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Gudyarra: The First Wiradjuri War of Resistance

NewSouth Books

Gudyarra: The First Wiradjuri War of Resistance


In mid-1824, the Bathurst district was under siege.

Local Wiradjuri people had broken off contact with colonists and vowed to kill all invading white men. Warriors raided outstations, killing people and stock with impunity while large warbands threatened convict stock-workers who either fled or cowered in their huts. Wealthy Sydney-based landholders clamoured for military intervention and threatened to abandon the Bathurst Plains entirely.

Gudyarra (war) unearths what lead to this point, beginning with the occupation of Wiradjuri lands by Europeans following Governor Macquarie’s push to expand the colony west over the Blue Mountains to generate wealth from sheep and cattle.

Award-winning author of The Sydney Wars Dr Stephen Gapps traces the coordinated resistance warfare by the Wiradjuri under the leadership of Windradyne, and others such as Blucher and Jingler, that occurred in a vast area across the central west of New South Wales. Detailing the drastic counterattacks by the colonists and the punitive expeditions led by armed parties of settlers and convicts that often ended in massacres of Wiradjuri women and children, Gudyarra provides an important new historical account of the fierce Wiradjuri resistance.

If any single frontier conflict has all the hallmarks of war, this is it.

‘This isn’t just a war for Wiradjuri country, this is a war for Australia: the country we are still to be. Our nation begins here.’ — Stan Grant

‘The untold story of the Wiradyuri War of resistance against a World Empire’ — Uncle Bill Allen Junior, Wiradyuri Elder

‘In Gudyarra, Stephen Gapps plots in meticulous detail the brutal war between the British and the Wiradyuri for possession of the Western Plains of New South Wales. A masterly account of both sides of the conflict, Gudyarra offers new understandings of the complexity of frontier history and the need for all Australians to reconcile with the past.’ — Lyndall Ryan

‘This is an important book, indeed essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the new direction in the history of the frontier wars.’ — Henry Reynolds

Stephen Gapps
Published November 2021
256 pages 
234mm x 153mm
ISBN 9781742236711 

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