Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 3-147 (Text)

3-147 (Text)

Item metadata
addressee,male author,male,Lang, George Dunmore,26
Word Count :
Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
Niall, 1998
Document metadata

3-147-plain.txt — 7 KB

File contents

Allow me to congratulate you on your newly acquired senatorial honors and to hope that, now the Upper House has received so strong a body of liberal numbers into its late exclusive and impracticable ranks, it may be rendered more effective in advancing the interests of the state. I write to you at the present moment more particularly to make you acquainted with the proceedings of the Native Police Force in this district and of the inhabitants generally, in reference to the Blacks; and I am sure you will not only be astounded but indignant and disgusted with the details that I have to communicate to you.
When I first arrived in this district the topic of general conversation was the murder of the Frazer family on the Dawson by the Blacks of that district and the hope was universally expressed that the atrocious actors in that tragedy would meet with condign punishment. I joined in this hope believing in good faith that no illegal nor dishonourable not to say barbarous nor inhuman means should be resorted to for that purpose. On my way to the interior, however, I was undeceived as to the proposed method of punishing the Blacks and I now know that nothing could have been more unworthy of human beings that the procedure both of the members of the Police Force and the white population than their horrid indiscriminate murders of the Blacks.
I learned from various sources that a party of twelve - squatters and confidential overseers - went out mounted and armed to the teeth and scoured the country for blacks, away from the scene of the murder of the Frazers altogether, and shot upwards of eighty men women & children.  Not content with scouring the scrubs & forest country they were bold enough to ride up to the Head Stations and shoot down the tame blacks whom they found camping there. Ten men were shot in this way at Ross's head station on the Upper Burnett, several at Prior's Station and at Hays and Lambs several more. The party in scouring the bush perceived an old blind blackfellow upon whom they immediately fired sending a ball through his back, another through his arm which shivered the bone to pieces and a third grazed his scalp. This old man had been for a long time a harmless hanger on at the different head stations and of course could have been in no way identified with the Frazer murderers. A black boy belonging to Mr Cameron of Conambula long employed by that gentleman in carrying messages & rations to his out stations and in going with drays to Gayndah & Maryborough, went to Mr Prior's station on the Burnett and was shot there. A blackfellow was captured in the bush by an armed blackfellow in the employ of Mr Hay who supplied him with a carbine for the purpose. The black brought his prisoner to the Head Station, tied him to a sapling in the presence of all the white residents and having addressed him in the broken English in the most cruel & disgusting manner, placed the muzzle of his carbine to the helpless man's arm and broke it with the first shot he then addressed him again in the same strain as before & shot him through the head.
The Native Police say they have shot over 70 blacks. One of their acts deserves especial notice. They arrived at Humphrey's Station, went to the Blacks encamped near the house, bound two of the old men and led them into the scrub and deliberately shot them; the cries of the two poor wretches were heard by the superintendent's family at his house. I had supposed that these things although acted with seeming openness in the far interior and with evident impunity would not be tolerated in more civilized society and that the neighbourhood of Maryborough the Chief town in the District could not be disgraced by any such barbarities. I was mistaken however. On the evening of Friday & Saturday last the white police accompanied by some white volunteers proceeded to the Blacks Camp near Mr Cleery's homestead between the old & new townships of Maryborough and drove every man woman & child out of it, then set it on fire destroying all the clothing, bark tomahawks & weapons of the blacks and burning wilfully the Blankets which at no inconsiderable expense are sent out to the blacks yearly by the Government. The party of whites then followed and shot a boy of twelve years of age dead - a lad well known in town as a harmless, helpless lunatic and wounded a man with a ball in the thigh, besides. Yesterday the Native Police force under the orders of their white officers performed the same meritorious action for the Blacks in Maryborough setting fire to their Camp, destroying their clothing & blankets and driving numbers of them into the river in sight of the whole town population. Not content with this the Native Police proceeded to the boiling down station about a mile from town and deliberately shot dead two old black men and a young one. I have witnessed no actual murder but I have witnessed scenes that I considered, occurring where they did, in the heart of town, libels on the very humanity of the people, a disgrace to its magistrates its storekeepers its fathers & sons & everything British in the place.  For instance the spectacle of a blackfellow endeavouring at the public wharf at eight o'clock last Sunday night, to construct a frail raft of sheets of bark to carry over a river as broad as the Hunter at Raymond Terrace and twice as rapid, a child twelve months old and another but ten days old and all this because he had been chased from his fire and threatened with a ball from a carbine by a ruthless wretch wearing the queen's livery. I may say that the current was so strong and the mother of the infant so alarmed for it that the black in mercy returned when half over the river and gave her her child. I thought that single act more eloquent of the wrongs of the blacks than a hundred lectures and I almost regretted I belonged to the same race as those who caused it. The Blacks must be protected. They suffer a hundred times more at the hands of the whites than the whites do from them. When it is found necessary to punish the blacks a rigid search must be instituted for the cause of the necessity and no indiscriminate selections allowed.
The whites punish & persecute without discrimination: is it to be wondered at then, that the blacks, following the example set them, revenge their wrongs without discrimination too. Blood for blood is the only remedy I can see; if the Government will not institute a proper search, protect the blacks and punish the whites; seeing moreover that the blacks conduct themselves properly and be made thoroughly acquainted with the laws of property & the consequences of infringing them, the result of it all will be that some person will furnish the blacks with firearms and set them in the way of revenging themselves upon their oppressors.
Such interference on the part of the Government is necessary not only for the safety of the Blacks but for the security of all such persons as the members of the Frazer family, who were made to suffer for the misdeeds of others. I suppose you have said long ago where are your magistrates. What are they all about. I reply our magistrates are all here and they might as well be at Jericho. They do not care a fig for either law or justice and in short knowing how matters stand they are as guilty of every act of cruelty as the actual perpetrators of them. They are traitors every man of them and unworthy the confidence of the people.
I do not mean to apologize for troubling you for you are public property now and you see I know it; but the fact is I feel so strongly on the matter that I deemed it necessary to write to save me from taking actual proceedings at once.
Hoping you are well & desiring to be remembered kindly to my aunt & Caroline when you see them and to my aunt Ellen. I remain your affectionate nephew