This project has been on hold for the last 8 months because the organizer and the key figure abandoned it. They walked away from it in early 2020 without saying anything. The project had reached the stage of bringing a curator on board to conceptually develop the project and to organize an exhibition. That was deemed to be a hurdle too hard to cross.
I am left with this minor blog, which I’d started to help sort out my contribution to the original project. So where to now? Dump the whole thing? Or continue with it? I’ve been mulling over what to do once I started to realize in mid-2020 that the Godson project had been silently dumped.
I’ve decided to continue on my own and to reinvent the project by dumping the State Library of South Australia’s (SLSA) Godson Collection component . I have a new theme, I’ve constructed two galleries (one entitled water; the other entitled country ) and I have resolved to pick up from where I’d left off before the plug was quietly pulled.
In 2019 I made a visit to Lake Bonney in Barmah to tentatively reconnect with the early colonial frontier history of South Australia through exploring the Overland Stock Route and the location of the massacre sites along the stock route in South Australia and Victoria. So I started to read the history books about the frontier conflicts or wars.
The area around Lake Bonney had been the site of a clash between an overland party led by the colonists Harry Field and Henry Inman and the Maraura people in 1841. The Maraura people had attacked the party and dispersed the sheep and cattle approximately 40 miles (64 km) east of Lake Bonney.
After the government sanctioned party led by Major Thomas O’Halloran to ostensibly recover the lost sheep and cattle was recalled due to Governor Gawler’s return to London, a reprisal voluntary party of settlers led by Henry Field attacked the Maraura people killing six-eight Indigenous men–probably around Chowilla. Another reprisal party led by Charles Langhorne, a stockholder, which also clashed with the Maraura people leading to the deaths of the stockmen and Maraura men. The location is unclear.
(Robert Foster, Rick Hosking, Amanda Nettleck, Fatal Collisions: The South Australian frontier and the violence of memory, Wakefield Press, Adelaide 2001, pp. 30-33)