Page:The new British province of South Australia.djvu/64

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
45
SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

Europeans assembled there; some who have run from ships that traded for salt; others from Sydney and Van Diemen's Land, who were prisoners of the Crown.

These gangs joined after a lapse of time, and became the terror of ships going to the Island for salt, &c. being little better than pirates. They are complete savages, living in bark huts like the natives, not cultivating any thing, but living entirely on kangaroos, emus, and small porcupines, and getting spirits and tobacco in barter for the skins which they lay up during the sealing season. They dress in kangaroo skins without linen, and wear sandals made of seal skins. They smell like foxes.

They have carried their daring acts to an extreme, venturing on the main land in their boats, and seizing on the natives, particularly the women, and keeping them in a state of slavery, cruelly beating them on every trifling occasion; and when at last some of these marauders were taken off the Island by an expedition from New South Wales, these women were landed on the main with their children and dogs, to procure a subsistence, not knowing how their own people might treat them after a long absence. There are a few even still on the Island, whom it would be desirable to have removed, if a permanent settlement were established in the neighbourhood.

The period during which I stayed on and near the Island, was from the 8th of January to the 12th of August. I myself landed only once on the main, in the bight between Point Riley and Corny Point. The soil was thickly covered with timber and brushwood. Some of my men landed at several different places on the main, being sometimes absent three weeks at a time in search of seals. On these occasions they carried with them bread and some salt meat; but having a musket and a dog with them, they always obtained fresh meat (kangaroo), when on the main as well as on some of the islands. On these expeditions they never took fresh