Wiradjuri Warriors - I: Yuranigh
The fall of few warriors is marked by both carved trees and a granite headstone.
Wiradjuri warriors are memorialized by carvings cut into living trees in grand living avenues.
Only great warriors have five trees carved. Over time, even the carvings for the most powerful warriors are covered by regrowth or the trees die. Few remain.
Grave sites of Europeans are marked by memorials made of stone or wood. Over time, the words fade, the graves fall back into the earth and memories dim.
This is the five tree site memorializing the life of Yuranigh, a slender warrior of the Wiradjuri. A heavy gravestone sits nearby also in his honor. A younger man (he had not undergone the ceremony that allowed him to eat emu) he worked tirelessly to ensure the success of Magy (Sir Thomas Mitchell) as he explored the arid inland of Australia.
Magy called Yuranigh his "guide, companion, councillor and friend" and attributed the peaceful success of their great adventure into central Queensland to Yuanigh's ability to perceive danger, defuse aggression and make fine observations.
It is said Yuranigh's tracking skills enabled him to follow rivers when they disappeared under sands or when they split into a multitude of paths on the vast plains. On observing an inland crow, Yuranigh told his friend that the central Queensland crows "talked another language" to those at Sydney. He is responsible for preserving much of the name-law of the inland.
We do not know the meaning of this design, carved into one of the trees that mark Yuranigh's memory. Three of the carved trees are still alive, 170 years after being carved. Only one of the trees is lost to us.
Image: near Molong, the Place of Many Rocks.