When Lieutenant-Governor James Stirling established Western Australia's Swan River colony (later the city of Perth) in 1829, times were tough. Seed refused to grow, food was scarce, and the initially good relations between British settlers and local Indigenous Noongar people tragically spiralled out of control into a conflict over land and resources.
Standing out during this period were the actions of a Noongar warrior named Yagan.
Confused by the actions of the settlers and refusing to submit to their strange British laws, Yagan fought back against the colonizers, murdering a settler in retribution for the death of one of his family. His reputation grew quickly, and he was soon a wanted man. Tricked into being captured, Yagan was on the cusp of execution for his crimes when he was saved at the last minute by an enigmatic Scottish pastor named Robert Lyon.
Yagan's story is not just one of the earliest examples of Indigenous resistance. It's also a sad reminder of a missed opportunity - a genuine chance to unite both black and white Australia right from the beginning of the country's birth.
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