Wiradjuri Windradyne

Wiradjuri Windradyne (abt. 1800 - 1829)

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Wiradjuri "Saturday" Windradyne aka Windrodine
Born about in Northern Wiradjuri Nation, New South Wales, Australiamap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Brucedale, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australiamap
Profile last modified | Created 17 Aug 2017
This page has been accessed 164 times.

Categories: Indigenous Australians | Bathurst, New South Wales | Wiradjuri.


[As he only had one name, his tribal name has been put first and his own name second for searching purposes.] The year of Windradyne's birth is based solely on an obituary, or "short biographical sketch" in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser of 21 April 1829, in an article[1] thought to have been written on 24 March 1829, by a Settler friend, George Suttor and (?) his son William Henry Suttor, who lived in the 'Brucedale Station' area north of Bathurst, where he died, 3 days earlier. In the article, they wrote that "his age did not, I think, exceed 30 years". Also, that his aboriginal name was Windrodine and he died from a severe knee injury inflicted, on the banks of the Macquarie, in a fight with a tribe from the south, during which several lives were lost. He was also known by the name 'Saturday'.

Windradyne belonged to the northern Wiradjuri nation, of the Upper Macquarie River region in central New South Wales[2], and had a strong physical character, very suitable for the role he was to play as a warrior fighting the British colonialists, who were taking away his people's "access to their traditional campsites, hunting grounds, water sources, and sacred sites" (ref.3).

Wiradjuri country lay west of the Blue Mountains, so it wasn't until 1815 that a road was built and a site selected for what was to become Bathurst, a centre for settlement visited by Governor Lachlan Macquarie-27 when the road was first opened[3]. It was only after Governor Macquarie was succeeded by Governor Thomas Brisbane-28 on 1 December 1821 that the pace of settlement beyond the Blue Mountains was increased and serious conflict with the indigenous people began.

The 'Bathurst Wars' as the conflicts became known involved Windradyne from December 1823, when he was imprisoned for a month, and may have started earlier in 1822 on the Cudgegong River (ref.3). With "the killing of seven stockmen in the Wyagdon Ranges north of Bathurst, [in which Windradyne was thought to have been involved] and the murder of Aboriginal women and children by settler-vigilantes near Raineville in May 1824, Governor Brisbane placed the western district under martial law on 14 August" (ref.2), but they failed to capture him, and the martial law was repealed on 11 December 1824. At the end of 1824, "he and a large number of his people crossed the mountains to Parramatta to attend the annual feast there, where he was formally pardoned by Brisbane" (ref.2). The feast was held on 28 December 1824 and the purpose of their travelling 200kms to meet with the Governor was because they had lost so many of their warriors and had their society severely damaged they could not continue the war and Windradyne wanted "to seek a formal end to hostilities" (ref.3).

After he returned home in early 1825, there seem to have been only small conflicts, which he might have been associated with, in the Lake George area. However, he did not attend the annual feast in that year that would have been in Governor Darling-545's time.

It seems unlikely that Windradyne died in hospital, rather the Suttors said that "he removed his bandages and discharged himself from the hospital, returning to his homeland and his people, who were camped on the Suttor's Brucedale Station about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of Bathurst. There he died of gangrene from his injuries, and was given a Wiradjuri burial at sunrise, sitting up facing the rising sun, wrapped in his cloak and with his weapons" (ref.3 based on 'W. H. Suttor, Australian Stories Retold and Sketches of Country Life (Bathurst, NSW, 1887)').

The Bathurst District Historical Society confirmed the Suttor's version in 1954, and the grave site was gazetted on 10 March 2006 under the Heritage Act as being a site of state significance[4].

In 2004 Windradyne and Pemulwuy-1 were commemorated as part of an installation in the New South Wales Parliament Buildings in Sydney, though some of the details relating to the former, such as his death year, are incorrect.

In 2008 Windradyne's story was featured in the first episode of the award-winning seven-part SBS documentary series First Australians[5].


  1. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2192263
  2. David Andrew Roberts, 'Windradyne (1800–1829)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/windradyne-13251/text4471, published first in hardcopy 2005
  3. Windradyne. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windradyne#Death
  4. "Grave of Windradyne: Database Number: 5051560". State Heritage register search. New South Wales Heritage Office. Gazetted 2006
  5. "First Australians: Episode 1 – They have come to stay". Official Website. Special Broadcasting Service. 2008. http://www.sbs.com.au/firstaustralians/

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Images: 1
An illustration depicting a Wiradjuri warrior, thought to be Windradyne (c1800 - 1829).
An illustration depicting a Wiradjuri warrior, thought to be Windradyne (c1800 - 1829).


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