REPORT OF A VISIT TO YORK'S PENINSULA—BY MESSRS. COCK AND JAMESON.
GENTLEMEN—Being desirous previous to my return to England to dispel some portion of the doubt or rather the complete ignorance which exists respecting York's Peninsula and the country near Port Lincoln, I gladly availed myself of the opportunity of joining some gentlemen in an expedition to those coasts. Much interest is known to exist, especially in England, concerning these localities an interest which appears to be well founded when we reflect that to a pastoral and grazing country, with a rapidly increasing population, space in an object of the first importance. From the geographical relations of Spencer' Gulf, it is to be inferred that its shores are not less fertile than those of St. Vincent's Gulf. To bring that inference to the test was the object of our expedition.
The continued prevalence of strong gales from the S.W. prevented us from entering Spencer's Gulf. We were, therefore, forced to content ourselves with some excursions into York's Peninsula; and, as our party was reduced to Mr. Cock and myself, we could not leave our boat, a decked cutter of ten tons, without some risk of being unable to find her on our return. It will be understood that the opinions expressed concerning the capabilities of the land are founded chiefly upon the wellknown judgment and experience of my fellow traveller.
The land of York's Peninsula, as seen from St. Vincent's Gulf, is very low and destitute of all the features of a line and hold country. No eminence of more than 200 feet in height was visible over a range of coast forty miles in extent. The coast is generally " bluff," and is composed of horizontal earthy strata, the upper beds of a whitish marl-like appearance, having the usual covering of vegetable mould, mixed with a reddish ferruginous loam. In its geo-logical formation it bears, therefore, a strong resemblance to the land on which Adelaide is built. The land stretching backwards from the sea is a dead level, but well covered with the common grasses, shrubs, and smaller trees of this country. Birds of the various Australian tribes are very numerous, as are also kangaroos of the large forest species, in excellent condition. There were many tracks and encampments of the natives, and their fires were visible in many parts of the country. The soil and the vegetation improved rapidly as we advanced inland, and we saw many extensive fields of kangaroo grass. The most abundant tree is the she-oak, whole forests of which we traversed, interspersed with the blue gum, the mimosa, and the cypress. The memebryanthum edile is too abundant. Its pulpy fruit has a very agreeable flavour when ripe, and is much eaten by the natives.
From this rough sketch it will he apparent that the soil is not of a very fertile description, but, so far from being a " barren and sandy waste" that, if we could have found a fresh water river, we would have pronounced it a good country for the maintenance of flocks and herds. From the numerous native population it is obvious that there is no scarcity of fresh water, although we could not find it.
Nine miles north of Troubridge Shoal there is another shoal of equal extent, covered at high water, running N. E. five miles, and bearing from Mount Lofty W. ½N. This shoal is not laid down in the chart. It was covered with innumerable birds, and as some of them were pelicans the reef may be called "Pelican Shoal." Between these two shoals the water is deep and smooth, and it is well worthy of attention, as affording good anchorage in the heaviest southerly gales, Troubridge Shoal acting as a breakwater.
In this part of the coast there is a beautiful semicircular bay, three miles deep, with sloping and wooded shores, from which many native smokes were rising. Landing at a distant part of the coast, we made for this bay, expecting to find a stream of fresh water running into it. We saw a party of eight or ten natives gathering the shell fish which abound along the coast. When they descried us they immediately ran into the woods, and we saw no more of them, to our great disappointment, as we expected to learn from them whether there was any fresh water stream in the neighbourhood along whose banks we might prosecute our enquiries into the neighbourhood. From the head of the bay we struck into the bush, and after a walk of twenty-five miles, during which we suffered consiberably from thirst, reached our boat. We found the soundings of the bay very shallow, and named it in our log "Deception Bay."
Unable as we wore to attain our objects, we saw enough to induce us to hope that this attempt to throw a light on these interesting parts of the province will not be the last. A party of five might in my opinion, if provided with two pack horses, reach Port Lincoln by land; as I believe from the number of natives that a scarcity of water is not to be feared. The natives themselves would, if they received no provocation, (judging from the ordinary principles of human nature) remain perfectly inoffensive. They are neither cannibals nor wild beasts, but human beings living on the spontaneous bounty of nature. Wherever they have been met they have returned kindness for kindness. In the neighbourhood of Encounter Bay they may perhaps have acquired an unfavourable idea of the white man's character, from the behaviour of a few sealers and whalers, but elsewhere they will, I believe generally be found very harmless and even useful as guides.
I have the honor to be Gentlemen, Your most obedient humble servant, R. G. JAMESON, Surgeon.
P. S.—lt is known that exploration is by many colonists regarded as unfavorable to the colunial principle of concentration. To those who hold such an opinion I would respectfully suggest that the range of accessible pasturage on this side of St. Vincent's Gulf is very limited and not capable of feeding more than 600,000 sheep, with the same proportionate number of cattle. Now the colony can hardly be of any importance as a wool— exporting settlement without five or six times that number of sheep.
The cutter 'Frolic' crossing to Yorkes Peninsula, June 14 1850. B 55783 State library of South Australia
PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
Our enterprising friend Mr. Eyre has just returned after an unsuccessful attempt to proceed by land to Port Lincoln, crossing the head of Spencer's Gulf. We have not yet heard what the precise obstacles were which impeded his progress; but Mr. Eyre, we believe, is preparing a report to his Excellency the Governor of his expedition, which will of course in due time be given to the public.
We are by no means inclined, however, to give up the idea of the practicability of the land route to Port Lincoln, or that Spencer's Gulf cannot be outflanked. On the contrary, we trust Mr. Eyre will soon make another attempt, and that he will then be successful. In the meantime, however, we have easy access to that port by sea, and, thanks to our active friend Robert Cock, a direct communication, partially overland, has been explored, and Port St. Vincent, in the Gulf of that name, on the west side of Yorke Peninsula, and Port Victoria, on the eastern shores of Spencer's Gulf, will soon form depots from which more extended explorations can he made, and an easy road to Port Lincoln secured. The following report from Mr. Cock of his journey across Yorke's Peninsula will be read with interest :—
Report of an Exploratory Expedition to Port St. Vincent, and thence across York's Peninsula to Port Victoria, by ROBERT COCK, in conformity with instructions given to him by the Adelaide Survey Association.
On the 19th May, in company with Mr. James Hughes and some attendants, I joined the vessel and set sail for Port St. Vincent. On the 21st we came to anchor about eight miles above the Port in eight feet water about 300 yards from the shore, which here is bold —say about 80 to 100 feet high, with excellent sandstone rock that would cut to any size or purpose, protruding over the sand beach. On the 22nd, having landed, and loaded ourselves with provisions, water, blankets, &c., for our journey across the Peninsula (each having from thirty to forty pounds to carry), we proceeded towards the Port Victoria Survey, N. 70 W. We almost immediately entered a dense scrub growing on a firm, sandy loam; this continued for ten or twelve miles, and we were nearly exhausted before we cleared it, when we entered an extensive valley of rich soil, running S. by W. should suppose it to be some twenty miles long by about two and a half broad. From this to Port Victoria, a distance of about twelve miles, the country is pleasing and fertile.
We spent two days in surveying the shores of Port Victoria, when we again left for Port St. Vincent, and on our way back passed through an equal extent of fertile land, and crossed the valley about three miles to the south of where we crossed it before. Here it partakes of the same fertile nature and beautiful appearance; the drainage of this valley appears to lodge about four miles to the south, where, there is no doubt, the valley will be much richer, and into which the outline of the second survey taken by the Association will run. On leaving this splendid valley we entered forest land, principally box, and shortly thereafter the scrub, which continues to within about two miles of Port St. Vincent. Here the land becomes a beautiful level about ten or fifteen feet above the sea, and consists of an easy and fertile soil, the flat pleasantly surrounded with higher lands, upon which is the scrub, but from these the scrub will soon disappear, as it will be [found] very useful for fencing purposes. On the south of this flat, which will be the site of the town at Port St. Vincent, coral reefs and bold shores prevail, covered with sea fossil and shell fish. The point runs out considerably, and land-locks a safe harbour with good anchorage from three to eight fathoms, at from a quarter to one mile from the shore: the shore is covered with shrubbery, and is light and sandy for a short distance back. To the north the shore is bold, and scrub prevails for six or eight miles, when it fails and leaves the grassy inclined plains, reaching with little interval to the head of the Gulf, distant about thirty miles when the country becomes mountainous and continues so to Mount Arden, where the range abruptly terminates.
The result of the formation of the Adelaide Survey Association has thus proved of the utmost importance to the province, as well as to themselves. They have examined a line of coast of about 500 miles in extent, and traversed the country inland in different directions and in various [?] about ?50 miles and have bought 8,000 acres [?] at twenty shillings per acre has in the advantages of two excellent and extensive harbours, affording natural and requisite sites for two important seaports, and also an inland town, with a fine island like to become a place of resort and recreation. But the more substantial advantages are the command of an extensive fertile agricultural and pastoral country, the produce of which can at once be shipped at safe and good harbours, the vessels not requiring to be more than a quarter or a mile from the shore, and ere long it is to be hoped will be able to lay alongside the wharfs.
The important article of fish abounds in the harbours and along the shores. The various advantages cannot fail in time amply to reward the Association for their enterprise, which has thus proved to be a most important step in the onward advancement of this province.
PORT VICTORIA AND PORT ST. VINCENT.
JAMES H HUGHES, Surveyor to the Adelaide Survey Association.
The following Report to the proprietors of the Special Surveys which include these fine harbours, by Mr Hughes, the Surveyor, will be read with great interest. It confirms in all particulars the previous accounts we have from time to time published:—
PORT VICTORIA — The first selection made by the Adelaide Survey Association, is situated on the western side of Yorke's Peninsula, or on the eastern side of Spencer's Gulf, at the point shown upon Flinder's chart as Point Pearce. The specification of the Special Survey includes four harbours. The first is under the lee of Wardang Island (formerly considered as Point Pearce), here, vessels drawing 18 feet water may lie perfectly sheltered from every wind, being protected on the west by Warding Island, on the east by the main land of Yorke's peninsula, on the north by Goose Island and the adjoining reef, and on the south and south-west by the sand spit stretching across from Wardang Island. The second harbour is situated round Point Pearce; here also vessels drawing 15 feet water may anchor in perfect safety, being entirely sheltered by Wardang Island and the sand spits; this harbour has the advantage of three reefs of rocks running from the point, with deep water close in, affording great facilities for the formation of wharfs, &c. The third harbour is along the eastern shore of Point Pearce; the depth of water here is only 14 feet; but it is perfectly sheltered from every wind by the sand-spit running parallel with the coast and about a mile from it. The fourth and deepest harbour is formed by the opposite shore to Point Pearce, and the eastern side of the last named sand-spit; the depth of water here is from five to six fathoms, one and a half miles wide, with deep water close inshore, and with every facility for the formation of wharfs, &c. The shore is generally low, with several sandy beaches, affording an occasional display of iron stone, granite, whin stone, and quartz. The bottoms of these habours is generlly sand and mud, and extremely flat, the soundings being similar for a considerable distance. The land from the coast rises gradually towards the centre of the Peninsula, and consists of open plain with occasional belts of trees. This description of country appears to exist as far as they eye can see north and south. The soil is pronounced by Mr. Wilson, who walked across the peninsula with a spade on his shoulder, and whom I believe to be most competent judge, to be excellent; it is a light soil, of a fine loamy description, well set with the finer description of grasses. Fresh water has been discovered in four places close to the beach; and along this shore it is proposed to form a township in addition to that on Point Pearce. Leaving Victoria Harbour, and proceeding east across Yorke's Peninsula, towards Port Vincent for about ten miles, we arrive at York Valley, in which districts the country land of the Port Vincent survey will be selected. In this valley it is proposed to form a secondary township, attached to the Port Vincent Special Survey, which, being midway between the two harbours of Port Vincent and Port Victoria, and in the midst of a fine sheltered agricultural district, which from its position between the two gulfs, and the drainage from the rising ground, I should infer must be capable of retaining moisture in the dryest seasons. A chain of water holes exists somewhat below the southern end of the valley; the quality is excellent, but I should imagine they are dry in summer— not a doubt however can exist of water being found in York Valley, at a depth of 20 or 30 feet. The valley, so far as known, is bounded on the eastern and western sides by a gentle ridge, covered with she-oak cherry tree, &c. It runs generally north and south, the explored part of it running about twenty miles in length and averaging two miles in breadth; the northern limit is not known, but most probably joins to open country at the termination of a belt of scrub which runs about five miels north of Port Vincent. This belt of scrub exists from York Valley across to Port Vincent, and may be eight or nine miles in width; it has been ascertained to terminate about ten miles south of Port Vincent. Through this belt the men employed by the Asso-ciation have nearly completed a good roadway, 18 or 20 feet wise, over which any vehicle may travel with the utmost case at all seasons. I have crossed the Peninsula three times before the road was cut, and could at any time walk from port to port, through the scrub, in eight hours, it not being of a dense character.
PORT VINCENT is situated on the eastern side of Yorke's Peninsula, about ten degrees to the south of Port Victoria, and Mount Lofty bears from it S. 65 E. I have much pleasure in announcing to you that after a full investigation by careful soundings, this harbour has equalled my most sanguine expectations —deeper water and better shelter having been found than had been represented to your committee; in short, there exists a safe and commodious habour, with 18 feet water 300 yards from a bold sandy beach, the water deepening outwards. Within the proposed site of the town is an extensive stone quarry, which may be worked with great facility and to any extent. The town will be well supplied with good fresh water, which may generally be obtained six or eight feet from the surface; two wells having been sunk, the supply of water was abundant and excellent. At the back of the site proposed for the town, is a plain of rich soil, sufficiently large to allow each shareholder about four acres. From the end of this valley commences the cut road to York Valley, already referred to. The harbour abounds with oysters, crabs, shrimps, prawns, wilks and a variety of other shellfish, besides the usual display of the Gulf fish, which may probably supply Adelaide—the run across occupying only a few hours. Upon the Peninsula may be obtained wallaby and wombat in great numbers. Wild fowl are very abundant at Victoria.
In the course of the next few days all the plans will be submitted to the Association, and previous to my departure, I presume the whole of the town lots, as well as the country land upon both surveys, may be balloted for, when a day will be fixed for pointing out the boundaries, upon the ground, to the respective proprietors. I cannot conclude without referring to one very important feature affecting these two Special Surveys, viz. the existence of so fine a pastoral and agricultural country as that described by Mr. Eyre in his late report, situated to the northward of St. Vincent's Gulf. The intermediate country having been veri-fied by Mr. Cock in sundry excursions as being of good quality the question is most satisfactorily settled as to the existence of ample back country connected with the two surveys. Mr. Cock having estimated the quantity of available land on the Peninsula at 600 square miles, and if to this we add Mr. Eyres country about alluded to, it would appear needless to attempt further estimate of the available land commanded by the two Ports.
NATIVES OF YORKE'S PENINSULA—PORT VICTORIA.
We have been favored with the following interesting report by Mr Hughes, surveyor :—
REPORT OF SEVERAL INTERVIEWS WITH THE ABORIGINES AT PORT VICTORIA, BY J. H. HUGHES.
North Adelaide, December 12, 1840.
In the month of December last I proceeded across Yorke's Peninsula with my party, for the purpose of completing the Government surveys at Port Victoria, but it appeared, on arriving there, that the natives had discovered my depot of stores, and had rendered everything useless—tent, clothing, rations, instruments, &c. They had located upon the spot, and made an ineffectual attempt to surround the party, but were driven off without any shots being fired. The damage thus effected on the stores entirely prevented me from proceeding with the survey, and having been absent five weeks, we returned to Adelaide At a moderate calculation,the loss sustained was £150. Before we left the Peninsula, they contrived to rob us twice of blankets, although we never could perceive they were near us. I may mention that, upon a former occasion, having unintentionally surprised two of their females, every attempt was made to allay their fears by retiring from them, and on the same day we suddenly came in view of the whole tribe, but having only two men with me, without fire-arms, provisions, or water, and no probability of obtaining any before we had crossed the Peninsula, I considerd it prudent to retire without risking an interview, more particularly as they showed a menacing attitude. Being under contract with the Government for the completion of the surveys, I sailed in October last with a party consisting of eight, having taken the precaution of obtaining a sufficient stand of arms and ammunition for our protection against the hostility of the natives, being fully satisfied that the would consider us [?], from the leniency we had shown them; from the robbery of the depot, not the slightest retaliation having been made, although we had an opportunity of destroying all their spears. Having arrived a Port Victoria, any best, formerly left there, was [?] on the beach, about a quarter of a mile [?] where I had left it, and while preparing to go ashore to get possession of her, about seventeen natives made their appearances with their spears, yelling with their usual threatening attitude. The bottom flooring of the boat had been torn out, and the rudder, oars, &c. had disappeared. Orders wore then given to this four men who had come ashore with me to follow steadily behind me along the top of the sand-hills in a direction to the natives (who had taken their stand about two hundred yards before us), and endeavour to find the boat's oars, &c. As the party advanced the natives retired, rallying occasionally and shaking their spears. I considered it almost useless to make any attempt at a friendly meeting with them, and was preparing to return to the vessel, but advancing a few yards towards them alone, while my party stood still, I made the signal of peace by holding up both my hands and waving a green bough This caused them immediately to drop their spears, and one of them took a green bow also, and advanced to meet me, the rest remaining behind at about the same distance from him as my party were from me. He ap-peared very timid as he advanced, frequently looking behind him to see if he was supported by his party; but making motions that I wanted water, and presenting him with some biscuit, he came close enough to receive it, and was soon reconciled. He was made to understand that I would call my party up, who then advanced without their pieces, and he called to four of his party, who came without their spears. They now pointed out a track which led to some water-holes, at which they had encamped, and as I could not persuade them to return with us for more biscuit, I made signs that we would visit them before the sun went down, and bring them biscuit and get water. The parties now separated, each waving a green bough as they retired. Desirous of not breaking confidence with them, myself and five of the party went to their encampment in the afternoon, taking some biscuit and small presents for them. They were prepared to receive us, being seated in a circle, and without any weapons; the women and children had been sent away. They had dressed themselves with green boughs fastened round their middle, and advancing singly, the chief came alone to meet me, and introduced me to the water hole, and then to each of his brethren. Having taken water, some biscuit was distributed among them, with which they seemed much pleased. My party now came up with green boughs, and were received in the same manner. Having given them some small presents, we again separated, each party waving their boughs as long as they could see each other. During this meeting I had much cause to admire the orderly conduct of the natives, and the pleasure with which they appeared to view us, and I fully expected that all hostility had ceased. Four days after this, we again visited their encampment for the purpose of giving them more biscuit, but having reached within fifty yards of their huts, we found only four females. I stood and called to them, and they got up, much alarmed, but retiring a few paces from them and waving the bough, they collected their nets, &c. and walked away, leaving a number of spears and four young native dogs. Our party returned, without in any way meddling with them. As I have always conceived that a great portion of the hostility shown by the aborigines to the white man has arisen from real or anticipated acts of violence on their females, I had fully hoped that this visit of ours would have convinced them that we were real friends, as this was the second opportunity of molesting their unprotected females. Nothing more was seen of the natives for fourteen days, when the following account of a visit from them was given by the two men in charge of my tents .— In the middle of the day the tribe we had formerly visited, with others, amounting to twenty-four in number, made their appearance upon the sand-hills, about a hundred yards from our encampment. They made signals of peace, and were allowed to come down to the tents, and received biscuit, rice, and sugar; they then asked for water, which was also given to them. During this time their behaviour was very forward, and having two tents to take care of, the two men had much difficulty in preventing them from taking anything they wanted, and were under the necessity of showing the fire arms. They then asked for a fire-stick, which being given to them, they pretended to go away, instead of which they set fire to the grass, endeavouring thereby to drive us away, but we fortunately got the fire under before it reached the tents. Seeing this manoeuvre fail, the chief advanced to the tents with two young females, and made signals to the two men in charge to take them into their tents; but this being refused, some more sugar and rice was given to the females, aud they were ordered away. It appears that the chief had fully calculated upon the success of the females drawing the attention of the two men from their duty, at which time they, no doubt, intended, to pounce upon them; for while this was going on, some were busily engaged on the sand-hills collecting their spears (where it appears they had hidden them), while others were sneaking round to the back of the tents. The chief finding the scheme of his females fail, became quite enraged, and called loudly to his assistants, who ran to him with a bundle of spears, one of which he was on the point of throwing, and at the same moment another was seen running away with a great coat and a Kangaroo rug, which he had contrived to steal from inside the tent. At this moment both men discharged their pieces, but, it would appear, without effect, for one native got clear off with the coat and rug, and the other let his spears fall and ran away. Several loose shots were now fired to alarm the party in the field, for although the natives had disappeared among the sand-hills after the first fire, yet it was uncertain whether or not they would return. Having heard the report of the guns, I returned with the field party immediately to the encampment, when I received the above account, together with seventeen spears, now in my possession, which were found after the natives had retired. I have no reason to believe that any of them were wounded, as I followed their tracks in the sand for some distance, but could perceive no signs of blood, although I found some rice, sugar, and biscuit which they had dropped. The following day being the last which required the services of myself and party in the field, I determined upon getting away as speedily as possible; and to prevent any more signal shots being fired, I caused the materials of a large fire to be prepared ready for lighting, as a signal for our party to return, in the event of another visit from them. We were in the field the next morning before sunrise, and completed what was required before eight o'clock, and then returned to the tents. It appears that the natives, nothing daunted at the occurrences of the previous day, had been watching close to the tents all night, expecting the party would proceed to the field as usual, leaving the two men only behind; but owing to the early hour at which we had gone out, they were quite deceived, and showed themselves on my return to the number of twenty-six. Our signal fire was now lighted, and the whole party was mustered in half an hour. I perceived the natives had also made a smoke, which I suspected to be a signal to some other tribe, after which they went into the water to fish, about two hundred yards from our tents, as if nothing had occurred ; and as they came out, I approached them singly with a green bought and they did the same; but it appears they had not forgotten the coat and rug, for they would not face me, but scattered themselves about the sandhills round the tents. Their smoke had been answered from Gawler Point. Eight additional natives were seen coming towards us, and smokes had been observed in other directions. The natives were to windward of us, and they had set fire to the grass; and any attempt to extinguish it was useless. The tents were immediately struck, and all the luggage removed to the boats before the fire reached us. The removal of the luggage occasioning a division of our party, it became necessary, to keep off the natives, to fire over their heads whenever they attempted to come near us ; and we fortunately get every thing on board before the Gawler Point tribe could reach them, without any bloodshed, which must have occurred had their whole body advanced upon us, as I have every reason to believe they had intended.
'Surveyors' Encampment Yorkes (sic) Peninsula', July 12 1850. B 55782 State library of South Australia
To. the Editor of the Chronicle,
Sir.~Conceiving that your communication to the public, in the Chronicle of the 31st ult, that I had been "ill-treated by the natives of York's Peninsula," might cause an unfavorable impression against them, I request the publication of the following condensed report of the whole affair, by which it will appear that your observations, though literally correct, do not apply to any open personal violence committed by the natives.
I am, Sir; Your Obedient Servant, James H, Hughes, North Adelaide, Jan 13th 1840.
Having completed the preliminary surveys at Port Victoria, and being about to return to Adelaide, I took the precaution to leave behind me a sufficient depot of stores to enable me to complete at a future period, the surveys I had undertaken. My new tent, instruments, stores, &c., I carefully buried in the sand in boxes and casks, covering them over with the ashes of a large fire. I ultimately made a fire over all; leaving what remained of the unburnt timber, on the spot. My boat I likewise left behind, close to where I had deposited the stores. On the 9th December iast, I returned to Port Victoria, for the purpose of completing the surveys; when I found that the natives (who were then located on the spot, to the number of, 17 or 20), had discovered my depot, and had spoiled or destroyed everything they found there. It appeared they had not consumed any of the rations, but had scattered them about so as to make them useless. The tent, boat's sail, blankets, and every thing in the shape of clothing had disappeared; the reflecting glasses of my sextant had been most ingeniously removed, as wall as the bright arch of division; and the instrument was completely ruined. They had not injured my boat, though they had contrived to remove it several feet from the spot on which I left it. Upon the approach of four of my party, the natives at first retreated; but having left behind them their fishing nets, they were allowed an opportunity of taking them away, which they did without any attempt; at hostility. It appeared that they had removed from the depot everything they considered useful; for at several native encampments we observed fragments of the missing articles. The next depredation ihey committed, was upon rny cart, which I had left at Yorke Valley, laden with rations, &c., but on that occasion they contented themselves with taking two blankets and a telescope stand. The last loss I sustained, was at Port Vincent. Having been alone in the huts there all night, I went to the springs for water, about nine o'clock in the morning: On my return, after only two or three minutes absence, I missed two blankets and some other trifles; which surprized me very much, as I had no idea there were natives in the neighbourhood. I Immediately commenced a search; and having gone about 90 yards along the beach, I saw about 10 natives fishing very deliberately, middle deep in the water two of whom had the missing blankets on their shoulders, As soon as they perceived me, they retired into the scrub, and I saw nothing more of them. The loss I have sustained in consequence of these depredations, amounts in all to about £150; and though it will probably fall upon myself, I must in justice exonerate the natives from the charge of any attempt at personal violence. On the last occasion, particularly, I was alone, and so perfectly unprepared tor them, that had they been hostilely inclined, they might easily have speared me; but they took no advantage of my defenceless state. Four days previous to this, two of my men had been visited by ten or a dozen of them. My man were unarmed, and gave a blanket as a present to the natives; who retired immediately, without offering them any molestation. Upon a former occasion, having been obliged to visit one of their favourite watering holes at night, we found a tribe of natives there; who retired, on hearing our footsteps, and left their spaars behind them. They did not go above twenty yards, before they pitched for the night; of course imagining that we were unaware of their vicinity. In return fo .their courtesy, having refreshed ourselves, we gave them an opportunity of removing their spears, and obtaining water if they required it,—which they availed themselves of; so that I think we shall be upon very friendly terms with each other, ii we go on as we have begun; particularly if we consider that the natives of Yorke's Peninsula can have had little, if any, opportunity of intercourse with Europe-ans, and that when any intercourse has taken place, it may have been characterized by one of those disgraceful occur rences which operate so long in preventing a friendly meeting between the bIack man and the white. I am quite satisfied, however, that on one occasion, I made a favorable impression on the natives of Port Victoria; for having suddenly surprized two females, whom we had approached within twenty yards before we perceived them, they appeared much alarmed, and made motions to us to go away; when our whole party immediately wheeled round, taking no further notice of them. The above true account of all the injury I sustained from the natives, will, I trust, have the effect of doing away with any impression of personai violence or ill-treatment on their part.
(Signed) J. H. HUGHES
(We have no doubt Mr. Hughes's interesting statement will have the desired effect and after having read it, we do not hesitate to acknowledge, that the expression we made use of "shamefully ill-treated by the natives," was stronger than the case required, and was calculated to convey to the public our own first Impression, that he had experienced personal ill-treatment from them. (Ed. Chronicle,)