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photographed by Cyrus S. Moss

Mickey Johnson in bush from Shoalhaven scenes and people, ca. 1910

About this item: 

Mickey Johson (1834-1906), Aboriginal King of Illawarra, with breastplate presented by local politician and historian Archibald Cameron MLA. Mickey Johnson (1834-1906) was one of the most famous Aboriginal inhabitants of the Shoalhaven and is thought to have been brought to the area from Port Stephens in the 1860s by Major E. H Weston of Albion Park. After working for Weston for ten years or so, he moved to Kangaroo Valley with his wife Rosie. In the early 1890s, they moved to Windang on the coast at the mouth of Lake Illawarra. He was proclaimed King of the Illawarra Tribe at the Illawarra Centenary celebrations in 1896 and was presented with a brass plate inscribed with Mickey Johnson, King by Archibald Campbell, MLA. Mickey spent his final years at the aboriginal camp on the flat at Minnamurra River near the bridge. He died in 1906 when he was 72, and is buried in the Kiama cemetery.

Cyrus Saul Moss was born in 1872, the youngest son of Nowra mayor Henry Moss and his wife Sarah. He worked as a clerk with local solicitor Thomas Marriott. In the 1890s, he was secretary of both the football club and cricket club. Photography was his hobby and some of his photographs were used to illustrate Woodhill’s The Hawkesbury and Shoalhaven Calendar, Cultural and Cookery Guide for 1905. He married Margaret Graham in 1920 and was elected to Nowra Council from 1922 to 1925. Moss died in 1931. Two albums of photographs by Moss are held by the Nowra Museum and images from them were used in an exhibition presented by Shoalhaven Historical Society in 1996.