“The hill at the back of the gas works was then covered with honeysuckle, and was used by the aboriginal tribes as a camping ground. In that year, “King Bully” the last of the kings of the Newcastle tribes of aboriginals, died, and was buried close to the camp. “King Bully” left a piccaninie named “Kitty” who subsequently became a notorious character. “
– Windross, John, & Ralston, J.P., Historical Records of Newcastle 1797 – 1897, Newcastle, Federal Printing and Bookbinding Works, p. 32
Wildross & Ralston are writing in 1897, and the location of a gas works on that site is confirmed from the Water Board map from 1897
Now, they refer to a “hill” near the site. Difficult to imagine without access to a topographical map from the time. Consulting the 1887 Knaggs map, we can see the topography and “hill” that forms the ridge that “Cook’s Hill” derived its name from.
The overlay with 2018 Google Earth helps us to see the proximity of the location.
It is important to note that there was a discovery of five Aboriginal skeletons, wrapped in tea-tree bark, in 1881 at the corner of Parry-street near the approach to the racecourse. The article noted that:
“Coroner, Mr. C. B. Ranclaud, having personal experience of the spot having many years ago been a general camping place and burial-ground of the blacks, no inquest is considered necessary.”
– Discovery of Aboriginal Remains Newcastle Morning Herald & Miner’s Advocate 9 June 1881 [p.2]
Read the full posting here: https://hunterlivinghistories.com/2012/01/10/aboriginal-burial-ground-discovered-on-parry-street/
So, as best as we can ascertain, it is possible that King Bully was buried somewhere along this ancient dune system, that was within walking distance of a known Aboriginal camping ground, (on the former Gas Works site, now McDonald’s Fast Food Restaurant on Steel Street) as well as a Aboriginal Tool making Factory site at the former Palais Royale site, now KFC Fast Food Restaurant in Newcastle West.
As always, we welcome community input and further information and data that can assist.
Gionni Di Gravio
12 January 2018