Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/112

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99
TRIBES OF PORT JACKSON.

shyness and reserve began to be observed in the manners of the blacks, which occasionally broke out into decided hostility. The first quarrel arose from the intrusion of the whites on the fishing grounds of the tribes. When the fleet sailed from England for the purpose of founding the colony, it was very naturally anticipated that, owing to the distance of the settlement from Europe, a scarcity of provisions would, in the course of time, be experienced. Accordingly, a number of fishing seines were procured, to be used as occasion might require for the benefit of the colony; and one of the first measures adopted by the chiefs of the settlement was the formation of a fishing party, who, on certain days, proceeded to one of the bays lying towards the sea, for the purpose of casting the seine. It was one of the instructions given to this party that a portion of whatever fish might be taken should be given to the aborigines who happened to be present at the time—an instruction always complied with. The custom, however, like other customs, soon grew into a law; so thought the Port Jackson tribe, a number of whom came on the fishermen one day when they had made a very successful haul, and carried away, without asking permission, a large portion of the best of the fish, several of their brethren being stationed on a neighbouring rock during the transaction, prepared to discharge their spears in the event of a contest. This led to an armed party being thenceforward sent with the fishers, and, the gratuitous