In this project, an act of Aboriginal heroism is defined as the attempt (whether successful or not) by Aboriginal people in what is now known as Victoria in the period 1800-1930 to come to the assistance of non-Aboriginal people in the event of danger to that person’s health, life or livelihood – with specific reference to fire, flood and food.
This definition embraces heroic acts which involve:
The evidence for heroic acts by Aboriginal people towards non-Aboriginal people in Victoria is usually found in archival sources (both print and visual) – but is not restricted to these sources. The sources of heroic acts are also sourced from oral histories that have been passed on in verbal accounts. The list below identifies the kinds of sources that were consulted for the project. The bibliography identifies each source in detail, many of which are now available online.
|Coordinates||The geographical coordinates locating the site. This point is imprecise to around 250 metres and is a best estimate. It may also be inaccurate due to the vagueness of historical records, because the event took place over a large area, or is simply unknown.|
|Latitude||The Latitude of the incident in WGS 84, rounded to 3 decimal places.|
|Longitude||The Longitude of the incident in WGS 84, rounded to 3 decimal places.|
|Location||The nearest town, locality or geographical identifier where the heroic action occurred. If we cannot be accurate to a locality/region. Eg: if records indicate ‘Murray River’...|
|Estimated number of non-Aboriginal people saved||A number will be provided where the data provides for an estimate of the number of non-Aboriginal people saved|
|Names or number of Aboriginal rescuers||A number (or the names of rescuers) will be provided where the data provides for an estimate.|
|Type of heroic action||Brief general descriptor of type of heroic action will be provided|
|Short summary||Where possible, a narrative of the heroic action describing the nature of the action, how the heroic act took place and any other relevant information.|
|Sources||Historical sources for heroic actions.|
|Hyperlink to image||Where possible a hyperlink to an image associated with the heroic action will be provided|
|Hyperlink to |
|Where possible a hyperlink to the text associated with the heroic action will be provided|
This is an ongoing project and the information is subject to change. Data is uploaded to the digital map and information on the site adjusted at regular intervals, with a stage number in the footer of each page. The project will formally conclude with Stage 4 in 2022, but will remain open for contributions. Data will be updated accordingly. Ongoing maintenance may include corrections and some additions thereafter.
The full collection of sites are stored in the common standard datum of WGS84, but are projected in the online map using WGS 84/Pseudo-Mercator (EPSG:3857).
Points showing heroic sites were located using a variety of sources and tools, cross checking sources against each other, nearby sites, old maps and within GIS systems. Each point has purposefully been made imprecise by rounding to 3 digits (approx. 250m) for 2 reasons:
Information on this site represents the best evidence available to the research team. It remains subject to change from ongoing feedback, community consultation and research. The research team invites suggestions and corrections.
The data is indicative rather than definitive. The data is a starting point only, and are not representative of the full extent of heroic acts. Compulsory and free education in Victoria was not introduced in Victoria until late in the 19th century and subsequently literacy levels were lower in this period. It is likely that many more heroic acts occurred than were reported and recorded and for which we can find evidence.
The Aboriginal Heroes of Fire, Food and Flood project was funded by the Telematrics Trust.