Sat 26 Dec 1840, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

We have been favored with the following interesting report by Mr Hughes, surveyor :—


North Adelaide, December 12, 1840.

In the month of December last I proceeded across Yorke's Peninsula with my party, for the purpose of completing the Government surveys at Port Victoria, but it appeared, on arriving there, that the natives had discovered my depot of stores, and had rendered everything useless—tent, clothing, rations, instruments, &c. They had located upon the spot, and made an ineffectual attempt to surround the party, but were driven off without any shots being fired. The damage thus effected on the stores entirely prevented me from proceeding with the survey, and having been absent five weeks, we returned to Adelaide At a moderate calculation,the loss sustained was £150. Before we left the Peninsula, they contrived to rob us twice of blankets, although we never could perceive they were near us. I may mention that, upon a former occasion, having unintentionally surprised two of their females, every attempt was made to allay their fears by retiring from them, and on the same day we suddenly came in view of the whole tribe, but having only two men with me, without fire-arms, provisions, or water, and no probability of obtaining any before we had crossed the Peninsula, I considerd it prudent to retire without risking an interview, more particularly as they showed a menacing attitude. Being under contract with the Government for the completion of the surveys, I sailed in October last with a party consisting of eight, having taken the precaution of obtaining a sufficient stand of arms and ammunition for our protection against the hostility of the natives, being fully satisfied that the would consider us [?], from the leniency we had shown them; from the robbery of the depot, not the slightest retaliation having been made, although we had an opportunity of destroying all their spears. Having arrived a Port Victoria, any best, formerly left there, was [?] on the beach, about a quarter of a mile [?] where I had left it, and while preparing to go ashore to get possession of her, about seventeen natives made their appearances with their spears, yelling with their usual threatening attitude. The bottom flooring of the boat had been torn out, and the rudder, oars, &c. had disappeared. Orders wore then given to this four men who had come ashore with me to follow steadily behind me along the top of the sand-hills in a direction to the natives (who had taken their stand about two hundred yards before us), and endeavour to find the boat's oars, &c. As the party advanced the natives retired, rallying occasionally and shaking their spears. I considered it almost useless to make any attempt at a friendly meeting with them, and was preparing to return to the vessel, but advancing a few yards towards them alone, while my party stood still, I made the signal of peace by holding up both my hands and waving a green bough This caused them immediately to drop their spears, and one of them took a green bow also, and advanced to meet me, the rest remaining behind at about the same distance from him as my party were from me. He ap-peared very timid as he advanced, frequently looking behind him to see if he was supported by his party; but making motions that I wanted water, and presenting him with some biscuit, he came close enough to receive it, and was soon reconciled. He was made to understand that I would call my party up, who then advanced without their pieces, and he called to four of his party, who came without their spears. They now pointed out a track which led to some water-holes, at which they had encamped, and as I could not persuade them to return with us for more biscuit, I made signs that we would visit them before the sun went down, and bring them biscuit and get water. The parties now separated, each waving a green bough as they retired. Desirous of not breaking confidence with them, myself and five of the party went to their encampment in the afternoon, taking some biscuit and small presents for them. They were prepared to receive us, being seated in a circle, and without any weapons; the women and children had been sent away. They had dressed themselves with green boughs fastened round their middle, and advancing singly, the chief came alone to meet me, and introduced me to the water hole, and then to each of his brethren. Having taken water, some biscuit was distributed among them, with which they seemed much pleased. My party now came up with green boughs, and were received in the same manner. Having given them some small presents, we again separated, each party waving their boughs as long as they could see each other. During this meeting I had much cause to admire the orderly conduct of the natives, and the pleasure with which they appeared to view us, and I fully expected that all hostility had ceased. Four days after this, we again visited their encampment for the purpose of giving them more biscuit, but having reached within fifty yards of their huts, we found only four females. I stood and called to them, and they got up, much alarmed, but retiring a few paces from them and waving the bough, they collected their nets, &c. and walked away, leaving a number of spears and four young native dogs. Our party returned, without in any way meddling with them. As I have always conceived that a great portion of the hostility shown by the aborigines to the white man has arisen from real or anticipated acts of violence on their females, I had fully hoped that this visit of ours would have convinced them that we were real friends, as this was the second opportunity of molesting their unprotected females. Nothing more was seen of the natives for fourteen days, when the following account of a visit from them was given by the two men in charge of my tents .— In the middle of the day the tribe we had formerly visited, with others, amounting to twenty-four in number, made their appearance upon the sand-hills, about a hundred yards from our encampment. They made signals of peace, and were allowed to come down to the tents, and received biscuit, rice, and sugar; they then asked for water, which was also given to them. During this time their behaviour was very forward, and having two tents to take care of, the two men had much difficulty in preventing them from taking anything they wanted, and were under the necessity of showing the fire arms. They then asked for a fire-stick, which being given to them, they pretended to go away, instead of which they set fire to the grass, endeavouring thereby to drive us away, but we fortunately got the fire under before it reached the tents. Seeing this manoeuvre fail, the chief advanced to the tents with two young females, and made signals to the two men in charge to take them into their tents; but this being refused, some more sugar and rice was given to the females, aud they were ordered away. It appears that the chief had fully calculated upon the success of the females drawing the attention of the two men from their duty, at which time they, no doubt, intended, to pounce upon them; for while this was going on, some were busily engaged on the sand-hills collecting their spears (where it appears they had hidden them), while others were sneaking round to the back of the tents. The chief finding the scheme of his females fail, became quite enraged, and called loudly to his assistants, who ran to him with a bundle of spears, one of which he was on the point of throwing, and at the same moment another was seen running away with a great coat and a Kangaroo rug, which he had contrived to steal from inside the tent. At this moment both men discharged their pieces, but, it would appear, without effect, for one native got clear off with the coat and rug, and the other let his spears fall and ran away. Several loose shots were now fired to alarm the party in the field, for although the natives had disappeared among the sand-hills after the first fire, yet it was uncertain whether or not they would return. Having heard the report of the guns, I returned with the field party immediately to the encampment, when I received the above account, together with seventeen spears, now in my possession, which were found after the natives had retired. I have no reason to believe that any of them were wounded, as I followed their tracks in the sand for some distance, but could perceive no signs of blood, although I found some rice, sugar, and biscuit which they had dropped. The following day being the last which required the services of myself and party in the field, I determined upon getting away as speedily as possible; and to prevent any more signal shots being fired, I caused the materials of a large fire to be prepared ready for lighting, as a signal for our party to return, in the event of another visit from them. We were in the field the next morning before sunrise, and completed what was required before eight o'clock, and then returned to the tents. It appears that the natives, nothing daunted at the occurrences of the previous day, had been watching close to the tents all night, expecting the party would proceed to the field as usual, leaving the two men only behind; but owing to the early hour at which we had gone out, they were quite deceived, and showed themselves on my return to the number of twenty-six. Our signal fire was now lighted, and the whole party was mustered in half an hour. I perceived the natives had also made a smoke, which I suspected to be a signal to some other tribe, after which they went into the water to fish, about two hundred yards from our tents, as if nothing had occurred ; and as they came out, I approached them singly with a green bought and they did the same; but it appears they had not forgotten the coat and rug, for they would not face me, but scattered themselves about the sandhills round the tents. Their smoke had been answered from Gawler Point. Eight additional natives were seen coming towards us, and smokes had been observed in other directions. The natives were to windward of us, and they had set fire to the grass; and any attempt to extinguish it was useless. The tents were immediately struck, and all the luggage removed to the boats before the fire reached us. The removal of the luggage occasioning a division of our party, it became necessary, to keep off the natives, to fire over their heads whenever they attempted to come near us ; and we fortunately get every thing on board before the Gawler Point tribe could reach them, without any bloodshed, which must have occurred had their whole body advanced upon us, as I have every reason to believe they had intended.


Wed 23rd Apr 1845 South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

[To the Editors of the Register.]

Gentlemen. —If the accompanying paper is worth an insertion in your columns, it is quite at your service.

I am, Gentlemen, Yours, &c. N. R. F.

On the 12th April, 1845, the weather being remarkably fine, I resolved on making an excursion across the Gulf, having three objects in view—the first and grand one being to improve my health, which had latterly not been of the best; the second, to explore the Peninsula, which, though no more than a day's sail from the Port of Adelaide, may still be said to be a Terra Incognita; and the third, to obtain wattle gum. of which I had heard there were quantities.

I hired a whale-boat and two men—one, the owner of the boat, and the other a sailor; and in addition to this force, I enlisted two natives, who afterwards proved themselves to be of the greatest service, each respectively rejoicing in the classic names of " Tommy" and " Jacky"—and, laying in stores for a fortnight's voyage, and ammunition for an unlimited time, we weighed anchor in the evening, and reached the Light-ship about 10 pm, where we fastened our bark to one of the incidentals. Next morning at day break we hoisted a sail and set off for the opposite coast in a direction west of the Port. Towards evening the wind freshened, and we were forced to take to our oars. At a distance of fifteen miles from the shore, we could discern the smoke of native fires, which shot up in a thin blue line into the air like a rocket. The native fires seem to possess even a difference from the fires of civilized people; I don't know why, but one can at once tell a native's. This showed how remarkably quick their sight is when at such a distance, they could discern our little bark. Their fires were evidently intended for signals, as we could perceive one column of smoke rise after another along the cliffs. By the way, reasoning from this, it would appear that a party of natives would be the best persons to appoint to our signal-staff on West-terrace.

The appearance of the coast was pretty, being formed of cliffs about one hundred feet in height, changing in their hues from white to red. and were covered close to their edges with thick dark foliage. At last we reached it, much fatigued. Here the water was beautifully smooth and clear —so clear, indeed, that one hardly saw its surface in looking down. While my natives lighted a fire on shore, I had a delicious bathe. The usual quickness of the aborigines was soon exhibited by their discovering the foot-marks ot natives along the sand, which I would have passed many times without observing. They seemed much frightened while on shore, saying that "black fellows plenty spear them, and by and by would come down to where they saw our smoke." This seemed likely enough, so, after climb-up the cliff. and endeavouring to penetrate the scrub, in which I was unsuccessful, I returned to the boat, much to the delight of my black-guards, and directed the men to pull farther up the shore. We ran into a little bay, surmounted by high red cliffs, covered on the summits with dense scrub. I never, in any other part of the colony that I have visited, saw such scrub; massive it might be called, as you might almost walk along the surface of the foliage. tn this bay we cast anchor, or rather our sand-bag, out of reach of spear shot. Next day, I landed again, taking with me my guards "Tommy" and " Jackey", a pair of horse-pistols and a double-barrelled piece, and directed the men to pull across to a point of land distant about five miles higher up the gulf. We soon came on a path made by the natives of the Peninsula, which wound picturesquely along the edge of the cliffs. The interior was one mass of scrub—eternal scrub —as far as we could see, which probably was about three miles, the ground rising and falling in slight undulations. On our right the view was beautiful. The sea was perfectly smooth and bright, here and there only ruffled by the sudden plunge of some gulls as they skimmed along its surface, or by the oars of the boat, as it stole by. In the distance, the Mount Lofty range, and even the hills over which the Mount Barker road used to wind, were clearly perceptible; the horizon of the sea forming a line along their base which gave the appearance of the hills gradually sinking down into the water; or as if the sea had swallowed up the plains and Adelaide, and now threatened the moun-tains. The coast line did not form so straight a one in reality as it is made to look in Flinders's chart; but his was a general not a minute survey, and the limited portion of the ground which I saw, and over which I passed, proved how extremely accurate are his descriptions, even in the smallest particulars. About the middle of this bend or bight, over which we were passing. we came to another path leading up a dark, gloomy, suspicious-looking gully, which was overhung : with dwarf gum trees and a kind of wild vine, making the top impervious to the sun's rays. This new path also ran down to the beach ; and it was here we first clearly beheld the recent print of of a man's foot, which there was no mistaking. The others which we saw no one would have known were those of men from cows' but the natives them selves. Robinson Crusoe and the first foot-print which he saw with all its accompany-ing terrors, passed through my mind. I felt now I must be on the qui rive.

The treachery of the aboriginal tribes of New Holland is proverbial; and I began to think that there was a possibility, though not much probability, of native ambushes, or dastardly attacks, from behind the bushes which all along skirted the shores. With regard to the possibility of a rough handling, " Tommy" and "Jackey" perfectly coincided with me. The prints were as fresh as if made only an hour or so before. Near the point to which the boat was making the country suddenly began to improve; and as I was thinking of calling the men to pull in to accompany me to see how far it extended, my attention was arrested by their hollowing out to me, at the same time rowing towards the shore as fast as they could. " Who's dead, and what's to pay? " thought I along with Sam Slick. We could as yet see nothing; but my darkies smelled if they could not see; and away they dashed, leaving me to pay the piper." I walked towards the boat, cocking my pistols at the same time, in case of accidents, for I now began to suspect something had startled the nerves of my brave crew, although I had reason to suspect, even then, that it did not require an I earthquake or shipwreck to disturb their fears. No sooner had I reached the water's edge, than a large body of natives rushed out from behind the other side of the point, which was concealed from my view by the trees, and commenced yelling and shouting in a most furious manner. I must acknowledge that this little scene rather discomposcd me, and I scrambled into the boat as I best could, pushing off as quick as possible into deep water. Most of the natives, whom I must for the future call savages, rushed into the sea waving their hands over their heads still yelling. I saw no weapons whatever, but most of them kept their hands over their heads, in one of which they way have concealed a waddy. They were perfectly naked, and were neither painted nor tatooed. The first opinions I had formed of the chivalry of my sailor companions were in this matter fully confirmed. Were I inclined to have exhibited a warlike disposition, I would rather, to say the truth, have vented my anger upon their heads, than upon those of the poor savages. Their shameful cowardice disgusted me; nor would they understand that the more they displayed it, the more would the boldness and confidence of the savages be increased. Finding that we were out ot their reach, the natives stopped—most of them up to their necks in water. I beckoned to one of them to advance, and, as he approached. I could not help admiring his fine portly figure, and, though deep in the water, his manly bearing, that might well be envied by many of our own colour; but my natives could not understand a, word he said ; he seemed much astonished at what he saw, and looked pleased on getting a piece of bread. I showed him a gun, but he did not appear to know its use. Even at his smiles my " gallant tars" seemed frightened. Notwithstanding what had passed, I now thought of landing among them; but the horrible paleness of my companions deterred me from making the attempt. Discretion evidently was with them the better part of valour. The number of natives collected on the shore I supposed to be about sixty, or perhaps more. The women did not appear at all.

After shaking hands with our new visitor, which seemed a very odd ceremony to him, we pushed away for another point about three miles off. It must be remarked that the coast here is formed of a series of indentations, or bends, miking a series of headlands, or points. On leaving, the enemy collected in a body, and appeared in that position until we lost sight of them —perhaps consulting on the internal resources, and the " ways and means" of defending the country.

After the scene had passed, I could not I help congratulating myself on what I may call my escape, in not having come right upon the natives at the other side of the point, as only a few hundred yards separated us; it is hard to say what might have been the consequence, had I fallen in with them suddenly : and it was as well, too, that I did not land amongst them, it being probable that they are as remarkable for treachery, as any other of the native tribes of New Holland. Deceit is one of the darkest traits in their character, nor is it probable that it can ever be eradicated in the present grown-up generation. In getting half way to this new point, I perceived one of the troop separate from his companions, and run after us along the beach ; and just as we got up, he ap-proached. Here I again landed alone, the poor fellows in the boat being so terrified at the site of their wild looking countrymen, that I saw it was useless to ask them to accompany me. The native on the beach was the same that I gave the bread to, and, therefore, I had the less hesitation in meeting him. Poor fellow ! he looked a perfect mixture of terror, doubt, and good humour. I again gave him bread, and made signs for water. He pointed at once in the direction, offering to accompany me; but as I did not want it badly, and did not like trusting myself in the bush with him, I declined. I also explained to him that I wanted gum; but he shook his head, as much as to say that I was in the wrong furrow" I returned to the boat, first having a delightful swim, which appeared to astonish him, as it was then blowing fresh and rather cold. On we pulled to another point, or rather to a bend, in the coast, marked by high red cliffs; and in passing along the beach we saw a large encampment in a good state of native architecture, compared wiih the wurleys of other tribes elsewhere. This showed us still in the land of the Philistines. In the aspect of the country about, there appeared but little improvement; but in the distance, about ten miles, it looked grassy, and more promising. We got to the cliffs, after very hard pulling, the native following us along the beach. Here we prepared for an attack upou our wallets, at which my courageous crew were first-rate hands ; but just as we commenced, our happiness was again broken by another fearful rush of those devilish looking fellows, from behind the rocks and bushes which skirted the base of the cliffs. Their numbers were about the same as the last we had seen. Their yellings were the same—rushing lowards us hand over head, and waving their spare one occasionally. It might be in friendship, but, to our civilized notions of etiquette and hospitality, was rather a strange mode of evincing their good-will. There was no occasion for me to give any orders—up went the sand-bag as if by magic, and tug went the oars. Fear has an astonishing effect on delicate nerves. I never before, or since, saw the crew pull so well or so actively. As we retreated, one fine-looking fellow, rather elderly, who, I supposed, was a chief, shouted out to the others to " Hold on the boat," in words sounding like man mando youco, which being interpreted by my sable esquires at the bottom of the boat, meant what I have said. If this was his intention, it was high time to be stirring; but fear may have dictated this translation to my interpreters. The words, for what I know, may have been friendly: however, off we went like the wind. The sail was hoisted, and before evening, were miles away, I imagined that they fancied we had kidnapped the two blacks in the boat, and wanted to do the same with them, and they were, therefore, determined to turn the tables on us. I never saw finer looking or more savage fellows. This was the last interview we had with any of them.

My courageous crew, now out of all danger — if ever there was any at all — wished me to fire among them; but as I wanted to court their friendship, instead of alarming them, besides it being perfectly useless, unless in actual self-defence, I would not think of it. We made towards a distant patch of grassy looking country, about fifteen miles distant, and as the breeze was brisk, soon reached it. I landed, taking with me my trusty body-guard, T. and J., and proposed to the "gallant tars" that they also would accompany me ; but the boat, they said, would not be safe left alone —might run on shore, and one could not manage without the other; but if I particularly desired it, they would come. Better to be without such servants, so I left them, ordering them to pull along shore as I proceeded on the hills. Here there were remains of native fires. The shore was fringed with some pretty shrubs, inter spersed with pines, and the slopes (which can nearly be called hills) were covered good grass —here and there dotted with she-oak trees, and occasionally divided by clumps of trees, which were arranged so regularly, and one could uot help thinking that they had been so disposed by the hand of art, and not that of nature. Indeed, the whole looked the very beau ideal of a nobleman's demesne deserted. After walking about four miles, we returned to our bark, and pulling a little further up, slopped for the night. The next morning bore a very threatening aspect; all around was covered with a dense fog, such as I never saw on the plains of Adelaide; and were it not for a little compass, we must have remainad where we were. I pulled up the coast some five or six miles, and again went ashore, and here commenced that horrible swamp that extends, I believe, all round to the Port. On getting through the mangroves—the first I had seen on this side—and through the swamp at the back of them, we came to fine grassy slopes, similar in general features to the last, but better land. We heard cockatoos—soon returned to the boat, as by reason of the density of the fog, would see very little beyond us. Next pulled (all pulling this day) across the gulf; and, just as we got half way, the clouds, or mist, suddenly cleared off, like the rising of a curtain in a theatre, revealing to view the whole of the top of the gulf, which we were much nearer than I had expected, and beautiful it looked! It formed a bay of an immense semicircle in shape, bordered all round by bright green mangroves, and behind rose the grassy slopes, parts of which I had before seen, all terminating in Mount Arden, which seemed to guard the calm and solitary waters beneath. Though at this period of the year every thing and place was dried up and yellow, yet after the mists had cleared away, the whole scene looked fresh and charming. —

The water is pretty deep on the western side of the bay, but on this side shallow. I landed on the eastern coast, about six miles below the highest point of the bay, but had a dreadful swamp to cross, and on reaching the high land was disappointed in not seeing any appearance of sheep-stations nor sheep, for the feed here was generally good. We saw marks of kangaroo, emu, and turkies ; and from this ground could discern the long and extensive Gawler swamps, which may be termed the Pontine marshes of South Australia, without any of the interest which invests them, but with most of the annoyances. Discovered the wreck of a boat among the mangroves as we returned. The water here is clear, or clearer than crystal, and I rolled into it as usual. Remained here another night. Next day, at daylight, commenced our voyage towards Adelaide, pulling, not through the sea, but apparently over an immense sheet of polished steel. We soon came to that extraordinary and extensive tract of sand which extends nearly down to the Port running out some six or seven miles and only covered with a few inches of water. A northerly breeze sprung up—here cool and exhilerating; but on shore, called a red hot wind. Our little craft rushed or rather flew through the water, shivering under her canvass, and reminding one of he rapidity of the sword fish after his prey. Nor did we slacken rein until we reached Torrens Island, where I again for I the last time indulged myself in another long swim ; and after a slight glance at, that place, ran up to the Port and were soon along side the Falco, American brig.

P.S. We did not discover any water in York's Peninsula, but having seen the re-mains of native fires, one may reasonably imagine that there is some.

YARNS FROM GREENS PLAINS. Early Settlers Settling Down. No. II.

Sat 19 May 1923, The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929)

Our Greens Plains correspondent writes: —The majority of the early settlers came from the old settled districts of the south, and were mostly hard doers, innured to toil, and having no knowledge of anything less than 16 working hours in a short day. The wives, daughters, and sisters were as brave, capable, and energetic as the men. Does any one ever stop to think how much we owe to these splendid pioneer women all over the State? When a man gets tired or discounted he can relieve his feelings by taking a spell off, or kicking things around, or gassing to his neighbours about what he could do if he were able and knew how to do it. But a woman just keeps on keeping on. Many a man and many a time in the outback would have thrown up the sponge and anything else he could lay hands on, but for the hopefulness and encouragement of the woman. God bless her! Of course, the firstcomers did not long have the plains to themselves. The vacant blocks were quickly taken up by the Conners, the Trains the Lammings, the Roddas, the Hammiltons, the Thomases; more Smiths, and the Bill Browns; and the overflow land seekers simply flowed over and across to the newly opened lands on Boors Plains. It might incidentally be mentioned that the Boors Pains, is not, and never was, on Greens Plains, as some people might think; but it is a little suburban plain distinct unto itself, and some six miles distant. Among its first settlers were such men as the Messrs. James Allen and Christopher Mathews from the Auburn district, and William Trenhertts, William Cross, Andrew Daddow, and Thomas Scott (Scotty), from somewhere else.

Shooting Tommy.

As soon as the settlers began to settle down properly, so also did the blacks. They ceased their aimless wanderings to and fro, eased off most of their hunting expeditions, and looked to their white brother to provide for their daily and increasing needs. They toiled not, neither would they spin, unless something unusual was after them. Old Shooting Tommy, whose royal ancestry dated far back into the dark ages, was a most loveable old reprobate. He was a clever mimic, a champion loafer, and an inveterate cadger; and yet, with all his other faults, and they were past finding out, he was a general favourite in the settlement, and he knew it but, of course, didn't presume on that knowledge. Nothing was too good for him to ask for, and nothing too bad to pass off on him, and he was always so politely thankful, and always willing to come again for more. Prior to the coming of the whites Tommy had been a mighty hunter, roaming the plains and forests from shore to shore, in search of big game and had won several belts and some braces by his skill with the waddy, spear and boomerangs, to say nothing of his leg work, for he was 'also' a tireless runner. But now Tommy must have a shoot gun like his white phellar brother. Nothing less would do him and he asked for nothing more, or at least, not just then. But he never failed to mention the gun when rounding up supplies, and at length a kind-hearted settler who had often expressed regret at the thought of the remnants of an ancient race slowly but surely passing away, without some special effort being made to delay that passing, and improve their condition, sold Tommy an old single-abarrel muzzle loader for 30/, on the instalment principle, to be paid for by some slabs of sweat off Tommy's brow. Meanwhile, he undertook to instruct Tommy, and through him his tribe in the mysteries of woodcraft, which should provide the exercise necessary for health purposes, teach them self reliance, make them self-supporting, and might eventually lead to affluence or perhaps a motor car. He then provided Tommy with half a dozen brand new axes, and let him a contract to cut down and burn some scrub at 10/ an acre with plenty big one tucker. This, he thought, would give Tommy a chance to work out his own salvation and the thirty bob gun. Needless to say, the tribe were simply delighted with their new toys, and pottered around all the morning cutting out small shrubs and bushes, and running in at shore intervals for tucker. When remonstrated with for wasting time and tucker, Tommy rounded up his axemen and sooled them on to a big mallee, and stood back and watched them while they hacked away at it two at a time, the others standing around to await their turn or wildly dodging chips or flying axes when a handle broke or a blade struck sideways on the trunk. When, towards evening, the tree began to wabble, they all crowded around and under it, prancing, shouting, and clapping their hands. And the tree fell and great was the fall thereof. Five lubras had climbed up earlier in the day to be out of the way of the workers and to get a better view of the operations, and they and the tree came down together, and laid out nine others, including Tommy and the heroic axemen. And that same night Tommy returned the axes, cancelled his contract, and demanded a week's tucker in advance. He still kept the gun on time payment.

A Famous Test of Endurance.

Tommy's first experience with the gun was not an unqualified success and caused him to pass many weary days and several hungry nights, for, although his gun was continuously going off, so also was the game. But, to minimize this risk, he later on adopted the plan of carrying a belt full of waddies, and if he missed with the gun, which he mostly always did, he took a second lightning-like shot with a waddy and seldom missed with that. His pet aversion was an old man kangaroo that had long treated him and his gun with absolute contempt, and so it came to pass that at the breaking of day one fine morning, Tommy came suddenly on his enemy on the outskirts of the plain, and unthinkingly emptied his last charge of slugs on the brute just out of range. The 'roo, however, merely glanced over his shoulder to see what was happening, and then kicked up his heels at Tommy and ate more grass, which so exasperated Tommy that he threw away his gun, unsheathed a waddy, and charged headfirst in the same direction that the slugs had gone. The 'roo kept well out of reach all day, but Tommy tired not nor stopped to rest until darkness compelled him to do so, and then camped on the tracks. After taking in a grub and a hole in his belt, he resumed the chase at dawn, and lay down that night within a hundred yards of the cause of all the trouble. He was up next morning, however, with the first streak of light, and after absorbing a couple of fat grubs from a nearby stump and taking in another hole in his belt, was going as strong as ever. The distance between pursuer and pursued gradually became less and less, the kangaroo beginning to wabble on his tracks, and every once in a while glancing backward at the grimly dark shadow slowly, but surely, drawing nearer. The shades of night were not far behind when in desperation he turned and grappled with Tommy; and they fell, and rose and fell several times, during which exciting process the kangaroo relieved Tommy of his belt and the few scraps of clothing that he had brought with him, besides several strips of valuable skin. But after the fifth round Tommy rose alone, and returned to camp bringing most of his capture with him. And this remarkable test of endurance between the wild man of the woods and his wilder compeer the kangaroo was staged and run off within a circle of three miles, in proof of which the running track was kept open for inspection for several months, with no special charge or amusement tax for admission. Tommy was a great old dandy, and dearly loved to set the fashion for his tribe. Shortly after his adventure with the kangaroo, and being sadly in need of some clothes, he was looking around for the latest styles when a kindly disposed resident rigged him out in a tight-fitting pair of underpants, overlapped by a red Crimean shirt about three sizes too big, and topped off with a widespreading belltopper adorned by a white puggaree. Loaded up with tea, sugar, flour, tobacco, billycans, and waddies, with which Tommy proudly made via way across the paddock to where his tribal remnants were excitedly awaiting his arrival. He stepped high, occasionally prancing sideways to get a glimpse of the shirt-tail of his shadow; but it so happened that there were cattle in that paddock, and those early-settler cattle were not fond of too much colour. When they saw black and red prancing defiantly about before their eyes, they started out to investigate, led by a big red he cow which announced its coming with a roar that took all the prance out of Tommy and let I him off to break records, with the tail of his red shirt streaming far out on the breeze. But the he cow was a goer too, and gained so fast that Tommy began to shed his belongings. The belltopper was the first to go, and while doing a ten-foot stride, he lost his sugar, tea, and flour. At twelve feet his billycan went, and he parted with tobacco, matches, and waddies in the middle of a fifteen-foot-two step; and was easily doing eighteen feet when he reached the fence. He would have cleared it in the middle of his stride had not the tail of his shirt caught on a projecting knot on the top rail bringing him up standing as it were on the other side of the fence, and within a few inches of the horns of the infuriated animal that was prodding through the rails at a tender spot under the overhanging shirt. But Tommy's only, remark as he ducked out of the shirt and hastily climbed the nearest tree, was: 'By cripes, that cow have plenty big one growl!' In the fulness of time, or perhaps a little more, after outliving his tribe, poor old Tommy was one morning found calmly resting in his rolled-up blankets in his little wurlie in a little belt of the scrub be had loved so well. He had passed quietly to the happy hunting grounds in his sleep —a fitting passing for one of the last of his race.

Real Life Stories Of South Australia

Thu 9 Feb 1933

Mrs. Parrington And The 'Buck'

Perhaps the part played by the women in pioneer days was greater even than that of their menfolk. The story below illustrates the dangers by which they were faced— and how they met them. Mrs. Parrington was the worthy wife of the first white man on Yorke Peninsula.

Mrs. Parrington and the Black.—

The account of the late Mr. Charles Parrington in 'The Chronicle' article on Minlaton (formerly Gum Plat) was exceedingly interesting to one who happened to be born on the Peninsula 60 years ago. Mr. Parrington no doubt was a fine type of Englishman, and his wonderful wife, of whom you make no mention, was equally plucky. She was not in the least frightened of 'them natives,' as she used to say, and on one occasion, at least, she showed up to some advantage. Parrington had received word to meet a flock of sheep which were en route to the station. This meant he would have to be away from home for three or four days. Usually on such occasions he took Mrs. Parrington with him. But on this particular trip she did not want to go, and, woman-like, got her own way. All she wanted, she said, was the gun left fully loaded in both barrels, and she would deal with them natives if needs be. Parrington duly loaded the gun the night before he left but, during the evening he decided that he did not want the natives blown to Kingdom Come. He got up and withdrew the shot, replacing it with a wad of paper. Parrington had not long gone in the morning when the whole camp, about 24, turned up. They stood in a half circle around the back door awaiting their daily allowance of meat, tea, tobacco, sugar, flour, &c. Mrs. Parrington handed these things out, and told them to be off. But they were aware that she was by herself, and they straight away demanded another serve. In reply Mrs. Parrington produced the gun. One big buck, thinking to bluff her, stood up grinning at her, and, pointing to his stomach, invited her to fire. There happened to be a water butt, which was at the back door of every house in those days, over which she leveled the gun. She pulled the trigger, and the concussion and paper wad striking the native fair in the stomach, lifted him off his feet, and landed him half a chain away on the broad of his back,—dead to all appearances or purposes. The rest of the mob went for dear life, and she let go the other barrel at them, glad to help them on their way. They did not stop for 16 miles. Some time later, when Mrs. Parrington was considering just what she would do with what she thought was a dead native, she saw some slight move. He appeared to be getting his breath and soon rolled, over. First he got on his knees and then suddenly up and off on the track of his tribe. Some time towards afternoon he got within sight of them, but when they saw him, knowing that he had been shot, they thought it must be his 'ghost,' and away they went again for another ten miles with the 'ghost' in pursuit. They never returned to worry Mrs. Parrington. If anyone should think there are any flies on this story, Just let them get someone to pull a trigger on them with powder and paper. When they wake up they will certainly have altered their mind.— D. N. Martin,


Tue 25 Oct 1887, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove


All the country on this side of the Gulf from Cape Jervis to Mount Remarkable was stocked before stations were formed on Yorke's Peninsula. Several sheep farmers had settled at Port Lincoln, and had gone to the expense of shipping sheep there, while Yorke's Peninsula, which was close at hand, remained unoccupied. Two special surveys had been taken out in 1840, one at Port Vincent, and the other at Port Victoria, in Spencer's Gulf. Survey parties were sent out, but after remaining some weeks were withdrawn, as they failed in finding water. The prevailing opinion was that the Peninsula was nearly all a scrub, and it was not till 1846 the country was taken up. Charles Parrington, one of Colonel Light's men, had been ashore there in the early days, and reported to his employer, Mr. A. Weaver, of the South-road, that he was pretty sure he could find him a run there. He was a fearless kind of fellow, and thought nothing of going round overland by himself although the place had a bad name on account of the blacks. He took out a run at Oyster Bay, now known as Stansbury, and very soon afterwards Mr. Bowden, of the Chain of Ponds, applied for the country adjoining, where Yorketown Edithburgb, and Coobowie now stand. Messrs. Coutts & Sharples followed soon afterwards, and the next year I took up the country about Minlaton and Curramulka for Mr. Anstey. It was no easy matter getting sheep round there, as the scrub grew so close to the cliffs that in some places we had to wait for low water to drive the sheep. Mr. Coutts suffered greatly in trying to take his sheep round in the summer, and loss nearly 2,000 by their drinking salt water. We had to travel 100 miles— from the Wakefield to Gum Flat— before we could get a drink of water for our sheep. We sent ours just after they were shorn before the hot weather set in, and fortunately got them round safely. We took a blackboy from the Wakefield with us to act as interpreter, thinking, as a matter of course, that he could talk the language of the natives. We were not long before we found out our mistake, for on the first occasion of our meeting with blacks he could not understand a word they said, giving as a reason—' That fellow stupid. Him German blackfellow.' I selected the best man we had in our employ as overseer. He was an excellent judge of sheep, and, moreover, a determined resolute fellow, just the sort of man for a new country. His name was George Penton, and I never regretted my choice, for a better man we could not possibly have had. He came out in the Rapid with Colonel Light in 1836, and was one of the Colonel's best men. The blacks did not trouble us at first, beyond trying to burn us out when the grass was dry. Penton caught them one day setting it alight, and, by way of punishment, made them break branches off the trees and beat out the fire. He kept them at it until the perspiration fairly rolled off them. I think it must have been nearly twelve months before they made the first onslaught on our sheep. This took place in the neighbourhood of Gum Flat, now called Minlaton. They attacked the sheep herd in the daytime about 2 miles from the station, and drove him away while a number surrounded the flock and helped themselves to the sheep. The shepherd ran to the station at once, and fortunately Penton was at home. He lost no time in getting in the horses, and taking a man with him, they galloped off as fast aa the horses would carry them. It did not take long to find the flock, but as there was not a black to be seen there was nothing for it but to track them. That was not an easy thing to accomplish, for the ground was so dry and hard that it would have been difficult to have tracked cattle or horses, let alone the foot of a blackfellow. However, the scrub was only half a mile away, and as he was pretty sure they would make for it he rode straight there. He knew, too, that the soil was lighter in the scrub, so that blackfellows tracks would be much easier picked up, especially with the weight of sheep on their backs. Accordingly he kept a sharp look out, and was not long before he came on the track of one black, and on getting further into the scrub a second, and so on, till at last there were quite a number of tracks, the blacks following each other in single file. He soon found that the scrub was too thick to follow on horseback, and instead of tying their horses up and the pair of them pursuing the blacks on foot, he gave his horse to the man to hold, and the plucky old fellow went after them singlehanded. He had his short double-barrelled gun with him, and alter walking pretty smartly he came in sight of a blackfellow carrying a sheep. As soon as the native saw him he threw down his burden and ran, and old George after him. He was never very smart on his pins, but had a capital pair of bellows, as he used to say of himself, and after running for a time he found he was over hauling the black. All of a sudden the native stopped to pick up a spear that had been dropped by one of his fellow-countrymen, but before he could throw it Penton dropped him, the ball going right through his neck, and killing him on the spot. He still continued on their track, and soon arrived at their camp, where he found about 20 dead sheep, but the blacks had made themselves scarce. Although the marauders had vanished, they must have gone off in a hurry, as they left all their possessions behind them— waddies, spears, nets, &c. On returning to the station he dispatched the bullock-dray, which brought away all the dead sheep and their various belongings, and made a grand bonfire of the lot. As there was no Police Station on the Peninsula, he went over to Adelaide by the next boat, and reported to the Commissioner what had taken place. Many bushmen came to grief by keeping things of this sort quiet, but he was always straightforward and aboveboard, and it was the best policy too, as he was only doing his duty in protecting his employer's property. The Protector of Aborigines (Mr. Moorhouse) came over soon afterwards to find out from the blacks their version of the story, and admitted to me that it tallied pretty much with Penton's statement. The blacks never gave us any trouble at Gum Flat after that, but when the cold weather came on they attacked one of our shepherds near Hardwicke Bay and brutally murdered the poor fellow. If he had not shown the white feather they would not have touched him; he had his gun with him. but unfortunately took to flight as soon as he fired it off, and they gave chase and speared him as he run. The savages were not satisfied with killing him, but mangled his body frightfully. After killing the shepherd they drove off a lot of the sheep. As soon as Penton heard of it he followed them with another man, and on coming to where they were encamped he found there were too many to tackle. They had made a brushyard for the sheep, and by the way they handled their spears made it plain that they meant to stick to the sheep. The ringleader was a blackfellow named Williamy, who had been employed at the station all the summer, and had made himself useful ; a second edition of Billy Poole, but Williamy was a much older man. As it was nearly dark Penton deemed it the wiser plan to make for Mr. Sharples' station, which was not far off, where he remained the night. The next morning Messrs. Sharples, Lodwick, and Field started off with him and his man— five in all— and found the blacks still in the same place. A scrimmage ensued, but the natives did not make much of a stand, and soon beat a retreat. One was killed, old Williamy, the ringleader, George Penton having shot him. Of course they had eaten a good many of the sheep, but we got back about 180. Penton came over to Adelaide at once, and reported the occurrence just as he had done before, and stated that he had shot old Walliamy. Another shepherd was killed about this time at Milner Stephen's station. Our men became much alarmed at this, as was but natural, and most of them, brought their flocks in to the head station. Two men who were shepherding at Curramulka ran away and left their flocks in the yards. The hut keeper, however, was of better stuff, and took charge of the sheep after the cowardly men bolted. He was only a lad, too, of about 16 years of age, and moreover a German. On Penton praising him for the pluck he had shown in sticking to the sheep he remarked that he was not frightened of the 'blessed blacks.' None of the other men dreamt of leaving their flocks ; they all brought them in to Gum Flat. I never knew men who had been unmolested leave their sheep before, and it was on a part of the run where the country was open, and blacks rarely came. Penton showed such high courage and determination that he seemed to impart his spirit to the men, and he persuaded them to take their flocks back to their different stations the next day. As soon as I heard what had taken place I engaged other men and went to Yorke's Peninsula with them where I remained for some time. We kept two shepherds to each flock for some months till the blacks quieted down. Three or four police-troopers were sent from Adelaide soon afterwards, and a police station was formed at Moorowie. On their enquiring of the blacks about the last shooting match, a son of Williamy charged Mr. Field with having shot his father. Field was accordingly taken into custody, and committed for trial on the charge of wilful murder. It was proved that be had never fired a shot on the occasion of Williamy's death; indeed, he had no gun with him, and as Penton had already sworn to him having shot Williamy Mr. Field got off. On the boy being asked if it was not Mr. Penton who shot his father he became greatly excited, exclaiming, 'No, no, not Misser Penton, Misser Field.' I could not make out till afterwards how it was that this boy should have been so persistent in charging Mr Field with having shot his father. It appeared that he had been lamb-minding for us, and was caught breaking the legs of the lambs so that they could not follow their mothers, when the blacks would pick them up and walk off with them. Penton threatened if ever he could catch him he would tie him up and give him a sound whipping with his stockwhip. The boy stood in such wholesome dread of Penton, knowing that he would keep his word, that he was frightened to tell the truth, and so brought poor Field into trouble. It was not long before it was found out that it was a native named Tulta who had killed the two shepherds. The police hunted for him high and low for three months, but without success. One day Penton was on the run some 20 miles from home, and came across him with his lubra. He tried to escape at first, but finding the unerring double-barrelled gun unpleasantly close to his head, thought better of it and quietly walked in to the station. Penton then sent off a man on horseback to the police station, which was 20 miles off to let them know that he had taken Tulta prisoner. The black was securely fastened to a post by a bullock-chain, and the men took it in turns to watch him all night, so that he had not a chance to escape. The police arrived the next morning and took charge of him, and in a few days he was safely lodged in the Adelaide Gaol. His lubra stuck to him all the time, and was taken over to Adelaide with him. He remained for some months in gaol, but as there was not sufficient evidence against him, he was set at liberty. He was not long in finding his way home, but from some cause or other he did not live very long. Penton assured me that he was not shot, but he thought the close confinement of the gaol, with possibly the high feeding that establishment was renowned for, had so affected his health that he died in consequence. A shepherd of Mr. Rogers' was killed at Yorke Valley not very long after those I have mentioned, but he was the last white man that met his death at the hands of he blacks. Soon after we settled at Gum Flat I went up the Spencer's Gulf side of the Peninsula with Penton, and we encamped all night at Yorke Valley, near where Maitland now stands. I recollect quite well that it was in the winter, and what a cold frosty night it was. On turning out in the morning we espied a smoke not far off, and after we had had our breakfast we rode to it. We took care to move quietly, and did not speak a word, but could not see the sign of a blackfellow till we got within ten yards of the fire, the smoke being in our faces. All of a sudden a blackfellow jumped up, and such a object of abject terror I never before witnessed. His face, and, indeed, all his body, turned pale — a kind of neutral tint — his hair stood on end, positively 3 inches straight off his head, and he screamed with fright. It is very likely that he had never seen a white man before, and to be so suddenly brought face to face with two on horseback would naturally be rather trying to his nerves. The first thing he did was to make a dash at the fire, out of which he pulled a lizard and an opossum, and with one in each hand he held them towards us for our acceptance. We had, however, had our breakfasts, and as we did not care to deprive him of his, declined the delicacies, the cooking of which had evidently absorbed all his faculties to the exclusion of hearing our approach. We gave him some damper and mutton in return for his politeness, and the poor miserable wretch became somewhat more tranquil. I had often read of a man's hair standing on end with fright, but never put much credence in it. However, seeing is believing. We had no trouble with the blacks after the affair at Hardwicke Bay. They may have stolen a few sheep that had been left out on the run, but did not attempt to take any by force. I never knew an instance of their stealing by night as at Lake Albert. One poor wretch lost his life some three years afterwards, being shot through the head by one of our hutkeepers. I happened to be at the Peninsula at the time, and heard from the hutkeeper what follows :— He was only a lad of about 17 years of age when I engaged him three years previously, and a very clean, smart, tidy fellow he was. I never saw a hut kept cleaner or food better cooked than in his. He had such respectful quiet manners, too, very different from the general run of that class that I was greatly prepossessed in his favour. His antecedents, however, were such as to make one somewhat suspicious, as he bad been educated at Parkhurst, a kind of Reformatory where young criminals are supposed to mend their ways. Our experience of him goes to prove the truth of that proverb ' What is bred in the bone,' &c. Old George always used to shake his head when his name was mentioned and remark that he was a polished young sweep and had too much softsoap about him. What he told us was this:— 'A blackfellow had been employed lamb minding, and when he was leaving wanted flour in addition to the tobacco, clothes, &c, he was to get for his services. He was refused, but the black would not take 'no' for an answer, and hung about the place for several hours. At last he came into the hut, and in an excited way said, ' Me must have flour, 'nother one blackfellow tell me you bring 'em. Suppose you no give, me take it.' With that they both made a rush for the gun that was in the corner, and in the struggle it went off and shot the black through the forehead, the ball coming out at the back of his head, and lodging in the doorpost. I saw the place afterwards where the ball was embedded. I told my man to go at once and report the affair to the police, the station only being a few miles from his hut. He did as I advised him, and the policeman who was in charge accompanied him to his hut and buried the body. Before doing so he laid the body across a log and cut its head off with an axe, and took it with him to the station. His reason for doing so was that he found the ball had not entered through the forehead as stated by the hutkeeper, but had found its way out that way, clearly proving that the hutkeeper's statement was false. The bone around the aperture had been driven inwards at the back of the head, and outwards around the hole in the forehead, showing that the native's back must have been to the hutkeeper when he was shot.' The policeman was a 'new chum,' and on being told that he would get into trouble for what he had done, very foolishly took back the head and buried it in the grave by the body. He reported at once to headquarters what had taken place, and was ordered to repair forthwith to Adelaide, and bring the hutkeeper with him, and the head of the blackfellow. He had no difficulty in carrying out his instructions as far as the white man was concerned, but the job was to get the head of the blackfellow. He had put it carefully in the grave alongside the body, but to his astonishment on reopening the grave he found it had disappeared. The extraordinary part of the affair was that the hutkeeper could not enlighten him at all, and to all appearance was as astonished as he was. He searched high and low, energetically assisted by the Parkhurst graduate, but it was of no use, and in the end he had to content himself with carrying out his instructions as far as the live man was concerned. The hutkeeper was kept a short time in gaol, but as nothing could be proved against him he was set at liberty, and very soon afterwards left the colony. After he was gone I heard no end of stories about him. While he was there our woolshed was burnt down with nearly all the season's clip in it. The men at the station were satisfied that he had been the incendiary, as he was the only man seen in the neighbourhood. They believed his motive was to get the overseer discharged, as he had charged him with breaking into the store. The overseer was a German who had taken Penton's place, Penton having taken the management of the station I bought of Mr. Bowden, now known as Pentonvale. The shepherd at the station he had been at assured me that he poisoned him by giving him strychnine with his food, and it was a great piece of lack that it had not killed him. They had had a quarrel, and by way of putting an end to it he tried to put an end to the shepherd. Penton told me that the young rascal tried to get to windward of him on one occasion, but he bowled him out famously. Rations of flour, tea, and sugar used to be seat round to the stations once a month, and they were expected to last the time, as a liberal allowance was given. One day the hutkeeper came to Gum Flat for an extra supply, and reported to Penton that the natives had robbed his hut and stolen the rations when he was away. He also told Penton that if he would come to the station he would see the tracks of their feet about the hut. Penton had begun to suspect my young gentleman of not being 'all his fancy painted,' and very wisely took a black boy with him to examine the tracks. As soon as they arrived the black boy exclaimed, on seeing the tricks — 'No blackfellow track this one, him whitefellow,' and after giving a close inspection took Penton to a log where the hutkeeper had sat down and taken off his boots, and then tramped about around the hut He showed him too plainly where he had returned to the log and put his boots on again ; indeed, he made it as clear as day that the hutkeeper was the thief and not the natives. The young rascal tried to brazen it out for a time, but the 'cloven hoof' was so clearly visible beside his own footprints that he made a 'virtue of necessity' by confessing that he had made away with the rations himself, and that no blacks had been near the place. It was well that he made a clean breast of it, for he saved a whole skin by so doing, as Penton was as severe to a man that acted ' on the cross' as he was kind to those that acted 'on the square.' It was a pity that he did not pack him off the station there and then, as the blackfellow he killed might have been alive now, and we should have been none the worse for getting the wool off 10,000 sheep that he burnt. Four years after I received a letter from this out-and-out young villain, written from another colony. He stated that a report to his prejudice had been circulated in regard to his shooting the blackfellow, and that he would be glad if I would send him a letter exonerating him from blame. He also said in his letter that he was now in a much higher station than when in my service. I did not reply to his letter, as I could not very well give him a character, seeing that there were strong suspicions of his having committed arson, poisoning, burglary, and murder — rather a heavy catalogue of crime for a man under 21 years of age. I can quite fancy that it would not be many years before he reached the most exalted position a man with his proclivities could possibly attain. Penton married soon after these occurrences, and continued to manage our stations on the Peninsula as long as he lived. It used to be pleasant to hear him spin yarns about olden times with Colonel Light. No man could possibly have had greater respect for the memory of an old master than he had for the fine old Colonel. He died twenty years afterwards, leaving a widow and four children. Two of the latter, a son and daughter, are still residing on Yorke's Peninsula.


[Before Charles Bonney, and F. S. Dutton, Esqrs.] Wednesday, 29th August.

Thomas Morris, Manager of Mr G. M. Stephens's stations, Yorke's Peninsula, and Henry Palette Jones, gentleman, were charged with feloniously shooting with intent to kill an aboriginal native named Malieappa, on or about the 15th instant, at Yorke's Peninsula. Mr G. M. Stephen appeared for the defence. The prisoners were permitted to sit at the table with him. Mr Moorhouse watched the proceedings. Piaria, otherwise Jack, a native boy, stated, through an interpreter, what he knew of the case. Tbe interpreter's knowledge of English was very limited, and considerable delay occurred before a connected statement could be obtained. The witness however seemed tolerably intelligent, and the continued reiteration of questions, instead of confusing him, had the effect of clearing up the ambiguities in his evidence, which went to show that on a certain day, the date of which he could not fix, he was in company with the wounded man. They fell in with the prisoner Jones, who had killed and skinned a kangaroo. He gave them the carcase, and went as if for home with tbe skin. Malieappa roasted the kangaroo, and just as be was taking it out of the fire, the two prisoners rode up, mounted on small grey horses. Both were armed with short guns. Morris had a doublebarrelled gun. Tbe black man, who was sitting down with tbe boy, said, "Me eat the kangaroo." The prisoners, in the language of the witness, "looked sulky.'' Jones first fired at the black man, and they then shot him in three places in (he foot, the arm, and the body. The witness ran away to an adjoining scrub, and from a little distance watched the prisoners, who did not follow him. They took the kan-garoo away witb them, and the wounded man and the witness went off through the scrub. The next day they fell in with a small party of natives, which they joined ; and the first white men they saw after the outrage was the police detachment, with which was Mr Moor-house, tbe Protector of Aborigines. The prisoners stood together, a very few yards from the black man, when they shot him. When Jones was going away, he took two of their nets and two waddies with him. In reply to Mr Stephen, the witness said he did not know that a white man had been killed at that station by the blacks. Had never heard the wounded man say that be speared a white man. The prisoners were not dressed as they appeared in Court, when they shot the man; Jones had a blue shirt on, and Morris had on a "monkey jacket." The interpreter, Jimcrack, said the witness knew what a monkey-jacket was. The black man had no spear, only two "yam sticks," when he was shot. Matthew Moorbouse, Esq., Protector of Aborigines, stated that he was on Yorke's Peninsula, on Wednesday the 22nd instant, witb a party of police and natives. They came on a native encampment. With one exception, the blacks made off on their approach. The man who remained was wounded in the right arm, the right side, and the left foot. Witness extracted a ball from the man's arm the next day. Ho could not find the ball in his back, but could trace its course from where it entered in the side to where he supposed it lodged. In the foot, the ball bad gone through. The wounded man conducted witness and the police to where he was shot. They proceeded at the rate of about ten miles each day, and on Saturday afternoon they arrived at Mr G. M. Stephen's head-station. About half an hour after their arrival, Mr Jones rode up, and tbe last witness pointed him out as one of the men who shot his companion. Witness believed Jimcrack directed the boy's attention to Mr. Jones, as he approached. Witness had, as a medical man, examined Malieappa that morning. He was in a very weak state. The Colonial Surgeon had extracted the ball that was lodged in his abdomen. Witness was under the impression, judging from appearances, that the black had been shot about ten days before the police fell in with him. With proper care, a black would be more likely to recover than a white man; but the wounds of Malieappa were extremely dangerous, and might yet be fatal. By Mr. Stephen— The blacks were prone to falsehood. He would so, without corroborative proof, believe their statements; but he thought them clever in distinguishing individuals. He could not recollect an instance where they erred as to personal identity. In the present case, although they said from the first that two men committed the outrage, and there were several Europeans at the station, yet they only pointed to Mr Jones. John Wilson, a German shepherd, in the employ of Mr G. M. Stephen, stated that be was attached to an out-station at Oyster Bay. He had seen some nets and waddies belonging to the natives on tbe roof of his but, but did not know how they came there. By Mr. Stephen— Knew that a man named Anderson had been speared at that station, and had died in consequence. When coming wounded to the hut, he brought the spear in his band. The police here produced two nets and two sticks. The native witness identified them as the nets and sticks referred to in his evidence. Serjt.-Major M'Cullocb, of the Mounted Police, produced two short guns (one a double-barrelled one). He corroborated the statement of Mr Moorhouse, as to tbe falling-in with tbe wounded native, and being led by him and tbe boy to Mr Stephen's head-station, where the natives identified the prisoner Jones. Witness went to the station at Oyster Bay, and there found the nets and yam-sticks produced. He also went with the boy to the spot where he said tbe man was shot. There were tracks of two small horses about a native oven, and a quantity of kangaroo bones which witness collected and produced. There were what he thought to be the remains of two yam-sticks in the extinguished fire. The out-station where he found the nets was about five or six miles from the home station. The place where the man was shot was between three and four miles from tbe out-station. Witness produced the ball extracted by Mr Moorhouse from the arm of the wounded native. It had marks as if it had been discharged from a rifle. He also produced a bullet-mould, in which he thought it was cast, at least it corresponded with tbe mould, except on one part, where it was flattened by striking against the bone of tbe man's arm. Witness found the single-barrelled gun produced at the home station. The double-barrelled rifle which be produced was handed to him by Mrs Martin, boarding-house keeper, Grenfell-street, where he apprehended the prisoner Morris, on Tuesday last. The grooves of the rifle corresponded with the marks on the ball. Witness conveyed Morris, with three or four other persons, dressed in ordinary clothing, to the Location school-yard, and desired Jimcrack to ask the black boy if any of the men present were the parties who shot the man. The boy pointed out Mr. Morris. The wounded man also pointed him out. When Mr. Jones rode up to the station, be was on a small gray horse, corresponding with the tracks about the native oven. The horse was a sort of half-bred Timor. Witness had seen all the settlers of Yorke's Peninsula mounted, but had seen no other horses so small as three or four that were at the station under Mr Morris's management. He (witness) had been at all the stations— A man named Bagnall here interrupted the witness— "No, you have never been at Rogers's station —there are small horses there." The man was apparently intoxicated, and...... His Worship ordered the police to remove him. Witness concluded tbe unfinished sentence.— He had been at all the stations except Bowdcn's and Rogers's. His Worship -There will be no more evidence to-day, Mr Stephen. Mr Stephen —Then I apprehend there must be a remand, if you expect more evidence. His Worship -There must be a remand to abide the issue of tbe wound. Mr Moorhouse is of opinion four or five days will determine the fate of tbe man. Mr. Stephen supposed the Bench would take their (the prisoner's) own recognizances. The Bench, after a moment's consultation, declined taking bail. Mr Stephen admitted that was not the time to dwell on discrepan-cies in the evidence, but he thought the statement of tbe black boy, on which the charge entirely rested, was sufficiently contradicted to cast discredit upon it altogether. For instance, he stated the kangaroo was carried away by Mr Jones, and the policeman actually pro-duced its bones which he found at tbe native oven. That was discrepancy No. 1. His Worship— It by no means follows that tbe bones picked up were those of tbe kangaroo referred to in the evidence.

Mr Stephen dwelt on the nature of the wounds, particularly that in the foot, which, he contended, would not have been inflicted by men meaning to commit murder, and standing but three yards from tbeir victim. Then it might appear that the persons wounding the black did so as be attempted to escape from apprehension for a murder which he himself was charged with, and which was committed at the same station. These facts, added to the doubts cast on the veracity of native witnesses by Mr Moorhouse, were, he thought, sufficient to war rant the Bench in taking bail. His Worship said, even if the black was charged with murder that would not justify a similar offence. Remanded until Monday. Mr Stephen said there was a charge of robbery against the inter preter and guide, Jimcrack. His Worship was willing to bear it, and Jimcrack, otherwise Jimmy, was charged with stealing two blankets and a rug, about the middle of July last, from William Bagnall, at Yorke's Peninsula. The prisoner, on bearing the charge, nodded, as if assenting to it, and then laughed good humouredly at the prosecutor, who returned the grin with interest. William Bagnall stated that he lived at Yorke's Peninsula. The prisoner had been shepherding with him for three or four months. One night some blackfellows and a lubra came to where they were encamped, as they had not built a hut at the time. The prisoner said tbe blacks were his cousins. In the morning witness discovered he was gone, and had taken the blankets and rug with him. They were worth £1. Witness had never given the prisoner any wages, but had always treated him like a brother. (A laugh). They slept together (continued (laughter)— let him deny it if he can (roars of laughter) ; and anything he wanted, he could have it for asking. Witness had sent for a pair of boots for him, but he went off with the blankets before the boots arrived. The prisoner had the blankets given to him for his exclusive use a night or two before he took them away. Mr Stephen here declined prosecuting the case farther, and Jimcrack and his affectionate employer seemed nothing estranged by tbe criminal charge, which tbe fraternal feelings of tbe prosecutor, or his neglect to remunerate services, had deprived of its sting.


ONE of these trials terminated on Monday in the acquittal of Henry Thomas Morris and Hany Valette Jones, charged with the murder of a native on Yorke's Peninsula. There was no doubt that a native had been shot; and there were circumstances of a nature sufficiently suspicious to justify the apprehension of the prisoners; but legal proof of their guilt was altogether defective; the native evidence, in particular, on which the charge mainly rested, was a singular failure, and showed something which created a sort of impression—probably not well-founded—that a species of parroting had been practised between the black interpreter, and the black witness. When the question was asked what the native was shot with—the answer was, " with white trowsers,'' and its repetition procured the same response! Frederick the Great is said to have had two questions which he invariably put to recruits.; and a young soldier having been told that to the firstquestion he was to answer twentyone years, * and to the second " three months," the following dialogue took place:— Frederick—How long have you been in the regiment ? Recruit—Twenty-one years I Frederick—How old are you ? Recruit—Three months I It would almost seem that a similar amount of misunderstanding existed in this case—at least it was clearly out of the question to convict or hang a dog upon evidence of such a character. The Advocate-General did quite right in at once abandoning a case the failure of which was so complete. We have not the least intention of treating this matter with levity—far from it A cruel and brutal murder had unquestionably been perpetrated upon a native, which, brought home to the accused parties, would certainly have been expiated with their lives. Fortunately, this dire justice has been avoided; and more happily still, the determination which the proceedings evinced is likely to operate as a warning to others in their future intercourse with and treatment of the aborigines, and so have the full effect of a more terrible example. On one point only we think it necessaiy to saya few words. A number of humane and wel'-meaning persons have expressed an opinion that the acquittal of the white prisoners in this afiair renders the conviction and punishment of blacks for offences against the settlers, impossible. It is almost self-evident that there can be no connection between the case's; and certainly nothing so spurious in the shape of compassion can be listened to for a moment The same care will be taken that legal evidence is given in the trial of natives for offences against the white population, as in those cases where the colour of the parties is reversed; and we have reliance on the personal upright feeling of the Advocate-General, that he will as freelythrow up his briefs, or as earnestly follow out his case to the last, without regard to any misplaced cant of humanity, which may be thrust upon him by the amiable but very short-sighted persons to whom we have alluded. The black prisoners that remain to be tried are accused of the most cold-blooded murders. Let them by all means have a fair impartial trial—-the benefit of every reasonable doubt; but do not let us hear of connecting their guiit or innocence with abstract principles, or the result of events, with which they have nothing to do.

Fatal Affray write the natives at YORKE'S PENINSULA,

We regret to hear that a fatal collision has taken place between some shepherds of Mr. Coutts's, at Yorke's Peninsula, and the natives. It appears that the latter had seized a flock of sheep, and on the overseer and one of the shepherds attempting to regain possession, a determined resistance was made. The natives had already destroyed many of the sheep, and had divided the remainder into two flocks, when the overseer and his companion discovered them. The natives, we are informed, attacked 'the white men in the first instance by throwing their spears, and these having been broken by the overseer, they attempted to overpower them by closing on them and by pelting them with stones, The Europeans fired in self-defence, and several of the natives were killed. The origin of this fatal collision may perhaps be found in the circumstance that some time ago, a flock of Mr. Rogers's sheep were stolen in the same manner. The proprietor applied to the Police for protection or aid in the recovery of his property; but as there was but one Policeman, neither one nor the other could be given. At the present time there are no Police stationed on the Peninsula, and on the Government, therefore, justly rests a heavy share of responsibility as to the casualty which has just occurred.


Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954), Friday 11 September 1931, page 3

By Edna Davie*, of Minlaton.

Though most of us regard the Australian aborigine as having a very low standard of intelligence, we regard with wonder their ability to send and receive messages by means of signal fires and the like. The majority of us have no doubt credited them with having some crude sort of Morse code as a means of communication. Recently a member of a South Australian tribe said that mentally he considers the Australian aborigine the equal of any race. He points to their prowess as trackers, and says that they have brought to perfection what the white man calls telepathy. And he says that it is by means of telepathy that their messages are transmitted—the fire smoke is only a means of attracting attention and notifying neighbors that a message is on the way. When an aborigine sees the smoke from a signal fire he tries at . once to free his mind from all thought, thus leaving it free to receive the message which is being sent "over the air," and the sender concentrates on sending his message, clearing his mind of any other thought When it is necessary to send messages at night, when smoke could not be seen, the aborigine waits until he considers the person to whom he wishes to speak will be asleep, and then sends out his thought waves, knowing that the subconscious mind of the sleeper will be fully awake when his conscious mind is at rest. This is how they do it, and some of us had thought they must do a sort of flag race through the night, using their fastest runners, as the quickness with which news travels from one tribe to another has puzzled the white man as long as he has been dealing with aborigines.