Bathurst chief , Windrodine - Aboriginal Biography

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser

To The Editor of the Sydney Gazette.

21 April 1829

"Sips a short summer, man's a flower, he dies, alas! how soon he dies."


You will perhaps please to insert in your recording columns, this short biographical sketch of the native Bathurst chief Windrodine, but better known to the colonists by the appellative, Saturday.

Though his original or aboriginal name was Windrodine, and on Saturday, 21st of the present March, this chief paid the debt of nature; he fell in a sharp fight sub noctera on the banks of the Macquarie, with a tribe from the South. Several lives were lost, and two chiefs were laid por du combat, on the field of battle.

The wound which caused Windrodine's death, was a very severe one on his knee, which quickly mortified, and terminated in death after a few hours.

He continued talking to his countrymen, till life was extinct, in the hospital at Bathurst, near which place he was buried, his body wrapped in his mantle, and his weapons deposited in that grave which now contains all that remains of Windrodine, once the terror of the surrounding woods, nominally his wide domain assigned to him by the sovereign hand of nature.

He was a man who never suffered an injury with impunity, in his estimation revenge was virtue, his head, his countenance, indeed his whole person, which was admirable formed, was a fine specimen of the savage warrior of New Holland.

His age did not, I think, exceed 30 years, his height was near 6 feet, he was of a brave but impetuous disposition, for dispositions vary as much among the native tribes as they do among the most cultivated or artificial beings of the human race.

I have often observed, with pleasure, his kindness to the women and children of his tribe, particularly to those that were sick; Windrodine professed the healing art, and a knowledge of potent spells among his sable countrymen.

I may here insert an anecdote illustrative of his character, on obtaining some wheat from his friend for his use, he took pains to make him understand, that he was a gentleman, and did not grind, but he would get one of his men to grind it, though it may be observed that the authority of the native chief is little more than nominal among their clans.

Five hundred acres of land was at one time offered for his head, but he surrendered, and was introduced to Sir Thomas Brisbane, at Parramatta, where he excited a great deal of curiosity: he resided a short time in the domain there, and the kindness shown to him then seemed to have operated on his mind in favour of the colonists, for ever since he has avoided any act of violence to them, though it may be supposed his high mid independent spirit felt uneasy at times at seeing his country possessed by the white fellows, as the aborigines call us.

It is to be lamented that the imprudence, and too often cruelty of the Europeans, has heretofore given too much cause of revenge among the native tribes, who are really to us an inoffensive race, particularly those of the interior, and when we consider the materials the British nation has sent among them, and how much they are accustomed to war, this sentiment may well be entertained of them.

Always in hostility with each other, often losing their lives in revenging the death of a clansman, or to recover their captive ladies, as was the fate of Windrodine. "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto."*

Yours &c. B (indecipherable) e, 24th March, 1829.

*This quotation from the Roman dramatist contains a fine sentiment for those persons who think no more of man in a state of nature than they do of a wild animal.