Published by Rosenberg Publications, Blood Revenge was launched at the Hawkesbury Regional Museum on 28th March by Professor Peter Stanley.
Author Lyn Stewart’s own ancestor was one of five men found guilty of wantonly killing two Darug Aborigines at the Hawkesbury River settlement over two hundred years ago. She says it was something her grandfather thought she was better not to talk about. Inevitably, the very fact he wanted her to leave the subject alone became the reason her interest developed. Sixty years later her research has ended in the publication of Blood Revenge, murder on the Hawkesbury 1799.
Historians writing about black-white relations say we will never reach true reconciliation until we are prepared to face the truth of our history. By delving into this part of Lyn’s own family history she has brought the family skeleton out of the closet to have a good hard look at it. In Blood Revenge she takes the reader with her investigating the historical evidence to learn why the murders happened and why the accused men were found guilty but never punished. The journey takes her into the volatile and uncertain relationships between settlers and Aborigines on the Hawkesbury. The politics operating in the colony’s administration also become important to the story. Governor John Hunter was experiencing difficulties with his Judge Advocate and the officers of the New South Wales Corps—difficulties that influenced the outcome of the first trial in which white men were held to account over the murder of Aborigines.