This record is titled: Parramatta Native Institution Admission List: 10 January 1814 to 28 December 1820. [1]

Kitty belonged to the Cannemegal (Warmuli) or Prospect clan of the Darug people [2]. Kitty’s parents, birth name and birth date are unknown, but records indicate that she was five years of age when placed in the Parramatta Native Institution on 28 December 1814, the same day as Maria Lock [3].Kitty remained at the Native Institution until she married Colebee an Aboriginal man of the Boonooberongal clan and brother of Maria Lock. They were married on 12 June 1822 at approximately thirteen years of age. Governor Macquarie’s written orders show:

That no Child after having being admitted into the Institution, shall be permitted to leave it, or be taken away by any Person whatever, (whatever Parents or other relatives) until the Boys shall have attained the age of sixteen years, and the Girls fourteen years. [4]

Colebee had previously in 1816, been granted 30 acres (12 hectares) of land in Black Town in partnership with Nurragingy (the first land grant to Aboriginal persons in the colony) [5]. At the time of their marriage, Colebee was a constable at Windsor but Kitty and Colebee settled on a small farm in Black Town [6]. Colebee was often away from home, but it is believed that Kitty and Colebee were living in Black Town when Kitty gave birth to a son, Samuel, who was baptised at the Roman Catholic church at Richmond, aged three, on 23 August 1827 [7].

By 1831, Kitty is recorded as being widowed and living in Richmond. In 1832, she married for a second time to an English convict Joseph Budsworth (aka Henry Joseph Budsworth). Kitty and Joseph had six children and lived on the Liverpool Plains before moving to the Maitland area. Descendants of Kitty and Colebee include the three Stafford brothers Charles Fitzroy, Clyde Gilford and John Harold who were enlisted and served with the Australian Light Horse in the first world war [8].

The date and location of Kitty’s death is unknown.

Rosemary Norman-Hill

Kitty’s great-great-great-granddaughter – Rosemary Norman-Hill. Image provided by Rosemary Norman-Hill

On the 200th commemoration of the opening of the Native Institution, Kitty’s great-great-great-granddaughter Rosemary Norman-Hill spoke about Kitty and the other children separated from their families and placed in the Native Institution:

‘We need to raise awareness to the wider community – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – about who these children were, what happened and why as this has largely been forgotten… the intention was for these children to lose their language, their culture, their heritage and their Aboriginal way of life…” [9]

Chrissie Crispin, Research Assistant – Work placement and Neera Sahni, Research Services Leader, City of Parramatta 2018

Reference:

[1] Brook, J. and Kohen, J. (1991). The Parramatta Native Institution and the Black Town: A History. Kensington NSW: New South Wales University Press.

[2] AIATSIS. (n.d.). Darug (Warmuli Clan)/Gamilaroi Descendants. The Stafford Brothers. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Retrieved on 14/06/18 from http://aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/stafford-brothers

[3] Brook, J. and Kohen, J. (1991). The Parramatta Native Institution and the Black Town: A History. Kensington NSW: New South Wales University Press.

[4] Brook, J. and Kohen, J. (1991). The Parramatta Native Institution and the Black Town: A History. Kensington NSW: New South Wales University Press. pp.59-62.

[5] Blacktown Native Institution Project. (2015). Colebee and Nurragingy Land Grant. History. Retrieved on 14/06/18 from http://www.bniproject.com/history/

[6] Brook, J. and Kohen, J. (1991). The Parramatta Native Institution and the Black Town: A History. Kensington NSW: New South Wales University Press.

[7] Brook, J. and Kohen, J. (1991). The Parramatta Native Institution and the Black Town: A History. Kensington NSW: New South Wales University Press.

[8] AIATSIS. (n.d.). Darug (Warmuli Clan)/Gamilaroi Descendants. The Stafford Brothers. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Retrieved on 14/06/18 from http://aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/stafford-brothers

[9] Han, E. (2015). Parramatta Native Institution: Aboriginal children remembered 200 years later. Sydney Morning Herald. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 13/06/18 from https://amp.smh.com.au/national/nsw/parramatta-native-institution-aboriginal-children-remembered-200-years-later-20150119-12tdaf.html