Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

Ballooderry (c 1783-1791)[1] lived around Ryde and his name is the same as the fish we know as ‘leather jacket’ – a salt water fish. His father was Maugoran from around Parramatta and his mother was Gooroobera. He had at least two brothers (Bidgee Bidgee and Yarinibe Goruey) and a sister (Boorong[2]).
He is first recorded asking for a plaster for a sore in 1790.[3]
In 1791 Ballooderry was a guide on an expedition to trace the Hawkesbury River but clearly made known his wish to return to his lands. Later that year he was trading fish which he had captured with the settler. For whatever reason some of the convicts destroyed his canoe and in retaliation he speared one of the culprits at the mud flats ie on his Country near Meadowbank. This led to the Governor seeking to punish Ballooderry and his absenting himself from the settlements.

He next appeared at Government House while Bennelong was there, when mortally ill. He died on 16 December 1791. He was buried in the grounds of Government House.[4] Marine drummers beat a tattoo as he was buried.[5]


[1] His portrait by the Port Jackson Painter appears in I McBryde Guests of the Governor: Aboriginal residents of the First Government House (Sydney, 1989) p41

[2] Boorong was the third and last wife of Bennelong who was buried with him: K V Smith “Bennelong among his people” (2009) 33 Aboriginal History 18

[3] K V Smith Wallumedegal: An Aboriginal History of Ryde (Ryde, 2005) p 14

[4] D Collins An account of the English colony in New South Wales (Sydney, 1975) Vol 2, pp 139, 146, 499-502

[5] K Vincent Smith Mari Nawi: Aboriginal Odysseys (Rosenberg, Dural, 2010) p 90

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