Jackey Jackey

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Jackey Jackey
Wood engraving (Walter G. Mason, 1857) of the solid silver breastplate made for Jackey Jackey in recognition of his heroic deeds (shaped to include swans and a fox)[1]
Born approx 1833
Died 1854 (Aged 21)
Nationality Wonnarua
Other names Galmahra
Citizenship British
Occupation Guide
Employer Surveyor-General's Department
State of New South Wales
Known for Heroic Deeds as guide and companion for surveyor Edmund Kennedy
Website http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A020007b.htm

Jackey Jackey (a.k.a. Jacky Jacky) (1833–1854)[2] is the name by which Galmahra[3](a.k.a. Galmarra[4]), the Aboriginal Australian guide and companion to surveyor Edmund Kennedy was known. He survived Edmund Kennedy's fatal 1848 expedition into Cape York Peninsula and was subsequently formally recognized for heroic deeds by the then colony of New South Wales in words engraved on a solid silver breastplate or gorget[5] which read as follows:[5]

Presented by His Excellency Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy K.D. Governor of New South Wales, to Jackey Jackey, an Aboriginal native of that colony. In testimony of the fidelity with which he followed the late Assistant Surveyor E.B.C. Kennedy, throughout the exploration of York Peninsula in the year 1848; the noble daring with which he supported that lamented gentleman, when mortally wounded by the Natives of Escape River, the courage with which after having affectionately tended the last moments of his Master, he made his way through hostile Tribes and an unknown Country, to Cape York; and finally the unexampled sagacity with which he conducted the succour that there awaited the Expedition to the rescue of the other survivors of it, who had been left at Shelbourne Bay.

The name "Jackey Jackey" since entered general Australian plus Aboriginal Australian slang[6]

"For whites it was a generic dismissive, denying blacks their individuality and hence their dignity. To blacks it meant a collaborator, the subservient native complicit in his own people's dispossession.[2]

Biographical details[edit]

As a young man, Galmahra seems to have grown up and lived at Jerrys Plains near Muswellbrook, New South Wales, most likely as a member of the local Australian Aboriginal nation:[7] the Wonnarua.[8]

In April 1848, still a young man, Galmahra was asked to accompany and help guide Assistant Surveyor Edmund Kennedy and team (including botanist William Carron[9]) on an expedition through unknown country heading up into Cape York Peninsula. On that expedition Galmahra proved his value (including bush skills) and turned out to be a loyal and resilient member of the expedition upon whom Edmund Kennedy increasingly relied until he died, speared by Jathaikana' (a.k.a. Yadhaykenu) people in the northern Peninsula area[2] (December 1848), somewhere near the Escape River.[7]

Following an inquiry into Edmund Kennedy and other expedition members deaths, Galmahra became more generally known to the colony of New South Wales as Jackey Jackey: an Aboriginal Australian to be honored for his loyalty, heroic deeds, and general assistance to the expedition.[10] By March 1849 a lithographic portrait of 'Jackey Jackey' had been produced for sale,[11] and by the beginning of 1851 the Governor of New South Wales had presented him with a specially made, pure silver breastplate (see above) plus a £50 bank account gratuity.[2][12]

Galmahra never wore the breastplate, never accessed the £50 bank account, and did not seem to have otherwise been fully engaged or employed by the colony. Instead he gained a reputation for enjoying his alcohol and, in 1854, after drinking too much during an overland journey to Albury, New South Wales, fell into a campfire and died.[2][7]

On-line newspaper articles[edit]

Places named after Jackey Jackey[edit]

  • Jacky Jacky Creek, Tablelands Region[3]
  • Jacky Jacky Range, Cook Shire[13]
  • Jackey Jackey Creek[14]
  • Jackey Jackey Airfield[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Medal given by Sir C. Fitzroy to Jackey Jackey, native servant to the explorer Mr Kennedy". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Maloney, Shane (April 2008). "Jackey Jackey & the Yadhaykenu". The Monthly. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Jacky Jacky Creek (entry 17002)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Blyton, Greg; et al. (2004). Wannin thanbarran : a history of Aboriginal and European contact in Muswellbrook and the Upper Hunter Valley. Muswellbrook Shire Council Aboriginal Reconciliation Committee. 
  5. ^ a b "Heroic Acts". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  6. ^ See for instance Mansell, Michael (27 August 2003) The decline of the Aboriginal protest movement: "we have to rely on Cathy Freeman, proudly holding her people's flag aloft against all protocols, to symbolise our rejection of having to be Jacky-Jacky Australians" in Green Left Weekly
  7. ^ a b c Beale, Edgar (1967) ' Jackey Jackey ( - 1854)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press Online Edition accessed 9 May 2010
  8. ^ Tindale, Norman (1974) Online Portion of Map of Australian Aboriginal 'Tribal' Boundaries including "Wonnarua' (NSW) Archived 25 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 15 May 2010
  9. ^ Carron, William (1849) "Narrative of an expedition undertaken under the direction of the late Mr. Assistant Surveyor E. B. Kennedy, for the exploration of the country lying between Rockingham Bay and Cape York;, one of the survivors of the expedition" Accessed 8 May 2010
  10. ^ Sydney Morning Herald (7 March 1849) "Correspondence: Jackey Jackey" Accessed 10 May 2010
  11. ^ Prints and printmaking Australia Asia Pacific Jacky Jacky (lithographic portrait by Charles Rodius) online database entry Accessed 16 May 2010
  12. ^ Sydney Morning Herald (31 December 1850) "Jackey Jackey" (regarding Silver breastplate)" Accessed 10 May 2010
  13. ^ "Jacky Jacky Range (entry 17004)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Jacky Jacky Creek (entry 16955)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Jacky Jacky Airfield (entry 16954)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 

External links[edit]