Yuranigh

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are warned that content on this page may contain images and references to deceased persons.

Yuranigh's grave. Image courtesy Orange City Council.


Yuranigh, a man from the Wiradjuri clan from the Molong district, became a guide to Major Thomas Mitchell on his expedition to central Queensland in 1846.

Yuranigh proved his worth and became skilled in retrieving cattle that had strayed, sourcing water, taught his knowledge of the bush to Mitchell while liaising between his group and local Aboriginal tribes.

At a time when there was much mistrust and misunderstanding between Europeans and Aboriginals, Yuranigh’s intelligence and ability not only impressed Mitchell and ensured the expedition’s success, but endeared him to the explorer.

Mitchell described Yuranigh as his ‘guide, companion, counsellor and friend’. Nothing escaped his penetrating eye and quick ear. Mitchell wrote of Yuranigh that ‘his intelligence and his judgment rendered him so necessary to me that he was ever at my elbow. Confidence in him was never misplaced’.

Yuranigh and two other Aboriginals to Sydney, but Yuranigh missed the bush and became a stockman on a northern cattle station. He did not remain long on the cattle station, but returned to his tribe near Molong.

Thomas Mitchell received notification of Yuranigh’s death on 13 July 1850. The exact date of his death is unknown. Yuranigh was buried according to Aboriginal culture, five trees standing closely around his grave were carved by his people.

Mitchell arranged for the grave to be fenced at government expense and later paid for an inscribed headstone.

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