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Bungarie, John (c. 1829–1854)

We have recently heard of the death of an aboriginal native, whose history is so remarkably distinct from the usual career of his countrymen, that it deserves to be briefly recorded. The aboriginal alluded to was generally known by the name of "Young Bungaree." He was a native of the Namoi, and about twenty years ago was taken into the service of the late Mr. Stephen Coxen, with whom and his brother Mr. Charles Coxen, now of Brisbane, Bungaree remained for about thirteen years. He was educated at the cost of Messrs. Coxen, and was for a long time under the tuition of the Rev. Henry Carmichael, at the Normal Institution, in Sydney, where he evinced much capacity, and gained the prize at one of the examinations, for his proficiency in geography. After leaving Mr. Coxen's service, Bungaree lived for some time with other gentlemen, usually in the capacity of shepherd, and ultimately joined the Native Police force as a corporal. He was employed as store-keeper, and kept the accounts of the section to which he was attached, in the Port Curtis district. He died a few weeks ago, very much regretted by all who knew him, and who had become attached to him in consequence of his intelligence and amiable disposition. The case of this native at all events proves that if the blacks of Australia are generally incapable of civilization, that rule, like others, is not without exception. He never evinced the slightest desire to return to savage life, but when, owing to those commercial disasters which a few years back so much disarranged the affairs of this colony, it became necessary that he should fall back upon his own resources, he at once betook himself to the ordinary industrial pursuits of a working man, and sought employment wherever he could find it. His death should not pass without a record, and the history of his life should stimulate other colonists to follow the worthy example of Messrs. Coxen, whenever an opportunity offers.

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'Bungarie, John (c. 1829–1854)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bungarie-john-29754/text37308, accessed 13 May 2021.

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