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4-031 (Original)

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addressee,female author,male,Crawford, Alex,25
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
O'Farrell, 1984
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4-031.txt — 4 KB

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The natives are killing the sheep here wholesale. On Friday I had four killed and a black fellow came in and told me about it and where he thought they were camped, so I got a couple of horses up and put him on one and although it was almost dark, still the moon was up and it would not be very dark and I went off to try and catch the thieves. Would you like to know how your Big Boy looked, well I will try and describe him. Medium height and fair with some beard and whiskers of a duckety mud colour, a soft hat with a veil hanging on it, a flannel shirt open in front, no buttons or studs and sleeves rolled up to elbows, a pair of mole skin trousers kept up by a leather belt with a leather watch pouch on the left - hand side and a silver chain running from it to one of the studholes in the shirt, on the right - hand side a leather pouch with some string, matches and a knife (I hardly ever smoke now), in front a Colt 6 chambered revolver just where you can put your hand on it at a moment's notice. A pair of top boots and spurs and a double-barrelled gun in a leather gun bucket suspended from the saddle, the whole mounted on a fine coal black mare [...] I rode on until about half-past eight p.m. when we came to a waterhole about where the native with me thought they were camped. [68] We found the camp but they had gone somewhere else that morning. I rode up towards the range for about three hours and then as we came to a waterhole I thought we had better camp, so I hobbled the two horses with my stirrup leathers and lit a fire and lay down beside it and slept until morning. I had expected to be home by 10 or 11 the same night and had brought nothing to eat, so I told the black who goes by the name of Monkey to look for some colias, a kind of root not unlike the potato in appearance and sweet and some Bardies a kind of grub that is about 2 inches long. He soon found some and we cooked both in the ashes and made our breakfasts of them and then we went on looking for blacks. About 11 o'clock we came on some tracks which we followed up and soon Monkey pointed out something but I could see nothing. He said gallop which I did in the direction he pointed and I saw a black fellow run and try to hide under a bush. I made straight for him and all at once my mare jumped over a bush and as she did so I saw two black fellows under it so I pulled her up as quickly as possible and wheeled round just in time to see one of them fitting a spear in his Womera to throw at me, I had not a moment to lose so I pulled out my revolver and shot him in the leg. This frightened the others and I managed to take three and broke all the weapons I found about. One of them on the way back, picked up a stick and tried to hit me with it, but I had my eyes too sharp on them to give him a chance, so all he got was a crack with the butt end of my revolver on the head for his trouble. The one I shot was not much the worse, only a flesh wound through the fleshy part of his leg; it will be alright in a day or two. I did not like firing at his body for fear of seriously injuring him. With a good deal of difficulty I chained them up by the neck and made them fast to a tree. I told one of the other black fellows to make a fire beside them and gave them some supper and left to this morning. I made enquiries as to whose they were and found two were strangers and the other had killed a sheep some months before. The first two I let go and the other I gave half a dozen cracks with a whip and told them if I ever knew them to kill a sheep again I would beat them well and send them to jail. 
I found that there was no difference made here between Sunday and any other but I have stopped all kinds of work except what is absolutely necessary so that at least we have the quiet of that day. 
You ought to see me morning and evening feeding the blacks. There are about a dozen round the station who do anything that is wanted - I give them damper and meat and boil our tealeaves over again for them and put some sugar in it for them. They are very generous, divide all they get with all present, no matter how many. One who gets it given to him will go without himself rather than let another who got none go without. They get it made up to them by the others who bring in bush food and divide just the same. I gave a couple of the best of them a shirt and trousers to keep them warm these cold nights but to my surprise when they were going to sleep they took all off them and lay down in the cold absolutely naked.