Caruey

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Caruey

According to Bennelong, the Cadigal clan – which might have numbered 50 or more men, women and children in 1788 – was reduced to only three people by the deadly smallpox epidemic that swept through the Aboriginal population around Port Jackson in April 1789. The survivors were 'Cole-be' (Colebee, the Cadigal leader), his nephew 'Nan-bar-ray' (Nanbarry) and one other man. [1]

The third survivor can be identified as Caruey or Gur-roo-ee, called 'Carraway' by the Sydney colonists, who, wrote Judge Advocate David Collins, was a relation of 'Cole-be'. [2] His name signified the white or sulphur-crested cockatoo, Gar-ra-way (garawi) and it is likely that he had exchanged names with Yeranibe Goruey, from the Burramattagal (Parramatta clan). [3]

Though not yet initiated, Caruey appropriated Bennelong's young wife Kurúbarabúla or Go-roo-bar-roo-bool-loo (Two Firesticks) soon after Bennelong left Sydney for England with Governor Arthur Phillip in December 1792. While Bennelong was away, Caruey, aged about 17, was initiated at the same time as Nanbarry at Woccanmagully (Farm Cove) in February 1795. A pencil portrait of 'Gur-roo-ee' by Thomas Watling shows the gap in Caruey's teeth where his right incisor was knocked out in this ceremony. [4]

Back in Sydney in September 1795, Bennelong began a feud with Caruey over Kurúbarabúla, beating him at first in an English-style fistfight. Collins wrote:

[Caruey] had been severely beaten by Ben-nil-long; who retained so much of English customs, that he made use of his fists instead of the weapons of his country, to the great annoyance of Caruey. [5]

Bennelong had attended bare-knuckle boxing matches while in England, according to The World (London, 17 April 1794).

Kurúbarabúla continued to live with Caruey, who soon turned the tables on Bennelong. Bennelong stated in a dictated letter signed 'Bannolong' sent to Mr. Phillips, Lord Sydney's steward at Eltham, Kent, in August 1796:

I have not my wife: another black man took her away: we have had murry [big] doings: he spear'd me in the back, but I better now: his name is now Carroway. [6]

In 1798 Caruey severely wounded Bennelong in the head in a ritual revenge contest, and laughed at his rage at being wounded. [7]

In May 1805, 'Carraway' was seen among 'a horde of natives' surprised by a military party at 'The Flats' on the Parramatta River, between modern Concord and Putney. [8]

Caruey died from a spear wound in the thigh in another payback battle. His body was wrapped in bark and buried at the Brickfields (now Chippendale) on 17 December 1805. The Sydney Gazette of 22 December 1805 said Caruey was 'a docile and intelligent fellow' and 'a faithful guide to our bush sportsmen in search of the pheasant [lyrebird].' [9]

References

David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975

Notes

[1] Bennelong to David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 497

[2] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 490

[3] 'Gare-a-way, White Cockatoo', David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 512; 'Ga-ra-way, A white cockatoo', John Hunter, An historical journal of the transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, London 1793, p 409

[4] Gur-roo-ee [Caruey], c1795, Thomas Watling, Watling Drawing no 37, Natural History Museum, London

[5] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, pp 367–8

[6] Bennelong to Mr Phillips, Sydney New South Wales, August 29 1796, MS 4005 NK4048, National Library of Australia, Canberra; Franz Xaver von Zach (ed.), Correspondenz zur Beförderung der Erd- und Himmels-Kunde [Monthly correspondence for the promotion of geography and astronomy], im Verlag der Beckerischen Buckhhandlung, Gotha, 1801, pp 373–4

[7] John Hunter, in David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales, vol 2, 1802, BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 61

[8] Sydney Gazette, 12 May 1805

[9] Sydney Gazette, 22 December 1805

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