Our ancestors first heard about the whitefellers through their trading partners. They were told whitefellers were the ghosts of dead blackfellers but that wasn’t true. Our ancestors heard the whitefellers wanted Aboriginal land, Aboriginal women and Aboriginal kids.
When the first white men arrived our ancestors fled to the mountains or to the tops of trees. They were really afraid. The whitefellers arrived in small groups at first, so our ancestors attacked and killed the ones that didn’t have guns. Then they brought in blackfellers from other regions who betrayed the Ngambri to protect their whitefeller bosses. Our ancestors didn’t know who to trust.
Over time, our ancestors made friends with some of the whitefellers who lived among them and protected them from their enemies. Ngambri kids grew up with whitefeller kids. They learned each other’s languages. The Ngambri forged trading agreements with some of the whitefellers. They even shared each other’s food in times of hardship.
Then our ancestors found out they’d been betrayed because even some of their whitefeller friends had taken parts of Ngambri ancestral land. Our Ngambri ancestors, once fine warriors, ended up as beggars in their own country, begging from the whitefellers who once begged from them and called them friends.
During that first period of time, during the whitefeller wars, so many Ngambri died. But some of them managed to survive to take care of our country for a few more generations.
Back row (left to right): Soni Williams, Girrawah Biame Williams, Reuben House, George House, Paul (Girrawah) House
Front row (left to right): Daniel Williams and William (Wirrimoo) Tompkins