ABORIGINAL HERITAGE –
The Aboriginal tribes in the immediate area of the Batchelor farm, and subsequent Batchelor township, were Warrai and Kungarakany tribes. As Europeans moved into the area with the development of the Old Telegraph Line, and then the railway and mining, traditional aboriginal people married people of other nationalities.
Thus many families which Top End residents know well, have established.
Mundang and Chulungmarra from the Kungarakany had two children and their daughter, Madeline, married Edwin Verburgh well known for establishing a farm at Coomalie Creek where his family were raised. Edwin dammed the Adelaide River to assist his crop development near the present township; and provided vegetables to the troops there during WW2. The bridge at Adelaide River is named after him.
Of his four daughters Ada Calma, the eldest, lives in Darwin, Maddy McIntosh at Adelaide River, Liz Delahunty near Batchelor and Edna Barolitz in Darwin. Their only son, Bruce, lives in Coomalie.
When Edward sold the farm in 1953 he and Maddy travelled to his homeland in Holland; Liz and Edna were still at school in Batchelor.
Madeline’s brother, called Edwin McGregor, worked on the railway and his children are Hazel (decd) Jane, Eva and Edward. It was common then for an aboriginal child to be given a European name, often from the welfare people associated with them.
Jack McGinness was also from the Kungarakany and worked on the railway. His daughters- Sadie Ludwig, Mim Morley, Kathy Mills and Vi Stanton are all well established families around Darwin.
Kathy and David Mills fostered a music environment and their daughters performed as the Mills Sisters (Ali, June, Barbara and Violet). Some years ago Kathy wrote the song “Arafura Pearl” for the Bougainvillea Festival and recently Ali launched an album including it and a creole version of Waltzing Matilda.
The Warrai people established the Hazelbane family.
A well known aboriginal lady who has featured a lot in the district was Nellie Flynn. Nellie came from the Barkly Region, and was believed to be from the Waramangu clan from Muckitty Station. She married Tom Flynn, a European man employed on the OTL who developed a farm at the Rum Jungle area where they produced vegetables for the local market.
Marranunggu people found work with Max Sargent on Meneling station, where they were well looked after, particularly by Max’s wife, Ada.
Disclaimer: written by Dr Janice Hills with information obtained. I wish to adequately represent this section, but am not responsible for omissions or disputes- instead more information and photographs are needed to represent the aboriginal heritage section of the Batchelor museum so please provide more – contact details on this web site.
© Dr Janice Hills 2011