|Gladfield was originally part of the Canning Downs run and at this time was leased by Frederick Bracker. Here Martens produced one of his rare Queensland images of people, in an Aboriginal encampment. The Indigenous peoples of the Downs were known as Gooneburra – ‘fire blacks’, because of their habit of frequently firing grasslands – hence the name of the adjoining property.
Black’s Camp at Gladfield, Dec. 29th 1851 1851
19.1 x 31.1cm
Collection: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
This site at Gladfield may have been a regular camp for the Indigenous people. Gladfield is the known northern limit of the important ‘yam daisy’, a nutritious root vegetable. Martens shows these men armed with weapons for fighting and for hunting. Conflict between the Downs Indigenous people and the settlers had been at its fiercest several years before Martens’s visit.
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