It is generally acknowledged that Aboriginal populations were devastated physically and materially by the onslaught of European disease, massacre, loss of natural resources, and dispossession of land. A secondary impact was experienced on the ceremonial and spiritual 1ife of the peop1e in that it became impossib1e in most areas to continue the initiation of the young into re1igous 1ife. As fences began to criss-cross the landscape it became difficult to visit many sacred sites and when mission schools were estab1ished native languages were suppressed.
Aboriginal people clearly struggled against this onslaught although much of their effort is not recorded. The guerrilla campaigns waged by groups who withdrew into the mountainous hinterlands of the Region have been documented (e.g., Blomfield 1981). This was resistance by combat and harassment. Another type of resistance - one of more significance to the survival of knowledge about culture and sacred sites was that of stealth and secrecy.
Unlike many other parts of NSW, in several parts of the Norther region the establishment of Aboriginal Reserves from the 1880's did not lead to communities being moved from their traditional territory. In these places, even while confined in the reserves, people managed to keep alive traditions and languages unbeknown to their white supervisors. They even surreptitiously visited many of the old sites or pointed them out to their children from a distance.
See H Reynolds (1989)"Resistance: tactixs and traditions" in The Other Side of the Frontier, Penguin Books, Ringwood, pp 96-127, 210-215.