Bindagaree "You See"
Bindagaree "You See"
Singing Bowl Media
Director/editor: Tamsin Sharp
Cinematographer: John Sones
Wangaratta Digital Quilt Project
Contact Rural City of WangarattaCopyright
Rural City of Wangaratta, Singing Bowl Media
In this video Pangerang Elder Freddie Dowling discusses Bindagaree, the lookout post (also known as the Glenrowan/Benalla lookout) with a view of all the country towards the Strathbogie Ranges from the Pangerang (Warby) Ranges. He also talks about how he has gained wisdom from his forebears.
Freddie Dowling is a storyteller and published author. His “No More the Valley Rings with Koorie Laughter” is a collection of stories, the majority of which were told to him by his father and his grandmother Annie Lewis, the niece of Mary Jane Milawa. These stories were written down in 1975 for his own family ‘so that their descendants could reflect on who they were and learn something of their culture and how it was before white settlement changed everything’.
The Pangerang/Bangerang people, a nation of sub-clans, occupied much of what is now North Eastern Victoria stretching along the Tongala (Murray) River to Echuca and into the areas of the southern Riverina in New South Wales.
This actual range of hills we're standing in now is the Pangerang Ranges, which travel all the way-- you can see them all the way around there, and they go all the way right around down to Mansfield. Now this part here is now known as the Warby Ranges. It was called that after a farmer. Over there, those you'll be looking at-- the first one on the left is called the Pangerang Lookout, but it was known to the Pangerang people as Munganjandra which means "the home of the eagle," because it's the highest point there, like this one's called Bindagaree, means "you see." And that one is Munganjandra. Where we are standing now would be the vision for the lookout people up here. And when European settlers first came through here they had to come through from Baddaginnie and up through Benalla. So you see the roofs of Benalla are over there.
And a whisp of smoke over there, which is the chipboard factory. Now they had to come through there to get to Wangaratta. It's the only way they could get there. And every time they lit a camp fire or anything, it would be seen, just like that smoke you see now. Or if any other tribes come through here, if they weren't friendly tribes and they had a camp fire going, the people up here had to set a fire going up further on the highest point there. They had green leaves and old leaves and stuff that'd make different colored smokes, so that those-- if the grey smoke went up, they'd say, oh, somebody's coming. And then if a puff of white smoke goes up, then they go, white smoke, there must be European settlers, or, I don't know. I can't tell you. But they had a signal for-- each color for a signal and then the other people all knew what it meant anyway.
So this is a very important post here, because they could see for anywhere, from anywhere coming to get to Wangaratta. Now this lookout post always had to be manned at all times to any visitors come through that were welcome or unwelcome. Now this rock well we're looking at here was built here to make sure that the people up on lookout up here always had something to drink. They couldn't have an excuse to go down to the creek or somewhere to get a drink. There had to be water here for them. This was made by hand and back in those days they didn't have drills or anything like that, it was all rock against rock. And this hole goes down about two foot. It's about-- it's full with mud and stuff now, which it never used to be. It used to be always lovely and clear.
But now it goes down about two foot and it's made-- you can't see anything-- it is a perfect round hole that's been made. Don't know how long it took. Days, months, years. I don't know. But that water was always clear. I used to come up here and have a drink myself, but haven't been here for a couple years. And we've had such a dry time. It's filled with dust and everything and now it's a bit muddy, that water. I wouldn't really like to drink it at the moment.
My great grandmother was a sister to Mary Jane Milawa. And her name was Lowana. And she was taken, we know-- she was taken when she was a child after the European settlement got too hot here for the Pangerang people, because there was massacres and things happening. And she was taken to Wahgunyah. It was a reserve up there, Lake Moodemere. She couldn't handle it, she had to come back to Wangaratta. She walked back from Wahgunyah to Wangaratta on her own-- little girl-- and when she got to Wangaratta she was left there, because they said, well, she can't hurt us. They didn't worry about it. And she stayed there until she died.
She married a fellow named Lewis. And she had a daughter named Annie Lewis, and that was my grandmother. That's my father's mother. And then-- she was well educated and she wrote everything down for me. About 1900 she wrote all these things down, because she knew one day someone would need to know it. And she wrote-- that's how I know so much, because she wrote all that stuff down. May not seem very wise, but as far as I'm concerned I've gained a lot of wisdom from their wisdom and they were really wise, because they lived for 40,000 years and never changed a thing. And nobody in the whole world is ever going to be able to do that. And that's pretty good to me.