George BARKER #179, Q21226

George Barker

Indigenous Australian, George BARKER, Depot Company.

George (Duke) BARKER, was born in Nebo in 1894, to Toby and Maggie Barker.

In January 1908 all but one of the Barker children – Norman, Albert, Kitchener and Daisy May – were swimming in Nebo Creek when they were apprehended by police and the children –all between eight and twelve years old – taken 600 kms south to Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve, where their names were changed to Brown.

At the time, George then aged 13 had reportedly been out assisting the postman, opening and closing gates on properties, as they delivered the stations’ mail, and so was saved from being taken to the mission.  He was later granted exemption from the Aboriginal Protection Act, and in August 1917, now a stockman on Grosvenor Downs Station, volunteered to serve with the first AIF at the recruiting station in Mackay.

It was noted on his enlistment papers that he was a ‘half caste’ his father being European; he named his friend George McFadyen of Mount Flora Mine via Nebo as his next of kin.

George Barker trained at the army camp in Enoggera, Brisbane with No 1 Depot Company, but was not given the opportunity he sought to serve for his country.

George Barker was discharged medically unfit in November 1917, suffering from back pain, due to an earlier injury caused by a fall from a horse.

Not to be deterred, George returned to the work he knew at Strathfield Homestead as a stockman, very little is known of him after this time. The story of his siblings removal and his mother Maggie can be read in a moving tribute to the stolen generation of Nebo, entitled ‘Bringing Kitchener home’ – see below.

Read more …

Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland