Page:Aboriginesofvictoria02.djvu/246

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228
APPENDIX:

hours, the party readied Champion Bay, and got away in the boats, from which they saw the beach lined with natives.

The attacking party numbered about fifty or sixty. They were described as being a much finer race of men than those in the located districts, and fought with great determination and bravery.

The number of Aborigines killed and wounded could not be ascertained, but the former were believed to be three. On the part of the expedition, the Governor was the only one wounded. I do not know whether this attack, which was quite unprovoked at the time, was made from motives of revenge for some old injury, or from fear and a desire to prevent the intruders from taking possession of their country.

It has been remarked that children have a keen sense of justice, and so have the natives, if Yagan may be taken as an exponent of their sentiments.

Mr. G. F. Moore, when Advocate-General of the colony, had won the confidence of the natives by uniform kindness. He endeavoured to ingratiate himself with them for the purpose of learning their language and customs.

One day, in June 1843, as I was sitting with Mr. Moore at his station at the Upper Swan, he gave me the following account of a wild native's idea of justice. The incident had occurred at the door of the room in which we were sitting. It was thus:—A number of armed native men had surrounded the house, when Mr Moore went to the door to speak to them, having his fire-arms close at hand. He soon recognised Yagan, but the natives near the door denied that he was present. However, when the outlaw perceived that he was known, he stepped boldly and confidently up, and resting his arm on Mr. Moore's shoulder, looked him earnestly in the face, and addressed him, as the first Law Officer of the Crown, to the following effect—"Why do you white people[1] come in ships to our country and shoot down poor blackfellows[2] who do not understand you? You listen to me! The wild blackfellows do not understand your laws; every living animal that roams the country and every edible root that grows in the ground are common property! A black man claims nothing as his own but his cloak, his weapons, and his name! Children are under no restraint from infancy upwards; a little baby boy, as soon as he is old enough, beats his mother, and she always lets him! When he can carry a spear, he throws it at any living thing that crosses his path, and when he becomes a man, his chief employment is hunting. He does not understand that animals or plants can belong to one person more than another. Sometimes a party of natives come down from the hills, tired and hungry, and fall in with strange animals you call sheep; of course, away flies the spear, and presently they have a feast! Then you white men come and shoot the poor blackfellows!" Then, with his eagle eye flashing, and holding up one of his fingers before Mr. Moore's face, he shouted out—"For every black man you white fellows shoot, I will kill a white man!" And so with "the poor hungry women; they have always been accustomed to dig up every edible root, and when they come across a potato

  1. Djenga, or ghosts.
  2. Yung-ar, or people.