Page:Aboriginesofvictoria02.djvu/243

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225
NOTES AND ANECDOTES.

fore not improbable that the master of The Brothers is indirectly accountable for the death of Mr. Kennedy.

This view is supported by Mr. Macgillivray, the Naturalist on board H.M.S. Rattlesnake, who states[1] that the Yagulles are the tribe who were concerned in the murder of the unfortunate Kennedy. The circumstances were related by an old woman named Baki, at Cape York, who, when questioned, corroborated the statement of that noble native lad Jacky, Mr. Kennedy's attendant after he had left all his other men, and in whose arms he died. She further stated that some years before—that is about the time that Greyburne landed from The Brothers— a Yagulle woman and child had been shot by some white men who landed from a small vessel near Albany Island, and that the tribe had been anxious to revenge their death, until they had the opportunity of doing so by killing Mr. Kennedy.

The more recent murder of Mr. Wills in Queensland was probably owing to the conduct of some white men who had shortly before captured and forcibly carried off to Sydney two lads belonging to the tribe which subsequently perpetrated the deed. Such examples, taken very much at random, are illustrative of the mutual misunderstandings and occasional harsh treatment of the natives, followed sometimes by savage murders perhaps of innocent persons, which again were succeeded by prompt and equally indiscriminate punishment of "the blacks."

In the early days of the Swan River settlement a wholesale massacre of some assembled tribes was ostentatiously designated the battle of Pinjarrah.

The Government having been informed that several tribes were to meet at a place called Pinjarrah, about forty miles south from Perth, proceeded against them with a detachment of troops led by Capt. Ellis, and headed by the Governor in person accompanied by a number of civilians.

As the natives are in the habit of occasionally meeting for the adjustment of differences among themselves, for arranging hunting expeditions, and for other purposes of a like kind, I know of no reason for supposing that on this occasion they intended to organize any force for attacking the settlers. Indeed I believe the natives would never think of assembling in large numbers with any such object in view.

The soldiers shot down a great number of them, and then dragged their bodies into heaps and covered them with sand. These mounds are, I believe, visible at the present time. In this unequal, if not treacherous affair, only one white man was killed, and this was Capt. Ellis, who fell by the spear of a native.

The published accounts of such occurrences are often partial and unfair. The natives have no newspapers and few advocates, and are therefore placed in a worse position than a criminal at the bar of English justice.

About the year 1835, some tribes had arranged to meet on the south side of the Swan River opposite Perth, and while two of them were proceeding thither, and walking along a path leading to the hut of an Indian fisherman near the

  1. See foot-note on first page of vol. II. Voyage of the Rattlesnake.