Indigenous stories from Burragorang Valley told in new book

Inspired: Indigenous woman Taylor Clarke accompanied author Jim Smith on his field work through Burragorang Valley.
Inspired: Indigenous woman Taylor Clarke accompanied author Jim Smith on his field work through Burragorang Valley.

The strong relationship between Aboriginal people and Irish Catholic settlers of the Burragorang Valley has been documented in a new book.

The Aboriginal People of the Burragorang Valley by Jim Smith will be launched in the Blue Mountains this Sunday.

Mr Smith will be joined at the launch by NAIDOC Young Person of the Year for Western Sydney and Warragamba resident, Taylor Clarke, who wrote the forward for the book and accompanied the author on his field work.

“Taylor is the model of Aboriginal leadership and provides an inclusive and articulate perspective on Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships,” Mr Smith said.

Jim Smith's book

Jim Smith's book

The Blue Mountains author said the book detailed how the Gundungurra people of the valley survived the invasion of their country.

He said the Indigenous people established friendly relationships with settlers while maintaining their cultural practices and independence.

“The relationship between Aboriginal people and the settlers was a model of respect and support that we can learn from today,” Mr Smith said.

The book also tells how the Burragorang town was inundated with water when Lake Burragorang was created.

“When people in Sydney turn on their taps, run a bath or fill up their pools they should be aware of where their water comes from and the sacrifice of the community,” Mr Smith said. 

The author said the book paid homage to, and told the story of the Burragorang Valley residents who were wiped out.

Mr Smith used photos, journals and newspaper clippings to tell the Indigenous people’s history. He wants the book to raise awareness of the culture and environment that was lost.

The book was commissioned by Father Eugene Stockton and published by the Blue Mountains Education and Research Trust. Mr Smith has written 19 other books which raise awareness of Indigenous people’s history.

The special interest book will be available in the Wollondilly Heritage Centre at The Oaks and via mail order. The book launch will be held from 1.30pm in the Santa Maria Centre in Lawson.

Details: allan.walsh@exemail.com.au

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