Daringa

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Daringa

Daringa (c1770–1795) was the half-sister of Moorooboora of the Murro-ore-dial (gal or clan), whose lands cover present-day Maroubra. According to William Dawes, Tàdyera, the mother of Daringa and her brother Pundah (Poondah or Bone-da), had died of dysentery. [1]

Her name might have been derived from Te-ring-yan (diringyan) or 'Sting Ray'. [2] It was also recorded as Da-ring-ha, Daringe, Dorringa, Gnaring-a and Taringa. Daringa had exchanged names with Bennelong's wife Barangaroo and was styled Daringa Barangaroo.

In December 1790, Daringa walked from Sydney Town to the Botany Bay area for the birth of her daughter Paniebollong (or Pen-niee-bool-long). Two or three days later, Daringa and Colebee brought their baby, wrapped in paperbark, to show Governor Arthur Phillip and slept that night in Phillip's house. [3]

One night as they both slept, the baby rolled out of Daringa's arms into a fire. Two of her toes were burnt and the sinews of her leg shrank. [4] Indeed, the name Paniebollong was possibly a compound of kani ('burnt') and bulla ('two' [toes]).

Phillip had noticed that most Aboriginal women and girls in the Sydney area were missing the top joints of the little finger of their left hand, a practice they called mal-gun. The same custom had been observed in Polynesia. [5] Phillip persuaded Colebee and Daringa to show him how it was done. When she was two months old, a thread was tied around the second joint of Paniebollong's finger. When Daringa brought her in again, two or three days later, the binding had been broken, so she plucked some hairs from an officer's head and bound them tightly around the finger. [6] In time, the cut became gangrenous. 'The little wretch seemed in pain, and her hand was greatly swelled', Tench wrote dispassionately in a footnote,

but as it hung by a bit of skin, they begged Mr. White, the surgeon, to take it off, which he did with a pair of scissars [sic], and which the child did not seem to feel. [7]

John Hunter confirmed that the finger had been cut from the right hand and said Daringa had frequently pointed out that it should have been the left hand. [8] Phillip thought the explanation given by the Eora for mal-gun 'to enable the women to fish the better, and to wind the line around the remaining three fingers' was 'too trivial to be the real cause'. [9] It is more likely that the amputated finger signified that a female child had been promised in marriage. While Colebee and Daringa had responded to Phillip's curiosity, it appears that Paniebollong had not yet been betrothed because her left hand remained intact.

'Mrs. Coleby, whose name is Daringe, brought in a new born female Infant of hers, for me to see', Elizabeth Macarthur wrote to her friend Brigid Kingdon in England. Thinking she looked 'feeble and faint', Elizabeth ordered

something for the poor Woman to Eat, and had her taken proper care of for some little while … The Child thrives remarkably well and I discover a softness and gentleness of Manners in Daringa truly interesting. [10]

Daringa and Paniebollong remained in Sydney and were given provisions in April 1791 when Colebee and Ballooderry, from the Burramatta (Parramatta) clan, acted as guides in an expedition to the Hawkesbury River led by Governor Phillip. [11] Despite Elizabeth Macarthur's special attention, Paniebollong died at the age of about five months.

In May 1791, when a convict was caught stealing fishing tackle from Daringa, Governor Phillip gave orders for the man to be flogged in front of several Eora men and women. Daringa cried and Bennelong's wife Barangaroo was so angry that she threatened the flogger with a stick. Watkin Tench said they reacted according to their characters: Daringa meek and feminine and Barangaroo fierce and unsubmissive. [12]

According to Tench, Colebee and other Aboriginal men treated their women with 'savage barbarity'.

When an Indian is provoked by a woman, he either spears her, or knocks her down on the spot: on this occasion he always strikes her on the head, using indiscriminately a hatchet, a club, or any other weapon, which may chance to be in his hand … Colebee, who was certainly, in other respects, a good tempered merry fellow, made no scruple of treating Daringa, who was a gentle creature thus. [13]

At David Collins's request, Daringa gave him the front teeth taken from three boys, at the Erah-ba-diang initiation ceremony at Farm Cove in 1795. She particularly asked that the tooth of Nanbarry, Colebee's nephew, be sent to Surgeon John White who had been the boy's guardian while in New South Wales. [14]

Daringa died about 1795 from 'consumption while suckling a little girl who was at her breast when she died'. Colebee put this second child, still alive, in Daringa's grave, placing a rock on her chest before it was filled in, saying there was no one to breastfeed the baby. [15]

Daringa, while a moobee (mourner) in a funeral ceremony for Ballooderry at Sydney Cove in December 1791, was painted by the 'Port Jackson Painter' as 'Dorringa'. [16] The convict artist Thomas Watling, who did not arrive in Sydney until October 1792, drew a more flattering pencil portrait of 'Da-ring-ha, Cole-bee's Wife' with her baby in her arms. [17]

Notes

[1] William Dawes, Notebook B, 1791, ‘Vocabulary of the language of N.S. Wales in the neighbourhood of Sydney…, Marsden Collection, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, MS 41655 (b), c1791, p 38.5

[2] Anon, Vocabulary of the language of N.S. Wales in the neighbourhood of Sydney…, Marsden Collection, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London, Notebook C, MS 41645 (c), c1791, p 25.2

[3] Phillip in John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson … John Stockdale, London, 1793, p 497

[4] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 459; 'Pen-niee-bool-long. The name of Colebe's Child' – 'Governors' Vocabulary', Anon, Vocabulary of the language of N.S. Wales in the neighbourhood of Sydney…, Marsden Collection, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London, Notebook C, MS 41645 (c), c1791, p 23.1

[5] Watkin Tench, A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay; with an account of New South Wales, its productions, inhabitants, &c …, J Debrett, London, 1789, p 84

[6] Phillip in John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson … John Stockdale, London, 1793, p 510

[7] Watkin Tench, The Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, London, G Nicol, 1793, p 182

[8] John Hunter, An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson … John Stockdale, London, 1793, p 205

[9] Governor Arthur Phillip to Lord Sydney, 13 February 1790, Historical Records of New South Wales, vol 2, p 300

[10] Elizabeth Macarthur to Brigid Kingdon, 7 March 1791, Historical Records of New South Wales, vol 2, p 504

[11] Watkin Tench, The Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, London, G Nicol, 1793, p 112

[12] Watkin Tench, The Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, London, G Nicol, 1793, p 111

[13] Watkin Tench, The Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, London, G Nicol, 1793, pp 199–200. Tench had spent three months as a prisoner in North America, but the term 'Indian' commonly applied to all Indigenous people during the eighteenth century

[14] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 483

[15] David Collins, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales (1798), BH Fletcher (ed), Reed Books, Sydney, 1975, p 504

[16] 'Dorringa his Wife smeared over with burnt stick & Grease', 'Port Jackson Painter', Watling drawing no 66, Natural History Museum, London, online at HYPERLINK "http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/nature-online/first-fleet/ethnography.dsml?sa=2&lastDisp=gall&beginIndex=31&" http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/natureonline/firstfleet/ethnography.dsml?sa=2&lastDisp=gall&beginIndex=31&, viewed 1 June 2011

[17] 'Da-ring-ha, Colebee's Wife', Thomas Watling, Pencil, Watling drawing no 31, Natural History Museum, London, online at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/nature-online/first-fleet/ethnography.dsml?sa=2&lastDisp=gall&beginIndex=29&width=680, viewed 1 June 2011

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