Page:Australian aborigines 1838.djvu/11
MASSACRE OF AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES.
in No. 2.honour to allude in my report of the 18th of September. In that communication I stated that amid the numerous measures I had adopted for the amelioration of the aborigines, they had in every instance met with a.prompt and ready compliance, and that the following were among the last established, viz.
1. An aboriginal fund.
The first four of these.have continued to the present with increased interest and effect. The latter, i.e. weekly periodical, has declined, but will be resumed again shortly. But of all the schemes put in three for the civilization of the aborigines, the circulating medium is paramount, and I know of no other scheme by which voluntary labour could be induced, and from such a people, other than by the means referred to. With a circulation of coin not exceeding in amount fifteen pounds, labour to the value of upwards of one hundred pounds has been created. When the fund was first instituted the cash payments were confined principally to the purchase of articles the bonâ fide property of the aborigines; it is now. otherwise, for with the exception of eatables, they are necessitated to give an equivalent for every article they may require; for instance, tobacco. Soap, which was heretofore issued as a ration,they now have to purchase; and for the former article, before the last supply, being nearly expended, the value in consequence be,am, enhanced, and sold for one shilling the half fig.
Their raiment, which heretofore was issued to them on application, and of which when once obtained they were perfectly reckless, as indeed they were with every article thus supplied, is now only to be obtained by purchase. Again, they not only purchase their raiment and little luxuries, but they have contributed to the erection of their new habitations. The houses now erecting, of which eight are nearly complete, are substantially built of brick and stone, and designed to contain two married couple. The natives expressed a strong desire for boarded floors, the adoption of which I recommended to the Government on taking charge (as the cold brick floors were very injurious to their naked feet), and which the late Lieutenant-governor was pleased to approve; but I found that the natives were fickle in their abodes, and under the slightest pretence would resort to other houses, and there having caused dilapidations in their own dwellings, frequently abandoned them.
To obviate this, and to give them a claim on the property, I have induced them to give an equivalent, to which they most cheerfully acquiesced. They now contribute to the purchase of their floors, their cupboards, their locks for cupboards and doors; and as in the hovels they formerly occupied, they were not only without cupboards but even shelves, and had nothing whereon to place their food secure from dogs, or places whereon to deposit their raiment.
The following are the list of prices paid for he articles alluded to, viz.:
|Floor of each house||1||-||-|
|Two cupboards to ditto||1||-||-|
|Locks to ditto and house-door||-||10||-|
|Total cost to each house £.||3||-||-|
The following is also a list of articles purchased by the aborigines, with their prices attached:
|Dress ditto||10||-||Pannicans, tin||2||-|
|Trowsers, cloth||10||-||Plates, ditto||1||-|
|— duck||3||-||Knives and forks||2||-|
|Blue worsted shirts||5||-||Tin dishes||3||1|
|Straw hats||2||-||Cups and saucers||1||-|
|Prints, per yard||1||-||Clasp knives||1||6|
|Cotton shirts||2||-||Plums, per lb.||-||7|
|Tobacco, per fig||-||6||Sugar||-||6|
|Soap, per lb.||-||9||Covered hats||2||6|
|Fishing lines||1||6||Scrubbing brushes||3||-|