John 'Gilburri' Fahy

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John Gilburri Fahy
John Fahy

(1814-03-21)21 March 1814
Known forDundalli tribe mate (Dalla)
RelativesPatrick Denis Fahy (brother)

John Gilburri Fahy (1814–1885) was a runaway Irish convict who lived among the Kabi Kabi Wide Bay tribes for over twelve years during the Black War for South East Queensland of 1842 to 1854.

Early life[edit]

John Fahy was born in Galway, Ireland, in 1814.

Captured by Native Police[edit]

Fahy was an escapee from Parramatta Gaol , N.S.W., in 1842. He was captured at Kilkivan station on December 20, 1854, by a party of native police under Lieutenant John O'Connell Bligh.[1]

A mob of blacks came into the Kilkivan station, and a white woman noticed one among them that she declared was a white man. The party of police located the camp Fahy was in, one of the troopers stripped nude, and with boomerangs in his belt and a tomahawk in hand, pretending to be looking for honey, he got close enough to hear Fahy talking in the camp.[1]

When the mounted troopers in ambush surrounded the camp Fahy called on the tribe to protect him. Bligh at once rode at him, and covering him with his revolver threatened to shoot him. He was then handcuffed and taken away. For some days he refused to talk English.[1] Eventually he accompanied Sir A. C. Gregory in his 1855 expedition to Carpentaria under a promise that if he behaved well he would be liberated on his return.[1][2] Fahy was the last of the white convicts who lived with the Kabi tribe.[1]


John O'Connell Bligh captured Fahy, who had been living with the local Kabi Kabi for over twelve years.[3] In order to arrest Gilburri, Bligh and his troopers handcuffed all the "station blacks" at Barambah pastoral station around a large gum tree to prevent him from receiving any information that the Native Police were nearby.[4] Fahy was sent to Cockatoo Island prison but was soon assigned to be an interpreter on the exploratory journey of A.C. Gregory.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Clark, William (27 January 1917). "Sketcher: Original Reminiscences". Queenslander. Brisbane. p. 41. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b "The Northern Expedition". The Moreton Bay Courier. X, (477). Queensland, Australia. 4 August 1855. p. 2. Retrieved July 27, 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE". The Moreton Bay Courier. IX, (445). Queensland, Australia. 23 December 1854. p. 2. Retrieved 21 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "MARYBOROUGH'S EARLIEST DAYS". Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay And Burnett Advertiser (10, 733). Queensland, Australia. 5 June 1907. p. 3. Retrieved 21 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.