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metadata.territorywomen.dc.title: Alyandabu
Name: Alyandabu
Also known as: McGinness, Lucy
Alyan
Wetji
Alngindabu
Date of Death: 1961-09-23
Place of Birth: Finniss River
Date of Birth: 1874-02-26
Place of Death: Darwin
Place of Burial: Darwin
Cultural heritage: Indigenous Australian
Occupation: Indigenous Leader
Biographical notes: Alyandabu was an indigenous woman and one of the survivors from the Khungarakung tribe who were poisoned by white settlers in their country. She was born near the Finniss River. Alyandabu trained as a domestic cook and seamstress; in the 1900s she married an Irishman name Stephen McGinness and raised four sons Jack, Barney, Joe, Valentine and a daughter Margaret. Alyandabu taught her children her language and culture. They were also given a formal education. Later she became a female elder, a custodian of special knowledge and a bestower of names to children. The McGinness’ lived and worked on the fettler’s camps on the old Northern Territory railway and in October of 1908 they took a mining licence on the Lucy mine and remained there until Stephen’s death in 1918. Her mine was forfeited and the two youngest children were taken to Kahlin Aboriginal compound. Alyandabu worked in a number of physically demanding jobs to be near her children until they grew up and the family could be reunited. While the family was at Lucy mine Xavier Herbert visited several times and Alyandabu’s grand-daughter has said that “Alyandabu inspired him to write Capricornia and the O’Cannon family is based on the McGinness family”. Her two sons Joe and Jack were involved in the early beginning of the national Aboriginal rights movement. In a story told by Mr McGinness during the land hearing for Finniss River “Lucy was Alnigindabu’s European name; the Kungarknay name for the area of mine Mugudiber. Alyandabu died in on 23rd September 1961, she was known for her independence, generosity and devotion to her family. In 1963 a shade-laying ceremony was held at Humpty Doo station to ensure the maintenance of spiritual obligations.
Related link: Biographical cuttings on Alyandabu, Northern Territory pioneer and founder of the Lucy mine, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals
Australian Dictionary of Biography : Alngindabu (Lucy McGinness) (1874? - 1961)
Related Materials: The Finniss River Land Claim. Darwin : Northern Land Council, 1980. NTC 346.940432 AUST
Unsung Heroes & Heroines of Australia. Melbourne : Greenhouse Publications, 1988. NTC 920094 UNSU
Northern Territory dictionary of biography. Darwin : Charles Darwin University Press, 2008. NTC 920.9429 NORT
Egan, T. A. Drop of Rough Ted. Sydney : The Author, 1979. NTC 919.429 EGA
Lockwood, D. W. The Front Door. Adelaide : Rigby Limited, 1968. 994.295 LOCK
Appears in Collections:Territory Women

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