Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/156

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143
MYALL CREEK

and resentment. Some poisonous drugs, used in the treatment of diseases among sheep and cattle, were mixed in the floor of "dampers," and these being divided among the more troublesome or more ferocious of the hostile or suspected tribes, produced in a more quiet manner the same fatal results as powder and ball. This latter mode of proceeding has been strongly denied on the part of the settlers and their men, and as strongly re-asserted on behalf of the aborigines. To an unbiassed mind, however, the charge does not appear by any means unfounded or improbable, when it is considered to what a height the evil passions of the whites had been excited by the aggressions of the aborigines and by the deprivation of those arms by which alone they could hope to defend themselves in open and fair fight.

Be the truth of these matters as it may, it is certain that the settlers and their servants, at length driven to extreme courses by the dread under which they lived, and by the sanguinary attacks which they sometimes had to sustain, resolved to take the most effectual course for putting an end to the evils which they endured, and, arming themselves as best they could, formed parties of offence and defence. An expedition made by one of these parties, which ended in the "Myall Creek massacre," it is which is now to be described. Myall Creek is situated in the Hunter River district, and the transaction in question took place in 1839. The circumstances of the case are briefly these: A number of stockmen and shepherds