Page:Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.djvu/270

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237
DEATH OF CRANKY TOM.

fight, and they now determined to revenge his death. Poor Tom, who was my earliest acquaintance among the Tryal bay natives, was stopping with his 'gin' Dilberree near Verge's, without any suspicion of treachery, when he was suddenly confronted by his enemies. Having endeavoured in vain to protect himself with his shield, he soon fell pierced with wounds, and his head was then cut off by his savage enemies, on6 of whom, named Henry, also took possession of the woman. This act of treachery roused the indignation of two tribes, the Kempsey or Calliteeni blacks, on whose grounds^the outrage had been committed, and the Tryal bay blacks to whom the murdered man belonged. On speaking to the chief men of the Yarra-Bandini tribe, about this cowardly attack, they merely told me in reply, that Henry and the other men were "murry stupid," to act as they did, but that Cranky Tom was a "murry saucy fellow," and deserved what he had got. The Yarra-Bandini tribe were encamped, in the mean time, close to our stock-yards.

The first of their adversaries in the field, were the Kempsey blacks, who came over one afternoon, and fought the Yarra-Bandini natives at our very doors. The battle was conducted in the most fair and open manner; each party drew up in two lines, armed with spears, shields, and boomerangs, and threw spear for spear for a considerable time, before any damage was done. At length a Yarra-Bandini black was slightly wounded in the forehead;