REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN-Deebing Creek
A HISTORY OF THE DEEBING CREEK ABORIGINAL MISSION IN QUEENSLAND 1887-1915 BY BILL THORPE (2004) SEAVIEW PRESS ADELAIDE
The history of the Deebing Creek mission demonstrates the way Aboriginal or Indigenous people were removed, irrespective of country through settler, state and missionary ideology and practice. It foreshadowed the system of Aboriginal missions and/or reserves. On these reserves, the majority became a diaspora of nations, mobs, families and individuals from many parts of Queensland. This marked a decisive point in recent Indigenous history and particularly of the Stolen Generations. It was a major site where Aboriginal people or Murries were removed to.
This is the first comprehensive study of the Deebing Creek Aboriginal Mission in Queensland, Australia – a mission which began at a site near Ipswich, near Brisbane in the late 1880s and which closed during world war one.
A major feature of the book is that it identifies some 300 Aboriginal people who were at Deebing Creek during its existence. These included a core of Yuggera people but also many more who were removed to the mission from 50 other sites throughout Queensland.
This book is a valuable and pertinent source for everyone who wishes to understand Australia’s shared past: Murries who are seeking more information about their family histories; readers who are interested in finding out still largely unknown aspects of Queensland’s absorbing history; and educators and students in Indigenous Studies, and Australian Studies and Cultural Studies.
Excerpt Chapter 1 from REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN, A HISTORY OF THE DEEBING CREEK ABORIGINAL MISSION IN QUEENSLAND 1887-1915 BY BILL THORPE (2004) SEAVIEW
Rescue mission: Establishing Deebing Creek 1887-1892
The location: Pre-colonial and colonial contexts
The Aboriginal mission station and cemetery that became ‘Deebing Creek’ was located approximately 8 kilometres south-west of Ipswich, a large regional town in south-east Queensland, and next to a small watercourse called Deebing Creek. Like many Australian streams Deebing Creek is dry on the surface for much of the year although 19th century surveys indicate that sections of the creek near the cemetery had waterholes containing more reliable supplies (‘Plan of 33 Small Portions near Ipswich’, 16 October 1864, S31.57). These waterholes had been the only source of water until tanks were installed in 1897 (see chapter 2).
Today, traces of the mission itself are almost non-existent. Most of the buildings were dismantled but mostly reconstructed with new building materials at Purga by 1915; while the remaining Deebing Creek people either relocated to Purga, left Deebing Creek, or were transferred to other reserves like Taroom and Barambah (Cherbourg). The Deebing Creek cemetery site however still survives – thanks largely to the heroic efforts of the late Les Davidson, a Murri man born in Koomi country, who persuaded the Queensland government in the 1970s to gazette a small part of the site as an Aboriginal cemetery reserve (see chapter 4).
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Remembering the Forgotten: A History of the Deebing Creek Aboriginal Mission in Queensland, 1887-1915
Price: $25.00 (AUD) + postage & handling ISBN: 1740083067
Pages: 156 Year: 2004