Point Pearce and The Narungga People
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Books about Point Pearce and the Narungga People
Before the coming of the European pastoralists, the Yorke Peninsula was the home of the Narungga people, who occupied the land from near Port Wakefield in the east, over to Port Broughton in the west, and all the way down to the tip of the Peninsula.
Discovery of copper on Yorke Peninsula in 1859 lead to a swelling population, and the establishment of sizeable townships. These attracted many Narungga and the previously mobile population began to settle closer to these towns where they were exposed to damaging influences, such as alcohol and disease. Concerned for the welfare of these fringe-dwellers and with an aim to 'civilise' them, the local population began petitioning the Government and laying plans for a mission.
The land selected was familiar to many of the Narungga who would have often travelled though it. Known to them as Bookooyana, the area was a place where one could find an abundance of shellfish, game and fresh water soaks. Leaseholder Samuel Rogers, was concerned about the effect that such a settlement would have on his water supplies, and tried to fight the Government, but was eventually placated. And so in 1868 about six hundred acres, 35 miles south of Wallaroo, was given over for the establishment of the Yorke's Peninsula Aboriginal Mission, later called Point Pearce.
About 70 Narungga came to live at the Mission. But conditions were hard, and after a spread of illness led to a number of deaths in 1872, by 1874 the population had dropped to only 28.
Those Narungga who had resisted living on the Mission were reluctant to pass on their cultural knowledge and language to Mission residents. In 1894 the Mission was thrown into chaos when the former residents of the closed Poonindie Mission were shifted to Point Pearce. This introduction of people from a variety of Aboriginal language groups, some who had been living long under colonial influences, compounded the loss of the Narungga's own cultural identity.
By the end of the 1910s many of the Mission residents had grown up on the Mission and considered it their home. But there was frustration that despite all of their toil, they were not able to claim any of the land for their own, and work for themselves.
In 1915, the Mission was taken over by the State Government and became known as the Point Pearce Aboriginal Station. Residents continued to fight for their rights to benefit from their labours, but only after World War II were Aboriginal farmers able to reap any such reward - even then only earning one in ten bags produced by the white farmers they worked along side of.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s residents were taking positions as domestics, or farmhands or joining the armed services and then in the 1950s many gained exemptions under the Aborigines Protection Act and left Point Pearce to try and make better lives for themselves under less strict controls.
The Aboriginal people of Point Pearce were finally given control of the land in 1972, when 5,777 hectares was transferred to the ownership of the Point Pearce Community Council under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act.
Before the coming of the European pastoralists, the Yorke Peninsula was the home of the Narungga people, who occupied the land from near Port Wakefield in the east, over to Port Broughton in the west, and all the way down to the southern tip of the Peninsula. The Narungga consisted of four clans, Kurnara (north), Windera (east), Wari, (west) and Dilpa (south).
It is believed that the Narungga maintained large settlements along the coast throughout much of the year. These coastal camps would have provided a regular supply of food and fresh water, as well as a gathering place for social and religious ceremony. There is also evidence of smaller camps scattered throughout the Peninsula.
Archaeological evidence shows that the Narungga had campgrounds at the areas now known as Moonta Bay, Cape Elizabeth, Chinamen's Well, Point Pearce, Black Point, Point Yorke, Tiddy Widdy and Point Morowie among others. Tools fashioned from stone, bone and shells are found at these sites.
The first lease was taken out on Yorke Peninsula in 1846, and from that time there was much conflict between pastoralists and the Aboriginal population - over land, stock, and the most precious commodity, fresh water.
Cut off from many of their traditional methods of gathering food and water some Narungga found work with pastoralists, labouring or minding sheep. Others were supplied with water, blankets, flour or other provisions by stations or Government-run depots.
In the years following colonisation, the remaining Narungga people lost much of the use of their language and cultural heritage. Once the Point Pearce Mission was opened in 1868, residents were discouraged from speaking their language and practicing their beliefs. Some Narungga resisted the move to the mission and continued to live independently, off the land, or by gaining work outside of the Mission. These groups continued to speak their own language and practice their culture - but were reluctant to pass these on to Mission residents.
The cultural identity of the Narungga was also challenged when Aboriginal people from other language groups were moved to Point Pearce - most significantly after the closure of Poonindie Mission in 1894. But the residents of the Point Pearce Mission maintained their community identity and fought long and hard for their rights to land in Yorke Peninsula. This entitlement was acknowledged in 1972, when ownership of 5,777 hectares was transferred to the Point Pearce Community Council under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act.
Today both the Narungga Aboriginal Progress Association, based in Maitland, and the Narungga Heritage Committee, based in Point Pearce, are working to continue and revive Narungga culture and language through education, tourism and cultural awareness training.
Point Pearce Mission Station - State Library of South Australia - B 9804
District Council of Yorke Peninsula - History of Point Pearce
The aborigine tribe who inhabited Yorke Peninsula prior to the arrival of white people were called the Narrunga tribe. They amounted to about 500 in number*. * "The Advertiser", 6th July 1982
After the discovery of copper in 1861 the mining towns of Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina developed. The further settlement of the Peninsula restricted the nomadic life of the aborigine resulting in hardship and privation for them*. *Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 55
In 1867 a committee was formed to assist the natives and two Moravian missionaries, named Kuhn and Walder were appointed to assist them.
Land was set aside for them and under the direction of Mr. Kuhn stone was quarried and houses were built. The natives were further employed on various sheep stations as rouseabouts and shearers. At various ports they were given employment as wheat lumpers, or labourers at Wardang Island in the flux quarries. Wardang Island was leased and profits returned were used to help finance the mission*. Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 60
In 1956 an Act of Parliament abolished all aboriginal reserves and the land and settlement now belong to the Aboriginal Lands Trust under the guidance of a Council of nine people*. Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 65
THE NATIVE TONGUE
A Valuable Vocabulary.
The exclusive historical and philological articles which have been a feature of "The Pioneer" for several months past, have opened the way for publication of matter belonging solely to the ethnological side of the history of Yorke Peninsula.
One of the vain regrets of modern scientists is that the much-landed pioneers, with the matchless opporunities afforded by personal contact with the blacks, failed to hand down to posterity anything like a complete record of the Australian aboriginal speech. Many years later, after the flush of opportunity had faded, enthusiasts set about retrieving some of the lost ground.
So far as South Australia is concerned, special credit in this regard is due to Mr. J. Howard Johnson, son of the late Mr. James Angas Johnson who was one of the pastoral pioneers of Yorke Peninsula.
He prepared a vocabulary of the native race which inhabited the southern reaches of the peninsula, and it forms one of the most interesting documents of its kind that exist in South Australia.
The work is divided into 15 headings, and "The Pioneer" proposes to reproduce it by instalments. The author is a great grandson of George Fife Angas, one of the fathers and founders of South Australia.
HEAD—Gocka, Guck-er or Cook-a
HAIR—Gugga-willyer, Gucker-willyer or Gock-earner.
FAIR HAIRED—Thil-lully or Dillarly.
HAIR (on animals)—Boot-lee.
MOUSTACHE or WHISKERS— Yunk-kar-ree or Yurn-ker.
EARS—Tul-tee or Dol-da.
NOSE—Mood-la or Mul-da.
MOUTH—Thar-burra (no name for chin or jaw, all included in mouth).
NECK or THROAT—Wurrl-too.
HAND—Murra (includes wrist and fingers).
THIGH—Cun-tee or Gun-ty.
SHOULDER BLADES — Gug-gugtee.
SKIN—Yal-koo or Yal-goo.
CALF (of leg)—Bood-Ia.
LEG—Yalgoo or Yal-k'oo.
INSIDE OF THIGH—Mud-dlee.
BANDY—Yal-goo Yoogooly (crooked legs).
HUMP BACKED—Toora boon bailee (lump on shoulders).
FLAT FOREHEAD — Bucka-binyinny.
FLAT FACE—Moolka binyinny.
BIG SHORT LEG—Yalgoo-buttoodowera.
OCTOPUS — Murra-widgee (many hands, murra a hand).
SCHNAPPER—Cud-berry or Codberry.
WHITING—Yurrd-lee or Yud-lee.
FLOUNDER — Tharbara - yoogooly (crooked mouth).
MUTTON FISH—Birra (the moon) or birroo.
BUTTER FISH—Gooya or Gyneburra.
ANY FISH—Goo-ya or Coo-ya.
CRAY FISH—Coo-pa (ugly looking).
SHELLS—Birra (birrer) the moon.
STINGRAY, LITTLE BLACK— Gud-der-rah.
STINGRAY, OLD MAN—Mundybulter.
OLD MAN ROO—Nan-toe.
OLD MAN DOE—Wo-wee or Warwa.
JOEY 'ROO—Goo-ducka or Goodaga.
STARVED JOEY 'ROO — Moolagoodaga.
OLD MAN WALLABY—Wullaby.
JOEY WALLABY—Wug-ug-coo or Wagga-coo.
RABBIT — Thurrul-ta-bitty (long ears).
WHITE SHOULDERED WALLABY—Coon-ter.
MOUSE — Untoo - buttoo - vith - e -catcha (a short-armed chap digging quickly).
As the kangaroo was the largest animal known to the natives, they called any large animal introduced by the whites NANTOE.
REPTILES (SNAKES) ............
BLACK SNAKE — Buck-er (any black snake).
BLACK SNAKE RED BELLY— Buck-er.
BROWN SNAKE—Wurrn-koo or Wong-koo.
MALLEE SNAKE—We-burra. (Cannot identify this.)
LIZARDS, Etc ..........
BOBTAILED . LIZARD—Moo-rower-tee.
FIRE LIZARD (Gecko)—Wit-ta (small variety).
FIRE LIZARD (large variety)— Moonk-ker.
LITTLE THIN LIZARD—Mug-agilla-gilla.
LITTLE BROWN LIZARD—Wuga-gurra.
IGUANA—Bunna, Warry-but-cher or Warry-wit-cha.
BLACK AND YELLOW LIZARD— Yun-gurra.
TI-TREE (Purple flower)—Mul-deera or Mul-der-ra.
BUSHES Boon-too (any THATCH GRASS grass or rush
BROAD LEAF growing in RUSH swamps).
WHITE FLOWER BUSH (on beach)—Min-ya or Meen-ya.
LONG NEEDLED WATTLE — Ming-ka.
SMALL NEEDLED WATTLE— More-ra.
CURRANT BUSH— Buggy-jucker.
BARK—Gon-nick-ker or Can-nick-ker.
GRASS—Coo-loo (Barley grass).
EAGLEHAWK—Wil-too or Wurrltoo.
LITTLE BROWN HAWK—Bee-eburrow.
MAGPIE—Mooor-roo. or Mur-roo.
SCOTCH - HOPPER — Joon -nunchoo (twelve apostles).
CURLEW—Weer-doo or Wir-roo.
ANY DUCK—Nurry (except Mounlain Duck).
GOOSE—Mte-e-biirroo (Bread, miee; meat, burroo, i.e., anything edible).
STARLING (Wood Swallow)— Gurrgoo-larrt-too.
FOWL (Domestic)—Yurda-nun-yerries (scratching about the dirt).
WHITE HEADED OWL—Win-ta.
EGGS—Mook-kcr or Nurr-roo.
SEA BIRDS. RED BILL—Deer-de.
BLACK GULL (molly hawk)—Yowwoo.
SILVER GULL—Biroo or Bith-roo.
PELICAN — Widaly or Wult-choo (long neck).
INSECTS, Etc ...............
LITTLE SAND FLY—Mulla-wurry.
SCORPION—Gunnee-wurta or Gunner-beirty.
BLACK AND BLUE ANT—Munker.
ANY INSECT—Butcher. (Seems common term for vermin; see "Any Snake.")
WATTLEGRUB Birr-tee ("Pelitee" at Milang: "Witchitee" in North).
MYTHOLOGY, Etc ........
MUD-JET-CHOO—This was the deity who was supposed to take the form of a bat, and the native name of the bat is still Mud-jetchoo.
ARNNER—A giant supposed by the natives to be buried at Royston Head, near Cape Spencer. He was a tremendously big man, and was continually quarrelling with another giant, Budderer. It ended by Arnner throwing a waddy from Point Turton, which killed Budderer, who was then near Minlaton.
BUDDERER—One of two giants, killed by a waddy thrown by Arnner who was at Point Turton, while Budderer was at Minlaton. Budderer is supposed to be buried at Minlaton.
NOOG-GUNNER was a ghost. The natives had many kinds of ghosts, devils, phantoms, etc., hut the worst kind was Noog-gunner, who was always supposed to be doing harm. The worst kind of "noog-gunner" was a bald-headed one (Birry-ger Noog-gunner), and he was greatly feared for his evil and malignant deeds.
COOP-A—An ordinary ghost. Coop-a is the name for a cray fish, because of its ugly appearance.
WUN-YERRA—The devil, nearly as much feared as Noog-gunner. To Follow — Domestic, General, Geographical, Couversatioual, Astronomical,
THE NATIVE TONGUE
A Valuable Vocabulary Second Instalment.
ASTRONOMICAL, Etc .....
ROUGH SEA—Yurrd-loo (big rough swell).
DEEP WATER—Will-la (long way down)
WATER—Cow-wee or Cabby.
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING—Currun-too.
WIND—Bin-tee or binty.
STONE (any kind)—Bun-ta
HOT—Wurl-toe or Wol-toe.
NIGHT—Will-cha or Wilcha-ioo.
PLAIN—Wum-mera (cf. Wimmera).
BLOW HOLE — Wul-burra-wurdly (whale's nest)
A CAPE OR HILL—Para-Wurlie
HEAD OR BAD WIND—Wonsgurra.
THE GROUND OR SAND—Yurr Wheat
A GAP OR CUTTING ,ANY CRACK Thow-woo
BLACK OR DARK—Bull-yooly.
FAIR—Dill-ar-ly or Thil-luliy.
GOOD-LOOKING — Goo-rannermoolkee (good looking person or face).
OLD, DRIED UP—Mootcher.
ANY SKIN—Bul-ter (a covering).
COAT OR SHIRT—Bul-ta (a skin).
TROUSERS—Cundy-bulta or Cundabulta (leg skin).
HAT—Gurr-gun-noo or Gucka-wurley (head cover).
A CAMP (Wurley)— Bil-duckoo or Wurley.
ANY STRAIGHT STICK—Bid-jerla.
A FORKED STICK—Bid-jiller (e.g., rafter of hut).
FIRE—Currd-la or Gud-dla.
ANY LIGHT—Currd-la or Gud-dla.
SMOKE—Bee-yoo (tobacco or wood smoke)
KANGAROO—Gudaga-hulter (rug of joey skins).
AN STONE OR ROCK—Bun-ta
BREAD—Mi-e or Mi-yee.
SOUND OF A BLOW—Mun-tee.
MY OR MINE—Nally-go.
WHITE MAN—Bin-dra or Goo-dinyoo.
WOMAN WITH CHILD IN ARMS —Oong-unya Marn-dickoo
PREMATURE CHILD—Brar-brerry or Brar brary.
DOMESTIC cont .....
A DEAD PERSON—Barl-loonie.
OLD PERSON — Mootcher (old; dried up).
HEAD ACHE—Cocker-wuthrickin or Gocker-nargolidge (head spinning round).
GERMAN — Mul-dulya
ANY STRAIGHT STICK—Bid-jerla.
THROWING STICK—Yuck kurra.
LONG WADDY— Nulla-whirry.
WADDY—Whirry (cf. mallee whirrah).
BIG DEVIL—Wun-yerra (the devil)
BALD-HEADED GHOST — Birryger
GHOST—Coop-a (cray fish).
ANGRY OR CROSS — Mung-goo (bad tempered)
HUMBUG — Yud-Iee (exaggeration, tommyrot).
SMELL OR STINK—Bool-too.
ANY INSECT OR SNAKE—But cher.
OLD. DRIED UP—Moot-cher.
SINGING. A CORROBOREE — Coordy-witch.
TOY THROWING STICK—Yuck-urra BIG—Murrn-na.
OUT OF SORTS—Moola-hucky.
NOSE FROZEN WITH COLD—Moola-bucker-nubber-nigger.
GREATLY STRUCK ON ANYTHING—Gul-didger.
SPOOR OR MARK—Bool-too. or Bid-jer-la.
TOOTHACHE — Deeya - doodala (tooth growl or in bad temper)
A NICE SHELTERED PLACE ON OF A HILL—Yuggy burley.
WATER HOLE OR CLAYPAN—Wulp-pa.
MUDDY WATER HOLE—Weerrooka.
THE NATIVE TONGUE
A Valuable Vocabulary Final Instalment.
A group of former residents of Southern Yorke Peninsula.
The exclusive historical and philological articles which have been a feature of "The Pioneer" for several months past, have opened the way for publication of matter belonging' solely to the ethnological "Side of the history of Yorke Peninsula.
One of the vain regrets of modern scientists is that thi much-lauded pioneers, with the matchless opportanities afforded by personal contact with the blacks, failed to hand down to posterity anything like a complete record of the Australian aboriginal speech. Many years later, after the flush of opportunity had faded, enthusiasts set about retrieving some of the lost ground.
So far as South Australia is concerned, special credit in this regard due to Mr. J. Howard Johnson, son of the late Mr. James Angas Johnson, who was one of the pastoral pioneers of Yorke Peninsula.
He prepared a vocabulary ot the native race which inhabited the southern reaches of the peninsula, and it forms one of the most interesting documents of its kind that exist in South Australia.
MORE-A-COWIE (Orrie Cowie)— Wattle Springs (Morea, small needled wattle).
MINLACOWIE—Fresh water well.
BUBBLE-DOWIE (Bubla dowie)— Brackish water well.
COOL-GAR-RY (Kuliwnrtie) — Waterhole where emus come to drink.
CURRAMULKA—Stone water hole where emus come to drink : (Gorry, emu; Moolka, stone water hole).
PARA WURLIE—A big, high bluff (native name for West Cape).
ROYSTON HEAD—Narm-noo Arrn-er (a giant).
OLD MAN JOLLEY'S—Wald-owirra.
SOUTH HUMMOCKS — Nanto- warn.
HILL AT WHITE HUT—Gulgonuck or Gurrl-gun-yer-nucka. (Called now Cut-cut-cutier or sparrow hawk hill)
PIPE CLAY (Daly Head)—Moodjully.
FIAT FROM BINS, MARION BAY (really the water hole there)— Mud-borowie.
BEACH NEAR PENGUIN PORT— Gunner-rappa.
EMU WATERHOLE—Yillow-rowie or Eela-rowie.
STONE WATER HOLE—Mulka bulba (near Davey's fence).
FLAT NEAR CAPE SPENCER— Gool-a-wool-gowie.
BEACH (north of Jim Brown's)— Willdy-bulla (i.e.. Pelican Creek).
WAROOKA—Muddy water hole.
YORKETOWN—Gurreena or Gurrina.
EDITHBURGH — Barrarm - marrattee.
BIG SCRUB HUT—Woo-rowie (gum tree water hole).
LITTLE SCRUB HUT—Nul-yow wee (very quiet place).
LITTLE ROUND SWAMP WATER HOLES—Mulderra-wulpa.
WELL ON TRACK TO EMU WATER HOLE—Rabble-dowie
PONDALOWIE—Stony water hole.
JIM BROWN'S WATER HOLE Won-un-owie.
PELICAN CREEK (Jim Brown's)— Wildy-bulla.
WATERHOLE GOING TO JIM BROWN'S — Warrin-ben (now Warrenben).
WATERHOLE NEAR LINE -Ower-jee (a cat fish).
SAND HILL WATERHOLE—Whit too (white sand hills),
SANDY PT. Well—Wofk-oo-lee.
STURT BAY— Bun-un-too.
FLAT NEAR POINT TURTON— Boon-poo.
BEACH NEAR PENGUIN PORT— Gunner-rappa.
CONVERSATIONAL, Etc ........
I AM GOING FIRST—Bul-tee.
I AM GOING SECOND—Yurry.
YOU AND I ARE GOING—Allybumma.
I WILL TELL YOU—Bun-yer-nitch.
I AM GOING—Ally-bumma.
I AM COMING—I-bununa.
LOOK OUT MATE, TRERE IS A SNAKE—Buh, ud-jig-ga, bucker
BANDY—Yalgoo-yoogooly (crooked ( legs).
THAT OTHER ONE—UbbleJoo.
TO FALL AWKWARDLY—Mum bala.
TO FALL STRAIGHT DOWN— Wong-ala.
A PROPER THIEF—Goowa-miUado.
A CHEEKY ROGUE—Youll-too.
A NICE SHELTERED PLACE— Yuggy-wurley.
CUSTOMS AND TRIBAL LORE - Last Of The Yorke Peninsula Aborigines
Thu 16 Jul 1936, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) By C. P. MOUNTFORD Trove
There are few aborigines in the southern part of this State who can give reliable information regarding the beliefs of their forefathers to students of native lore. Although a great deal is known of the tribal life of the Central Australian, only fragmentary notes of the customs of the southern groups have been collected. This applies particularly to those who inhabited Yorke Peninsula. It is the same old story—interest in things near at hand was not aroused until it was too late, while those in the more distant parts attracted strongly.
Because of this paucity of information regarding the now almost extinct Yorke Peninsula tribe, I readily accepted an invitation to visit the lower end of the Peninsula in company with a scientific party.
My interest in this tribe started at Moonta, when I was still a boy. I had seen their burial places in the sandhills, and the shallow wells from which they obtained their water, and often wondered what kind of people they were. But when bushmen from the north told me of strange sacred corroborees and fierce, truculent tribes, my mind conjured up pictures of similar people roaming these white sandhills.
I now know that the Far Northern people are rarely troublesome, and, unless smarting under some injustice of cruelty, are the antithesis of any first impression. There is no doubt that the inhabitants of the white sandhills of my childish playground were similar — kindly and courteous.
During our recent trip I had the pleasure of talking with Mrs. Eggington. This old lady has always lived a civilised life, but the aboriginal blood shows in that kindly and friendly courteousness which is so striking among the natives. Although 84 years of age, she is in full possession of her faculties, and proved to be a mine of information regarding the doings of her almost extinct forebears.
Early in life she married a European, but she kept in touch with her tribal relatives. Thus she became conversant with many aspects of then doings, some of which, I feel sure, would not have been "correct" for a woman to know when the tribe was in its heyday.
During a long talk with the old lady I learned that although the organisation of the tribe and marriage customs resembled those of the Adelaide and River Murray natives, the boomerang and shield were not adopted, nor was the art of mat making, such as is still carried on by the natives of Point McLeay.
Fishing And Net Making
The tribe, however, were expert fishermen, and, consequently, adepts in the art of net making. Mrs. Eggington described with a great amount of detail the "net making" parties which were held at Marion Bay. The natives called that place Kokadowi.
At certain seasons of the year the mullet travel along this coast in large schools. Some time before their appearance, the natives from the adjacent districts gathered to make nets for the coming harvest. The first day was spent in collecting bundles of a flat-leafed rush, which were piled in a large heap, preparatory to the next operation. That evening was spent in singing songs to "charm" the nets, and thus ensure a plentiful supply of fish.
The following morning a trench was dug in the sand and a large fire lit alongside, which at the end of an hour would have burned down to a heap of embers. These were raked into the trench, and covered with a thin layer of sand. On this the rushes were placed and "sealed down" with a cover of leaves, sand being placed on top.
About two hours of ''cooking" was required to reduce the rushes to the proper flexibility, the actual time being dictated by an old man, an expert in such matters. At a given signal, the hard work of preparing the fibre soinning the string and making the nets began. The cooked rushes were raked from the fire, and were chewed by both men and women until reduced to a stringy, fibrous mass.
Others, expert in the art of string making, then spun the chewed fibre into lengths of string, later to be wound on spindles. From this fibre the fishing nets were made.
The method of net making, as practised by these people, was similar to that used by Europeans. The nets, however, were not of large dimensions, being only about five feet long and three feet wide. Each family made several, which, although used in the communal fishing parties remained the property of the family group.
Conducting The Fishing
The arrival of the mullet was the occason of the great gathering of the year. Natives from all parts of the Peninsula, from Wallaroo downwards, gathered at Marion Bay, for in addition to the excellent "fishing parties," which in themselves were a consider-able attraction, ceremonies of initia-tion were carried out.
When the fishing began, men, stationed on prominent headlands, gave warning of the approaching schools. On a signal from the observers on the cliff heights, each net was dragged into the water by two men, and a number proceeding end on end, thus formed a long line of nets, extending seaward for a considerable distance. Other's, by swimming, operated in the deeper water, and, guided by the signals of those on the cliffs, drove the fish towards the nets.
So the fish were surrounded and dragged up on the sandy beach, later to be distributed among the various families.
The cooking was simple, but effective. The fish, unscaled, were laid on the coals, small lighted sticks being placed on top and the fish left until thoroughly cooked. The scales and skin then parted easily from the flesh, and the resulting dish was clean and tender. White men testify to the excellence of this dish.
Many other hunting stories were related, stories of how the emu was lured until within spear-throw by means of smoke fires, and kangaroos were driven into nets by bands of men.
Although drinkable surface waters are unknown in those parts, the aborigines were able to obtain this necessity from a number of sources. Waterbearing mallee roots, shallow wells in the sand, just above high tide mark, and small rock holes, in the limestone crust, were some of the water sources known to these people.
Mrs. Eggington described a locality near to Inniston where, she said, were the holes in which the best water in the district was obtainable. After several unsuccessful searches they were located, most of them having been filled in by the white man. These consisted of no more than small circular pot-holes in the limestone, which, in earlier days, were covered with flat rocks to prevent animals from polluting and drinking the water. I located fifteen of such holes, whose capacity varied from a few gallons to about thirty or forty.
The water drained from the surrounding rocky surface into these catchments which, having a small opening, kept the water sweet and fresh for a long time.
As was to be expected, many parts of the coastline figured in the legendary stories of these people, for they believed that their half-human, half-animal ancestors created all the natural features of the country.
Entrancing and mysterious were the tales of these people. Stories of giants who fought, and the places where their dead bodies, now turned to stone, can be seen.
There was Nana, the giant of that part, who one day discoverd a stranger Buddra, equally large, roaming round his domain. Buddra had evidently lost his way while chasing a kangaroo from Point Turton, and endeavored to explain to Nana his predicament. Nana, not being able to understand Buddra's language, became particularly enraged, and ordered him to leave, which the visitor, being of a mule-headed disposition, refused to do. A fight ensued, in which Buddra was killed. Nana disembowelled his enemy —the grass no longer grows at this spot— and disposed of the body by dragging it into the middle of a salt lake. The body is now turned to stone.
A long walk across the perfectly level salt encrusted surface of the lake was necessary to view at close quarters the dead body of the unfortunate transgressor.
As time went on, the legend continued, Nana and his wife died. His great body, now a portion of detached cliff over a hundred feet high, with his wife, another large block of stone, sitting quietly at his feet, can still be seen at Rhino Head, Nana himself forming the "horn" of the "rhino."
Fragments of other stories were gathered, One was of a wicked lubra, who was pushed over the cliffs at Cape Spencer, and was changed into a stone, now the famous "Blow Hole." It is said that in stormy weather she gives vent to her annoyance by spouting the water so high that people, standing on the cliff 200 feet above her, are drenched by the spray.
Other legends were told, stories of how the seabirds came into being, and why the crayfish is so ugly, stories which revealed the close intimate knowledge of the aborigines concerning nature and the life around them, stories as fascinating as any of our childhood fairy tales.
It is to be hoped that some great writer will collect these legends while the opportunity offers, and enlighten us Australians as to the inner thoughts and beliefs of the people we have supplanted.
THE STORY OF OUR PENINSULA ABORIGINES
We are frequently hearing of this and that being, done to "preserve" or help the aborigines. The buying of a station property for the Ooldea natives is one thing. Let us hope that the people for whom the late Mrs. Daisy Bates cared so long will find, if not a happy hunting ground, at least a happy home there.
In the northern parts of Australia other things, such as a health survey, are being done to help the remaining native inhabitants, some of whom are still protesting against the white man's depredations. The Arnhem Land natives are objecting to so many crocodile hunters invading their territory.
The Ooldea and northern aborigines have received much more publicity generally than those in other parts of Australia. Not very much is known of the tribes which at one time inhabited Yorke Peninsula. It is said that there were three tribes. That seems possible as there are several names generally supposed to mean "water," which apparently came from different tribal talk.
Mr. C. P. Mountford, who, has studied the aborigines and their lore, made a special visit to Yorke Peninsula some years ago to garner information. He says his interest in these people started when he was a boy at Moonta after seeing their burial places in the sandhills.
Mr. Mountford says that the natives, from Wallaroo down, used to gather at Marion Bay each year when the mullet arrived. Not only was there great feasting but initiation ceremonies were also carried out.
The name the natives had for Marion Bay was Koka dowi. The organisation and marriage customs of the tribe —lie mentions only one—were similar to those of the Adelaide and River Murray natives, but the peninsula natives did not use boomerangs nor shields, nor did they make mats.
But they did make fishing nets. New ones, apparently, each year. The natives knew when to expect the large schools of mullet which came periodically. Some time beforehand they made their nets. First they collected bundles of a flat leaved rush—the of same a kind flat no doubt, as the C.W.A. craft workers use to make baskets nowadays.
In the evening alter the gathering they sang songs round the rush pile to 'charm" the nets, so that they would gather a good supply of fish.
Next morning a trench was dug and a fire lit alongside it. When the fire had burned down the hot embers were raked into it and a thin covering of sand put on top of them. The rushes were laid on this and in turn covered by leaves and sand. At the end of about two hours—when the old man expert thought they should be ready—the rushes were raked from the trench and chewed until they were a stringy mass. That this was considered a most important job was evidenced by the fact that men, as well as women, helped with the chewing. The fibre was then spun into string and wound on sticks, later to be made into nets. The method of net making, Mr. Mountford says, was like that used by Europeans. The nets were small, about five feet long and three feet wide. Each family made several, and the nets they made then belonged to them.
When it was time for mullet to arrive look-out men watched for them from the cliffs and gave the signal of their approach. Then each net was dragged into the water by two men, net behind net, making a long line out into the sea. Others swam out into the deeper water and drove the fish into the nets, Then the fish were landed, divided up, and cooked, and a great feasting took place. Net making was apparently the chief art of this tribe. They caught kangaroos in the same way as they caught mullet—men drove them into nets. Emus were lured by smoke fires, and then speared, The aborigines knew all the waterholes. They also knew which mallee roots contained water. They thought their best waterholes were near Inneston—little circular potholes in the limestone formation, which they covered with flat stones to keep the water pure, and save evaporation. Mr. Mountford found fifteen of these holes, some big enough to hold thirty to forty gallons of water.
Amongst their legends was one of a wicked lubra who was pushed over the cliffs at Cape Spencer and turned into a stone, now the famous "Blow Hole." In stormy weather, so the legend goes, she spouts water up over the 200-foot cliff to drench those who go to look at her.
OUR ABORIGINES. TRIBAL CUSTOMS OF YORKE'S PENINSULA.
Tue 24 Jan 1922, The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) By Marion Bay. Trove
Although several articles, dealing with the customs and legends of the natives of South Australia have appeared in your columns from time to time, nothing has been mentioned about the natives of Yorke's Peninsula, and as there can be few, if any, survivors, the following notes may be of interest. While at Marion Bay on shooting and fishing excursions I used to stay with an old-time kangaroo hunter, and in the evenings he would relate some of the early-day incidents, and between us we compiled a vocabulary of native names for the flora, fauna, and geographical names, together with a few conversational terms. In the days of which I write (1895-1900) Marion Bay (Cockadowie) consisted of the old stone hut and the house erected for the manager of the whiting and gypsum claims, now owned by Mr. A. H. Hasell. Marion Bay, I believe, was named after the Marion, which was wrecked there. There were no fatalities to the best of my knowledge, but the story goes that the plate chest was brought ashore, and buried for safety in the sandhills by the shore, and as the sand is continually shifting, the marks made to locate its position were covered, and the chest was never found again. What truth there is in the story I do not know.
— Ghosts and a Lost Race. —
The natives recognised a Deity, "Mud- jetchoo," who was supposed to take the form of a bat, and the native name for a bat is still "mudjetchoo." "Arnner" was a giant, who was continually quarrelling with another giant, "Budderer." He was supposed to be buried at Royston Head (Arnner), near Cape Spencer. The quarrel was ended by Arnner throwing a waddy from Point Turton (Boonpoo) and killing Budderer, who was then near Minlaton. They had a variety of evil spirits, but the worst one was "Noogunner," who was always supposed to be doing harm. "Berryger-noo-gunner" (bald-headed ghost) was the worst of this variety. "Coop-a " was also a ghost; and the crayfish is called "Coopa" because of its ugly appearance. The devil, which was feared nearly as much as "Noogunner," was called "Wun-yerra." Yarning one evening with the old hunter, George, and his wife, I said I had been down at "Yellow-warowie" to get some "reevesi," a species of cowrie. Mrs. George said we call that Yillowrowie, or Eelarowie. It was so named because of a tribe of little fellows that used to live there; but none of the other natives could understand their talk; they jabbered like parrots. They died out before my time (this would be over 70 years ago), and no one knows anything about them, where they came from or anything else. They were dwarfs and lived apart from the others, never mixing with them. I had long been trying to get a skull, and one time, when at Marion Bay, I was given a splendid specimen of a native skull by one of the men working on the gypsum claims. He told me he found it at Emu Waterhole (Yillowrowie), and that it was on the side of a sandhill. I went down next morning and collected the remainder of the bones, and had the skeleton complete with the exception of left forearm and hand and tight leg and foot (or vice versa). On taking these to Adelaide, they finally reached Professor Watson, who handed them on to the Museum, where they are at present, so far as I know. I asked the professor if he could give me any particulars, and his verdict was that the skeleton was that of a male aged between 50 and 55 years, and about 5 ft. or a little more in height. This bears out the story of the dwarfs who lived at Emu Waterhole, and though I have spoken to many of the old hands on the lower end of the peninsula, none of them could tell me anything about this lost race.
— Interesting Derivations. —
The natives from the top end of the peninsula used periodically to visit the lower end, when they were received most hospitably, and would return the compliment when their friends from the lower end would in their turn go for a holiday to the higher part of the peninsula. On two occasions mention was made by another old hunter in my presence that in some of the caves near Corny Point there are mummified bodies of the natives done up in bark and grass: this was only done with the bodies of noted men; but I could never get any confirmation of this.
The native name for Edithburgh is Barrarm-marratee; Yorketown, Gurreena; Cape York, Gudgerowie, Para Wurlie (formerly owned by the Hon. C. B .Fuller) is the native name for West Cape, and means a big high bluff; Orrie Cowie should be More-a-cowie, because of the small-needled wattle (Morea) which was formerly common there. Cowie, or Cabby, means water, and is practically the same all over Australia. Warooka signifies "a muddy waterhole," not a sailing ship, as I have seen mentioned. Curramulka is derived from two words, Gorry an emu, moolka a stone waterhole (a stone waterhole where emus come in to drink). The general impression seems to be that the well in the township of Curramulka is the place. If so the emus had long necks, as it is over 100 ft. deep, I believe. The stone water-hole is on Mr. May's property at the corner of the Mount Rat road, and is about 40 or 50 yards from the road. It is a rough square in the limestone rock, and would hold 200 or 300 gallons. This would only contain water after a heavy shower. I believe it is or was used for pickling wheat in.
— Hunting and Implements.—
The natives were skilled hunters, and at Pondalowie (stony waterhole) they used to drive the kangaroos on to a peninsula through a narrow neck and spear them at their leisure. The rugs made from kangaroo or wallaby skins and sewn with tendons were beautifully finished. In order to render them more pliable, the skin, after being dried and scraped, was cut into shape, folded from one corner to another, a small stick being used as a gauge for the size of the pattern. The skin was then folded from the other corner on the same side, with the result that a series of diamonds was formed, and this caused the rug to be much softer. There is an excellent specimen of this kind made by Mrs. George from wallaby skins in the Adelaide Museum. So far as weapons were concerned, the natives of Yorke's Peninsula had only plain wooden spears and waddies; at least I never heard of them making boomerangs or having barbed or stone spears or stone knives. The only stone implement I ever found or heard of was a rounded piece of granite flattened on top and bottom, and in the centre on each of the flat sides was an indentation. The diameter was about 3 inches, thickness 2 inches or there-abouts. This I picked up in the swamp at Yucock, and Dr. Stirling told me it was probably used as a hammer for breaking the larger shellfish. It is a pity that no steps were taken by the early settlers to make a vocabulary of the natives language, or to collect their legends. Their numerals were goot-choo, one; bulli, two; mung ga wee, three. Even yet it might be possible to gather some of those legends from the residents at Point Pearce Mission Station, but it is doubtful whether they would have troubled about the old native folk lore.
A PIONEER'S STORY OF SOUTHERN YORKE PENINSULA. SOME NATIVE LEGENDS
Fri 11 Sep 1953, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA Trove
SOME NATIVE LEGENDS
Native legends concerning the life and doings of a race of cannibal dwarfs on Southern Yorke Peninsula are outlined in this, the second instalment of Mr. Thorn's story of the pioneering days.
MY EXPERIENCES with aborigines of Southern Yorke Peninsula, and the tales that have come to me from many angles during my life in those parts, induce me to pass on to you some of the stories I've heard regarding these original inhabitants cf the country before the days of the white man.
There are many interesting legends relating to the aboriginal natives of Yorke Peninsula, mainly handed down from native sources, of which I learned from three early residents of the Marion Bay district. One of these embraces the belief in a tribe of dwarf aborigines who were said to have lived in the big mallee scrub between Cape Spencer and Pondolowie on one side, and between Pondolowie and the rocky range which stretches from Mount Phillip to Fort George.
Most of this latter section was then, and still remains, an almost impenetrable jungle of mallee and dense undergrowth—the sort of country that one could only tackle on foot, and even then with the utmost reluctance.
The coastal fringes of the Peninsula were then in habited by the average type of aborigine, whose remnants we still see today, exemplified by such fine specimens as my friend Charlie. According to the old tales, there were in those days three distinct and separate tribes, including the dwarfs, then holding their distinct areas of country and watering places.
Place Names from Watering Places
The area of one particular tribe can still be defined by the place names in the area, by the terminal syllable of "owie" (meaning "watering place). From this syllable or word "owie" we can trace many of their watering places, such as Minlacowie, Bublacowie, Tukokowie, Pondolowie, Oiriccowie, and at least three waterholes in the Marion Bay area, called Mutborowie, Bubladowie, and Hilterowie.
During portion of the year these natives resided in belts of ti-tree and sheoak country, living mainly upon kangaroo, wallaby, emu, and similar game. When the billy buttons came into flower in the spring these natives read it as a signal from Mother Nature that the time had come for a "walk-about" to the sea coast.
For this also was the time when the butterfish make their way into the shoal water along that part of the coastline for some months. This latter fact I checked up by personal observation, and can fully confirm.
As the butterfish moved out to sea again their place along the coast would be taken by shoals of mullet, which the natives followed from Marion Bay light along Investigator Strait to Troubridge Point.
As the normal- sized tribesmen came back from walk-about to their southern end of Yorke Peninsula, the dwarf tribe was forced back into the safety of it dense scrub country. Here they depended upon supplies of water which they had stored in deep rock holes during the previous winter months, for they and the normal-sized natives were continually at war with one another.
This never-ending war between them was said to be based upon the cannibalistic tendencies of the dwarfs, they being reputed to not only eat their own dead but to also feast upon the bodies of enemies killed or captured during their tribal fights.
Another reason for their retirement into the denser scrubs was said to be that, having no fear of the intense darkness that most natives dislike, they were thus able to make periodical raids by night upon the outside tribes. In such raids they sought to carry off the tribal young women and piccaninnies, who were considered by the dwarfs as the outstanding delicacies for culinary purposes.
However, there came eventually a run of drought years, producing a water shortage in the scrub country. This drove the dwarfs out into the more open coastal country in a desperate bid for the water vital to their continued existence.
The opportunity then came to the stronger and larger outside tribes, who completely exterminated them in battle. So ended, according to this old legend, the extraordinary tribe of dwarf aborigines.
The fishing nets of the natives of lower Yorke Peninsula were cleverly woven from fibres stripped from sword grass that grows there, and fibre from the bullrushes which abound in the coastal sandhills. Their spears were made from those hard and very tough black mallee shoots, the points being hardened by fire in the customary aboriginal fashion. From suitable water-worn granite pebbles and gibbers. which may be found freely along parts of the coastline, they shaped their stone hammers and axes.
Place of Death
One very important piece of history of these primitive inhabitants refer to a spot called Muldarby, which means "the place of death" and which is is the Tukokowie area. It would appear that, in the earliest days of white settlement of the Peninsula, a great many of the natives died very suddenly and mysteriously at this place. One assumption suggests that the natives stole and ate poisoned four from the early white settlers, but apparently the real truth surrounding the tragedy was never brought, to light.
However, this tragic incident marks the sudden ending of almost an entire tribe, the scene of the tragedy being ever shunned by surviving natives, who gave it the name of Muldarby (the place of death).
These few aboriginal legends handed down through generations of the aborigines and the earliest white settlers of lower Yorke Peninsula have been recorded by me exactly as I received them from my contacts. Just how correct or truthful the stories are is beyond my power to judge, for I have no means of checking them; but I firmly believe that my informants passed on to me the facts that they themselves had picked up at first hand.
These accounts of mine, very briefly related though, they are, may perhaps serve as a basis for a more full and authentic record being sought for by some qualified investigator. In this connection I am able to point out the location of quite a number of the old native camping grounds, shown to me during my long residence there.
In addition, I am able to show any enquirer the principal localities reputed to have been the strongholds and the retreats of the legendary dwarf tribe. In the early days of settlement those parts matters such as I have related were accepted as commonplace facts, whereas now they are fast becoming mere legendary tales.
Still, it is not yet too late for some qualified and interested research worker to use these fragments of old legends which I have set out in a brief way as a basis upon which to reconstructing some interesting native history.
Leaving the history of these aborigines, come with me now to a continuation of the history of a young Scotsman in the same land, picking up the thread back at Marion Bay, my headquarters for the winter.
BOORKOOYANNA NATIVE MISSION. The buildings are all of stone, situate in the middle of a small plain of which Boorkooyanna is the native name, Boorkoo signifying a small shrub which grows there, and yanna plain. It is within about three miles of the sea, and in the sandhills a plentiful supply of fresh water is obtainable. There were 18 in the school or working at the establishment at the time of my visit, and two had gone away to see their parents. The institution, which is under the management of the Rev. W. J. Kühn, is conducted mainly upon the principle of self-support, and an important part, though by no means the whole, of the work is sheepfarming. A commencement was made with 100 ewes five or six years ago. and now there are about 1,300, some 400 having been sold for £142 after last shearing, which yielded a return for wool of £317. The Mission originally had one square mile, which has been all enclosed with stake and brush fence; but three years ago, the flock having so far increased as to require more grass, the Surveyor-General visited the place, and shortly afterwards the Government granted the use of 'The Point,' which has an area of about six square miles, and is enclosed by simply one fence run from beach to beach. The whole of the work on the place is done by the natives under the guidance and instruction of Mr. Kühn, no white labour being employed. They received this season £18 for shearing, being paid at the rate of £1 a hundred, and their work is acknowledged to be better done than the ordinary shearing in surrounding stations. Six of the young men are now employed at a weekly payment of 5s. beside their rations, and others can get employment at occasional times if willing to undertake it, the handsome return from the sheep last year having enabled this system to be adopted. The wages are for the most part spent in clothes, and the appearance of the young people on Sunday particularly is a source of satisfaction to the wearers, as well as having the effect of emulating the other blacks to improve their condition by the same means. The girls are employed in the ordinary household duties, taking it in turns to cook both for themselves and for the superintendent's house, all of which duties are performed in a highly creditable manner. They make their own clothes, and also earn something by making rush mats and baskets, which are sold at the Wallaroo townships. Of course the benefits of the institutions are not confined to pure aborigines. Indeed, most of the inmates have a good deal of white blood in their veins ; and while on the one hand they are raised above the normal state of their tribe, they, are still placed under disabilities which such institutions as the one I am describing help to lessen or eventually remove. The younger children are taught for a few hours daily, and all those who have been some years at the station can read and write and cipher. Same of the copybooks would be no discredit to white children of the same age. They have a good schoolroom, 40 feet long by 18 broad, and a dormitory each for boys and girls 18 feet square and well ventilated. Saturday is always made a free holiday, when the boys all go either fishing or hunting, kangaroos being plentiful in the scrub and fish on the coast. There is an island about two miles from the point where penguins abound, and another which is thickly inhabited by shags. In olden days the blacks used to swim over to this point for the sake of the eggs which they were able to obtain at certain seasons in abundance, and of which they are particularly fond. The young natives, however, have almost given up the art of natation, and none of them now care to go except 'along boat.' The aborigines of the Peninsula, who number between 100 and 200, are the remains of two tribes, distinguished now as the Peninsula and the Wallaroo mob, and they together with the Crystal Brook mob have friendly intercourse, meeting occasionally by invitation and arrangement of the respective kings. They frequently attempt to get the young people away from the station, and though they sometimes succeed, it is satisfactory to Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn to find that in many cases their allurements have not been sufficient to induce the children to leave their comfortable home and return to savage life. Unfortunately about two years ago a sickness in the shape of chest complaint carried off several of the children, and the old natives in consequence took several children away. A short time ago one of the girls was married to one of the young men rejoicing in the title of Jack Wilson, and they are living in a comfortable cottage on the land, Wilson being one of the regularly employed hands. Another marriage is expected to come off shortly, and a cottage is m course of erection by the blacks themselves to provide the necessary accommodation. Furniture is not expensive, as the mallee and pine in the neighbourhood afford material for most of the requisites. As with the other stations, Government rations are supplied to the sick and aged, and blankets to all who apply once a year. A service is held every Sunday in the: schoolroom, and the young natives join in the singing. In the afternoon they have Sunday school, and most of them have a fair knowledge of Bible truths, while several have been admitted to the church. At present cultivation of the land has not been attempted, but this season a small piece now being ploughed is to be sowed and cut for hay, to supply the horses that, are required for the use of the station, and perhaps a small quantity may be saved for grain. The appearance of the place and the financial results altogether reflect credit on the superintendant, and must be satisfactory to the ladies and gentlemen at Wallaroo town-ships who originated and carry on the mission. The value of the work is not to be judged by the number of the inmates. Although the race may be fast dying out, yet while any of them are left it can be no more than right that they should have a refuge where in time of need, through sickness or other cause, necessary aid may be given to the adults, and where the young ones who are thrown upon the world may have somewhat of the care which is bestowed upon other orphan or neglected children.
AN ABORIGINAL ROYAL WEDDING.
At Boorkooyanna, Point Pierce, the Mission Station of the Yorke's Peninsula Aborigines Friends' Association, a marriage in " high life" has been celebrated with unusual surroundings, Prince "John," the acknowledged heir of "Tom," the King, having led his coloured affiance to the hymoneal aItar....
THE POINT PIERCE MISSION.
Sir - In your issue of the 29th April I read with much surprise the report of the Commissioner's visit to this station, and beg in justice to my character, and for the welfare of the mission, to correct some of the errors....
Death of King Tommy.—On the 15th inst., at the Mission Station, Point Pearce, Old King Tommy, head man of the aboriginals on Yorke's Peninsula, joined the great majority. With him no doubt ends the line of kings belonging to this tribe. His father, grand and great-grandfather, occupied the same position. From what was known of the old man's urbanity and kindness, his rule must have been a mild one. His kindness begat kindness from others. He was loved by all the natives both young and old. He was well known by the old settlers on Yorke's Peninsula, and was receiving a pension from Sir W. W. Hughes up to the time of his death. To all appearance he had attained to his threescore years and ten, and up to within the last few months was hale and hearty. He has often told his experience with the first white men he met, which meeting took place on Wauraltee Island, Some sailors came ashore and gave him a smoke, which made him sick. He thought "white fellow poison him." Not-withstanding this experience he took to smoking, which he did not give up until compelled by Nature's inevitable law. The Superintendent of the Mission had a conversation with him about two hours before he died, when he said he was going to leave, and hoped it might be soon. He had no fears and was perfectly resigned. His stories of travel were quite interesting. Before the whites settled on the Peninsula he has gone up the Murray for grasstree to light fires, and was never molested by the other natives. He has frequently swam to Wauraltee Island with a fire stuck in his hair. The distance is between 2 and 3 miles, but he would choose low tide for it, when he could occasionally rest on sandbars. We doubt if any of the young ones would do it, as they are too much frightened of sharks. His wife, Queen Mary, died about five years ago. She, too, was as fine a type of a native woman as we have ever met. One son of the old woman's, a half-caste, with his two sons and two grandchildren, children of a daughter of the old man's, remain, but it is not likely they will ever wield the sceptre over the aboriginals on Yorke's Peninsula.
YORKE'S PENINSULA ABORIGINAL MISSION.
From the report of the Rev. J. Kuhn it appeared that difficulties had been experienced through want of water. He exceedingly regretted that they had not been able to do any ploughing, owing to want of horse-power....
POINT PEARCE MISSION STATION.
On Friday, November 17, I drove to Point Pearce, which is situated on the shores of Spencer's Gulf, about twenty miles below Moonta and within six miles of Port Victoria, which is the nearest post town. The first thing which attracted my attention on approaching the mission station was the solidity and good repair of the sheep proof fences and gates which enclose the property; next, the neat and comfortable appearance of the homesteads, which are ranged in regular order a healthy distance apart, with a wide street between the two rows of houses....
POINT PEARCE ABORIGINES MISSION.
The Protector of Aborigines has, in compliance with the request of the Commissioner of Crown Lands (the Hon. T. Playford), made a report on the work being done at the Point Pearce Aborigines' Mission. In this report Mr. E. L, Hamilton says that he visited the Mission Station on the 25th inst. The number of aborigines on the Station was —Married, 10 ; single men, 9 ; old " King Tommy," 1; single women, 4; children (including 9 orphans), 24; total, 54....
YORKE PENINSULA MISSION.
We have received from a Mr. T. S. Archbold, of Moonta, a pamphlet containing a brief record of the history and operations of the Yorke Peninsula Aboriginal Mission. In addition to the descriptive matter it contains portraits of founders and officials of the mission, with photographs of the station and the aboriginals. The mission was founded nearly half a century ago, but few records are available of events prior to 1878....
A MODEL MISSION. POINT PEARCE STATION.
Our aboriginal tribes are rapidly becoming extinct. During the last, half-century their number has been so reduced that few remain. We have taken their country by force, and, imbued with superior intelligence, have literally forced our presence and settlement upon them....
HOME OF THE ABORIGINAL.
Point Pearce Mission Station, the only aboriginal reserve on Yorke's Peninsula, is situated 30- miles along the coast from Moonta, and 12 miles from Maitland. The station contains 20 square miles of agricultural and pastoral land, in addition to Wardang Island, with an area of seven square mile, some three miles to the south-west from the mainland. Although the full-blooded natives for whose welfare the mission was originally established (nearly half a century ago) seem as a race doomed to pass out of existence within a limited period, yet Point Pearce has an excellent record of good work in the advancement of the moral and spiritual conditions of the aborigines of Yorke's Peninsula. There are at present living on the station 280 aboriginals, of which 30 are full blooded. The 'Point Pearce' village consists of ; 30 native cottages (laid out in municipal style) a church (which is generally well filled), a modern day-school (under the control of the Education Department), officers' houses, public baths, bachelors' quarters, the usual farm buildings (and implements), and a splendidly equipped windmill water scheme. Along the main street are avenues of gums, while surrounding the town are spacious parklands. An oval is provided adjacent to the parklands and many interesting games of football and cricket are witnessed here. There are two tennis courts in the town which are continually kept in use. The community is orderly, and social evenings and entertainments given great enjoyment to the natives. The natives are employed principally in agricultural work, end many of them are experts in shearing, wool classing, road making, fencing, building, carpentering, blacksmithing painting, and indeed all work pertaining to farm life in all its departments.
At the present time 2,880 acres of wheat, oats, and barley are under crop, in addition to 1,700 acres of fallowed land. Seeding operations are practically finished and form the present outlook, the prospects of a bountiful harvest are bright. The department has not a farming plant large enough to occupy the whole of the natives, and on this account lets a certain amount of land to white share farmers (most of whom are returned, soldiers).
A certain number of natives are given share-farming blocks on the third system, as follows:— The station provides them with teams, implements, and super, the natives paying for one-third seed used, one-third hay (to put in crop), and one-third of all bags and twine used. In return they receive one-third the value of the crop reaped, which in two instances last season amounted to £140 and £190 respectively. Modern farming methods are employed on the station, which is supervised by a farm overseer. The stock varies in accordance with the seasons, and requirements, the present number carried being 4,500 sheep, 100 head of cattle, and 50 pigs. The noble work which was started by a few pioneers of Yorke's Peninsula, and to ably continued by the various trustees and officers, and taken over by the South Australian Government in September, 1915, will not wholly be lost sight of in the ages to come. These men, who made sacrifices of energy and means, and whose sole purpose was to promote the moral welfare of the aborigines and their progeny, are worthy of the highest commendation. Mr. J. B. Steer, who was formerly superintendent at Point Macleay Mission Station, for 10 years, is carrying on the good work as superintendent. Wardang Island has been used by the station for grazing purposes since the year 1877, but owing to the scarcity of water can only carry stock during certain parts of the year, although tanks were constructed on the island from time to time until their holding capacity has increased to over 300,000 gallons. As, however feed runs short on the mainland, then the island becomes a necessity in order to maintain the sheep. To overcome the difficulties in transferring the stock to and from the mainland, a large, two masted boat was built, and substantial jetties constructed during 1910, at both sides of the channel (at a cost of £600). These give good facilities in the transfer of stock from the mainland to the island, and vice versa. Further interesting pages of the town on Yorke's Peninsula will appear in The Register at subsequent dates.
BETTING SHOPS. ABORIGINAL PROTEST AGAINST EVIDENCE
Sir— I desire through your, paper to express our protest against the unwarranted attack on the aborigines of Point Pearce Mission Station by the Rev. E. H. Woollacott, in his evidence before the Betting Commission...
PROBLEM of the HALF CASTE NATIVE
ABORIGINES and half-caste at Point Pearce Mission Station have formed the Australian Aborigines' Union, to agitate for better treatment of natives, an improved standard of education, an opportunity to become a valuable asset to the land, and redemption from "the degrading conditions under which at present they are forced to live."....
TOWNSHIP OF CONTRASTS
Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission Station, on Yorke Peninsula, where are gathered some of the remnants of Australia's vanishing native race and their descendants — the latter representing 98 per cent, of the community — is a place of remarkable contrasts....
WORK OF MISSIONARIES - Early days of South Australia Rites And Ceremonies Of Blacks
The pioneers and the explorers at times found the services of the blacks useful, even indispensable. At other times they suffered terribly from the treacherous and barbarous traits in their character. Always, however, they marvelled at the acuteness of the native senses. The gradual decay of the South Australian tribes due to white settlement cannot be justly regarded as an eternal stigma on the memory of our forefathers....