a sculpture of Pemulwuy, by Masha Marjanovich.  The sculpture was created with the permission of the Bidjigal people.  It is part of the University of Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies collection.


Address:Lawson Crescent , Main Hall, National Museum of Australia, Acton, 2601
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.292878
Long: 149.120616
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 20th March, 2015
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au