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Lammermoor, Queensland

Yirandali country

Country belonging to you

No-one wants to talk about it ... why our people were shifted off our country to a mission on someone else’s. The anthropologists only want to talk about what a good relationship Christison had with ‘his blacks’. It’s like there is a gap in the telling, a room in the house that no-one refers to, or wants to even open the door to.

Kevin Lammermoor, Yirandali, 2015

A grassy plain with trees in the distance and a blue but cloudy sky.
Yirandali country, Lammermoor, Queensland. Photo: Tony Salisbury. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.
Child's axe made of stone, wood (willow), gum (beefwood)
Koocha (child’s axe), by Ko-Bro (‘Barney’), collected from Lammermoor by Robert Christison in the late 19th century, 24.2 x 6.5 cm. British Museum Oc1901,1221.9.

The grass-covered plains that dominate the country of the Yirandali-speaking Dalleburra people made it highly desirable to colonists. Robert Christison established Lammermoor station there in 1863.

By gaining the trust of Dalleburra elder Ko-Bro (‘Barney’), Christison formed good relations with the Dalleburra, in contrast to the violence dealt by settlers on neighbouring stations. His daughter, Mary, recalls him declaring to Ko-Bro:

You and me sit down two fellow messmate. Country belonging to you: sheep belonging to me.

Mary Montgomerie Bennett, Christison of Lammermoor, 1927

When they sold Lammermoor in 1910, the Christisons sought to secure Dalleburra people’s access to the land. Robert Christison asserted that he would ‘not discuss anything until their right to remain on the station as their home is settled’. Despite these intentions, Dalleburra people were moved off their country, some ending up on reserves on Palm Island, and at Barambah.

Fred Hill
Fred Hill, Yirandali, with his bullock hide rope. National Museum of Australia.

Old objects

Robert Christison gave collections to the British Museum in 1901 and 1904. Among them were objects, including this axe (above right), given to his family by Dalleburra people living on Lammermoor station.

After his death, Christison’s daughter Mary Montgomerie Bennett, writer and activist for Aboriginal rights, gave other objects and photographs to the British Museum.

New objects

As I was reared up, like, we just thought there was two classes of people – the white people was there to lead us ... it was just drummed into our heads that they were there. We were two classes of people: the whites, then the Aborigines ... I just still think it would be the same ... but it could change – I hope it does, for the other people behind me here.

Fred Hill, Yirandali, 2015

Bullock-hide rope with metal rings attached and arranged in a pleasing loop.
Bullock-hide rope, 2013, by Fred Hill, Yirandali people, Mount Isa, 55 cm long. National Museum of Australia. Photo: Katie Shanahan.
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