Nanbaree was orphaned by the smallpox epidemic at Port Jackson in 1789, during which a large number of Aboriginals, who had no natural immunity to the disease, died. He was adopted by a local surgeon, Mr. White, and became part of his family. He became thoroughly acculturated and never attempted to rejoin Aboriginal society.
He joined the crew of the Investigator, under Matthew Flinders, in 1803 and was an influential interpreter for the Europeans.
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