“These men are Wiradjuri men and they didn’t worry about any sort of race or colour or anything when they were doing their bravery act,”

 A new sculpture pays tribute to local Indigenous people who risked their lives to save their European neighbours in one of the most devastating floods in Australia’s history.

The New South Wales town of Gundagai could have been wiped out during the Great Flood of 1852, if it wasn’t for the efforts of two Wiradjuri men.

Over the weekend, on the 165th anniversary of the Great Flood, Gundagai unveiled a sculpture honouring Yarri and Jacky Jacky who risked their lives to rescue a third of the town’s population.

“They just do what they need to do, just did what they thought was necessary to save the people and didn’t think twice about it.”

In 1852, Gundagai was a budding village with 250 residents but when flood waters rose along the Murrumbidgee River the town was totally unprepared.

It’s estimated 89 people died in the flood, making it one of the most deadly natural disasters ever recorded in Australia. Yet the death toll could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the actions of Yarri, Jacky Jacky and other Wiradjuri people who saved an estimated 69 people from drowning in the flood.

Aunty Sony Piper, is also a member of the ‘Yarri and Jacky Jacky Sculpture Committee’ and said she was very proud of the sculpture.

“To be Aboriginal men, there's not many statues around and we wanted that to be in Gundagai,” she said.

“For a lot of the tourists to come through and see about these heroes - these two Aboriginal heroes.”

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