People

Mickey and Rosie Johnston

Mickey Johnston was born in Port Stephens about 1834, and arrived in the Illawarra around 1865. He joined the local tribe in his adult years, eventually becoming a senior member.  Mickey was a good tribal leader and was well liked by all who knew him.

Rosie was born c.1840 and was a Wodi Wodi tribal member. She was with Mickey Johnson by the 1860s and supported him in his dealings with the growing European community. Like Mickey, Rosie was a communicator and somehow managed to bridge the gap between the two communities.

The local tribe camped at Bass Point during the summer months when Clorinda and Samuel Atchison farmed there. Clorinda often spoke to her family of times when Rosie would bring members of the tribe to her, to dress their sores and wounds. Rosie was also very fond of Clorinda’s baked custards.

The local community recognised Mickey and Rosie’s standing, as noted by Mickey’s coronation in 1896 at the Wollongong Show where he was crowned ‘King Mickey’, however no recognition was given to them or the tribe in terms of land, hunting ground, or water supply.

It was reported that Mickey Johnston on the occasion of his ‘crowning’ at the Wollongong Show, was asked whether or not he had been invited to attend the coronation of King Edward VII in London. Mickey replied that he had not, however he was not expecting and invitation as he had not invited the King to his own coronation.

Mickey died in 1906 from Pneumonia at the Minnamurra camp aged 72 and Rosie died in 1923.

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