Narungga People - SA Memory

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 - SA Memory

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.

Point Pearce Aboriginal Reserve - Australian Heritage Database

Concern over the plight of the Aboriginal people in the Yorke Peninsula area who had been displaced by the rapid influx of European settlers, prompted a series of public meetings in Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina during the late 1860s. Point Pearce, a favoured camping location of the local Narrunga Aboriginal people, especially during dry seasons, was chosen as the site for an Aboriginal Mission for the region in 1867. A Moravian missionary, the Rev. W Julius Kuhn, was appointed Missionary to the Settlement. Father Julius ran a school and supervised the construction of dwellings and other structures. In 1868 a grant of 639 acres (later increased to eight square miles) was made by the Government. A further six and a quarter square miles was later granted. To cope with an increasing population and in order to provide employment opportunities, an additional twenty square miles was requested. As a result, a further grant of twelve and a half square miles was made and in 1879, Wardang Island was leased to the Mission and used for grazing stock. By this time, The Mission had an appearance of a small township. a six roomed house for the missionary, a large stone school room, dormitories, large woolshed, four two-roomed cottages and four large underground stone-lined tanks for domestic use had been built. A garden, enclosed by a stone wall, supplied the kitchen with vegetables. The remnants of the Narrunga tribe were joined by survivors of tribal groups from the Adelaide plains and the Murray regions. In 1885 there were fifty-four people on the Mission, including the last two survivors of the Adelaide tribe. The population was boosted in 1889 when the Poonindie Mission on Eyre Peninsula closed and Aboriginal people living there were sent to Point Pearce. By 1915 the population reached 173, it peaked at 509 in 1950 and is currently between 300 to 500. Management of the Mission has changed during its history, as a result of internal needs and the development of Aboriginal affairs in the state. Financial difficulties caused the re-organisation of the Mission into an incorporated body in 1877, with eight trustees appointed to manage the site. Various schemes were implemented in an attempt to make the Mission economically sound, including the leasing of Wardang Island for grazing and cropping arrangements with neighbouring farmers and improvements to stock and equipment. Following the Royal Commission's recommendations, Point Pearce was taken over by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 1915. In 1972 the Point Pearce Aboriginal Reserve was transferred to an Aboriginal lands trust and is now administered by a council of nine elected members. There have been a number of changes to The Mission over the years and few of the earlier buildings survive. The focal point of The Mission is Narrunga Avenue, which was planted with trees at or soon after the turn of the century. At the end of Narrunga Avenue is the church and community hall built in 1937. At the northern end of the Avenue is the former superintendent's house, near the store and original church. The superintendent's house is now used as a residence and the former church/store bears little resemblance to its original form, now being used for an administration block and radically altered in the process. A manse, utilised also as a hospital, is located to the rear of the original school built during the 1870s. In the 1920s a state school was built on the western outskirts of the settlement. The presence of key administration buildings and surviving stone dwellings contribute to an understanding of the organic growth of the Mission itself and to some extent reflect the official policies of the various administrators at different times in the Mission's history. The Aboriginal historical perspective of the Mission is currently being undertaken by the Point Pearce community.

Historically, Point Pearce Aboriginal Reserve is important because it forms an integral part of a state system of missions established by church, government and private organisations during the displacement of Aboriginal people from their tribal lands in South Australia during the nineteenth century (Criterion A.4). Established in 1867, it provided some form of refuge for members of the Narrunga tribe affected by successive pastoralism, farming and mining developments on Yorke Peninsula. Remaining members of other tribal groups also lived at the Mission, which sought to instruct members in European customs, livelihood and religion. The place is highly valued by the community for its social significance (Criterion G.1). Because of the important role it has played in the history of contact between Aboriginal people and the European settlers and also because it has been a place of residence for community members for a considerable time.

Physically, Point Pearce is notable as a township that retains evidence of its former Mission function, as seen in the grouping of administration block, former school, manse, superintendent's house, community hall and church at the end of the Narrunga Avenue, the focal point of the regiment street layout in the settlement.



Sir— I shall be glad if you will allow me space in your columns for a few remarks on the subject referred to in a communication published in your paper of January 3rd, headed "An Aboriginal census.

It is difficult to understand how any one who has had opportunities of observing the social and moral degradation of the native inhabitants of this country can really believe that he is not failing in a positive duty when, while enriching himself with the produce of the land, or with its mineral wealth, he leaves the original possessor untaught and uncared for. For nearly three years I have known personally many of the natives of Yorke's Peninsula, and have seen and had slight com-munication with perhaps most of them. From the commencement I have taken a great interest in them, and for the last two years I have felt strongly that there ought to be a Mission-House on the Peninsula. I have frequently mentioned the subject to others, and proposed making an application for a grant of land and for a portion of the Aboriginal Reserve Fund arising from the sale of land towards carrying out this object; but no one took sufficient interest in it to endeavour to overcome any little difficulties that might arise at starting. One, indeed, went so far as to ask me to furnish him with some statistics as to the number of blacks who inhabited the Peninsula, their principal hunting-ground, chief places of resort, and any other information I could give. Having previously gained some items of in-telligence from the Crown Lands Ranger at Kadina, and much from the natives themselves, I was able to tell him that tribes from the Hum-mocks, all parts of the Peninsula, and even from the Light, resort to the Kadina, Wallaroo, and Moonta districts periodically. Always at Christmas they congregate in considerable numbers, and two or three times a year besides. The Tipara Springs, about twelve miles from Moonta, are one inducement; the food given by the white population is another. Other information I gave which I hoped would lead to the subject being taken up by those who have more influence and are better fitted to carry out so important a work. But I have waited in vain, and should probably have waited yet longer, from a natural disinclination to take any but a private part in the platter, had it not been for the remark in the letter referred to, that "the natives are expecting a teacher to go among them, and are very glad." When talking to them of their children and asking them if they would like to have them taught to read and to work like white children, the invariable answer has been "yes," and I told them I would try to get a school built, where they must leave their children to be taught, and where I and they should go to see them. Debased as they are, and always wandering about, there is yet more order and discipline observed among them than those who have not studied their habits are aware of. I am speaking only of the tribes I know— those of Yorke's Peninsula-but it is probable that the same might be said of all the natives. Here all the tribes submit to one Chief, generally known as King Tom. He is a fine old man - full six feet in height; he is intelligent, and speaks English very tolerably. He orders the movements of the tribes, and his word is never disputed. An entire tribe, or a few men, are ordered to go to such a part of the Peninsula, to stay there a fixed time, and then move farther off or return, and the order is obeyed to the letter, even to the exact spot mentioned for the encampment. No black can engage to work for a white man for any length-ened period without permission; and if the Chief orders him to leave, he does so even when he wishes to remain. Knowing this to be the case, it was evident that nothing could be done without first gaining the goodwill of the Chief, and I succeeded in doing so. He willingly and decisively promised that if a school were built, he would let his child go (this child has been at our house many times, on one occasion for part of a week), and he would use his influence among his people. A woman of the tribe who speaks English very well, and has been in service in English families, pro-mised me that she would leave her child at the school, and talk to the other women about their children. Hence, I believe, the idea of the "teacher." They trust us, because we have been kind to them; they believe us, because what we tell them we will do we do; and it is painful to reflect that for more than a year they have been looking for their teacher, while I have been waiting and hoping that others would do that which now it seems I should have tried to commence myself, by making known the willingness of the natives to have their children instructed. A further claim which these poor creatures have on the Govern- ment of South Australia, as well as on the sympathy of all right-minded people individually is the fact that very many of these children are half-castes. From personal observation I may add that I fear little comparatively could be done with the older natives. The plan I venture to suggest to the consideration of others is the establishment of a Home where the children may be received and brought up as Christians. There are those who say— it has been said to me-" They will run away as soon as they are old enough and go back to the wurley." Granted that some will do so, or even that all will— for the wild savage nature cannot be changed at once— they will soon take some better thoughts and feelings with them than they could ever have had without teaching. Good seed sown must bring forth some fruit, and it may be gathered in the wurley of the savagethe result known only to God. Before closing these remarks I think it better to state that I have when visiting the miners' cottages, mentioned this subject It was warmly received, and monthly or weekly collections of small sums among the miners were spoken of towards the support of the Mission-House, and I have no doubt there would be a considerable amount of local support from this channel only; for when help is really wanted for the poor and friendless, my experience goes to prove that the Cornish miner never withholds it. I am. Sir, &c., MARY A. MEREDITH. Moonta Mine, January 5.

Mon 9 Mar 1874, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

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.


Sat 6 May 1876, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

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. For the past nine months there had been fifty natives at the Station; since Christmas the old ones camped near the beach to fish. Every inducement was offered to able-bodied natives, and wages were paid to all according to merit ; they were supplied with rations; notwithstanding there were some who preferred an idle life, to whom he had persistently refused rations, which had at last brought some of them to the Station for work. The old and infirm, who receive their regular supply of Government rations, of course shared it with the idle ones, consequently they were often short. Finding they would not come for regular work, he asked them to cut rushes for roofing, and offered 3s. per load. Six able-bodied men cut about two loads per week; one white man could cut as much in a day. The dogs of the natives had given a qreat deal of trouble and anxiety owing to their having made sad havoc among their sheep. Once there were 33 wounded and fly-blown, many had to be killed, and many were found lying dead. He constantly urged the natives to tie up their dogs, and threatened to lay poison ; but they took no heed, so that he was compelled to lay poison. The dogs of station hands also killed the sheep. A fortnight since he saw a letter in the papers stating that there were 40 natives near Edithburgh and Stansbury in want of food, recommending Government to supply them with a boat, so as to enable them to earn a livelihood by fishing. The following week he started to visit them, and found about 30 at Edithburgh, Sultana, and Salt Creek. He offered all employment and a home. They seemed to be pleased with the offer, and promised to come after the races. He supplied them with provisions, and conducted service with them. A miller at Yorketown told him he engaged some able-bodied natives to cut firewood next day, gave them a good supper at the time of engagement, but saw no more of them. At Edithburgh he was informed there was ample employment for natives if they were willing to work. A death occurred on March 23. A lubra of the wurley natives had suffered a long time from a swelling in her throat, which proved fatal. In the evening all the natives had a grand corroboree. He was thankful to state there was a good work going on in the hearts of several of them. They had their private devotion, and morning and evening prayers were regularly attended. On Wednesday he held a Bible-class tor children and women; on Thursday evening a singing meeting; on Friday a meeting in which John the king's son always took part. The Sunday services were well attended. Sunday-school was conducted in the afternoon, when from 20 to 30 attended. During that time he visited the wurley natives in the neighbourhood to conduct service. During the month of January there were 41 natives on the Station— 15 able bodied, 10 infirm, 5 sick, 11 children, 3 infants. During February, 49—16 able-bodied, 17 old and infirm, 12 children, 4 infants. During March, 47— 16 able-bodied, 18 infirm, 1 sick, 9 children, 3 infants.

It was resolved that the financial year should be made to terminate in June each year at the time of the annual meeting; and also that Messrs. Lewis and Furniss, of Kadina, should be requested to act as Auditors. And also sub-sequently it was resolved, with a view to the extinction of the Bank overdraft, and to more fully and profitably stock the Mission Station, that the Finance Committee be empowered to piocure a sum of not less than £1,500 upon mortgage.

The Visiting Committee, with the addition of the President to its membership, were invited by resolution to continue in office until the end of the year, June 30.

Mr. L. L. Furner, as a member of the Visiting Committee, reported a visit paid by himself and Mr. Drew to the institution at Point Pearce, and of the arrangements they had made consonant with the instructions of the General Committee.

A discussion followed respecting the alleged insufficient supply of meat to the natives resident upon the Mission, but the Committee were given to understand that a quarter of a sheep had been issued to each married couple every Wednesday and Saturday, but by the express desire of the Superintendent of the Station the Committee now furnished him with a ration scale, as follows :— Daily 3 lbs. of meat to each married couple, 2 lbs. to every single male adult, and half that ration to children, with the ordinary additions of other items. The old, sick, and infirm to be dealt with at Mr. Kuhn's discretion. The majority of the Committee wore of opinion that those only who worked should receive full ration.

After the transaction of formal business the proceedings closed.


Wed 7 May 1879, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

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.

The visit was not "unexpected," beyond that of not knowing the day. I read of it in the Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser. That it was "a flying visit" is true, being here scarcely three quarters of an hour. In consequence, perhaps, the mission suffers. Had Mr. Playford been able to give more time he might have gathered such information as would have been more satis factory to him. The institution is spoken of as "being badly managed, and quite worthless as a means of civilizing the natives, who seem almost universally to shun it." I am at a loss to know the source if such information. Mr. Playford asked if I had any married of my scholars. One was standing near. I said, "There is one." He also asked if they settled down for a length of time. He was told one had been here for five years without leaving the station, but that he with his wife and children had gone for a change, bringing the key of his cottage, saying he would be back in a few weeks. While those two only were mentioned, I did not intend to convey that they were the only ones who had remained for any length of time. One lived in my own household as servant for seven years. Others have been here for years, would occasionally leave for a few weeks, and return. I may here state when I first commenced my labours among the aborigines I brought every energy to bear to prevent these occasional wan derings, but experience taught me it was not wise. They are a nomadic race, and as such require a change even more than their more favoured brethren. Regarding the institution as useless to civilize, I would ask where but at the station have they been taught to build, fence, make tanks, plough, till, &c., &c., all of which they do, while the women and girls make and mend all their clothes, cook, wash, &c. That they "universally shun the place" is quite new to me, and I think my average number given in my returns proves the contrary. Since the Commissioner's visit I have been informed he had an interview with a half-cast at Port Victoria, and who if he men tioned the station would I know malign it, but he had been expelled from it for immorality and drunkenness. Others, too, in the neighbour hood of Ardrossan, who had lately such an out break, dislike the station, because they have been frequently upbraided on the same ground. Such as those may shun it, and it is well they should. I told the Commissioner as long as I am here I was determined to put my foot on it and stamp it out if possible. It is said there are a "few buildings, but mostly very dilapidated and miserable." Our first building was a store, which is now in a very dilapidated state. I have long urged the importance of a new one, but other things have been thought even more necessary. There are seven two-roomed stone cottages, some of them built in the early days of the mission. In some a family lives in each room. The interior presents a comfortable appearance, while the occupants take pride in keeping them neat and clean, adopting civilized habits, having cooking utensils, crockery, &c., &c., purchased by themselves. My responsibility regarding the debt is as follows : — For many years the mission had no debt, even a small balance on hand. The fencing-in of the additional grant of land and purchase of sheep incurred a debt of £800 in July, 1876. Before sufficient time had elapsed for any returns to lessen this debt of £800 the late Overseer was engaged and the management placed in his hands, under the supervision of an Executive Committee. I am therefore not in the slightest degree responsible after the above date. My work from July, 1876, to January, 1879, has been confined to teaching and attending to the temporal and spiritual wants of the natives. There were only thirty-one natives at the station when Mr. Play ford was here. Several had recently left for a little change, fishing, &c.; but the day after his visit sevem returned, and more are daily expected. I now come to the children's sleeping accommodation. I regret to say we have not an "iron stretcher" on the station. The so-called "huts" are two dormitories built several years ago by a white man, each room 18 x 18, 10 feet high. That the Commissioner thought them neither clean nor neat, I would ask, can it be expected when the poor children have to sleep on the floor, and one at least in a wretched broken condition, so as scarcely to be swept ? The boys have placed a few old broken bedsteads together, which I made years ago, and so have made one wide bed and sleep together rather than on the ground. The girls have each a single bed on the floor. I have frequently deplored their con dition. I applied eighteen months ago for bed steads, and frequently urged the necessity of a new floor, but that as well as many other things equally necessary to the carrying on the work efficiently have not been responded to ; financial difficulties have prevented. The rule for each room is, beds to be made and floor swept daily ; though I know unless daily watched they will neglect it; but the dormitories are inspected twice or three times a week. If found not clean or tidy the girls are made at once to do it. If the Government would help to relieve the committee of the present unfortunate debt (which is the first time a pecuniary grant has been asked for) a radical change for the better would soon be effected. Since January last the management of the station has been entrusted to me, at least until some definite arrangements for the future are made. There is no "Overseer," but the same white man engaged during the late Overseer's time is still here. Things have worked harmoniously. Sheep are not depastured on Wauraltie Island, but are on the mainland. As the boat for cross ing requires much to be done to, the com mittee naturally feel shy to make any further outlay. I now come to the last charge in the para graph, respecting the "price of goods kept at the station for the natives." At the request fo the committee, goods are kept for the sole benefit of the natives; they are bought at wholesale prices. A small percentage is put on to cover freight, &c.; every article purchased, with the price is copied in a book, as well as every article sold, and can be inspected at any time. Only on Saturday, when I first saw your paragraph at a store, I was told by the proprietor that the native had informed him of prices of goods given at the station — even less than he could buy them at. I think in all mission enterprises glowing results are too frequently expected without thinking of the materials to be worked on. To break down the walls of super stition and heathenism is not an easy work, and, indeed, beyond human power. But I fear I am trespassing on your valuable paper ; still I hope you will do me the favour of inserting the above. I will simply say, I shall be most happy to receive a visit from any one at any time who is anxious to see this institution, desiring to prove the correctness of statements herein contained.

I am, Sir, &c.,

W. JULIUS KUHN Mission Station, Boorkooyanna, May 5.


I intimated in my former notes on a visit to the Peninsula that I intended giving a fuller account of the Aboriginal Mission Station, at Point Pearce than was then convenient, and I therefore now resume the subject.

The interest in the aboriginal inhabitants of these colonies seems to increase just as the race diminishes, so that the last old couple, and at length the last old lubra in Tasmania became objects of interest and special care. " Passing away " is the sad doom written over these poor creatures, who can neither assimilate with nor hold their own against, higher and more civilized races. It is undoubtedly the duty of every Government, under whose control the lands of a colony come, to take all. possible care that the temporal concerns of the natives do not suffer through their being deprived of their former means of living, which the game of the uninhabited country afforded. The question of religion is not one for the Government so much aB the churches—a matter which has not been neglected, and which has not been unfruitful in good results.

The Point Pearce Station is situated between Maitland and the sea, about nine miles from the former and one and a half from the latter, and this contiguity to the sea is a great advantage for the natives in the matter of fishing, who do a considerable business in that line. The basis of the station in regard to its resources and means of support is this— The Government give a certain portion of land which is vested in trustees and worked under their control by a manager, who has charge of the station in all its business, both temporal and spiritual.

The land on which this station is built, consists of twenty square miles of fair scrub country, having a large sea frontage, and in addition to this the trustees rent an adjacent island, Wanratta, consisting of ten square miles, which is particularly good for fattening stock. Thus the station altogether consists of thirty square miles. The stock on this land consists of from 6,000 to 7,000 sheep, about fifty head of cattle, and some working horses. It is worked by the natives under the direction of the manager, who has an English overseer. All this management, and the resources of the station are intended for the benefit of the natives.

Let us now see how it works in their interests. The number residing on the station at the time of my visit was about fifty, including several duly married couples, single persons, and children. Each married couple has a stone cottage of two rooms, suitably furnished and neatly kept, and these homes presented in every instance a olean and tidy appearance. There are about a dozen such cottages. The young girls and ohildren have a place of their own on the other side of the square, where they are properly looked after by the seniors appointed to that office. In addition to these cottages there are single rooms for single men on the married side of the establishment. Th« other buildings are a large room used as chapel, schoolroom, and Institute Hall, the manager's residence, a good store (which combines draper, grocer, and ironmonger, from which the natives get all their supplies), a large shed for housing farming implements and for stabling, and a woolshed. Most of these buildings, if not all, were built by the natives, and for solidity and good workmanship do them great credit, though not quite equal to skilled mason's work.

The community presents the appearance of comfort, industry, and contentment, and in every cottage were to be seen signs of taste and some refinement, in the pictures from the Graphic and other illustrated papers which covered the walls; in some, attempts at painting and oarving done by the men, particularly two full rigged schooners creditably executed, and in festoons of sea eggs and gull's eggs hung on the walls, and strings of beautiful green shells, which they use as necklets and bracelets, and also a model shell church.

With regard to the means of living, there is a dietary scale carried out irrespective of labor, quite sufficient for necessary wants,whilst the store is open for any who choose to bay more than this with the money which they may earn . by their labor. The ration scale' is this - Married couples get for a week 201bs. flour, 4dbs. sugar, ilb. tea, and meat in abundance three times a week, but not weighed. There are also Government rations supplied to children and the sick and infirm, at the rate of lib. flour, 2ozs. sugar, and ioz. of tea daily.

In addition to the ordinary station rations the comforts, and even some of the luxuries, of life can be purchased ; and both men and women, and even children, can earn a little money. There is always work for those of the men who are willing at from Is. to 2s. per day, according to work done, whilst female hands make something by the sale of shellwork in necklaces and bracelets, which are really pretty. This possibility of increasing their comforts by their own earnings gives a stimulus to industry, which is good for them.

With regard to mental and religious matters —there is school for the children in the afternoon conducted by Miss Sutton, daughter of the Superintendent, and there is regular Sunday service, supposed to be undenominational, which may be conducted by any accredited minister or layman, and which all attend, ho matter by whom conducted. This ditty usually falls on Mr.. Sutton, who is a Wesleyan lay-preacher, and seems well fitted both for that and every other duty connected with his office. In these different ways all is being done that seems possible to do for the bodily, mental, and spiritual welfare of this remnant of a passing, race, and the result, judged from the appearance of all on the station, and from the report I heard of their general good conduct and quiet orderly ways, must be considered very satisfactory. I must add that resideuje at the Btation is perfectly voluntary, and therefore the numbers vary at different times, as most are attacked occasionally with their natural wandering propensity. Altogether I was much pleased and interested trith my visit to the station, and sincerely wish it all possible success under, the able, kindly, and intelligent management of Mr. and Mrs. Sutton.


Sat 2 Dec 1893, Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904) Trove

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. The first building we approached was a splendid woolshed, with drafting-yards, &c., all in good repair, and eminently suited for the purpose for which they were erected. A substantial haystack added a farmlike appearance to the little settlement. Looking up the street I counted eight neat stone cottages of two rooms each and three cottages of four rooms, also the school and meeting house, Superintendent's resi dence, storehouse, butcher's shop, &c., and a superior stone stable provided with a large number of stalls. Three large underground tanks supply the residents with fresh water, and a big tank with a good catch ment supplies the live stook employed on the station. Altogether the settlement had the appearance of a well-to do sheep station,with about five times as many hands as are required. The genial Manager (Mr. B. G. Edwards) courteously supplied us with a good deal of interesting information. The station has not received a penny of Government grant for the last ten years. It seems to be an object lesson in Christian communism supporting eighty-four people. It started with a free grant of 12,000 acres, and rents 6,000 acres, the latter being on Wauraltee Island, about a mile from the mainland. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 sheep on the property. The management is vested in a committee consisting of Captain Uanoock, Captain Jolly, Mt. Hughes (Manager of the National Bank), and Mr. Marshall (Manager of the Union Bank), all of Moonta, Mr. Lathern (Secretary of the Moonta Mines) being Secretary of the Board of Management. All the natives on the station are provided with houseroom and rations. Those employed at any kind of work are paid wages. All able to work are charged for clothes, which are supplied from a distributing store in the centre of the settle ment. These clothes are obtained from wholesale dealers in Adelaide, and are furnished to the natives at a cheaper rate than they can be got elsewhere. Regular paysheets, giving accurate returns of all labour done, clothes issued, &c., are submitted to the management, and adjusting cheques are passed monthly. The soil is not at the beat, the open rubbly subsoil causing the moisture to escape rapidly. The sheep-carrying capacity of tbe land era be increased fourfold by a judicious system o3 ploughing up the hard black grass. This is being done by several teams -of bullocks and bones, none but coloured labour being em ployed. Unfortunately, like many other in stitutions, a legacy has been left in the shape of an overdraft of about £1,000, which will absorb this season's clip of wool, after which better times are anticipated. The carrying capaoity of the property is rapidly increasing, and the price of wool, it is hoped, will in crease also. This last year 300 acres have been cropped, yielding enough hay for all require ments, thus saving expenses in that direction, and it is hoped the wheat will turn in a good supply of flour.

On Wauraltie Island many difficulties are encountered in trying to conserve water owing to the land .being so level and of such a soft nature. There is no clay to puddle the bottoms of the dams, and even if there were the soil being soft it is almost impossible to get the rain. water to flow over the surface, so the only way is to build stone tanks and ship cement over to line them with, and then prepare large flat catchments.

At present the population is eighty-five including the Superintendent and his family. Every room is fully tenanted, and more cottages must be erected at once, as natives are constantly coming from Poonindie and other places. The natives seem very well cared for and happy. With the exception of two or three they can all read and write. The children seem a bright intelligent lot. Two little orphan girls appeared to be specially well cared for, and showed signs of making good progress at the mission school. The young English lady who presides over the school has a rather mixed audience, as it comprises the Superintendent's family, the children of some neighbouring farmers, and a motley collection of halfcastes and pure black children. The schoolroom is also used as a reading-room in the evenings, and magazines of all sorts are eagerly read by the natives. Any old copies of picture and other papers would prove most acceptable. Age appears to make no difference, the natives reading old copies as eagerly as the latest editions. Religious services are held every evening and on dun days ; occasionally a question-box lecture is given by the Superintendent, when such questions as the following are asked "Where do these blacks come from, and why don't they get on in the world?" "What is light and how can it travel ?" " Who led the English at Trafalgar, and what were they fighting for?" " What was the good of the Reformation?'' The attendance eat the evening meeting was good, and the attention and intelligence shown by the coloured audience were inspiriting. They can see a joke quickly and enjoy it intensely. The singing of Sankey'a hymns was hearty and correct, some of the girls having very good voices.

Near the main building a large bell is hung. This peals out vigorously every morning at 6 o'clock as a signal to get up; work begins at 8. A handy-sized plot of ground is under cultivation as a vegetable garden, and it is proposed to allot small portions to each householder that he may grow his own vegetables, &c., and take an interest in cultivating the soil. The Superintendent; whom I found most civil and obliging, has his hands full. As he is the village apothecary also he has to have a large stock of medicines on hand, as the natives come for medicine for the most trivial complaints. Some of the men are fine specimens, being healthy and very strong, and win prizes for athletics, putting the hammer, &c. The women keep their cottages in order, and decorate the walls with brackets, prints, &c,, in much the same style as their white sisters.


Wed 8 Apr 1885, Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912) Trove

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. The average attendance during 1884 was 51. The aboriginal population of Yorke's Peninsula, according to the census of 1881, was—Adults, 127; children, 46; total, 173. From the date of the census to the end of 1884 there had been recorded—deaths, 27 ; births, 6. There had, therefore, been a decrease of 21 during the four years. Of the 54 inmates, 43 belonged to the Peninsula, and nearly all had been reared at the Mission Station. Two ; claimed to be the last of the Adelaide tribe, three belonged to the Riverton district, four were from the South-East, and one was from the River Murray. They were represented as generally steady and well conducted, cases of drunkenness on the Station being extremely rare. One native was a mason and another a carpenter, and the specimens Mr. Hamilton saw of their work were very creditable. The wages paid ranged from 6s. to 12s. a week, with rations for all. To supply them with meat about twenty sheep were killed every week. Old King Tommy, the head of the Peninsula tribe, resided on the Station, and was in receipt of a pension of 5s. a week from Sir W. W. Hughes for some services rendered in the discovery of copper. The school, containing twenty-one pupils, presented a neat and orderly appearance, and the pupils went through some exercises in drill, singing, and other elementary instruction in a manner that showed intelligent progress on the children's part, and tne care and attention of their teacher (Miss Sutton). This was now rated as a provisional school under the Education Department, and was periodically examined by the Inspector for the district. The financial statement for 1884 showed a revenue of £1,716 17s. 9d., and expenditure £1,483 5s. 9d. The assets amounted to £6,125, and the liabilities to £420 11s. 9d. An acceptance for £334 19s. (6d., for sheep sold, which was due March 1, 1885, would almost clear the Station from its liabilities, and henceforth it might be expected to become self-supporting. On the whole, Mr. Hamilton was favourably impressed with the appearance of the institution, and its general management had improved since his last visit, about four years ago. Therefore he thought it would be unwise to break the Station up, especially as the greater portion of the inmates looked upon it as a home and a refuge, now that almost all the surrounding country had passsd into private hands, and the blacks would be trespassers on it. The number of stock on the station was as follows:—Sheep, 5,800; bullocks, 16; head of cattle, 19 ; pigs, 10; and horses, 12.


Fri 29 Jun 1900, The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922) Trove

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. Our duty as conquerors is plain - We must provide that those deprived of the opportunity to make a living may live in comparative comfort. Philanthropic men years ago founded systems for the housing, subsistence, and protection of our aboriginals. One of these is the Point Pearce Mission Station. It was founded many years ago by a few leading citizens of Moonta, Captain H. K. Hancock and Mr. Lathern, of the Moonta Mines, being conspicuous amongst them. These gentlemen formed a committee, and appointed an able manager. He resigned some time ago, and the present manager is a brother of one of the founders. Well and nobly have they carried out their duties, as can be seen in the good-order and general cleanliness of the settlement to-day.

The mission is entirely self-supporting, though the natives only work, for their rations two days out of the six. On the other four they are paid a fair wage for labor done. It is an ideal settlement. No care for to-morrow ever troubles the residents. Regularly on Monday and Friday mornings rations are served out by the chaplain (Mr. Finlayson), who efficiently acts in both capacities. The operations are largely pastoral. The station comprises an extensive tract, six miles north from Port Victoria, upon Point Pearce proper and Wauraltee or Wardang Island. Although, the country has no available springs or wells there is a good, system of water conservation. Natural catchments are used where available, and where the earth is porous (as upon the island), a watershed of lime and cement is constructed, resembling a large roof, with underground tanks at three corners, into which the rain water is drained. About 6,000 sheep and, 100 cattle are tended by the natives upon the station. This season's wool clip, if present high prices are maintained, will put the finances in a sound condition. The wheat crop, too, promises a bountiful harvest. The head station on the mainland is on rising country, about two miles from the coast. There are two large dwellings the residences of the manager and chaplain 15 or 20 pretty cottages, a commodious shearing shed, a workshop, a store, and a schoolhouse, also used for worship. Neatness and cleanliness characterise all the dwellings, thus reflecting great credit both on the management and the natives.

During my stay, which extended over two days. I could not help contrasting the state of those neat happy families with the squalor and wretchedness among white people in the city slums. If this experiment succeeds with aboriginals, on very poor country, why should not the unemployed in congested cities find the great areas of unsettled Australia a veritable Eden of peace and plenty? There are available thousands of acres of better situated and superior country to the Point Pearce land. Communism failed in Paraguay partly through bad management, but principally because of the absurd basis on which the settlement was founded. Men possess different abilities, and the system will be at fault; that rewards the less able equally with the man of greater power and cleverness. That would deprive man of the incentive to put forth his best effort in short, would eliminate his individuality and failure must result. Quite a different communism is needed to the New Australian Commonwealth, under the presidency of Mr. Lane. In some respects the station reminds one of an old English village, with its curfew calling the villagers to prayers and to bed. A stranger, hearing the oft ringing bell, would be curious as to its import. It calls the dwellers at 7 a.m. to rise; at 0.30 a.m. (for children) to school; at 7 p;m. to prayers; and at 9 p.m. to bed. The services and school each Sunday are conducted by the chaplain or one of the preachers from the Weetulta or Maitland circuit; These spiritual helps have undoubtedly softened the savage hearts, and given the natives a higher ideal than the black man naturally inherits. The aboriginal idea of morality is very different to our own. Their women have hitherto been the slaves of the tribes. It was common in past years to see the lubra carrying a burden almost too heavy for her to lift, while her spouse walked ahead free of encumbrance. Oftimes she had a piccaninny slung to her shoulder as well. This practice has been banished at the station. Just one vestige remains. The colored "lords of creation" consider it beneath their dignity to apply for rations at the store. The women have to receive and carry the subsist to their cottages themselves.

The population at the mission station is steadily increasing, where the father or mother has white blood in his or her veins. The pure-blooded aboriginals, even amid such pleasing surroundings, are rapidly dying out. The inexorable law that people must advance or be annihilated as a nation holds good. But another potent force operates in the decimation of the dark-skinned Australians, and that is disease, introduced by the white people. When the history of the races of mankind is finally written some dark stains will appear upon the character of many so-called civilised nations.

I was received with faultless hospitality during my pleasant visit. If a stranger visit Point Pearce I am confident he will came away with a more exalted opinion of mission work, and he is sure to find his stay too short to allow all the phases of the life of aboriginals to be fully understood.

Point Pearce Mission Station

Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), Saturday 8 April 1911, page 3

An Object Lesson. Visiting the Aborigines.

B Was a happy thought which directed

Tf.-,-,/ any friend Mr. Ools aud i to turn our ;- ;? stejjs^rto ;be more accurate,' our pon^ ? j^* i&P5--4oFai'd. P«irLt Pearee <m our

: -wayirom. Port Victoria to MaitlancL Our ^,1 - :;t»ur ,on ' the Heferenda questions ' had'

'^.-beim-pl&imed' without regard to the

: mission station. and that I think was

?'» mistake;' but leaving aside all ques

tion of- that, the interest which ever attaches to «n, institution of the ixa&.tfas sufficient towarrant usin turning aside *- ., . to see, to give "whatever encour

.- «gement suche. visit enabled us to con

vey to'those whose life'E 'work' iB linked / . op so intimately 'with an institution of

. - eo noble a kind.

,. ' iA. summary jjs very often most useful

'. as an introduction to a theme, and I

y. -would say her®, right at the" "beginning,' .:, "tiiaj^'eeeing what I did during my visit,

* "J cannot think "of any other institution :- _ '""<1 thekind si> well adapted for th® work "-. wMeh is, being dose - not" attempted,

ansifr yon, but -done-in connection with Uie'.dniy'of the white raoee in their efforts to eBtablish a native race like'the A'ustraliaji aboriginals in surroundings -. wiJoli wifl.secUreto them a -certain, d^y ^e/of itidependenjoe .aiia a full measure 'v. ofrself-respect' ..'?"..'

The transition from absolutely nomadic _. savagery to the habits and customs of a

£6ttled civilisation is only achieved after ..... -gnti- patient and Belf-sacrifieing work as

.. .-those who have guided the .destinies of ?;;i! this-fiettlement gince ite. foundation, ljave

' - vput into it: /Such work is a task for

: 'srien arid women of the best type only*:^ui> he taken Tip spasmodically by-dil

JetantephilaittirbinEts -who will.- haggle 'over the operation ' of' twopenny half'../ 'penny negplatiiMiE^ -'but by. men and wo

: -.irteii with ideaE^ with brains, . hearts, snd - 1 -baiids" working, together like directing an-:

gels for the xrpliStang And establishment i ' of a Tace which is worth saving.

' f; A.. chance "visitor, 'iowever well inten

1/ iioned^has 'no right to asSume'that-he

. / can. probe the depths of the principles

?which, underlie the working -of such an . institution'1 as this' mission, station dur~ . ingjsuch a visit as, I made to it. I will,

(' 'i.^hjeteforci try to avcnd the error which * *o ioajiy jnssiiig' Ebsitgers falj into, and

leave for others the duty of enlightening - the ^public on details:"which axe so in, teresting and important that they /ought

to be . dealt-^ith accurately and with r knowledge. TEvery minute spent on the

' ctatioh was full of interest of an Jinusual

kind, and the impression left on me wae ehtardy favorable and pleasing. Mr. Oole ? r&nd I were most kindly received by Mr.

Garnett (the superintendent), and were . 1" practically made free to go where we

pleased, -iook at-everything we wanted to, and. form our own judgments. In ?? this he was courteously assisted by every

: native -settler that we met, So that we

saw quite a number -of people 'and things .psdiii which others may not hare been so fortunate as to cpme into contact. .

The" statistical facts of the mission are interestingly eloquent; .there is a native population of 170 souls. It occupies an -area -of 18,000 acres, which is variously suitable for agricultural and pastoral puxsufls; 4000 acres of this is under cultivation, 2000 acres' in -wheat, and the remainder in oats and, barley. The lirestock consists of 6500 sheep, 60 horses, and fiO cattle. The" sheep are principally grazed on Warding Island, 'which ^Hes

off the-coast some1 miles distant. " IChe people are housed ill cottages of a type quite equal to tjjose which are occupied

by settlers in the .country, -and, from the casual observation which we were able to make unobtrusively, I should say that, ae. a rule, they, were kept quite as neat and clean as the house of the average^ white settler. 4nd why should they mot?-": Those who Jiave seen the native

j living in hie nomadic state only, do not

readily believe in the possibilities whch styeh a work as this mission is revealing.

jBut there it is I

Hardly one generation Temoved from the stone age, "and plungpd all unprepared by any sort of training, right into

j the' bewildering environment of a civi

lisation which we and our forefathers ?have evolved through the centuries, these I natives." have in many things acquired habits of thought and action which place them on an apparent level with us. It

is really^marvellous as an object lesson in -the adaptability of the genus homo to circumstances and conditions which are wide as the poleE1 apart from those Into which lie may ..have been born and bred. Wem^philoeophise as we please oh racial differences, and on the essential superiority of the white race, "but "when I, think that .what w© Britishers are today. is -.< a growth, long and painfully achieved, from conditions similar in kind to those of the Australian aborigine l am prepared to *believe that the aboriginal native will ^respond to the appeal which the higher and better always mates to the lower and "less ealtured. Eei us remember that the woad, the skin garment, and the stone age period have places m the histoiy of our race, too, .and let us also imagine, if we can, What sort of a showing our remote ancestors would have made had they, lake the Australian aboriginal of this generatknl, been lifted without warning, into the age of the flying machine and wireless telegraphy.

. Moving about the settlement, chatting with, thds orne and thatj getting- glimpses of the home life, not so much through open doors which ? disclose something of household arrangements, although this also helps to tell the tale, as by the revelations of social inteccouree when the .people meet (each other in the relation*



ship of fellow-workers, nest-door neighbors, playmates, .and so on, one is impressed with, the likeness of the community to raany ofiheTg .where the color of the settlers is white instead of black. Talk -to the men about politics and their interest i6 as keen their questions and remarks as indicative of an intelligent understanding as will be found to be the case in any average assembly of white men. No one need approach this community in a. condescending mood, for -although thene or© many things for this people still to learn they have at leastacquired an assurance of their own man-, hoo<j and. womanhood which would pre- j

vent any but the most ignorant and; inconsiderate 1 -visitor from treating them with anything but courtesy and Tespecu Xhat they aire quite up to date imay ba gathered, from 4he fact that just at present there its a strike on, the ploughmen Itaving determined that their rates of pay sue sot as good as they should be. I do not propose to enter into the merits of the dttepuis. tand would only say thai I understand the policy of the tspstees Y>? the settLenifini ig to pay equal Temuneraiion; to fimhite or-lriaok labor toe the class ot -wofik: that is ibedng done, sdiich. is a eoundly. demoarsfcio and just principle. vT&e common and primary rale-upon iwWEcJb: the mission work is based is that axiom of the Apostle Paul, who laid it down, that "if a man will not work neither shall lie eat." Following this rule Tataons tieali out only to those -who will give some return for them in service to the community, but houses are found for all whether they work or no, so that justice is still tempered with a finer mercy than ig exhibited towards the white loafer.

The large estate with, all the various forms of industry which Sis working necessitates. gives ample occupation. ? to everybody. Agriculture, tending the 6heep and cattle, repairing implements, providing the thousand an,} one things which are demanded' by life in its civilised associations, gives an outlet to energies which grow keener with the exercise of them. One has great sympathy with Mr. Garaeitt in his pride of what has been done to establish the industrial and. social sides of the mission's work od a substantial basis. We visit the stables anil find .the mast perfect accommodation for the thorses and harness, everything up to date, and in some things ahexd of what is found in some of our best town stables. We look c.t the water supply and find a huge underground tani. holding 150,000 gallons, and said to be tile largest on the peninsula. We go io the blacksmith and carpenter's shops :i~d find theie weU stocked and well aneug

ed, and enthusiasts at their respective traded in charge of them. The implements are all well housed, and chaff and hay are stacked in. large and commodious sheds. Wherever to turn we fity thai neatness, economy, and cleanliness are quite the prevailing characteristics in ibis branch of the mission's activities. Of the social side 1 can only speak haltingly. A two hours' visit does not give one a, right to speak with authority. On© thing, however, that greaifly struck me was the fine recreation ground and the good use to which, it is put, for just .before ieaving our attention was attracted by ringing. shouts and laughter which I found were arising from as merry, and agile a party, of young lads -and lassies on the tenuis «mrte <aa ever wielded racquet.'

The school, too? anighi jodt lave been one of our ordinary Stabs schools Jiut for the color of the <4dWaeni Wbsit my,

friend and ! entered ih©tooebHio fchlLdrem stood and gava us good day; as prettily as la any; school M ever seen. SSnelr -copybook, transcription. and color work was quite tup to the average, and altogether £Miss {Francis, tbeirfeaoher, ihad season to jbe ivery proud of the little folks, who ana raider iher care* Of course .we talked to them« end one Noticed that touch of nature in their modestly; jnient little jE&ces which -proved their kin to all other little children,jwho have at various times and places suffered a like- infliction.

Mr. Garoett is guide, philosopher, and friend to all who are under his care. from the. old greybeard who well remembers the days when all these thongs were not. to the yormgest child who is brou »ht to him with Its most simple or complicated, infantile trouble or complaint. Business manager of the settlement, ha is also the healer of ills arid the ourer of souls. Go into his office and you will have difficulty in knowing from its contents whether he is merchant-, medico, vet., or parson, but you may take it that he is by way of being all four-and probably many other things besides. Vale, Mr. Gannett 1 God bless you and your assistants in your great but quietly done vrork; y-ou are doing it vicariously, I think, for a great many people who havi© not realised that the occupation, of this land by our Tace lays upon us duties toward the native race which as individuals we do not think of fiulfiUing. The mission seems to have got beyonj the need of outside assistance, but I am sure its managers will not resent the "well done" which a grateful public are never slow to bestow when, as in this case, their -deepest sympathies are touched.





Sat 22 Mar 1915, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) Trove

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. The Point Pearce institution, it is expected, will soon pass out of the bands of the present executive, and be placed under Government control. In 1913 the mission had 3,500 acres under crop, of which 600 acres of fallow were cultivated by the natives, 500 acres were stubble, and 2,400 acres were cultivated by the share system. I The population consisted of 109 males and 79 females. There were 26 school children, and about 20 children under school age. The income in that year was £5,095, and the expenditure £7,5M. The items of revenue show:- Wool, £1,245; hides, £263; stock, £44; wheat, barley, and oats, £5,193; stores, £1,570: and sundries, £378. The natives drew £2,105 in wages, and the salaries amounted to £-?41. The credit balance at the close of the year 1914 was £500.


Tue 6 Jul 1926, The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) Trove

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.

Impressions of a Teacher on the Aboriginal Scholar


The following interview with the late Mr. H. J. Franklin, public school teacher at the Point Pearce Aboriginal Station, who was a son of Mr. F. Franklin, of Narracoorte, and whose death was recently reported in our columns, will be read with interest:On behalf of the Aboriginal Protection League, Mr. D. Roper interviewed ths late Mr. H. J. Frankiin, public school teacher at the Point Pearce Aboriginal Station. Before the minutes were typed Mr. Franklin, whose health has been failing for several years, died at Kadina ou February 5 last. Mr. Roper, however, believes that the statements printed below are a correct record of the interview, which makes an interesting contribution to the aboriginal question. Mr. Fraklin was so engrossed in his work that he refused the advice that he should take a rest when it was so much needed.

Mr. Roper said to Mr. Franklin

With the experience you have had in teaching and training native children we would very much like you to give us your opinion of their mental ability and industrial skill, as compared with the white children you taught in former years.

Mr. Franklin. I have been teaching the native children of Point Pearce for about five years. I have found that the children of the lower grades, that is, between the ages of five and eight years, are not so quick as white children of corresponding ages. The native children appear at that age to have the ability to concentrate on only one line at a time. One day the child will be thoroughly in touch with his lesson, answering correctly and smartly. The next day there is nothing doing. In trying to understand this peculiar attitude of mind, I have found that possibly on the previous evening the child has been upset by a quarrel in its neighborhood, or excited by something coming as a surprise, or been to a concert or a picture show, one or the other of these things having for the time taken complete possession of the mind. When the child advances in the higher grates of study he becomes mentally alert, quick to grasp the meaning and illustrations of the teacher, and acquires the power to concentrate on the work in hand.

What about the mathematic part of the school work? Are the children not dull at figures? In the lower grades, yes; but in the higher grades the mathematical mind asserts itself.

On the whole, do you find them inferior in mathematics to white children?-Not by any means when they get to the higher grades. There, I think, they are quite equal, even to the solution of problems. I am at times astonished at the facility shown in solving them.

Are they good with pen and pencil, I should say they are from good to excellent, their drawing being especially good.

What results do you get from manual work? The average of their manual work is excellent.

Are you specializing in wood work, etc.?-Yes, and with splendid result, and the work is not mere copying. They work on proper principles, making a plan of the article to scale. In this geometrical work they show intelligence, and do it easily and readily. In the actual work they are careful and exact, the fitting together of angles, joints, &c." being done in tradesmanlike style. A boy just 14 years won a valuable prize for a collection of models in wood, and his carving was splendid.

What about the girls?-The girls, 011 the average, show facility and skill in the lessons given on household and needlework, including cookery. In fancy work many of them do excellent work.

May I ask, from an industrial point of view, your opinion on the adult as an artisan and workman.-The question is a difficult one, as there are so many points to be considered. The common idea that the native is indolent is a misnomer as we understand it. It is not that he will not work. ] He will when he has an objective carrying with it a responsibilit3\ I know there are, as with whites, some who will never rise, but I believe a fair average would. As to their skill, I have been observing what they do, and how they do it, and I have no hesitation in saying that in farm or industrial work, they will never be put to shame by comparison with the white fellow-workers. As masons, plasterers. &c., they have done work here that white artisans need not be ashamed of, although the native has never had skilled training. The same may be-said of them with regard to wood and iron work. As farm hands, whfre are there better haystack builders or shearers than our natives? But I need not enlarge further. Of this I am positive-they have the mental ability and skill to make good artisans and industrialists.


Life At Point Pearce Mission Station HAPPY CAREFREE CROWD

By Our Travelling Staff Representative.

MAITLAND, August 12.

I thought I bad been transported to another part of the world to day when Mr. Rowland Hill (District Agricultural instructor) motored me to the Point Pearce mission station, a few miles north of Port Victoria. A settlement of nearly 50 stone huts resembles a township on the cinema. It provides plenty of local color. It is essentially a rendezvous for aborigines, engaged mainly on agricultural and pastoral work.

Although the population comprises 326 men, women, and children, only six are full-blooded natives, and these are males. A few of the older generation speak the language of their tribe. The younger folk are not bi-lingual; English suffices for them.

These natives are a happy, care-free crowd, and are well treated. They have free housing accommodation, wood and water and a morning issue of milk; free medical, dental, and ocular treatment: in fact, almost free everything.

Contrary to popular belief, this race is not dying out. In the last 10 years the population at Point Pearce has been doubled. Hence I was not sur prised to learn Irom the manager (Mr. A. H. Bray) that 'we are a bit over crowded at present.' But additional cottages are being built each year. There is a Hospital for maternity cases at the settlement, and Mrs. Bray is a qualified nursing sister with war experience.

Great Meat Eaters

These colored folk are great meat eaters; they consume 1,000 sheep a year, and buy the main article of diet or a flat rate of 6d. lb. Sometimes they have beef and pork for a change on the menu. And some are heavy smokers; they would sooner have a pipe than a feed, if it came to a matter of choice.

See them at a singsong, concert, or dance, and they are the happiest people in the land. Some are really clever musicians. When it comes to a political meeting, old Mark Wilson can preside over the proceedings as well as any white man might.

Some shine out as mechanics; some are good masons, and others good carpenters. In good times their services were freely sought; for shearing and building, and the best operatives were always on outside jobs. During the depression naturally the white man has supplanted them. Mr. Bray paid a tribute to the Koonibba mission, whence came, he told me, his best blacksmith and builder. 'The natives get a very good training there,' he said.

These Point Pearce natives are good sports, and are very keen on football, cricket, and tennis. The football team hope to win the shield in the Yorke Valley Association this season. They are head of the list, and have to play only two more matches before the finals are contested.

The Women And Children

What of the women and children? There is not much diversion for the former, but a scheme to teach them weaving is being discussed. The widow of a naval officer, now in West Australia, has offered to come over and give six months' gratuitous instruction in the ancient art. This should prove a stimulating mental uplift.

The children provide an interesting study in types: shy youngsters with soft, elusive eyes, who shrink from a visitor's searching gaze; clean, nicely groomed infants with almost lovable expressions. It is not their fault that their colors range from ripe olive to almost white.

The head teacher, Mr. B. J. Grewar, and his daughter, Bernice, are doing good service in the bright little school, at which an average attendance of between 70 and 80 is taxing accommodation to the utmost. I asked Mr. Grewar about their attitude towards their work, and he replied. 'When it comes to actual reasoning they slip a bit, and require a lot of help, but on ordinary mechanical learning they do very well. I find them very honest in their endeavor and habits, and every child has a savings bank passbook, with balances ranging from twopence to nearly £3.'

Miss Grewar teaches the girls domestic arts, and, wearing white caps and pinafores, they looked radiantly happy today trying their hands at cookery.

Sheep And Farming

Point Pearce mission station embraces 20000 acres, including 7,000 of Wardang Island, three miles from the mainland. The Broken Hill Proprie tary Company controls flux deposits on the north end of the latter; the remainder is an aborigines reserve.

No underground water supplies have been found there, but catchment provides for 2,000 mission sheep. This island is considered healthy country for sheep, and ideal for lambing ewes, as it is free from foxes and gives reasonable shelter. An attempt is being made to establish a good line of Merino sheep, which have proved more profitable than the varied crossbred flock now run there. 'Natives are exceptionally good shearers.' Mr. Bray told me.

On the mainland about 3,000 acres are cropped annually, and with the present plant available the natives farm as much of it as is possible. Portion is worked by white share farmers. According to the manager the natives make good farmers under supervision.

The absence of a big flock of fowls surprised me. Poultry as a sideline would pay handsomely with plentiful labor available. Some of the natives own an odd hen or two, and yet dozens of eggs from outside suppliers are sold over the counter at the mission store. Why not a local product from White Leghorns or Black Orpingtons, whichever the settlement prefers?

COOKING CLASSES form an important part of the training of young aboriginal girls in South Australia. Picture shows a class at the State mission station. Point Pearce. photo


Drinking And Gambling Among Natives OFFICIALS' DIFFICULTIES

Unsatisfactory conditions at the Point Pearce Aboriginal Reserve are described by the Commissioner of Public Works (Mr. Mclnnes) to the indifference, inertia, and general habits of the natives.

A letter from a resident aboriginal stated that drink, gambling, and the "filthiest of language conceivable" could be seen end heard in the main street every day. The men in charge knew all about these things, it was alleged, but did not lift a finger to stop them.

The Minister referred the letter to the Public Service Commissioner (Mr. L. c. Hunkin), who has carried out a progressive investigation of the conduct and management of the station, to which he had paid frequent visits, for the past two years. In his report to the Minister, Mr. Hunkin said that the reflections on the officers were wicked and unjustified. The people of the community were treated with great consideration, and their physical and moral welfare was the constant care of the department, assisted by a number of public-spirited people and ministers of religion.

Discipline Resented

"Unfortunately the results obtained do not reflect the great efforts made to improve the lot of these unfortunate people," said the Minister, "and it is a matter of grave concern that the demoralising' personal instincts and habits are so difficult to moderate and eradicate. Every step taken to enforce disciplinary measures for the protection of the health and welfare of the community is resisted and resented, and in very few instances can the Individual be persuaded or coerced Into accepting a code of conduct designed to protect and benefit his community.

Mr. Mclnnes said that the officers of the department living on the station were most carefully chosen for their tasks, in which they had all given evidence of competence. They were, in addition, men of unblemished character and reputation, interested in their work, and tolerant towards the aborigines. They applied themselves to the work assiduously, under the most disappointing and discouraging conditions.

Hard To Stamp Oat

"It Is true-that drink and gambling are Indulged in," said the Minister, "but these offences are committed surreptitiously, and they are hard to stamp out. Offenders are dealt with by the police when discovered. The police officers at Maitland and Port Victoria keep a very close eye on the natives, and pay frequent visits to the station. In addition, a special constable is stationed on the reserve. The natives are not confined to the station, and drink is apparently obtained In neighboring towns."

Idleness On Rations

The fact that a number of the natives, owing to the increased numbers and the limited employment which could be provided on the station, were living in comparative idleness and drawing rations conduced to mischievous conduct and made supervision and control more than ordinarily difficult, said Mr. Mclnnes.


Thu 14 Dec 1933, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) Trove

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. In part it is a Utopia, for its people pay no rates or taxes, live in rent free houses, and pursue a life which seems singularly care-free in these days of stress; in part it is a village of comedy for every day and hour one may see and hear strange and humorous incidents, and in part, it offers first-hand illustration of the problems facing governments in habituating the wreckage of once vagrant tribes and their progeny to the settled life of civilisation, and moulding them so that they may play a useful part in a scheme of economy dominated by the conquering race.

The difficult of the problem is accentuated by the heterogeneous nature of the community. Of the present population of Point Pearce, 354 — the figure is variable because of arrivals and departures — only five are full-blooded aborigines, and they are all men. The remainder consists of half-castes, quadroons, octoroone, some with so slight an infusion of native blood as to be almost indistinguishable from white, and some with a blending of aboriginal, white, and Mongolian strains. The number of this remainder is increasing at a remarkable rate, as proved by the presence of 175 boys and girls under the age of 16, and of more than 90 in the station school under 14. Marriages are frequent, and families are larger than in the average country township, some running as high as eight or nine, while the average is about five.

Surprising Township

The station township, which lies about 12 miles from Maitland and seven miles from Port Victoria, surprises visitors whose knowledge of native habitations has been restricted to tumble-down wurleys, or kerosene tin and bag huts. Driving through a fringe of scrub, one comes upon a township which bears an intangible, but nevertheless, very real, resemblance to a cinema 'location.' Arranged with geometrical precision in four streets are about 50 cottages, all solidly built of stone, and roofed with galvanized iron. Many of them are of four rooms, several are of five, while in recent months a start has been made one a new row of two-roomed cottages for newly married couples. The new quarter has been christened 'Colonel Light Gardens.'' A reserve planted with gum trees runs down the centre of the village.

Four or five of the houses have wireless sets, and one or two of the residents own motor cars. Several of the cottages show pride of ownership on the part of the householders, and, in isolated cases, there has been an attempt at gardening, but the absence of a continuous and ample supply of water has been an obstacle. In most cases, however, nothing but bare ground surrounds the homes. Nearly all of them have at least one or two rooms with board flooring and ceiling or fluted iron, and those improvements are being extended as funds permit. In addition to having the homes rent free, the inmates have glass and similar breakages repaired without cost. In view of the constantly mounting number of marriages, the township is steadily increasing in size, and before the end of next June two more houses will have been completed labor for their erection will be supplied by the station, for it has masons, carpenters, painters, blacksmiths, and other tradesmen, who are paid for their work, even when they are employed on their own homes. Among the men at Point Pearce are several well-trained artisans from the Koonibba mission station on Eyre Peninsula.

Almost Self-Contained

The community is almost self contained, for in addition to the products of the farm, its people can make purchases from the station store, which carries a stock more comprehensive than the average country township store. Purchases are booked against tbe buyer, and reckonings made by deducting debits from the weekly pay of those employed on the property. Daily, two pints of milk from the station dairy are delivered to every house free of charge. The property has its own slaughter-house, and, as natives are essentially meat-eaters, the consumption is abnormal. Every year between 700 and 1.000 sheep, a number of pigs, and an occasional bullock, are killed, and the meat sold at a constant price of 6d. a pound.

There is a hall where 'talkies' are shown once a week, and which also serves as a church, dance palais, and general social centre. Medical attention and medicines are free. The ordinary health of the community is cared for by Mrs. Bray, wife of the superintendent, Mr. A. H. Bray. A fullytrained nursing sister, with war-time experience in some of Great Britain's best-known hospitals, she attends to patients with minor ailments, dispenses for two hours every morning, and attends midwifery cases in the mother's own home. A cottage hospital was provided for that purpose, but it was found that the women preferred to remain at home. Dr. C. G. Wells, of Maitland, visits Point Pearce to examine patients with serious ailments.

The responsibilities of Mr. Bray are legion. To take one of them, to mediate in disputes and troubles which inevitably arise in a community living at close contact calls for firmness, tact, unfailing good temper, and a knowledge of a nature which is often subject to strange caprices. With these, and other necessary qualities. Mr. Bray, who also had war service, is endowed in a large measure. In the management of the station he is assisted by a farm overseer, stockman, storekeeper, and bookkeeper.

Big Property

The station covers 20,000 acres. Far a long distance it runs to the sea coast along Spencer Gulf, and 7.000 acres of it lies on Wardang Island, which is out off from the mainland by a narrow channel. Said to possess a strange influence over the needle of compasses because of its metallic deposits. Wardang Island is almost a graveyard of ships, for seven have perished on its rocks and reefs. The last was a French barque whose hull may still be seen. Wardang and its surrounding islets, are a favorite fishing place and several fishermen from Moonta have established a colony of camps nearby. On the island is a flux deposit worked by the Broken Hill Pro prietary Company.

Although some of the mission land is shallow soil, most of it is well adapted for mixed farming. It seems particularly suited for sheep, and at present carries between 4.000 and 5.000. During the early summer many of them are depastured on Wardang Island. However, no permanent water has been found there, and although artificial catchments provide for several months, many of the sheep have to be transferred to the mainland in November if the season be dry. They are lightered across in the station's barge, towed by a launch.

The property also carries about 75 cattle and as many pigs. About 3.000 acres were cropped this season by white and native share farmers, and although absence or rain during the filling-out period, and a number of days with hot drying wind shrivelled some of the grain, a paddock of 800 acres sown to wheat by four native share farmers promises well.

Water is reticulated to every house at the station. The supply is a soakage well close to the seashore and about a mile from Point Pearce whence it is pumped by a series of windmills to pressure tanks near the superintendents house. Although the supplv is ample for the needs of the community, the absence of wind for a few successive days leaves it without water.

Full School

One of the most interesting spots at the mission is the school, where Mr. B. J. Grewar and Miss B. Grewar teach 92 children. Brown, olive, and almost white, they are a fascinating group, particularly those in the lower grades. Many have the attractive, almost elfin-like, expression typical of many full-blooded native children. However, the inborn characteristics of their ancestors make it difficult for many to concentrate on books and studies, and it is unfortunate that, when that disability is being overcome, they leave immediately they attain the age of 14. Some of the boys show a flair for drawing, and others have done well in woodwork, and in mechanical reproduction. For the girls there is a domestic arts centre, where they are taught the elements of cooking, needlework, and homecrafts. The fife band played commendably for visitors, and the junior grades recited 'Ba. Ba, Black Sneep' with gusto.

The church services at the mission give another insight into the life of the people. On Sunday there is an Anglican service in the morning, an interdenominational Sunday school in the afternoon, and a Methodist service at night, and on Wednesday night there is another Anglican service. Singing is a feature of the week-night gathering and the congregation joins in with enthusiasm seldom manifested outside districts where there is a big proportion of Cornishmen.

Native's Story

There are many interesting characters at point Pearce. Many of the older men speak excellent English, and one talked easily of the life of Abraham Lincoln, and the struggle of Garibaldi and his heroic band. Old Mark Wilson is well versed in the public topics of the day, and talks on political subjects as fluently as many speakers at the Botanic Park.

Pat, one of the full-bloods, dresses like a white man, but some of the beliefs of his forefathers cling. His old home is at Point McLeay, but he has been at Point Pearce for 11 years, and likes it so well that he will never leave, he says. He told a strange story of his marriage near Wellington, to a wife whom he had never seen until the beginning of the ceremony. He had no thought of marriage until his brother suggested to him that it was time he settled down. Pat replied that he did not know of any young woman whom he wished to have as a wife, but his brother told him that there was one 'over there' No choice was left to Pat. However, the union entered into so strangely proved happy. His wife and children dead. Pat lives much in the past, and appreciates a talk about it.

The retention of old superstitions was apparent when conversation was turned to bone pointing and the working of spells.

''You don't believe in pointing the bone, and that sort of thing, do you?' Mr. Bray asked.

'I don't know so much about that.' Pat replied with a chuckle. Then he told a story of how his wife and himself, and two other natives and their wives had been visited by a spirit while in camp. An enemy with evil designs crept to windward with a bunch of emu feathers which had been placed near a corpse. Immediately the influence reached them they were thrown into confusion. When they recovered, one of the women had disappeared and whereas Pat had been lying with his feet toward the fire, his head was now in that position.

Pat, who has wandered about the State shearing, had an alarming adventure on a far northern station, and for a time, was in terror of his life from those who, from the color of their skin, should have been his brothers. At one station part of the shearing was done by a party of outback natives only partially civilised. Their habits alarmed Pat. 'Yes,' he said. repeating himself lest the listener should think his story incredible, 'they come into the shed with only their shirts on and when they finish work, they take their shirt off and roll them up.' Pat confessed that he was afraid to go near the native camp at night.

Other strange stories go round among the full-blooded natives at Point Pearce — strange tall men seen about the township, but always in the dusk ; or at night, never during the daylight.


Tue 12 Dec 1933, News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954) Trove

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."....


Complaint That Mission Station Is 'Dead End' OUTLET SOUGHT

Some aspects of the aboriginal mission station at Point Pearce were described in 'The Advertiser' yesterday. Problems associated with the mounting half-caste population there, and the necessity for providing an outlet for it are dealt with below.

Those cognisant, of the position in South Australia are seized of the necessity for active measures to deal with the half-caste problem, and the formation of the Australian Aborigines' Union at Point Pearce recently has introduced a new factor, for hitherto those most directly concerned have not seen articulate. They propose that henceforth they shall have a share in deciding their destiny, and two of the objects of the association are to organise so that they may have a voice in the all-important question of the belter treatment of aborigines,'' and to induce Parliament to formulate a scheme whereby ''civilised and educated natives could become a valuable asset to the land that rightfully belongs to them.''

Growing Population

With a population of about 350, which includes; five full-blooded natives, and of which approximately half are children under the age of 16, the capacity of Point Pearce is taxed, and as the population increases more rapidly than that of a white community— it has doubled in the last 10 years — the necessity for finding an outlet for its people is apparent. That aspect was emphasised by Messrs. R. M. Wanganeen, president, and W. Taylor, secretary of the union, and other officials. Under present conditions, they said, they and their children had no hope for the future, for while they remained at the mission they were at a dead-end. They desired something more than that should be their be all and end all. '' At present we are a drag on the taxpayers.'' they said. 'We want a chance to earn our independence, so that we will be free of Government support.'

Past efforts to obtain what they consider just recognition of their claims having been unsuccessful, they hope that throush their association they will be able to speak with a united and therefore stronger voice. Mr. Taylor said that the union had approached the Aborigines Protection League, the Aborigines' Friends Society, and other organiratians interested in the welfare of natives, and the secretary of the Protection League (Mr. E. A. Genders) had asked the union to appoint delegates to meet his association to discuss plans. It was hoped that with the assistance of such bodies requests to Parliament would command greater attention than had those made by individuals. Efforts would be made to induce the Minister in charge of the department (Mr. Hudd) to visit Point Pearce early nest year.

Technical Instruction

Better education for their children, and the appointment of a native protector of aborigines, who would have the point of view of his people, are other objects for which the association will strive. Its spokesmen suggested that the Government should provide a hostel and technical school in Adelaide, where youths might be taught trades. As proof of their aptitude for such pursuits, they pointed out that there were first-class tradesmen at the mission, and that the Koonibba station on Eyre Peninsula had trained excellent artisans. When it was pointed out that some who had employed natives and half-castes found that, though some were good workmen, they soon tired and lest interest in their job, they replied that there might be some failures, but they thought that they would be counterbalanced by the successes.

Another suggestion was that some of the men from the station should be placed on the land. Officials of the union said that under an Act of 1911 half-castes and aborigines had been promised a grant of 160 acres of land, and they urged that the Government should honor its obligations, either by purchasing properties, or placing them on the station land. At present share farming on the mission property was largely carried out by whites in the district, while the station population who might be doing that work were maintained in idleness.

Seasonal Work

That aspect of the situation, in the opinion of many who have visited the station, needs revision. Under present arrangements, the Government maintains unemployed men and their families on the mission. Periodically, many of the men leave the station temporarily for seasonal employment. Some who ere good shearers, obtain work from Peninsula farmers during the season, while others are employed for several months every wheat export season leading grain into ketches at Balgowan, an outport about seven miles from Point Pearce.

Scores of others, tradesmen, and farm laborers, are employed at the mission. Last week, said the superintendent (Mr. A. H. Bray) 65 men were on the pay sheet, working part time, their average earnings being £1 14/6 a week. The average disbursement in wages was £120 weekly. In addition, others earn a little trapping rabbits, for which they are paid a bonus of a penny a scalp.

In ordinary seasons — and Yorke Peninsula has few really bad ones— the share farming proposition is an excellent one for men at the station. Those who undertake it are paid at 8/ a day while working on their farm, and receive a tenth of the proceeds of the crop. The mission supplies super seed, and plant. At present 11 men are working under those conditions in three groups, Mr. Bray having found that a grouping system gives the most satisfactory results. Four are interested in an 800-acre paddock of wheat which should yield well, and return them a handsome bonus. A rotation of wheat and barley is practised, and the land at present in fallow gives evidence of careful working. The extension of the system is urged as an excellent means of absorbing some of the men at the mission, spokesmen of the union pointing out that continued idleness cannot but have an ill effect upon them. A difficulty is that more farm plant would be required, but it is contended that the expenditure would be amply warranted.

Youth Problem

The future of the youths is another of the problems of Point Pearce. Despite the advice of white officials, boys leave the mission school immediately they attain the, age of 14, and just as they begin to profit from the training, and for two vital formative years, drift about the mission idle. One or two of the more independent trap rabbits, and so earn a few shillings, but others do practically nothing until they qualify for the receipt of rations on reaching 16. Even then it is rare for them to obtain work, and officials of the union said that many passed into their twenties before obtaining anything like regular employment.

'All that we ask is British justice.' said Mr. Waganeen. 'We want the Government to fulfil the promises they made when the Commonwealth and the States were proclaimed. We complain that land which was set aside for aboriginal reserves is being used for other purposes. Rightly it should be ours through our forefathers, for it was theirs before the arrival of the white men. If good land was provided for us we feel that a big percentage would work out their own salvation and become independent.'