- 6 panels

Guriabu... a very, very long time ago... 6 panels
Widjabal history is passed down orally in the form of stories and legends, through language, song and dance, painting and other art forms. This panel tells the story of the Three Brothers, YAR BARRAIN, MAMOON and BIRRIHN and features the painting, ‘The Three Brothers’ by Oral Laurie (2006). Guriabu... a very long time ago, three brothers, their wives and families, along with their father’s mother (Grandmother/Gammi), were travelling up the coast in their canoes and held the first Wandaral (ceremony). It was on this journey that the brothers decided to populate the land. Yar Barrain, the eldest brother, travelled north to the Tweed River. Mamoon, the second brother, travelled west along the Richmond River and settled. Birrihn, the youngest brother, travelled south into the Clarence River area.

Europeans in Bundjalung Country
In the oral tradition of many Bundjalung people it is the convict Richard Craig, and not Captain Cook, who brought Europeans to their country. In 1830 Craig escaped from Moreton Bay (Brisbane) and journeyed through Bundjalung lands on his way south to Port Macquarie. He later told the colonial government of a ‘big river’ (the Clarence River) with vast resources of highly-valued red cedar and promising pastoral land. In response to Craig’s stories, the first timber-getters and squatters arrived on the Clarence in 1838, with some moving further north to the Richmond River region. This panel focuses on the 1840s and 1850s, when Europeans began to arrive in the Richmond River region and occupy Bundjalung Country.

Lismore Station
William and Jane Wilson arrived in this area in 1845, and established Lismore Station, named after the Island of Lismore in Loch Linnhe in Scotland. While the station, just down river from today’s city centre, formed the first permanent pastoral settlement in the Lismore area, the Wilsons were not alone. They were joined by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal station workers, other squatting families on the other side of the river, and the timber-getters and their families further up the river bank. In 1861, as the village of Lismore began to grow, the Wilsons moved to Monaltrie a few kilometres south. Mary Girard then leased Lismore Station and ran cattle until she died in 1876.This panel provides a glimpse of some of those who made Lismore their home during the second half of the 19th century.

Women and Children on the Richmond
At the time of colonisation, the Bundjalung women of the Richmond River region were generally tall, strong and athletic. They held power and status within their group, educated the boys and girls before initiation, and were the primary care givers for each other’s children. In contrast, the European women who arrived in Bundjalung Country wore constricting clothing, frowned upon physical activity (for the middle classes at least), and generally adopted a passive manner in public life. Frequently alone in the bush, they often raised their large families away from the help of other women. Between Aboriginal and European women fear and misunderstanding were common, but there was also curiosity and adaptation. Aboriginal women often admired the long hair of the European women and some European women accepted the midwifery skills of Aboriginal women.

Downstream: Timber, Villages and the River
If you were a settler in this area during the 19th century you would have found that your life revolved around the river, the small villages along its banks and the fledgling timber industry. As you view this panel you will get a sense of the lives of the timber-getters … ‘The men and their families camped in the scrub and from living constantly in the shade became bleached, losing all their colour, so that a man from the scrub could be told by his colourless look.’ … and how different they might have looked from other settlers burned almost black by the relentless sun.

An Ethnic Mix from Around the Globe
The newcomers who came to the Richmond River region in the mid 19th century were mainly of Anglo stock. The Wilsons, who established Lismore Station, were Scots and Steve King, who brought the first timber-getters to the Richmond, was English. They joined Irish settlers. Others came from all over the world. Some of the earliest station workers and timber-getters were Northern Europeans such as Germans and Swiss. Italian families carved out their settlement of New Italy from the thick, poor scrub country downstream near Woodburn in 1882, later moving up river to Lismore. Indians worked in the sugar industry, helped to clear the Big Scrub and helped to plant paspalum grass for the new dairy herds. They were joined by Chinese, Japanese, and others from the Middle East. While some only stayed for short periods to work, others settled permanently.