Merv Cooper: Gully resident

Merv Cooper, a Gully resident born in 1916, remembers that in the Valley, “There were people, very dark people, who would come from different areas to my Grandmother’s home and camp around the area for a few days and during that time they would paint their faces. We were put to bed early and told not to come out, that the Hairy man would get us. We would hear chanting and the next morning they were all gone. There was a spot in the Upper Gully we were told not to go near as there were spirits there. As children we were very afraid. One day while picking blackberries, we saw a worn spot surrounded by thick scrub. We learned later on that it was a spot where corroborees were held.” Johnson, p. 113. Video, ‘The Old people of the Gully’

  • School children at Bents Basin festival, 2011
  • Uncle Mervyn Cooper
  •  Elders, Aunty Merle Williams, Uncle Mervyn Cooper at Appin massacre commemoration