Yarri and Jacky, heroes of Gundagai
1852 Australia: Seventy-seven (some sources put the number up to 83 or higher) out of 250 residents of the village of Gundagai, New South Wales, drowned when the Murrumbidgee River flooded. Gundagai at the time was a crossing point for people en route to the Victorian gold fields.
Many were saved by local indigenous people, notably Yarri who rescued 49 stranded people in his bark canoe, braving the torrents of one of the continent's largest rivers to pluck the survivors one at a time from treetops and roofs, working perhaps 50 hours without a break.
Following the rescue, Yarri was given a copper shield to wear around his neck (breastplates were a decoration not infrequently bestowed by Europeans to Aboriginals considered worthy of respect), but for nearly 140 years neither Yarri nor Jacky, his partner in the rescue, really gained the recognition they deserved ...
Tagged: australia, indigenous