... Point Pearce and The Narungga People ...

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Books about Point Pearce and the Narungga People

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.

Those Narungga who had resisted living on the Mission were reluctant to pass on their cultural knowledge and language to Mission residents. In 1894 the Mission was thrown into chaos when the former residents of the closed Poonindie Mission were shifted to Point Pearce. This introduction of people from a variety of Aboriginal language groups, some who had been living long under colonial influences, compounded the loss of the Narungga's own cultural identity.

By the end of the 1910s many of the Mission residents had grown up on the Mission and considered it their home. But there was frustration that despite all of their toil, they were not able to claim any of the land for their own, and work for themselves.

In 1915, the Mission was taken over by the State Government and became known as the Point Pearce Aboriginal Station. Residents continued to fight for their rights to benefit from their labours, but only after World War II were Aboriginal farmers able to reap any such reward - even then only earning one in ten bags produced by the white farmers they worked along side of.

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s residents were taking positions as domestics, or farmhands or joining the armed services and then in the 1950s many gained exemptions under the Aborigines Protection Act and left Point Pearce to try and make better lives for themselves under less strict controls.

The Aboriginal people of Point Pearce were finally given control of the land in 1972, when 5,777 hectares was transferred to the ownership of the Point Pearce Community Council under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act.

Blacks on the way to Adelaide in custody Yorkes Peninsula June 22 1850 / watercolour by Edward Snell

CALL NUMBER: SV / 88. IE NUMBER: IE3155411. FILE NUMBER: FL3155422. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales


South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1847 - 1852), Thursday 27 June 1850, page 3

Monday, June 10, 1850. Keskahrowilla, a native, was charged with feloniously assaulting, with intent to murder, William Bagnell, on Yorke's Peninsula.

South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1847 - 1852), Thursday 27 June 1850, page 3

Tuesday, June 25. Padlarra, an aboriginal native of Yorke's Peninsula, was charged with stealing a sheep from Mr Rogers's station, on the 10th instant

South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1847 - 1852), Thursday 27 June 1850, page 2

June 23—The cutter Frolic, 15 tons, Fisher, master, from Yorke's Peninsula. Passengers—Mr Bagnell, eight shepherds, three policemen, two blackfellows, charged with spearing Mr Bagnell and stealing sheep, and one black witness.

Journals and Publications


Yorke Peninsula, a residents view.

by A. C. Parsons


A case study at Point Pearce.

by Susanne Montana Jones


Protector of Aborigines

by C. A. Wiebusch


Protector of Aborigines Letter Book

by Joe Lane


The Narungga and Europeans

by Skye Krichauff


Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission

by Edna Love

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.


'Surveyors' Encampment Yorkes (sic) Peninsula', July 12 1850. Edward Snell B55782

State library of South Australia

District Council of Yorke Peninsula - History of Point Pearce

The aborigine tribe who inhabited Yorke Peninsula prior to the arrival of white people were called the Narrunga tribe. They amounted to about 500 in number*. * "The Advertiser", 6th July 1982

After the discovery of copper in 1861 the mining towns of Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina developed. The further settlement of the Peninsula restricted the nomadic life of the aborigine resulting in hardship and privation for them*. *Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 55

In 1867 a committee was formed to assist the natives and two Moravian missionaries, named Kuhn and Walder were appointed to assist them.

Land was set aside for them and under the direction of Mr. Kuhn stone was quarried and houses were built. The natives were further employed on various sheep stations as rouseabouts and shearers. At various ports they were given employment as wheat lumpers, or labourers at Wardang Island in the flux quarries. Wardang Island was leased and profits returned were used to help finance the mission*. Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 60

In 1956 an Act of Parliament abolished all aboriginal reserves and the land and settlement now belong to the Aboriginal Lands Trust under the guidance of a Council of nine people*. Governor Fergusson's Legacy. Page 65


Point Pearce Mission Station - State Library of South Australia - B 9804

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


A meeting of the South Australian Branch of this Society waa held at the rooms, Waymouth-street, on Friday night, July 29. Sir Samuel Davenport presided.

Mr. T. M. Sutton, Superintendent of Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission Station, read the following paper on the Adjahdurah tribe of aborigines on Yorke's Peninsula and some of their early customs and traditions : —

'It is very difficult to get reliable information as to the past history of the aborigines. The tendency is to mix it up with the semi-civilized life they have led since the Europeans have been here. Many even of the oldest have forgotten all about it. My plan has been to get the first information from two old men or women, then try two more, get their views on the same subject, and submit it all to the old people together and a couple of young men. Some of the latter do not like all the past customs to be known.

The name of the tribe on Yorke'a Peninsula is Adjahdurah, or my people. Adjah means my or mine, as adjah-coojmunya my son, adjah - lanna my daughter. One individual of the tribe would be called Durah. The general name of a native of any tribe is Nepoh.

The tribe was also divided into four local divisions, viz.— Koonarrah north), Winderah (east), Dilpah (south), Warree (west). Each local division had its own totems, viz. — Ghardie (emu), durantoo (red karigaroo), coynbinya (butter - fish), coolallah (salmon). I only give these totems as a sample ; there were numbers of others. Men and women of the same totems were allowed to marry. I have never heard of any other tribe where this was allowed. I would not accept it at first, until the King told me that he married a ghardie, he being a ghardie himself; his grandfather also married a ghardie. A woman takes her husband's totem at marriage. They were not allowed to marry blood relations under pain of death. First cousins are considered equal to brothers and sisters, foster children were treated as their own.

Betrothal took place in infancy, and the marriage ceremony after circumcision and other rites performed on the male. At this ceremony blood being extracted from the candidate he was obliged to drink some. A humming instrument was used to warn all but the initiated away. No one was allowed to see this instrument under pain of death, unless they were initiated.

Of course this was long ago, the ancient stringency having grown entirely obsolete. The old King made one, and used it in my presence. I am not aware that this privilege has been extended to any other white man in this colony. The Victorian natives have a similar instrument, and the same rules are observed concerning it. I have heard of a gentleman in that colony being allowed to see it, but he had to be initiated first. Without this initiation I have been allowed to see both. There is very little difference in the construction, none at all in the noise they make.

Cannibalism was unknown in this tribe, neither did they extract the kidney fat from their enemies, as was the custom of some of the Australian tribes. Being cut off from other tribes very little was known of war, consequently their weapons were few.

The tribe was ruled over by a King, with head men selected from each of the local divisions alluded to above. The kingship was hereditary. The last King, who died recently, spoke of his grandfather as occupying that position when he was a boy.

The following legend as to the origin of the tribe was told me by one of the natives, who received it from hia father, he being noted for his good memory. The story was also corroborated by the King. The father of the tribe, who was a giant, lived on Wauraltee Island, where he had always resided, and where he was ultimately buried. He had a brother in whom was vested power almost equal to his own. This brother travelled about. Once in his wanderings down the Peninsula he met a man belonging to another race, whether black or white ' deponent sayeth not.' They had a fight. The latter was speared, and his bowels gushed out. His conquerer then cut him into halves, the severance taking place just below the arms, and the upper portion he transformed into a bat (majaja).

The bat he dispatched with a message to the conquered one's people, who were camped on the beach. He returned and desired the conquerer to go to their camp for a oonsultation. This he refused to do, but waited until night, and stole upon them while they slept, setting fire to their camp and burning them all to death. The wind arose and blew their ashes away, which turned into seabirds. These are the present shags, pelicans, gulls, &c. Previous to this the sea water was fresh. The mark of the cut in the bat, they say, can be seen now. The natives will on no consideration kill them. A spider, it is said, made the islands. They seem to have no idea how the mainland came into existence.

They believed in a supreme being and in the souI's existence after death. When any one dies belonging to Koornarrah (north) the soul goes away in that direction, and vice versa. The body used to be kept for several days after death, and the doctor of the tribe would lie beside it and profess to hold communication with the departed soul, from which source he pretented to receive the secrets of his art. Of course this doctor was a great humbug. He would put stones and other things into his mouth, and suck the seat of pain, then eject them, pretending he had extracted them from the patient's body.

The name a person had while living was never mentioned after death, Even amongst the present generation this rule is now observed. A man would never speak to his mother-in-law ; if he wished to give her anything he would look another way, and pass it to her with both hands. Brothers and first cousins would not hold direct conversation with each other. Certain rules were observed in the division of food, which, perhaps, would not be interesting to go into at present.

It is a mistake to suppose that corrobbories were got up merely for dancing and noise. They had a great significance in olden times. In seasons of drought they had rain corrobbories, so when kangaroos and emus were scarce they had kangaroo and emu corrobbories, &c. A man called the ghureldrie (I suppose analogous to the Poet Laureate of England) made and sang the songs. He was a very important personage on these occasions.

Messages were sent from place to place by notches cut in a waddie, rolled in the skin of an animal, I was the bearer of a stick-message once from a native on the station to another on Wauraltee Island. I was told afterwards the purport of this measage. It was not sent in the orthodox way by being wrapped in a skin, so I saw the notches and learned their meaning.

No grasstrees growing on Yorke's Peninsula, it was difficult for the natives in olden times to get fire. The King has told me that he and others would travel to the Murray to get it when they had lost the fire, and were never molested by the natives there.

The natives belonging to this tribe had only words to express numbers up to five, viz., arrizo (one), bulli (two), mungree (three), bulli bulli (four), yarrabali (five). Some of the northern natives have only words to express four. Papee is father ; adgaah is mother ; doomalah, grandfather; coojmunya, son; lanna, daughter; cabbie, water (it is cowie in the north) ; bardqh, meat ; miah, bread — this would signify in olden times food of any sort except meat.' A discussion followed on the subject of the aborigines, and a vote of thanks was accorded Mr. Sutton.


Fri 26 Dec 1930, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove

A Valuable Vocabulary.

The exclusive historical and philological articles which have been a feature of "The Pioneer" for several months past, have opened the way for publication of matter belonging solely to the ethnological side of the history of Yorke Peninsula.

One of the vain regrets of modern scientists is that the much-landed pioneers, with the matchless opporunities afforded by personal contact with the blacks, failed to hand down to posterity anything like a complete record of the Australian aboriginal speech. Many years later, after the flush of opportunity had faded, enthusiasts set about retrieving some of the lost ground.

So far as South Australia is concerned, special credit in this regard is due to Mr. J. Howard Johnson, son of the late Mr. James Angas Johnson who was one of the pastoral pioneers of Yorke Peninsula.

He prepared a vocabulary of the native race which inhabited the southern reaches of the peninsula, and it forms one of the most interesting documents of its kind that exist in South Australia.

The work is divided into 15 headings, and "The Pioneer" proposes to reproduce it by instalments. The author is a great grandson of George Fife Angas, one of the fathers and founders of South Australia.

ANATOMICAL ............

HEAD—Gocka, Guck-er or Cook-a

HAIR—Gugga-willyer, Gucker-willyer or Gock-earner.

DARK HAIRED—Bull-yully.

FAIR HAIRED—Thil-lully or Dillarly.

BALD—Birry-ger. GREY—Bull-ka.

HAIR (on animals)—Boot-lee.

VERY HAIRY—Bood-a-Jee.


MOUSTACHE or WHISKERS— Yunk-kar-ree or Yurn-ker.

EARS—Tul-tee or Dol-da.


NOSE—Mood-la or Mul-da.

MOUTH—Thar-burra (no name for chin or jaw, all included in mouth).


NECK or THROAT—Wurrl-too.



HAND—Murra (includes wrist and fingers).


THIGH—Cun-tee or Gun-ty.





SKIN—Yal-koo or Yal-goo.

CALF (of leg)—Bood-Ia.



TOE NAILS—Didna-birry.


LEG—Yalgoo or Yal-k'oo.









ARM PIT—Thig-gi-burra.



BANDY—Yal-goo Yoogooly (crooked legs).


HUMP BACKED—Toora boon bailee (lump on shoulders).

FLAT FOREHEAD — Bucka-binyinny.

FLAT FACE—Moolka binyinny.

BIG SHORT LEG—Yalgoo-buttoodowera.

FISH ........................





OCTOPUS — Murra-widgee (many hands, murra a hand).


SCHNAPPER—Cud-berry or Codberry.


WHITING—Yurrd-lee or Yud-lee.

FLOUNDER — Tharbara - yoogooly (crooked mouth).

MUTTON FISH—Birra (the moon) or birroo.

BUTTER FISH—Gooya or Gyneburra.


TOAD FISH—Dunny-mood-loo.


ANY FISH—Goo-ya or Coo-ya.

CRAY FISH—Coo-pa (ugly looking).

SHELLS—Birra (birrer) the moon.


SEA WEED—Moo-yer.


BLUE HEAD—Gutter-be-berty.



STINGRAY, OLD MAN—Mundybulter.

CARPET SHARK—Goorat-too.

CAT FISH—Ow-er-gee.

FAUNA ..............


OLD MAN ROO—Nan-toe.

OLD MAN DOE—Wo-wee or Warwa.

FLYING DOE—Guddi-ga.


JOEY 'ROO—Goo-ducka or Goodaga.

STARVED JOEY 'ROO — Moolagoodaga.


DOE WALLABY—Cul-yer-roo.

JOEY WALLABY—Wug-ug-coo or Wagga-coo.

RABBIT — Thurrul-ta-bitty (long ears).






ANY DOG—Cud-lee.

MOUSE — Untoo - buttoo - vith - e -catcha (a short-armed chap digging quickly).




WHALE ~Wol-burro.



As the kangaroo was the largest animal known to the natives, they called any large animal introduced by the whites NANTOE.

REPTILES (SNAKES) ............

BLACK SNAKE — Buck-er (any black snake).



BROWN SNAKE—Wurrn-koo or Wong-koo.

WHIP SNAKE—Wid-burra.

DEATH ADDER—Boon-dun-ya.

ANY SNAKE—But-cher.

MALLEE SNAKE—We-burra. (Cannot identify this.)

LIZARDS, Etc ..........

BOBTAILED . LIZARD—Moo-rower-tee.


FIRE LIZARD (Gecko)—Wit-ta (small variety).

FIRE LIZARD (large variety)— Moonk-ker.

LITTLE THIN LIZARD—Mug-agilla-gilla.


IGUANA—Bunna, Warry-but-cher or Warry-wit-cha.




FLORA ....................



TI-TREE (Purple flower)—Mul-deera or Mul-der-ra.

TI-TREE Swamp—Ki-er-rah.



MALLEE SCRUB—Whid-dar-rah.

CHERRY BUSH—Whid-dit-too.

CHERRY TREE—Murra-wulpa.

BOX BUSH—YocJer-ra.

BLUE BUSH—Whud-bulla.

BUSHES Boon-too (any THATCH GRASS grass or rush

BROAD LEAF growing in RUSH swamps).

WHITE FLOWER BUSH (on beach)—Min-ya or Meen-ya.





MYALL (Blackwood)—Burr-ra.

CURRANT BUSH— Buggy-jucker.

CRAN BERRY—Ul-lul-a-doo.

PIG-FAC E—Gurrd-guller.



SEA WEED—Moo-yer.

BARK—Gon-nick-ker or Can-nick-ker.

GRASS—Coo-loo (Barley grass).


BIRDS ....................

EAGLEHAWK—Wil-too or Wurrltoo.

SPARROW HAWK—Gurr-gunya.




LARK—Wul-durra. BELL-BIRD—Bug-ug-coo.



MAGPIE—Mooor-roo. or Mur-roo.


WAG TAIL—Did-e-dilya.

BUTCHER BIRD—Goo-laddie.

SCOTCH - HOPPER — Joon -nunchoo (twelve apostles).




PHEASANT—Bood nee.


CURLEW—Weer-doo or Wir-roo.

MOUNTAIN DUCK—Goon-de-mar,


ANY DUCK—Nurry (except Mounlain Duck).



GOOSE—Mte-e-biirroo (Bread, miee; meat, burroo, i.e., anything edible).


SWAMP BIRD—Bung-ar-roo.


STARLING (Wood Swallow)— Gurrgoo-larrt-too.


FOWL (Domestic)—Yurda-nun-yerries (scratching about the dirt).


EGGS—Mook-kcr or Nurr-roo.


BLACK GULL (molly hawk)—Yowwoo.

SILVER GULL—Biroo or Bith-roo.

SHAG—Mool-a-win. PENGUIN—Yin-da-la.


SAND PIPER—Whit-tee.

PELICAN — Widaly or Wult-choo (long neck).

INSECTS, Etc ...............


MARCH FLY—Doom-bulla.

LITTLE SAND FLY—Mulla-wurry.

BLOW FLY—Boo-wa.




SCORPION—Gunnee-wurta or Gunner-beirty.

RED ANT—Whip-pa.


BULL ANT—Wud-ger-ra.

ANY INSECT—Butcher. (Seems common term for vermin; see "Any Snake.")

WATTLEGRUB Birr-tee ("Pelitee" at Milang: "Witchitee" in North).



MYTHOLOGY, Etc ........

MUD-JET-CHOO—This was the deity who was supposed to take the form of a bat, and the native name of the bat is still Mud-jetchoo.

ARNNER—A giant supposed by the natives to be buried at Royston Head, near Cape Spencer. He was a tremendously big man, and was continually quarrelling with another giant, Budderer. It ended by Arnner throwing a waddy from Point Turton, which killed Budderer, who was then near Minlaton.

BUDDERER—One of two giants, killed by a waddy thrown by Arnner who was at Point Turton, while Budderer was at Minlaton. Budderer is supposed to be buried at Minlaton.

NOOG-GUNNER was a ghost. The natives had many kinds of ghosts, devils, phantoms, etc., hut the worst kind was Noog-gunner, who was always supposed to be doing harm. The worst kind of "noog-gunner" was a bald-headed one (Birry-ger Noog-gunner), and he was greatly feared for his evil and malignant deeds.

COOP-A—An ordinary ghost. Coop-a is the name for a cray fish, because of its ugly appearance.

WUN-YERRA—The devil, nearly as much feared as Noog-gunner. To Follow — Domestic, General, Geographical, Couversatioual, Astronomical,


Fri 9 Jan 1931, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove

A Valuable Vocabulary Second Instalment.








RAIN— Munya.



MODERATE SEA—Mud-ger-ra.

ROUGH SEA—Yurrd-loo (big rough swell).

DEEP WATER—Will-la (long way down)


WATER—Cow-wee or Cabby.


WIND—Bin-tee or binty.

STONE (any kind)—Bun-ta





HOT—Wurl-toe or Wol-toe.





NIGHT—Will-cha or Wilcha-ioo.



PLAIN—Wum-mera (cf. Wimmera).

BLOW HOLE — Wul-burra-wurdly (whale's nest)

SCRUB (Mallee)—Whid-der-rah.

A CAPE OR HILL—Para-Wurlie


WEST WIND—Wind-darra.


DAY TIME—Gooraloo.

GENERAL ....................

MALLEE SCRUB—Whid-dar-rah.



A PLAIN—Wum-mera.



BLACK OR DARK—Bull-yooly.


FAIR—Dill-ar-ly or Thil-luliy.



GOOD-LOOKING — Goo-rannermoolkee (good looking person or face).

OLD, DRIED UP—Mootcher.




ANY SKIN—Bul-ter (a covering).



COAT OR SHIRT—Bul-ta (a skin).

TROUSERS—Cundy-bulta or Cundabulta (leg skin).

BOOTS—Didna-bulta (footskin).

HAT—Gurr-gun-noo or Gucka-wurley (head cover).






LITTLE FELLOW—Gung-un-yer.

MALE (boy)—Yurd-!ee.

FEMALE (girl)—Arn-kee.


TWO—Bull-i. THREE—Mung-ga-wee.

A CAMP (Wurley)— Bil-duckoo or Wurley.


A FORKED STICK—Bid-jiller (e.g., rafter of hut).

FIRE—Currd-la or Gud-dla.

ANY LIGHT—Currd-la or Gud-dla.

SMOKE—Bee-yoo (tobacco or wood smoke)





OPOSSUM RUG—BiUta-bulter.

KANGAROO—Gudaga-hulter (rug of joey skins).

THE GROUND—Yurr-tur.

A PIPE—Bee-yoo.






BREAD—Mi-e or Mi-yee.



A NAME—Mit-chee.


A MATE—Ud-flig-ga.

A MASTER—Nin-guUy.


MY OR MINE—Nally-go.

WHITE MAN—Bin-dra or Goo-dinyoo.

WHITE WOMAN—Bin-drunkie.

BLACK MAN—Nip-poo.

BLACK WOMAN—Nip-wunkie.

OUR MAN—Allogo-bindra.

YOUR WOMAN—Ninny-unkie.

OLD WOMAN—Mood-lunkie.


WOMAN WITH CHILD IN ARMS —Oong-unya Marn-dickoo


PREMATURE CHILD—Brar-brerry or Brar brary.


DOMESTIC cont .....


A DEAD PERSON—Barl-loonie.

YOUNG MAN—Mun-too.

OLD PERSON — Mootcher (old; dried up).

HEAD ACHE—Cocker-wuthrickin or Gocker-nargolidge (head spinning round).


GERMAN — Mul-dulya






LONG WADDY— Nulla-whirry.

WADDY—Whirry (cf. mallee whirrah).





STONE— Bunt-ta.

DEVIL—Gco-bin-ya (swearing)

BIG DEVIL—Wun-yerra (the devil)



GHOST—Coop-a (cray fish).

ANGRY OR CROSS — Mung-goo (bad tempered)

SAVAGE TALK—Toodla-wobrikin.

HUMBUG — Yud-Iee (exaggeration, tommyrot).





HORSE: SHOE—Nanto-muckee.


OLD. DRIED UP—Moot-cher.





TOY THROWING STICK—Yuck-urra BIG—Murrn-na.

FLY WHISK—Gurry-woo-poo.


OUT OF SORTS—Moola-hucky.

NOSE FROZEN WITH COLD—Moola-bucker-nubber-nigger.


SPOOR OR MARK—Bool-too. or Bid-jer-la.

LEGS TIRED—Yalgoo-udjini-gy.


TOOTHACHE — Deeya - doodala (tooth growl or in bad temper)



BUSH FIRE—Goon-yer-a-barnin.



Fri 16 Jan 1931, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove

A Valuable Vocabulary Final Instalment.

A group of former residents of Southern Yorke Peninsula.

The exclusive historical and philological articles which have been a feature of "The Pioneer" for several months past, have opened the way for publication of matter belonging' solely to the ethnological "Side of the history of Yorke Peninsula.

One of the vain regrets of modern scientists is that the much-lauded pioneers, with the matchless opportanities afforded by personal contact with the blacks, failed to hand down to posterity anything like a complete record of the Australian aboriginal speech. Many years later, after the flush of opportunity had faded, enthusiasts set about retrieving some of the lost ground.

So far as South Australia is concerned, special credit in this regard due to Mr. J. Howard Johnson, son of the late Mr. James Angas Johnson, who was one of the pastoral pioneers of Yorke Peninsula.

He prepared a vocabulary ot the native race which inhabited the southern reaches of the peninsula, and it forms one of the most interesting documents of its kind that exist in South Australia.



MORE-A-COWIE (Orrie Cowie)— Wattle Springs (Morea, small needled wattle).

MINLACOWIE—Fresh water well.

BUBBLE-DOWIE (Bubla dowie)— Brackish water well.

COOL-GAR-RY (Kuliwnrtie) — Waterhole where emus come to drink.

CURRAMULKA—Stone water hole where emus come to drink : (Gorry, emu; Moolka, stone water hole).

PARA WURLIE—A big, high bluff (native name for West Cape).

ROYSTON HEAD—Narm-noo Arrn-er (a giant).

LAKE SUNDAY—Tally-wonkko.

PEZEY HILL—Bin-gultie.


TUCOC K—Mun-gurra.

OLD MAN JOLLEY'S—Wald-owirra.

THE DAIRY—Bull-yer-gurra.

COTTAR'S SWAMP—Win-tan-ya.


ALF. McDONALD'S—Cowie-purdla.

SOUTH HUMMOCKS — Nanto- warn.

HILL AT WHITE HUT—Gulgonuck or Gurrl-gun-yer-nucka. (Called now Cut-cut-cutier or sparrow hawk hill)

PIPE CLAY (Daly Head)—Moodjully.

DUST HOLES—Coon-derowie.

CAPE YORKE—Gud-gerowie.

MARION BAY—Cock-a-dowie.

FIAT FROM BINS, MARION BAY (really the water hole there)— Mud-borowie.

WHITE HUT—Calloway.


EMU WATERHOLE—Yillow-rowie or Eela-rowie.

STONE WATER HOLE—Mulka bulba (near Davey's fence).

CABLE HUT—Nilder-girrie.

FLAT NEAR CAPE SPENCER— Gool-a-wool-gowie.

BEACH (north of Jim Brown's)— Willdy-bulla (i.e.. Pelican Creek).

WAROOKA—Muddy water hole.

YORKETOWN—Gurreena or Gurrina.

EDITHBURGH — Barrarm - marrattee.


BIG SCRUB HUT—Woo-rowie (gum tree water hole).

LITTLE SCRUB HUT—Nul-yow wee (very quiet place).



PONDALOWIE—Stony water hole.


PELICAN CREEK (Jim Brown's)— Wildy-bulla.

WATERHOLE GOING TO JIM BROWN'S — Warrin-ben (now Warrenben).

WATERHOLE NEAR LINE -Ower-jee (a cat fish).

SWIVEL HUT—Yu-nun-too.

SAND HILL WATERHOLE—Whit too (white sand hills),

SANDY PT. Well—Wofk-oo-lee.

STURT BAY— Bun-un-too.






HURRY UP—Butten-er.


MY MATE—Ud-jig-ga.


SIT DOWN—Tha-gunny.

I WILL TELL YOU—Bun-yer-nitch.

OUR MAN—Allogo-bindra.

I AM GOING—Ally-bumma.

I AM COMING—I-bununa.

LOOK OUT MATE, TRERE IS A SNAKE—Buh, ud-jig-ga, bucker

LONG LEGGED—Yalgoo-wigilly.

LONG NOSED—Mulda-wigilly.


BANDY—Yalgoo-yoogooly (crooked ( legs).

YOUR WOMAN—Ninny-unkie.


ANY HOW—Mum-bala.



A PROPER THIEF—Goowa-miUado.

TREMENDOU S—Munna-gin-er.


IMPUDENCE—Dinny Wonganna.


CUSTOMS AND TRIBAL LORE - Last Of The Yorke Peninsula Aborigines

Thu 16 Jul 1936, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) By C. P. MOUNTFORD Trove

There are few aborigines in the southern part of this State who can give reliable information regarding the beliefs of their forefathers to students of native lore. Although a great deal is known of the tribal life of the Central Australian, only fragmentary notes of the customs of the southern groups have been collected. This applies particularly to those who inhabited Yorke Peninsula. It is the same old story—interest in things near at hand was not aroused until it was too late, while those in the more distant parts attracted strongly.

Because of this paucity of information regarding the now almost extinct Yorke Peninsula tribe, I readily accepted an invitation to visit the lower end of the Peninsula in company with a scientific party.

My interest in this tribe started at Moonta, when I was still a boy. I had seen their burial places in the sandhills, and the shallow wells from which they obtained their water, and often wondered what kind of people they were. But when bushmen from the north told me of strange sacred corroborees and fierce, truculent tribes, my mind conjured up pictures of similar people roaming these white sandhills.

I now know that the Far Northern people are rarely troublesome, and, unless smarting under some injustice of cruelty, are the antithesis of any first impression. There is no doubt that the inhabitants of the white sandhills of my childish playground were similar — kindly and courteous.

During our recent trip I had the pleasure of talking with Mrs. Eggington. This old lady has always lived a civilised life, but the aboriginal blood shows in that kindly and friendly courteousness which is so striking among the natives. Although 84 years of age, she is in full possession of her faculties, and proved to be a mine of information regarding the doings of her almost extinct forebears.

Early in life she married a European, but she kept in touch with her tribal relatives. Thus she became conversant with many aspects of then doings, some of which, I feel sure, would not have been "correct" for a woman to know when the tribe was in its heyday.

During a long talk with the old lady I learned that although the organisation of the tribe and marriage customs resembled those of the Adelaide and River Murray natives, the boomerang and shield were not adopted, nor was the art of mat making, such as is still carried on by the natives of Point McLeay.

Fishing And Net Making

The tribe, however, were expert fishermen, and, consequently, adepts in the art of net making. Mrs. Eggington described with a great amount of detail the "net making" parties which were held at Marion Bay. The natives called that place Kokadowi.

At certain seasons of the year the mullet travel along this coast in large schools. Some time before their appearance, the natives from the adjacent districts gathered to make nets for the coming harvest. The first day was spent in collecting bundles of a flat-leafed rush, which were piled in a large heap, preparatory to the next operation. That evening was spent in singing songs to "charm" the nets, and thus ensure a plentiful supply of fish.

The following morning a trench was dug in the sand and a large fire lit alongside, which at the end of an hour would have burned down to a heap of embers. These were raked into the trench, and covered with a thin layer of sand. On this the rushes were placed and "sealed down" with a cover of leaves, sand being placed on top.

About two hours of ''cooking" was required to reduce the rushes to the proper flexibility, the actual time being dictated by an old man, an expert in such matters. At a given signal, the hard work of preparing the fibre soinning the string and making the nets began. The cooked rushes were raked from the fire, and were chewed by both men and women until reduced to a stringy, fibrous mass.

Others, expert in the art of string making, then spun the chewed fibre into lengths of string, later to be wound on spindles. From this fibre the fishing nets were made.

The method of net making, as practised by these people, was similar to that used by Europeans. The nets, however, were not of large dimensions, being only about five feet long and three feet wide. Each family made several, which, although used in the communal fishing parties remained the property of the family group.

Conducting The Fishing

The arrival of the mullet was the occason of the great gathering of the year. Natives from all parts of the Peninsula, from Wallaroo downwards, gathered at Marion Bay, for in addition to the excellent "fishing parties," which in themselves were a consider-able attraction, ceremonies of initia-tion were carried out.

When the fishing began, men, stationed on prominent headlands, gave warning of the approaching schools. On a signal from the observers on the cliff heights, each net was dragged into the water by two men, and a number proceeding end on end, thus formed a long line of nets, extending seaward for a considerable distance. Other's, by swimming, operated in the deeper water, and, guided by the signals of those on the cliffs, drove the fish towards the nets.

So the fish were surrounded and dragged up on the sandy beach, later to be distributed among the various families.

The cooking was simple, but effective. The fish, unscaled, were laid on the coals, small lighted sticks being placed on top and the fish left until thoroughly cooked. The scales and skin then parted easily from the flesh, and the resulting dish was clean and tender. White men testify to the excellence of this dish.

Many other hunting stories were related, stories of how the emu was lured until within spear-throw by means of smoke fires, and kangaroos were driven into nets by bands of men.

Water Supplies

Although drinkable surface waters are unknown in those parts, the aborigines were able to obtain this necessity from a number of sources. Waterbearing mallee roots, shallow wells in the sand, just above high tide mark, and small rock holes, in the limestone crust, were some of the water sources known to these people.

Mrs. Eggington described a locality near to Inniston where, she said, were the holes in which the best water in the district was obtainable. After several unsuccessful searches they were located, most of them having been filled in by the white man. These consisted of no more than small circular pot-holes in the limestone, which, in earlier days, were covered with flat rocks to prevent animals from polluting and drinking the water. I located fifteen of such holes, whose capacity varied from a few gallons to about thirty or forty.

The water drained from the surrounding rocky surface into these catchments which, having a small opening, kept the water sweet and fresh for a long time.


As was to be expected, many parts of the coastline figured in the legendary stories of these people, for they believed that their half-human, half-animal ancestors created all the natural features of the country.

Entrancing and mysterious were the tales of these people. Stories of giants who fought, and the places where their dead bodies, now turned to stone, can be seen.

There was Nana, the giant of that part, who one day discoverd a stranger Buddra, equally large, roaming round his domain. Buddra had evidently lost his way while chasing a kangaroo from Point Turton, and endeavored to explain to Nana his predicament. Nana, not being able to understand Buddra's language, became particularly enraged, and ordered him to leave, which the visitor, being of a mule-headed disposition, refused to do. A fight ensued, in which Buddra was killed. Nana disembowelled his enemy —the grass no longer grows at this spot— and disposed of the body by dragging it into the middle of a salt lake. The body is now turned to stone.

A long walk across the perfectly level salt encrusted surface of the lake was necessary to view at close quarters the dead body of the unfortunate transgressor.

As time went on, the legend continued, Nana and his wife died. His great body, now a portion of detached cliff over a hundred feet high, with his wife, another large block of stone, sitting quietly at his feet, can still be seen at Rhino Head, Nana himself forming the "horn" of the "rhino."

Fragments of other stories were gathered, One was of a wicked lubra, who was pushed over the cliffs at Cape Spencer, and was changed into a stone, now the famous "Blow Hole." It is said that in stormy weather she gives vent to her annoyance by spouting the water so high that people, standing on the cliff 200 feet above her, are drenched by the spray.

Other legends were told, stories of how the seabirds came into being, and why the crayfish is so ugly, stories which revealed the close intimate knowledge of the aborigines concerning nature and the life around them, stories as fascinating as any of our childhood fairy tales.

It is to be hoped that some great writer will collect these legends while the opportunity offers, and enlighten us Australians as to the inner thoughts and beliefs of the people we have supplanted.


Fri 29 Feb 1952, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) Trove

We are frequently hearing of this and that being, done to "preserve" or help the aborigines. The buying of a station property for the Ooldea natives is one thing. Let us hope that the people for whom the late Mrs. Daisy Bates cared so long will find, if not a happy hunting ground, at least a happy home there.

In the northern parts of Australia other things, such as a health survey, are being done to help the remaining native inhabitants, some of whom are still protesting against the white man's depredations. The Arnhem Land natives are objecting to so many crocodile hunters invading their territory.

The Ooldea and northern aborigines have received much more publicity generally than those in other parts of Australia. Not very much is known of the tribes which at one time inhabited Yorke Peninsula. It is said that there were three tribes. That seems possible as there are several names generally supposed to mean "water," which apparently came from different tribal talk.

Mr. C. P. Mountford, who, has studied the aborigines and their lore, made a special visit to Yorke Peninsula some years ago to garner information. He says his interest in these people started when he was a boy at Moonta after seeing their burial places in the sandhills.

Mr. Mountford says that the natives, from Wallaroo down, used to gather at Marion Bay each year when the mullet arrived. Not only was there great feasting but initiation ceremonies were also carried out.

The name the natives had for Marion Bay was Koka dowi. The organisation and marriage customs of the tribe —lie mentions only one—were similar to those of the Adelaide and River Murray natives, but the peninsula natives did not use boomerangs nor shields, nor did they make mats.

But they did make fishing nets. New ones, apparently, each year. The natives knew when to expect the large schools of mullet which came periodically. Some time beforehand they made their nets. First they collected bundles of a flat leaved rush—the of same a kind flat no doubt, as the C.W.A. craft workers use to make baskets nowadays.

In the evening alter the gathering they sang songs round the rush pile to 'charm" the nets, so that they would gather a good supply of fish.

Next morning a trench was dug and a fire lit alongside it. When the fire had burned down the hot embers were raked into it and a thin covering of sand put on top of them. The rushes were laid on this and in turn covered by leaves and sand. At the end of about two hours—when the old man expert thought they should be ready—the rushes were raked from the trench and chewed until they were a stringy mass. That this was considered a most important job was evidenced by the fact that men, as well as women, helped with the chewing. The fibre was then spun into string and wound on sticks, later to be made into nets. The method of net making, Mr. Mountford says, was like that used by Europeans. The nets were small, about five feet long and three feet wide. Each family made several, and the nets they made then belonged to them.

When it was time for mullet to arrive look-out men watched for them from the cliffs and gave the signal of their approach. Then each net was dragged into the water by two men, net behind net, making a long line out into the sea. Others swam out into the deeper water and drove the fish into the nets, Then the fish were landed, divided up, and cooked, and a great feasting took place. Net making was apparently the chief art of this tribe. They caught kangaroos in the same way as they caught mullet—men drove them into nets. Emus were lured by smoke fires, and then speared, The aborigines knew all the waterholes. They also knew which mallee roots contained water. They thought their best waterholes were near Inneston—little circular potholes in the limestone formation, which they covered with flat stones to keep the water pure, and save evaporation. Mr. Mountford found fifteen of these holes, some big enough to hold thirty to forty gallons of water.

Amongst their legends was one of a wicked lubra who was pushed over the cliffs at Cape Spencer and turned into a stone, now the famous "Blow Hole." In stormy weather, so the legend goes, she spouts water up over the 200-foot cliff to drench those who go to look at her.


Tue 24 Jan 1922, The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) By Marion Bay. Trove

Although several articles, dealing with the customs and legends of the natives of South Australia have appeared in your columns from time to time, nothing has been mentioned about the natives of Yorke's Peninsula, and as there can be few, if any, survivors, the following notes may be of interest. While at Marion Bay on shooting and fishing excursions I used to stay with an old-time kangaroo hunter, and in the evenings he would relate some of the early-day incidents, and between us we compiled a vocabulary of native names for the flora, fauna, and geographical names, together with a few conversational terms. In the days of which I write (1895-1900) Marion Bay (Cockadowie) consisted of the old stone hut and the house erected for the manager of the whiting and gypsum claims, now owned by Mr. A. H. Hasell. Marion Bay, I believe, was named after the Marion, which was wrecked there. There were no fatalities to the best of my knowledge, but the story goes that the plate chest was brought ashore, and buried for safety in the sandhills by the shore, and as the sand is continually shifting, the marks made to locate its position were covered, and the chest was never found again. What truth there is in the story I do not know.

— Ghosts and a Lost Race. —

The natives recognised a Deity, "Mud- jetchoo," who was supposed to take the form of a bat, and the native name for a bat is still "mudjetchoo." "Arnner" was a giant, who was continually quarrelling with another giant, "Budderer." He was supposed to be buried at Royston Head (Arnner), near Cape Spencer. The quarrel was ended by Arnner throwing a waddy from Point Turton (Boonpoo) and killing Budderer, who was then near Minlaton. They had a variety of evil spirits, but the worst one was "Noogunner," who was always supposed to be doing harm. "Berryger-noo-gunner" (bald-headed ghost) was the worst of this variety. "Coop-a " was also a ghost; and the crayfish is called "Coopa" because of its ugly appearance. The devil, which was feared nearly as much as "Noogunner," was called "Wun-yerra." Yarning one evening with the old hunter, George, and his wife, I said I had been down at "Yellow-warowie" to get some "reevesi," a species of cowrie. Mrs. George said we call that Yillowrowie, or Eelarowie. It was so named because of a tribe of little fellows that used to live there; but none of the other natives could understand their talk; they jabbered like parrots. They died out before my time (this would be over 70 years ago), and no one knows anything about them, where they came from or anything else. They were dwarfs and lived apart from the others, never mixing with them. I had long been trying to get a skull, and one time, when at Marion Bay, I was given a splendid specimen of a native skull by one of the men working on the gypsum claims. He told me he found it at Emu Waterhole (Yillowrowie), and that it was on the side of a sandhill. I went down next morning and collected the remainder of the bones, and had the skeleton complete with the exception of left forearm and hand and tight leg and foot (or vice versa). On taking these to Adelaide, they finally reached Professor Watson, who handed them on to the Museum, where they are at present, so far as I know. I asked the professor if he could give me any particulars, and his verdict was that the skeleton was that of a male aged between 50 and 55 years, and about 5 ft. or a little more in height. This bears out the story of the dwarfs who lived at Emu Waterhole, and though I have spoken to many of the old hands on the lower end of the peninsula, none of them could tell me anything about this lost race.

— Interesting Derivations. —

The natives from the top end of the peninsula used periodically to visit the lower end, when they were received most hospitably, and would return the compliment when their friends from the lower end would in their turn go for a holiday to the higher part of the peninsula. On two occasions mention was made by another old hunter in my presence that in some of the caves near Corny Point there are mummified bodies of the natives done up in bark and grass: this was only done with the bodies of noted men; but I could never get any confirmation of this.

The native name for Edithburgh is Barrarm-marratee; Yorketown, Gurreena; Cape York, Gudgerowie, Para Wurlie (formerly owned by the Hon. C. B .Fuller) is the native name for West Cape, and means a big high bluff; Orrie Cowie should be More-a-cowie, because of the small-needled wattle (Morea) which was formerly common there. Cowie, or Cabby, means water, and is practically the same all over Australia. Warooka signifies "a muddy waterhole," not a sailing ship, as I have seen mentioned. Curramulka is derived from two words, Gorry an emu, moolka a stone waterhole (a stone waterhole where emus come in to drink). The general impression seems to be that the well in the township of Curramulka is the place. If so the emus had long necks, as it is over 100 ft. deep, I believe. The stone water-hole is on Mr. May's property at the corner of the Mount Rat road, and is about 40 or 50 yards from the road. It is a rough square in the limestone rock, and would hold 200 or 300 gallons. This would only contain water after a heavy shower. I believe it is or was used for pickling wheat in.

— Hunting and Implements.—

The natives were skilled hunters, and at Pondalowie (stony waterhole) they used to drive the kangaroos on to a peninsula through a narrow neck and spear them at their leisure. The rugs made from kangaroo or wallaby skins and sewn with tendons were beautifully finished. In order to render them more pliable, the skin, after being dried and scraped, was cut into shape, folded from one corner to another, a small stick being used as a gauge for the size of the pattern. The skin was then folded from the other corner on the same side, with the result that a series of diamonds was formed, and this caused the rug to be much softer. There is an excellent specimen of this kind made by Mrs. George from wallaby skins in the Adelaide Museum. So far as weapons were concerned, the natives of Yorke's Peninsula had only plain wooden spears and waddies; at least I never heard of them making boomerangs or having barbed or stone spears or stone knives. The only stone implement I ever found or heard of was a rounded piece of granite flattened on top and bottom, and in the centre on each of the flat sides was an indentation. The diameter was about 3 inches, thickness 2 inches or there-abouts. This I picked up in the swamp at Yucock, and Dr. Stirling told me it was probably used as a hammer for breaking the larger shellfish. It is a pity that no steps were taken by the early settlers to make a vocabulary of the natives language, or to collect their legends. Their numerals were goot-choo, one; bulli, two; mung ga wee, three. Even yet it might be possible to gather some of those legends from the residents at Point Pearce Mission Station, but it is doubtful whether they would have troubled about the old native folk lore.


Fri 11 Sep 1953, The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954) by GEORGE THOM, WAROOKA Trove


Native legends concerning the life and doings of a race of cannibal dwarfs on Southern Yorke Peninsula are outlined in this, the second instalment of Mr. Thorn's story of the pioneering days.

MY EXPERIENCES with aborigines of Southern Yorke Peninsula, and the tales that have come to me from many angles during my life in those parts, induce me to pass on to you some of the stories I've heard regarding these original inhabitants cf the country before the days of the white man.

There are many interesting legends relating to the aboriginal natives of Yorke Peninsula, mainly handed down from native sources, of which I learned from three early residents of the Marion Bay district. One of these embraces the belief in a tribe of dwarf aborigines who were said to have lived in the big mallee scrub between Cape Spencer and Pondolowie on one side, and between Pondolowie and the rocky range which stretches from Mount Phillip to Fort George.

Most of this latter section was then, and still remains, an almost impenetrable jungle of mallee and dense undergrowth—the sort of country that one could only tackle on foot, and even then with the utmost reluctance.

The coastal fringes of the Peninsula were then in habited by the average type of aborigine, whose remnants we still see today, exemplified by such fine specimens as my friend Charlie. According to the old tales, there were in those days three distinct and separate tribes, including the dwarfs, then holding their distinct areas of country and watering places.

Place Names from Watering Places

The area of one particular tribe can still be defined by the place names in the area, by the terminal syllable of "owie" (meaning "watering place). From this syllable or word "owie" we can trace many of their watering places, such as Minlacowie, Bublacowie, Tukokowie, Pondolowie, Oiriccowie, and at least three waterholes in the Marion Bay area, called Mutborowie, Bubladowie, and Hilterowie.

During portion of the year these natives resided in belts of ti-tree and sheoak country, living mainly upon kangaroo, wallaby, emu, and similar game. When the billy buttons came into flower in the spring these natives read it as a signal from Mother Nature that the time had come for a "walk-about" to the sea coast.

For this also was the time when the butterfish make their way into the shoal water along that part of the coastline for some months. This latter fact I checked up by personal observation, and can fully confirm.

As the butterfish moved out to sea again their place along the coast would be taken by shoals of mullet, which the natives followed from Marion Bay light along Investigator Strait to Troubridge Point.

As the normal- sized tribesmen came back from walk-about to their southern end of Yorke Peninsula, the dwarf tribe was forced back into the safety of it dense scrub country. Here they depended upon supplies of water which they had stored in deep rock holes during the previous winter months, for they and the normal-sized natives were continually at war with one another.

This never-ending war between them was said to be based upon the cannibalistic tendencies of the dwarfs, they being reputed to not only eat their own dead but to also feast upon the bodies of enemies killed or captured during their tribal fights.

Another reason for their retirement into the denser scrubs was said to be that, having no fear of the intense darkness that most natives dislike, they were thus able to make periodical raids by night upon the outside tribes. In such raids they sought to carry off the tribal young women and piccaninnies, who were considered by the dwarfs as the outstanding delicacies for culinary purposes.

However, there came eventually a run of drought years, producing a water shortage in the scrub country. This drove the dwarfs out into the more open coastal country in a desperate bid for the water vital to their continued existence.

The opportunity then came to the stronger and larger outside tribes, who completely exterminated them in battle. So ended, according to this old legend, the extraordinary tribe of dwarf aborigines.


The fishing nets of the natives of lower Yorke Peninsula were cleverly woven from fibres stripped from sword grass that grows there, and fibre from the bullrushes which abound in the coastal sandhills. Their spears were made from those hard and very tough black mallee shoots, the points being hardened by fire in the customary aboriginal fashion. From suitable water-worn granite pebbles and gibbers. which may be found freely along parts of the coastline, they shaped their stone hammers and axes.

Place of Death

One very important piece of history of these primitive inhabitants refer to a spot called Muldarby, which means "the place of death" and which is is the Tukokowie area. It would appear that, in the earliest days of white settlement of the Peninsula, a great many of the natives died very suddenly and mysteriously at this place. One assumption suggests that the natives stole and ate poisoned four from the early white settlers, but apparently the real truth surrounding the tragedy was never brought, to light.

However, this tragic incident marks the sudden ending of almost an entire tribe, the scene of the tragedy being ever shunned by surviving natives, who gave it the name of Muldarby (the place of death).

These few aboriginal legends handed down through generations of the aborigines and the earliest white settlers of lower Yorke Peninsula have been recorded by me exactly as I received them from my contacts. Just how correct or truthful the stories are is beyond my power to judge, for I have no means of checking them; but I firmly believe that my informants passed on to me the facts that they themselves had picked up at first hand.

These accounts of mine, very briefly related though, they are, may perhaps serve as a basis for a more full and authentic record being sought for by some qualified investigator. In this connection I am able to point out the location of quite a number of the old native camping grounds, shown to me during my long residence there.

In addition, I am able to show any enquirer the principal localities reputed to have been the strongholds and the retreats of the legendary dwarf tribe. In the early days of settlement those parts matters such as I have related were accepted as commonplace facts, whereas now they are fast becoming mere legendary tales.

Still, it is not yet too late for some qualified and interested research worker to use these fragments of old legends which I have set out in a brief way as a basis upon which to reconstructing some interesting native history.

Leaving the history of these aborigines, come with me now to a continuation of the history of a young Scotsman in the same land, picking up the thread back at Marion Bay, my headquarters for the winter.


'Kangaroo Hunting Yorkes (sic) Peninsula', August 18, 1850. Edward Snell B55781

State library of South Australia

Reminiscences By Mr. L. G. Phillips, of Strathalbyn


Police Depot on the Station

In the early days of Moorowie there was a police depot on the station property, as the blacks were very troublesome. This police depot was at one time in charge of the late Inspector Tolmer. The late Tom Coward was also there for a time. I believe the Police Department still hold the piece of land. It is a little north of the old shearing shed, and still called the "Police Reserve." The little well where the police got their drinking water is still there.

My earliest remembrance of the location of the blacks camp was a little north of the homestead and slightly west of the old men's kitchen. When a boy I attended many a blacks' corroboree there. Their principal burying place was in the sandhills, near Longbottom's farm. There is a reserve there called "Onegowie," meaning "fresh water in the sand."

Some of the old station hands still reside on the Peninsula, viz., Mr. Tom Eggington at Warooka; George Eggington, at Marion Bay; and Alex Thomson, near Yorketown, who erected most of the stone walls round the homestead. At shearing time Mr. Christian Twartz, of Yorketown, was on the job.

I omitted to mention earlier that practically all the carting was done by bullock teams. The family vehicle was a spring dray or spring cart. Yorketown was known as "Weaner's Flat." I believe Penton Vale Station had a hut and sheepyards near there, where they used to send the lambs to be weaned, shepherded, of course, as there were no paddocks in those days.

Rabbits brought from England

In reply to a question, Mr. Phillips said, "Yes, Mr. Fowler did bring rabbits from England to Moorowie, and introduced them to some old wombat holes in the old station home paddocks, south of the homestead, near where there was afterwards an orchard planted. I can quite remember when there was a wool-washing plant at Moorowie, but all evidence of this has long ago disappeared, and the old well filled in."

The Corroborees

We put some further questions to Mr. Phillips in reference to the blacks and their corroborees. He said corroborees were usually held at night. The male blacks would dance round a fire, and imitate kangaroo hunts, fishing exploits, fights with other tribes, etc They used to daub themselves with pipe clay and red ochre. The men would chant a kind of song and the women would sit around in a circle with an oppossum rug in their laps, rolled up to make a drum, which they used to beat with their hands, and keep excellent time, too. Each song would represent some event, such as the "hunt corroboree." I remember one vividly, the "rain corroboree," or, in native lingo, "the Munga corroboree." The natives had a meeting place for north and south blacks at Minlacowie, somewhere between the Baptist Church and the fingerpost, known as the "old chimney," or "Yonglacowie." Anstey and Giles a hut there. I believe the ruins are still there. I remember a shepherd named McDonald being in charge. Corroborees used to last for nearly a week. There was a good crowd of blacks in the tribe, whose hunting grounds extended from Moorowie to Warrenben. About 100 used to congregate at the station, and they were very troublesome in the early days; that was why the police camp was formed.

The Days of Long Ago

Pioneering on Vorke Peninsula

Gum Flat Station at one time extended from Penton Vale in the south almost to Maitland in the north, and Mr. John Butler remembers as many as fifty blacks coming up to the outstation hut. They had a burying ground not far from what is now the Minlaton-Stansbury Road, and Mr. Butler remembers that they always buried their dead in a sitting position.


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

[To the Editors of the Register.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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.


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 occa sionally 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.


'Shooting Tommy' was one of the last of the Yorke Peninsula aborigines. B 21961 State library of South Australia


Sat 2 Jan 1875. Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904) Trove

At Boorkooyanna, Point Pierce, the Mission Station of the Yorke's Peninsula Aborigines Friends' Association, a marriage in " high life" has been celebrated with unusual surroundings, Prince "John," the acknowledged heir of "Tom," the King, having led his coloured affiance to the hymeneal aItar. At 11 a.m. there were evident signs of the approaching event as the natives gathered wearing holiday dresses, cheerfully smiling, and indulging in ringing laughter. The day before a conveyance had been sent for the King and Queen, who were found some miles away 'at the royal wurley feasting on kangaroo, followed by a smoke of the " backie pipe" as a favourite dessert. The bridegroom-elect acted as coachman to their Majesties, who were accompanied by a favourite few. Having arrived at the Mission Station they reported themselves, and then passed the night in the open air. Early next morning our Kadina correspondent had a formal and cordial introduction to the monarch and his consort, and he has furnished the following report:—

" The King is advanced in years, and is rather grey. He was dressed in striped trousers which were rather too narrow for him, but his coat was of excellent quality and admirable fit; it showed his fine proportions to great advantage. His Crimean shirt was scrupulously clean, boots he had none, and his royal big toe appeared to have seen much active service in the battle of life. His brow bore no diadem or other insignia of regal descent, but had an ample crop of curly black hair that seemed to testify of absolute liberty run wild. He is about five feet nine inches high, and a little over 12 stone in weight, with broad square shoulders, light limbs, and broad flat feet. The sovereign's eyes are full and clear, and he can look you straight in the face. His organs of benevolence, veneration, and firmness are fully developed, especially the last, while his combativeness is less than his acquisitiveness, and contrary to expectations moral faculties are decidedly more prominent than animal. The Queen is a fine specimen of her race, considerably above the average size. Her cranium indicates natural ability and good temper; yet contrary to the common opinion that all lubras are slaves to their husbands, she manifested the fact that she had a will of her own, for when the King ordered her to go 300 yards on a message she absolutely refused, then told him to go himself, and the autocrat obeyed. An old misanthrope suggests that this is one of the surest signs of civilization and refinement in female life. The bride-elect is an honour to her tribe and a favourite at the Station, where she has been for six or seven years. She is able to read and write welL The bridegroom is a noble specimen of the genus homo, and shares not more than a moiety of the blood of the second son of Noah. He is above average size, and his physique challenges the attention of even a moderately observant eye.

An interesting occurrence took place at 9 o'clock in the morning, when the King and Queen went to inspect the palace just finished and designed for the permanent residence of the young couple. It Is externally oblong, measuring by estimation 378 inches by 168 inches, with a corresponding height of walls, carrying well-selected mallee rafters, to which is fastened with ample cordage a well-set covering that has been gathered from the marshy portions of the neighbouring plain. The main entrance has a plain batten door with latch and string. The first object that strikes attention in tbe interior is the dinning-table. Turning towards the fireplace—which every Englishman does when he enters a room unless some special object attract—the mantleshelf and its adornings meet the eye, flanked on each side by two sets of shelves well furnished with culinary and kindred utensils. After gazing at these for some time and carefully examining some knives and forks, the King burst into a hearty laugh, saying " All same as whitefellow.'' The room is furnished with an excellent iron bedstead, a washstand, sundry seats, &c. The parents seemed thoughtful while inspecting the furniture, and His Majesty said, "Me like one house too.'' The interest is heightened when it is known that under the architectural direction of the Rev. Mr. Knhn; formerly connected with the Moravian Church, the Prince was the builder of his own house; and not only so, but has parchased the furniture out of his savings since he resided at the Station. He has still a handsome balance, which he is husbanding to meet contingencies. Before the wedding the Queen was called into the Mission-house and dressed in a new robe. It fitted well, and this, with a knot of ribbon on her breast, excited her husband's admiration and approval, but she said little. The morning was. very fine, and there was unusual briskness at an early hour; even a large parrot in the eastern verandah seemed to catch the spirit of the day. He whistled the first part of 'There's nae luck aboot the hoose,' and paused. I will not say that the songster did not think it wise to finish this, but he began and ended the next tune as if he considered it more appropriate to give 'Pop goes the weasel.' Pots and pans and crockery were rattling under the basty touch of happy native maidens' fingers, and snatches of whistle and song were bom on the early breeze of mom. At 11 o'clock the schoolroom presented a striking appearance. Seats in horseshoe form were placed for the spectators, while on the right of the desk the Queen took her place; and the King, who led the bride, having safely left his charge to the care of three bridesmaids, resumed his seat. To tire left of the desk Mrs. Kuhn and her daughter sat, and near them a number of young girls stood in rank each holding a beautiful bouquet of freshly-plucked flowers. The boys stood opposite similarly equipped. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr. Kuhn, assisted by the Rev. B. G. Bayley, Congregational mhustar. The bridegroom spoke in a clear full voice and in a spirit and manner calculated to win approval; and the bride, after a long struggle to keep her feelings under control, wept. Mrs. Kuhn, a close observer of character and with some knowledge of practical philosophy, was instantly at the side of the bride, and by taking a firm hold of her arm inspired sufficient self-possession. As soon as the marriage ceremony and the address which followed were over the girls who held bouquets, led by Miss Selina Kuhn, presented them to the Princess, while the boys handed theirs to the Prince. The marriage was by special licence, and as the pair were under age the consent of the parents was obtained according to law. King Tom's sign manual, in the form of three heavy crosses, having been witnessed as ' his mark,' refreshments were liberally supplied to all who chose to partake, and then a conveyance to Victoria Bay, where a boat awaited the party, completed the arrangements made for the royal marriage at Boorkooyanna.

" So far as your reporter has seen I gladly bear testimony to the excellent arrangements and the prosperity of this Mission Station. At public worship I was greatly pleased with the evident reverence of the natives, also with their very good singing. I have examined their writing copies, which bear evidence of care, and am satisfied that the certificates forwarded to the Registrar-General, signed by four natives, are quite equal to the average penmanship of South Australians. That the ignorant savage is here being raised into a state of intelligent civilization is a statement at which the sceptic may shake his head; nevertheless it is true, and the Boorkooyanna Mission Station not only gives promise of success, but success there has already been achieved. Several of the non-resident natives ask for medicine for pains and wounds, to all of which requests the m&t prompt attention is paid by Mrs. Knhn; and on the day that I spent at the station two females and two children 12 or 14 miles seeking medical aid—one for dysentary and another for measles. One of the patients informed me that she had on a former occasion received efficient medical help from Mrs. Kuhn."

Fri 19 Nov 1886, Yorke's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1878 - 1922) Trove

Death of King Tommy.—On the 15th inst., at the Mission Station, Point Pearce, Old King Tommy, head man of the aboriginals on Yorke's Peninsula, joined the great majority. With him no doubt ends the line of kings belonging to this tribe. His father, grand and great-grandfather, occupied the same position. From what was known of the old man's urbanity and kindness, his rule must have been a mild one. His kindness begat kindness from others. He was loved by all the natives both young and old. He was well known by the old settlers on Yorke's Peninsula, and was receiving a pension from Sir W. W. Hughes up to the time of his death. To all appearance he had attained to his threescore years and ten, and up to within the last few months was hale and hearty. He has often told his experience with the first white men he met, which meeting took place on Wauraltee Island, Some sailors came ashore and gave him a smoke, which made him sick. He thought "white fellow poison him." Not-withstanding this experience he took to smoking, which he did not give up until compelled by Nature's inevitable law. The Superintendent of the Mission had a conversation with him about two hours before he died, when he said he was going to leave, and hoped it might be soon. He had no fears and was perfectly resigned. His stories of travel were quite interesting. Before the whites settled on the Peninsula he has gone up the Murray for grasstree to light fires, and was never molested by the other natives. He has frequently swam to Wauraltee Island with a fire stuck in his hair. The distance is between 2 and 3 miles, but he would choose low tide for it, when he could occasionally rest on sandbars. We doubt if any of the young ones would do it, as they are too much frightened of sharks. His wife, Queen Mary, died about five years ago. She, too, was as fine a type of a native woman as we have ever met. One son of the old woman's, a half-caste, with his two sons and two grandchildren, children of a daughter of the old man's, remain, but it is not likely they will ever wield the sceptre over the aboriginals on Yorke's Peninsula.


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 ecd 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Sat 30 Jul 1938, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) Trove

Sir— I desire through your, paper to express our protest against the unwarranted attack on the aborigines of Point Pearce Mission Station by the Rev. E. H. Woollacott, in his evidence before the Betting Commission. Mr. Woollacott would have the public believe that the natives have forsaken sport for betting, and are no longer keen on healthy outdoor sport. Had he investigated matters affecting the Yorke Valley Football Association, he would find that the white teams in the neighboring towns were unable to field a team, and not the natives, as stated. We applied for admittance to the Yorke Peninsula Football Association, but the application was refused. We have always tried to foster the Australian game of football in our district and providing Mr. Woollacott will try to create Interest among the whites, not forgetting his home town, Maitland, the natives are prepared again to join the Yorke Valley Football Association. Mr. Woollacott, I feel sure. Is misinformed in regard to moneys earned on this station. On the wages paid it is just possible for many of us to exist. Married men with a family ranging between four and eight, are expected to feed and clothe them on 30/ to 35/ per week. Therefore, many of the natives seek employment elsewhere, in fishing, farming, shearing, wheat handling, rabbiting, &c., and in respect of all moneys paid for honest labor we claim the right as British subjects to save or spend as we think best. Mr. Woollacott is endeavoring to couple betting with liquor. The statement 'during betting excursions natives come in contact with unscrupulous whites, who, for a consideration, would supply the natives with liquor.' is a misrepresentation of facts, as the local police records will show. Further, according to Mr. Woollacott, our women are just as bad as the men. But I am pleased to state that not one woman from Point Pearce has ever entered the betting premises to bet, either at Port Victoria or Maitland. We may not live the life Mr. Woollacott would have us live, but we do try to live in accordance with Christian principles. We are intelligent enough to know that people cannot be made good by legislation. Further, any legislation that would prohibit a minority of people from any privilege enjoyed by others would tend to turn a peaceful, law abiding community into lawbreakers. —

I am. Sir, &c. R. M. WANGANEEN, Point Pearce Mission Station.


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.'

WORK OF MISSIONARIES - Early days of South Australia Rites And Ceremonies Of Blacks

Thu 10 Oct 1935, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) Trove

The pioneers and the explorers at times found the services of the blacks useful, even indispensable. At other times they suffered terribly from the treacherous and barbarous traits in their character. Always, however, they marvelled at the acuteness of the native senses. The gradual decay of the South Australian tribes due to white settlement cannot be justly regarded as an eternal stigma on the memory of our forefathers....


Aboriginal residents at Yorketown Lake. B 42065 State library of South Australia

(point pearce's oldest resident passes.

Point Pearce's oldest resident, Mr Robert Wanganeen, passed away at the Wallaroo Hospital on Monday, July 12th.

The late Mr Wanganeen, who was 93 years of age came to Point Pearce Mission from Poonindie Station when he was a boy, and has lived there ever since, where he was held in high esteem by all who knew him.

In his younger days he was employed on the station clearing sheoak scrub, lumping wheat at Balgowan general farm work, bullock driving, and was for a number of years employed by Mr S. Moody on his farm. He was also coach driving for the officers in charge of the Mission Station. The deceased, prior to his death, was the oldest native in any institution in South Australia.

He was married in 1880, his wife predeceased him five years ago. Nine chiidren were born and five survive. There are 34 grandchildren, 81 greatgrandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren. He was buried in the Mission cemetery. Rev. Northern officiating at the graveside.




Known in many parts of the State as an expert shejarer, Tom Adams (aged 84 years), an aborigine, of Point Pearce Mission Station, can look back on many interesting experi ences of the early days. Born at Skilly, near Balaklava, he was as a small boy transferred to Poonindie Mission on the West Coast, which was founded by Bishop Hale. So far as can be ascertained, he is the only surviving inhabitant of that mission who was resident there during the control of Bishop Hale. He remained there until the mission land was cut up. He was always among the sheep, and tended the flocks to keep the dingoes (which were numerous) from destroying them. White people were few and far between, but in numerable natives would come and go, and were always assisted with food and clothing by the bishop, who was known as 'father' by all the natives far and near. When a young man Tom took on shearing as an occupation, and has not mised a season since. As far north as Beltana, and in the north west of this State he has gone to fulfil shearing engagements, and for nine consecutive years shore for Mr. J H. Angas of Hill River Estate.

At one time during his career he received a challenge from a notable shearer who had a reputation for high tallies. They met and Tom easily disposed of his rival, shearing 140 sheep without being troubled by the 'big-gun' shearer. He afterwards received offers to go to New Zealand and Queensland, but was content to remain in this State. Tom does not class the shearers of to-day with the old hands, as they are mainly out for high tallies and do not, he thinks, give of their best in the way of good high-class shear ing. Tom Adams was born a generation ahead of the advent of the shearing machine, with which, it is believed, he would have made history as one of the foremost shearers of Aus trala. His surviving children are Messrs. T. F. and C. Adams, and Mesdames R. Wilson, J. Edwards, H. Angie, and W. Salisbury, senr. All live at Point Pearce.

OLDEST NATIVE .OF POINT PEARCE Tom Adams, Expert Shearer, Passes at 89 (An Appreciation by "G. M.")

Tom Adams, oldest native at Point Pearce Mission Station, died on Monday while sitting in his chair. He was known in many parts of the State as an expert shearer, and was about 89 years of age. Scarcely knowing what a day's illness was, Tom Adams had lived a true openair life. Surely one could not wish a more fitting close to a long life of outdoor activity. He appeared to be well and healthy to the end.

Tom has now laid down the spade, hoe, and shears, for right up to the last shearing season he performed his work. A greater shearer than he never tramped the bush to follow his calling. He claimed to be the first legitimate halfcaste born in South Australia. From information gleaned from him, it can be safely recorded as correct. Born at Skilly, near, Balaklava, he was when a boy transferred to Poonindie Mission, on the West Coast, under Bishop Hale. Later the mission property was subdivided and Tom, with his wife and family, moved to Point Pearce. For years as a shearer he had tramped the West Coast, which was then little known; as well as the northern parts of this State. For nine consecutive years he had sheared for Mr. J. H. Angas, of Hill River Estate. He had been offered good positions in other States, but always remained in South Australia.

Tom was one of the few men of his type. Hard work and arduous times could not make inroads on his physique. He was at the time of his death as upright in stature as when in his teens. This is surely evidence that the present generation, which lives in ease and comfort, cannot compare with the rugged type of our pioneers. Tom's memory will always be revered at Point Pearce as a true type of natural-born Australian citizen. He has left four daughters and two sons, all of whom are at Point Pearce. He was also responsible for the upbringing of John Milera, a much-respected native of Point Pearce. "OVER THE BORDER" Just over the border, Gone to his rest. Tramped his last tramp on the station--. One of the best. Just over the border, Into the Haze. But to live, and to work, and to die, Tom has shown us "It pays."


The Chief Protector of Aborigines (Mr. F. Garnett) writes:—Mrs. Louie Adams died at the Point Pearce Aborigines Station on September 23. She was about 85 years of age, and was one of the oldest natives on the station, being much respected and loved by all her people, because of her many estimable qualities. She and her husband lived originally on the Poonindie Mission Station, until that institution was closed, when they went to Point Pearce. She always spoke of Bishop Hale, the founder of Poonindie Mission, with veneration and affection. Her husband, Tom Adams, who is also about 85 years of age, has had a magnificent constitution, and has always lived a temperate life. This year, notwithstanding his advanced age, he again took his stand as a shearer of the station sheep, and did good work. He began shearing in his teens, and has never missed a season, following the work from shed to shed, and averaging, until recent years, his 100 sheep a day, shorn with blades in a way to delight a squatter's heart.



There recently passed away at Point Pearce Mission Station, at the age of 67 years, Mr. Alfred Hughes, after an illness which lasted three or four months. He had made his home at the mission station ever since he went there as a boy of five and grew with it, seeing the settlement evolve from a collection of "wurlies" inhabited by parents and their countryman to the well ordered station it is today. He received practically all his training in the school established by the missionary superintendent, Mr. Kuhn, and in farm work on the station. According to the testimony of his lifelong friends he early developed a strong sense of responsibility which never left him. When there was but the one white man on the station supervising the economic and spiritual life of the natives, Hughes soon became his right-hand man. A worker himself, be always wanted to see industry in others, and whether working himself or overseeing others, he never failed in his trust. His record on the mission station was equalled on the farms and stations where had worked from time to time. Like a number of his aboriginal country men, he made a practice of going away for the shearing -season. In the sheds he set an example of industry, sobriety, and good living that many white men would do well to imitate. A farmer on Yorke Peninsula said 'No matter how many troubles might crop up during his work I have never heard Alf swear .'

Many tales are told of his endeavors to break the gambling habits of the natives, of his walks to certain spots in the scrub favored by the gamblers on Sunday afternoons, and the consequent vanishing of the "school."

In talking of Hughes the word peace-maker, was constantly used. 'Alf was always a peacemaker.' In the drunken brats that at one time disgraced the station, he was a familiar figure, reasoning with, and soothing the fighters and generally getting his way in the end. His most notable characteristic was his unfailing optimism. To him the world was a very good place when nothing ever went very far wrong, and if there were little troubles here and there, a laugh was the best antidote for them. He carried this abounding cheerfulness through to the end. In spite of constantly increasing pain and weakness during the last few months, of nights of unrest (for from the nature of his malady he could not lie down for any length of time), his cheery outlook on life did not abate.

To those who knew him best, it was apparent that the source of his trustworthiness, upright living, cheerfulness, and care for the welfare of others was in religion, the Bible was his Book, the guide of his life and his increasing comfort, as he became convinced that his days were numbered. For many years associated with the Methodist Church, when the mission church was established recently under the auspices of the Aborigines Friends' Association, he joined as a foundation member and was appointed a deacon. Unfailing in his attendance at services and every church meeting, his thoughts were to the last with every effort for the spiritual wellbeing of the station. He left a widow and five children; The: family consist of Mrs. Fred Graham, Mrs. Eric Angie, Miss Nina Hughes, and Messrs. Walter and Lionel Hughes, all of Point Pearce:


One of the few of the remaining pureblooded natives died at the Point 'Pearce Mission Station on the last night of the old year, says the Register. The old man, Ben Simms, took his cognomen from one of the oldest families in Moonta under romantic circumstances, He was working for Mr Simms, and told Mrs Simms that he was going to be married. She said, " You must have a name, then," and promptly he took the name of Simms. He was thrice married, but survived all his partners. Ben Simms was buried on New Year's Day in the Point Pearce Cemetery.

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Tuesday 28 September 1943, page 3

M.M. for Half-Caste Who "Killed a Few Japs" Corporal Tim Hughes, a half-caste aboriginal, for-merly of Point Pearce Mission Station, was recently awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery at Milne Bay.

WHEN home on leave, he was asked by his mother how he had won the award, and he replied. "Oh, for killing a few Japs, like everyone else over there." Cpl. Hughes, who is 23, has been in the A.I.F. for more than three years. He served in England, Tobruk, and Syria before the New Guinea cam paign. The secretary of the Aboridines' Protection Board Board (Mr. Penhall) said today that he could not recall any other instances of aborigines having been honored by military awards. Cpl. Hughes is a son of Mrs. G. Elphick, of Ann street, West Thebarton, and of the late Mr. Walter Hughes. His father died six years ago. Mrs. Elphick said today that her son was educated at Point Pearce Mission Station. He had worked in the salt industry, and at grapepicking, before enlisting. He had been actively associated with the Maitland Methodist Church and Sunday school. "Tim never mentions the war, or his experiences, in his letters." said his mother. "A couple of his mates told me he was going to be recommended for the medal, so I asked him about it when he was home on leave. "He brought me back a 7-lb. tin of lollies all the way from New Guinea. He said it had been given to him by 'the Yanks,' and he was determined to hang on to it until he got home." She said Tim was fond of the sea, and for a time had thought of joining the Navy.



The carnival held at the Wayville Showgrounds under the auspices of he Underdale Athletic Club was a pronounced success. It was the club's seventh annual venture, and the large fields and good attendance testified to the Excellence of the organisation. The club arranged for Tim Banner, the ex-world's champion, to appear, and many spectators journeyed to the oval to see this runner in action.

A Point Pearcenative, R. Wilson, began by winning the first heat of the Sheffield easily in 11 4-5 sec., and anotner native, F. Karpenny, won the succeeding heat, and still another, in F. Warrior, qualified for the second round in the eighth....


Wins Underdale Gift And Handicap

A TEAM of Aboriginal runners from the Point Pearce Mission Station' surprised local competitors in races at the Gift meeting of the Underdale Athletic Club at the Wayville Oval yesterday. The best of the team was R. T. Wilson, a sturdily built fellow, who won the Underdale Gift and the .75 yards handicap, the chief events of the programme. Wilson won the first heat, of the Underdale Gift race- in 11 4-6 sees., and another member of the team, F. Fv Karpenny, von the second heat easily. Wilson broke the tape about a yard ahead' of G. Bead in the final in 11 4-5 sees. Then in the 75 yards handicap Wilson and another team-mate. Warrior, trained first and -second place in seven seconds.. Karpenny brilliantly won a heat of the 4iO yards event, but failed in the final, H. Lang won the Old Buffers' championship (75 yards) for the third time. The 100 yards match race between Tim Banner, former world's champion, and W. E. £. Mobbs (4) and M. J. Dunn (2) was won by Banner by inches. His time was ft 0-10 sees. Miss Myrtle Thomas, woman champion cyclist of the State, did not strike her top form in the final of the women's half-mile race, and was easily defeated by Misses Paget and Maddiford.

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.

Point Pearce Mission Station

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

An Object Lesson.

Visiting the Aborigines,

Unusual Charge

An unusual case brought under the Aborigines Act was heard last week. Phillis Angie, 22, domestic, of Point Pearce, was charged that, being an aborigine, she refused to remain within the Point Pearce aborigines' reserve, to which she had been removed by the Aborigines' Protection Board. She pleaded guilty and was ordered imprisonment for six weeks.


From 'DON,' Point Pearce:— Surely aboriginal ex-soldiers should be allowed the same rights to the hotel bars and liquor, as Europeans exercise. While they wore the King's uniform, on active service abroad, they were quite eligible to have as much liquor as they cared to consume. The law here gives the police officers almost unlimited power, over the poor, unfortunate "aboriginal". The time has arrived when they no longer need the protection of the State but would do far better if they were on the same level as their fellow comrades. This subject calls for immediate attention.


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


News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Tuesday 18 December 1934, page 3

Paintings From Pt. Pearce The Director of the Art Gallery (Mr. Leslie Wilkie) has returned to Adelaide from the Point Pearce Aborigine Mission, where he painted nine natives. The paintings were secured as a record of the coloring and features of South Australian aborigines. "It was hard work from morning until night," Mr. Wilkie said today. "One day the temperature reached 109 degrees. Some of the natives spoke English exceptionally well. In fact their intonation and form of speech was superior to that of many white men. The natives Mr. Wilkie painted belonged to the Narrinyeri tribe. The paintings will be placed on exhibition at the Art Gallery.


The entertainments given at the exhibition a couple of months since by eighty or ninety natives of the Point Madeay and Point Pearce Mission Stations wera so successful that the Exhibition authorities recently arranged for similar entertainments. Last week a large number of Point Pearce natives attended the Exhibition, and on Tuesday night, November 22, 230 natives— men, women, and children — belonging to the Point Macleay Mission provided an entertainment. Over 3,300 persons attended. The main hall was crowded in every part, the galleries and the stairs also were so packed that scores of people could only now and again get a glimpse of the performances. A wurley was erected in front of the organ, and the seats in each organ gallery were occupied with the natives. Old women were engaged at native work in their wurley. Five tableaux of savage life as could be witnessed fifty years ago amongst the Naringeri tribe, to which most of these natives are related, were presented.

Scene 1 represented camp life with mat and basket makers, firemaker, twinespinners, netmakers, native toilet, &c.

Scene 2 was a ' Native Song' — a Maaaeager's Reception, part 1, of which represented the reception of good news, and part 2 the reception of news of the death of a friend bewitched by their enemies.

Scene 3 was 'The Rainmaker,' and the next ' The Native Doctor.'

Scene 4 perhaps created more laughter than any of the rest. The doctor placed a rope around a native's chest in order to squeeze out the native's disease. Two human arm-bones were produced, and the disease was supposed to be extracted from the head and then from the chest, a woman in the meanwhile bewailing in the background. At last the disease was brought out at the man's extremities.

Scene 5 represented 'The Hunter's Sacrifice,' a wallaby being placed on a fire, around which the natives chanted an indescribable song. The men engaged in the various scenes were evidently old hands at their manoeuvres. Decked or almost covered in evergreens and their bodies painted they looked most comical, and the manner in which they danced about the platform, beat time with their sticks, and expressed themselves in language unintelligible to the audience, created a great deal of fun. Their almost continual chatter and clatter was bound to entertain the youngest child and oldest person present, even these who had been privileged to see the aboriginals in their wild state before the colony was settled by the whiteman. Explanation of the scenes were given by Mr. F. W. Taplin, the Superintendent of the Mission. Following the tableaux came a recitation, 'The British. Flag,' rendered very well indeed by a young man. Then seven hymns are sung by a host of native children, to the evident satisfaction of the listeners. Mr. D. Blackwell, Overseer of the Mission, led the singing. Mr. Blackwell has had the training of the children, and those who heard them could scarcely express themselves other than that the children acquitted themselves admirably. There was a sweet blending voices, especially when the children sang their opening number, 'All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.' The performances in the main hall were concluded amid prolonged applause. Afterwards a sham fight took place on the promenade. This doubtless was the most amusing part of the night's entertainment. Several natives were engaged as attacking and defending forces, and after a great deal of spear-throwing and rattling of shields two of the soldiers were wounded, and shortly afterwards she battle ended. The native woman and children who were seated around the ring seemed to be as much amazed as the strangers, especially when a soldier's naked foot was unexpectedly struck by his opponents dart. But these civilized aboriginals, although, they enjoy the fun as much as other people, would rather not resort to their primitive customs. They think it is to degrading to do so many of the younger members of their race absolutely refuse to enter into such expositions.



A distressing happening in connection with the visit of Point Pearce natives to Gawler on Monday last was their appearance in the Gawler Court on Tuesday morning, charged with being in unlawful possession of liquor. The defendants were Herbert John Milera, Norman Lennox Angle, Wilfred Lawrence Wanganeen, Edgar Wanganeen, Leslie Nortnari Wanganeen and Alfred O'Loughlin who pleaded not guilty.

Mounted Cons. Smith, of Gawler, gave evidence that on Tuesday morning at about 10 o'clock he walked into the Globe Hotel at the South end of Murray Street, and in the parlor at the back of the bar saw the defendants seated at a table. Each had a glass of liquor in their hands. He said to the licensee — 'I'm surprised at you coming at this sort of thing.' The landlord replied, 'They pestered me that much for drink, and said that if I gave them a drink they would just get away, and so I decided to give them one to get rid of them.' One of the defendants then said, 'You are pretty hard on us. Three butchers of beer among six of us. That much would do no harm, hardly a mouthful for each.' Witness said, ''Who is going to have the beer?' and received the reply, 'We were going to have a 1/3 glass each.' The constable then said to Milera; 'I thought you were a T.T.?' Milera replied, 'Yes, I did say that, but we have always to put up these sort of tales.' Another said, 'We were going to whack it up amongst us.' He took their names and got them to the police station, where the charge was made out.

Virtually each defendant, who was tried separately, told the same tale that they went into the hotel to bid good-bye to the landlord, and they saw the three butchers of beer on the counter. They had had none of the liquor, and what the constable stated was not true. The Bench (Messrs. Cox and Bright, J's.P.) smiled when one broke out: 'I just walked in with a cobber to bid farewell to the landlord.' The charges were considered proved, and a conviction without penalty was recorded with 15/ costs in each case, in default three days' imprisonment.


A novel football match was played on the Jubilee Oval last Saturday afternoon between a representative team from Gawler and a team comprising aborigines along the Murray, and from the Point Pearce Mission Station. The natives played and kicked surprisingly well, and some of them were amazingly fast. The game was keen, but nevertheless clean and friendly throughout. The final scores were:—Natives, 12 goals 19 bchinds; Gawler, 10 goals, 17 behinds. Our composite shows:—1. The aborigines team and supporters. 2. A scramble for the leather. 3. The Gawler representatives. 4. Native women at the match.


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.



The death of Princess Amelia, which recently occurred at the Point Pearce Mission Station, removed not only a familiar figure from the streets of Moonta, but also the last of the tribe of natives which formerly occupied the district where Adelaide now stands. Amelia was her maiden name, but she married Mr. C. J. Savage, pi Moonta, and for many years they resided in Moonta and at North Moonta. A few weeks ago she was not enjoying gobd health, and went to the mission station at Point Pearce, where she died .

Princess Amelia was a daughter of he head of the tribe to which she belonged. A representative of 'The Advertiser' who interviewed her some time ago in the interests of native nomenclature, found that although aged she still possessed a fair memory, and more than average native intelligence. She had been educated in some of the early Adelaide public schools. She said that Princess Amelia Walker was the name she was known by among the white people of Adelaide when she was a 'girl, but her native name was Princess Everety, and that she was the only surviving member, of the Lundagunya tribe of aborigines. She was a daughter of the last king, who was at the head of the tribe when the whites were surveying the city of Adelaide. Her father's name, she said, was King Perna Adyunda Rudkee. but the white settlers called him King Rodney for short. Princess Everety related interesting matters concerning her father, the tribe generally, their customs and warfare, and gave accurate information concerning the settlement of Adelaide when the district was covered with gum trees and mallee, and later when it became dotted here and there with the homes of settlers. Some of the information she imparted was amusing as well as informative. The white people, she said, among other things, induced her father to don European clothes in the early days, and when he went' out so attired to his people they all bolted from camp into the bush, and he after them. They ran miles before they learned that it was the king from whom they ran. A light-hearted soul was Princess Amelia, quick to see a joke, and hearty was the laughter that fol lowed. She must have been nearly 90 when she died.


'Graveyard Of Ships' Is Little Industrial Centre


ONE of the loneliest of South Australian settlements is that at Wardang Island, in Spencer Gulf. On this little island less than a dozen families live in happiness and contentment, despite the isolation. Although their sole means of communication with the outside world is a small motor launch which crosses to the mainland three times a week, the islanders keep themselves well informed of current events through the medium of radio.

Almost everyone possesses a wireless set, and the freedom from interference and excellent range of reception would make the city radio enthusiast green with envy.

Wardang Island is the largest island of the Wauraltee Group, six miles from Port Victoria, it is 4½ miles long and two miles wide, and has an area of approximately 5,000 acres.

Because of the number of bandicoots found there it was originally named Wauraltee Island— "Waural," in the language of the local natives, meaning bandicoot, and "tee" Island. But the name has long since been changed. The bandicoots have disappeared, and the island is now infested by penguins and rabbits. The rabbits were introduced by fishermen about 10 years ago.

Aboriginal Legend

THE early aborigines had an interest-ing legend explaining the genesis of Wardang and the Wauraltee group of islands. They told of a mighty tribal god named Nugna. This god was in the form of a man of gigantic stature and prodigious strength. On one occasion when his people had invoked his wrath Nugna took up his huge club and dealt the earth a terrific blow. The force of the blow caused several fragments of land to fly into the gulf, to form the Wauraltee Islands; while the great depression caused by it was invaded by the sea to form Port Victoria Bay and Point Pearce.

Wardang Island is the property of the Point Pearce Mission Station, and is used for grazing purposes. Unfortunately, low rainfall and the absence of artesian water strictly limit the number of stock that can be pastured there, while the prevalence of coast disease necessitates frequent transference to the mainland.

Principal Industry

THE island's principal industry is the carting and shipping of sand to Port Pirie. The polyzal sand is exceptionally pure, and ideal for use as a flux. Consequently, large areas of the island are leased by the Broken Hill Associated Smelters, which are shipping thousands of tons of sand annually, to be used in the Port Pirie Smelting Works.

A jetty has been built, and a large storage bin erected. In this the sand, which is conveyed from the sandhills in horse-drawn trucks, is stored to await shipment in the fortnightly barge. Several weatherboard cottages have been provided for the laborers, and a small general store, the property of the company, supplies the employes at wholesale rates.

The island has seen much busier days. For many years polyzoal sandstone — of which there are large deposits — was quarried and used for flux. Then, as many as 60 men were employed at the quarries, but soon after the war it was discovered that the sand from the sandhills contained essentially similar properties to the stone. The carting of sand then supplanted the quarrying of sandstone, and the facility with which the sand could be obtained led to a reduction in the number of hands employed from 60 to about 12.

In addition to those employed by the B.H.A.S., there are several fishermen at Wardang Island, and a few aborigines engaged in looking after the Mission Station property, and tending the flocks and herds.

Notorious For Wrecks

WARDANG Island at one time became notorious in shipping circles because of the number of vessels that met their doom in its vicinity. The island was referred to as a "graveyard of ships." Even now the gaunt, red hull of a once trim barque, the twisted plates and girders, red with rust, still to be seen on the weather side, testifies to the treachery and relentnessness of this reef-bound shore.

Even after the provision of a light-house, wrecks continued to occur with alarming regularity. No less than 11 ships met with disaster on the shores of Wardang Island, eight of which became total losses. The last wreck occurred in 1927. The island is now striving to live down its sinister reputation.

This composite picture shows: — (Left) The settlement at Wardang Island — the school is at the right; (lower centre) Point Pearce Mission Station sheep; (upper centre) the French barque Notre Dame d'Arvor, wrecked at the island in 1920, as she is today; and (right) storage bin for polyzoal sand awaiting shipment to the Port Pirie smelters.

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Thursday 11 August 1927, page 15


Trophy for Best Display

"Is boomerang throwing among the aborigines of South Australia dying out?" Spectators at the Charity Carnival will be able to answer this question themselves after seeing in action three competitors who have journeyed from Point McLeay and Point Pearce to show their skill with the curved wood.

Features of the last Charity Carnival were the skilled exhihitions by Clarence Long and George Murray, two full blooded aborigines from Point McLeay. This year, through the courtesy of Mr. C. Ranmey (former superintendent of Point MLceay) and Mr. J. B. Steer (superintendent of Point Pearce Station), it has been possible to arrange a competition between exponents of boomerang and spear throwing, native arts which are dying with the fast-disappearing aborignal race. The competitors are:- Clarence Long, of Point McLeay; Jim Johnson, of Point Pearce; Frank Blackmoore, of Point Pearce. A trophy will he awarded, to the native who gives the best exhibition.




Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), Saturday 13 August 1927, page 5

COLOSSAL CROWD ATTENDS Great Band Demonstration

As early as 10 'o'clock many hundreds of people were gathered round the gates of the Adelaide Oval. They included many children who desired to be among the 3,000 who were to receive presents of sweets. The general public also kept pouring in. When the first item on the programme — that of boomerang and spear throwing by three aborigines — was presented the stands and mounds were packed with an eager and expectant throng. Weather conditions were ideal and the delightful greenness of the oval contributed to the pleasing effect. Sir Tom Bridges (Governor), was an early arrival, and Sir Wallace Bruee (Lord Mayor) and Mr. R. L. Butler (Premier) arrived later. Just how boomerangs and spears should be thrown was cleverly demonstrated by three aborigines — Clarence Long (Point MeLeay), Jim Johnson and Frank Blackmoore (Point Pearce), who for 20 minutes delighted the thousands that thronged the oval. In the bright sunshine . the spears and boomerangs gleamed and glistened as they sped s through space, while the aborigines in their quaint native dress gave to the demonstration a striking touch of ' the picturesque past. An appreciative cheer followed the natives as they left the arena when their demonstration had been completed.

Aborigines will arrive in Adelaide today from Point Pearce and Point McLeay to complete their preparations for the exhibitions of boomerang and spear throwing. From the tine the first boomerang is thrown until pushball, with contestants in fancy dress, concludes the festival the intense interest of patrons will be held. The complete list is as follows:12.30 to 12.40 .. EXHIBITIONS OF BOOMERANG AND SPEAR THROWING. by full-blooded aborigines.


News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Saturday 13 August 1927, page 8

Uncanny Boomerang Throwing An exhibition of boomerang and spear throwing began the arena proceedings for the day. Bedecked in war-paint and fea thers three full-blooded aborigines -Clarence Long, of Point McLeay, and Jim Johnson and Frank Blackmore, of Point Pearce, delighted the large crowd. Sir Edward Lucas, who judged a com petition of a similar nature later in the afternoon tried his hand at boomerang throwing with fair success. The aboriginies were handicapped in their exhibition by being new to the boomerangs used. Their uncanny efforts nevertheless brought looks of wonderment on the faces of many of the spectators.


The Chief Inspector of Aborigines, in' his report for the year 1915-16, states that 20 aboriginal South Australians were accepted for active service in the expeditionary forces. Several others offered, but were rejected. The enrolled men hailed from the following 'centres:— Point Macleay Station, 11; Point Pearce Station, 3; Wellington, 3; Coorong, 1; Goolroa, 1; and Victor Harbour, 1.


The Commonwealth decision to allow aborigines to vote meant that about 1,500 natives in South Australia would be entitled to enrol as electors for Senate and House of Representative elections, the Protector of Aborigines (Mr. W. R Penhall) said yesterday. Aborigines had always had the right to enrol for South Australian elections and some who lived in Aborigines Department cottages, were included on the Legislative Council roll as inhabitant occupiers. Mr. Penhall said that it was not unusual for 150 aborigines at the Point Pearce and Point McLeay missions to record 100 p.c. polls at State elections. They had always shown themselves keenly interested in State politics and he recalled a 100 p.c. poll at Point Pearce in which there were no informal votes. More than 100 SA aborigines discharged from the services would now be entitled to a Commonwealth vote.

Natives Enter Machine Age

A regulation approved by Executive Council yesterday empowers Government officers to take action against natives for dangerous driving on aboriginal reserves. Many natives at the Point Pearce and Point McLeay reserves own cycles and managers of both stations are believed to be concerned about the danger of accidents.



The second reading of a Bill to make better provision for committing half-caste aboriginal children to institutions under the control of the State Children's Council was moved by the Commissioner of Public Works (Hon. W. Hague) in the Assembly on Tuesday. The Minister said the Bill referred to the children at the Point Pearce and Point McLeay mission station, where there are 95 and 81 children respectively between the ages of one and 14 years. There were practically no full-blooded native children on the stations. Experience had shown that when the half-castes grew up on the stations they were unwilling to work, and refused to be placed out. They seemed to regard the mission stations as a permanent home from which they could not be turned away. It was felt that the children should be taken from their present environment and placed in a new atmosphere, free from the contaminating influence of their present mode of life. There was no machinery in the Aborigines' Department for placing out and supervising halfcaste children: but the State Children's Department possessed such machinery, and the Government proposed to hand over those children on the mission stations to the control of the State Children's Council. At present those children could not be taken charge of by the Stat Children's Council except by judicial process. The idea was for the council to take charge of the children and place them out in the homes of the people until they were 18 years of age, when it was hoped they would not be anxious to return to the mission station.

Mr. Allen hoped the measure would not he agreed to. It was a slur on the mission stations, which had been doing good work in the past, and there was not the slightest necessity for it. It was not a humane measure. The Point Pearce Mission was on one of the best-managed stations in the Commonwealth. The natives themselves had feelings which should be considered. Trouble had been caused in the past by interference from well-meaning people outside, who considered they could control the station better than the manager. Unless it was shown that the parents were unable or unwilling to look after their children the Protector of Aborigines had no right to take them away. The way the children were cared for at Point Pearce would be a credit to any white community.

The debate was adjourned.


Wanted To Hear Debate On Aborigines Bill

One of the most alert listeners in the public gallery at the House of Assembly yesterday was Mr. Mark Wilson, one of the four full-blooded aborigines left at the Point Pearce Mission Station.

In Adelaide for treatment for leg trouble. Mr. Wilson visited Parliament House in the hope of hearing some of the debate on the Bill which proposes to transfer the control of aborigines to a board. In this he was disappointed, as the debate was not resumed yesterday.

Mr. Wilson, however, made good use of his opportunity by interviewing the Independent member for his district, (Mr. Davies), whom he supplied with information which Mr. Davies proposes to use when he speaks on the Bill next I week.

Mr. Wilson's sentiments can be summed up in his remark to Mr. Davies that "the present system of control has now had 100 years to prove itself, and it hasn't."

Mr. Wilson"s visit recalls an Incident at the Point Pearce station during the last State election campaign when he was asked to preside at a meeting held by Mr. Davies. Mr. Wilson startled the whites present by declaring in perfect English, when opening the meeting, "I would like to stress the fact I that brain and intellect are not the exclusive heritage of any race or color."

The population at Point Pearce Is about 300, and produced about 80 votes at the last election.


While Mr A. Trueman was digging in his garden at the school house, Cunliffe, he unearthed a human shin bone about six inches below the surface. On making further investigations he came across the full skeleton of an aborigine about a foot down. Buried with its owner were a string of shells, a hammerstone (used to sharpen spears) and decayed boomerang which appeared to be laid across the chest of the deceased aborigine, probably the custom when one of the tribe was buried. Very old residents report that aborigines roamed this district in the early days.

Y.P. Dies

The death of a wellknown Yorke Pen. aborigine, at Malvern at the week-end, was announced by the Protector of Aborigines (Mr. W. It. Penhall) this week.

Mr. Penhall said that Joe was one of the most notable natives he had ever come in contact with. He was an expert at farm fencing, and have done hundreds miles of fencing in his around Point Pearce.

He was a highly respected citizen, and a confirmed church-goer. An expert athlete and footballer, Joe was especially known for his cricket ability.

"If Joe had been properly in footwork, he'd represented Australia at cricket," Mr. Penhall said.

"One match we played together, in which I was captain of the team, was at Urania in 1920. We made partnership score of 150 in 90 minutes, Joe making 102. He was a fine type of man."

500 Aborigines To See Queen

Provision has been made for more than 500 aborigines to see the Royal Progress through Adelaide, the State director of the royal tour (Mr. M. A. F. Pearce) said yesterday.

Forty native children from the hostel at Alice Springs and 40 natives from Ernabella Mission would see the Progress in Hindley street. Space would be provided in Light square for 50 children from the United Aborigines' Mission.

These children would come from Colebrook Home and from parts of the River Murray.

Four hundred natives from Point McLeay and Point Pearce Mission stations would see the Royal Progress from North terrace.

The Protector of Aborigines was arranging for natives from Port Augusta and Alice Springs to visit Whyalla to see the Queen, Mr. Pearce said.

Fifty natives from Koonibba Mission would present a display at Whyalla.


Whilst Mr. Robert Thomson was hunting for horses this morning in the vicinity of an old well distant a mile from the township he heard human sounds, and proceeding to the well discovered a native named Charley, of Point Pearce Station, in an exhausted condition at the bottom of the well. The man fell down last night. Assistance was speedily obtained, and the native was hauled to the surface with ropes. It was found that he had sustained severe injury, and also that wine had been supplied to him. He was conveyed to the Mission Station for treatment. The matter is in the hands of the police for investigation, as this is not the first case of wine having been supplied to natives.

The Days of Long Ago

Pioneering on Yorke Peninsula

Gum Flat Station at one time extended from Penton Vale in the south almost to Maitland in the north, and Mr. John Butler remembers as many as fifty blacks coming up to the outstation hut. They had a burying ground not far from what is now the Minlaton-Stansbury Road, and Mr. Butler remembers that they always buried their dead in a sitting position.