Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Nanny (c. 1820 - c. 1881)

c. 1820
Victoria, Australia
c. 1881
Maloga Aboriginal Mission, Victoria, Australia
Traditional Aboriginal Custodian


Nanny, whose original name is unknown, was probably born into the Toolinyagan group of the Yorta Yorta (Pangerang) people. She married a man named Jackey, of the Pallangan-mittang group of the Waveroo people further up the Murray River. After a number of violent clashes between the Riverina peoples and the incoming pastoralists, Nanny and Jackey settled on Barnawartha station.

In May 1843 Jackey was shot by the convict drover Jack Tunnecliffe, following which the Pallangan-mittang and Yorta Yorta attacked several stations in the vicinity to avenge his death. Two settler shepherds and at least five Aboriginal people were killed during these raids. Nanny protested Jackey's murder to the Commissioner of Crown Lands at Ulupna, who duly informed Governor Gipps. Nothing, however, was done about it.

In the mid-1870s Nanny, together with her daughter Ellen and son-in-law Charcoal, moved to the Maloga mission, to join her relatives. The women were very distressed when missionary Daniel Matthews showed them some photographs of the dead Yorta Yorta people they had known. When five of Ellen's grandchildren died, Nanny observed traditional mourning ceremonies by burning herself with firesticks. She herself was among the many Yorta Yorta people who died in 1881-82.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, Vol. 2, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994, pp. 758-9.

Leonarda Kovacic and Barbara Lemon

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124