Death of Bobbie Teetum

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0011
Title: Relief to natives by Mr A Crossman
Keywords: Bobby Teetum, Janie aka Nellie, Eliza aka Liza, Alan Crossman, William Cahill, Peter

Key phrases:

[The law is not equally applied to Aboriginal people, as it would be for White colonists]
I should like to point out to you that it seems very bad policy for a magistrate to refuse to come out to hold an inquest in the case of a native as it is very likely to cause discontent. (Alan Grossman, farmer)

[The right to make personal decisions is denied to Aboriginal people]
Mrs Crossman informed me that she would give a reasonable price for the horse and cart.
I would respectfully suggest that the natives be asked to sell and the amount defray cost of rations issued.
(W Cahill, policeman)
I would feel obliged by your issuing instructions to your Officer to sell the horse and cart to the best advantage and remit the proceeds to this office to be held in trust for children and wife.
(C F Gale, Chief Protector of Aborigines)

[Report]
WA Police Dept
Eastern District, Meckering Station
23rd Dec 1908
Report of W Cahill, Relative to Property of Deceased Native Bobby Teetum
Sub Insp Woods
I respectfully report for your information that the Aboriginal Native above named, who met with an accident at Comminin Station on 19th Nov last and died on the 21st, had a horse and cart which prior to his death he left to his wives Janie and Eliza.
I valued the horse at £4 and cart at £3.
I spoke to the women about selling the ? out but they stated that they wanted it to drive about.
I may state that both these women and their four children are dependent on the State for rations, which are being served by Mr Crossman.
Mrs Crossman informed me that she would give a reasonable price for the horse and cart.
I would respectfully suggest that the natives be asked to sell and the amount defray cost of rations issued.
If the natives once get to a hotel with the horse and cart they would dispose of it for a few bottles of beer.
W Cahill

[Letter]
21 XII 18
Cumminin
Via Doodlakine
Sir,
I have to report to you the of an aboriginal named Bobbie Teetum, who was knocked down by a horse on Nov 20th and died on Nov 23rd. The death was not reported to you before owing to the fact that there was no inquest and the police did not come out to inquire into the matter until Wednesday last.
The native left two women and four children to whom I have been supplying rations since his death. I have applied to the police to put them on the government raion list and they refer me to you.
The man was the owner of a horse and cart valued at about £7 and I shall be glad of your directions as to this.
I should like to point out to you that it seems very bad policy for a magistrate to refuse to come out to hold an inquest in the case of a native as it is very likely to cause discontent.
I also wish to call your attention to the fact that natives are continually obtaining liquor at Doodlakine.
Yours truly,
Alan F Crossman

[Letter]
11/1/09
Cumminin
Via Doodlakine
Dear Sir,
I shall be glad to hear from you with reference to rations for the woman and children of the deceased aboriginal Bobbie Teetum, whose death I reported to you a short time back. At the present time I am supplying them with rations at the rate of 6d per head per diem, this being the amount the constable informed my wife was correct. Please let me have an early reply.
Yours truly,
Alan Crossman

[Memo]
Chief Protector of Aborigines
Please say what is to be done with property of the late Ab Nat Bobby and are these women and children to be rationed by Mr Crossmann
EDP
[Memo reply]
Mr Pechell
Ack Mr Crossman letter & ask him for further particulars re these women, are they able to earn their own living & the age of the children. If too young to work I am prepared to pay for their rations from the time their father died. I am not prepared to place the women on the relief list until I know they are unable to support themselves. Write to police and instruct them to sell the horse and cart to best advantage & remit money to this office to be held in trust for children & wife.
C F Gale 13.1.09

[Letter]
A F Crossman Esq
Cumminin, via Doodlakine
Sir,
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 21st ultimo and would feel obliged by your giving me more particulars re the two Native women, now being relieved by you at the Government expense. Are they able to earn their own living, and what are the ages of children, and are they too young to work.
I am prepared to pay for their rations from the time their father died, but I am not prepared to place the women on the relief list until I know that they are unable to support themselves.
I am communicating with the Police re property left by Bobby.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
EDP

[Letter]
14th Jan 1909
Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Northam
Re the Ab Nat named Bobbie, who died at Mr Crossman’s Station Cumminum [sic], and the disposal of his property, I would feel obliged by your issuing instructions to your Officer to sell the horse and cart to the best advantage and remit the proceeds to this office to be held in trust for children and wife.
EDP

[Letter]
Cumminin, via Doodlakine
30/1/09
Dear Sir,
Re Bobbie Teetum’s Women
I am in receipt of your letter on this matter. The women are able-bodied but at present dare not move out by themselves on account of some blood feud with some other natives: it is therefore impossible to get them to work. Shall I let them starve? I cannot have them sponging on my working natives. I have been allowing them rations up till now on the advice of the police who came out here. I shall be glad to have a settlement of this amount.
Re transfer of ration receivers
I have two recipients of rations now with me who are on other ration lists: what steps am I to take to get them transferred. One is the mother of the above gins.
An early reply will oblige,
Yours truly,
Alan F Crossman

[Letter]
Feb 3rd 1909
Mr Crossman Esq
Cumminin
Sir,
In reply to your letter of the 30th ultimo, I beg to inform you that no account as yet has been received for the relief to the two Native women and children. There is no wish that they should starve or that you should be the loser by having provided for them, with rations at the Government expense. Please send in the account at the rate of 6d per day, for each native for the time they have been with you and it will be paid.
In the mean time, I will communicate with the Police, with a view of having the women removed to a neighbourhood where they will not be in fear of their lives, and in which, perhaps they will be able to find employment.
With reference to the other recipient of rations, I would feel obliged if you would inform me what stations they come from and the names of the relievers, as they should return to their own neighbourhood. I will mention the matter to the Police when writing about the other two Natives.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Feb 3rd 1909
To Inspector of Police, Northam
Mr Crossman of Cumininum [sic], informs me that the women and children belonging to the late Bobbie Teetum are still with him and for the maintenance of these he is on behalf of the Gov paying 6d per day each.
Although these women are able-bodied, Mr Crossman states that they are unable to find employment as they are afraid to go out of doors on account of a blood feud with the other Natives. If these women do not belong to this neighbourhood, they should be sent to their own, where they would not be in fear of their lives, and perhaps be able to find employment and relieve the Gov of the expense of their keep; also that of their children. Mr Crossman also states that there are two other Native women staying at this place who have come from some other relief stations but he gives no further particulars.
These women should be returned to their own neighbourhood. Would you kindly make enquiries and inform me what action has been taken.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Memo]
Re supply of liquor to Natives at Doodlakine, see Police file 294/09, returned to Police for further action.

Note from WPO Northam
Commissioner of Police
For your information and that of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, everything possible will be done to ? and if necessary prosecute any person supplying natives with liquor.

[Letter]
Cumminin, via Doodlakine
11 II 09
Dear Sir,
The following is the account up to date of rations at 6d per diem each for the two women and four children of deceased native Bobbie Teetum.
22 Nov to 8 Feby, eleven weeks at 21/-, £11:11:0
I have also in the meantime given rations to Polly, mother of one of the above women who was on Mr Leake’s list of which the following is the account
4 week at 3/6, 14:0
In addition I gave two week rations to an old native named Jupiter who came up here to see some of my natives and who has not been able to get back to Narrogin district on account of there now being no water on the road. He has since been keeping himself by kangarooing.
I shall be in Perth next week when I will call at the office.
Yours truly,
Alan F Crossmans

[Report]
Sub Insp Woods
14/2/1909
Respectfully forwarded I have to report making inquiries at Cumminin Station re the attached. Interviewed the women referred to, belonging to the late Bobbie Teetum. One of them, Nellie, has three children aged 6, 5 & 4 years respectively. I think it would be useless to find employment for her, as she could not attend to it and look after her children.
The second woman, Eliza, has one child aged 2 years, she would take employment if found for her.
I questioned the women and other natives closely regarding the blood feud and they appear to know nothing about it and state they are not afraid to go out.
The other two women referred to by Mr Crossman are from the Kellerberrin district and are on the relief list at ? Station.
I have advised Mr Crossman to send them in with his team when it comes to Kellerberrin.
W Cahill

[Letter]
Cumminin
3/4/09
To The Police Officer, Kellerberrin
Dear Sir,
I beg to report the death of a horse which you had running here, belonging to the estate of a native that was killed here some time ago. The cart Mr Crossman has I believe purchased for a native.
Yours faithfully,
T W Barnes

[Report – no cover or heading, but it appears to start on a second page, first page missing]
that the horse associated with a previous file, part of the estate of the late Bobbie, Ab Native, has been found dead on Cumminin Station, I may state that I sold the horse to Peter (Ab Native) employed on the Station some time ago, for £3. He had not sufficient cash to pay the amount, but had a contract of clearing land for Mr Crossman. Mr Crossman stated he would deduct the amount from him, when the work was completed, on completion it was found that Peter was indebted to Mr Crossman for stores.
He took other work and earned sufficient to pay for the mare but on making a search for her, in one of the paddocks, found her dead.
I am informed that Mr Crossman informed the native that as he did not take delivery of the mare at the time of the sale, he need not pay for her.
I have since spoken to Peter and find there is no hope of getting the cash from him
I respectfully attach report of Mr Barnes of Cumminin Station re horse found dead.
W Cahill
24/4/09

[Memo]
Estate of Ab Nat Bobby died at Mr Crossman’s Station
28/4/09
To the Chief Protector of Aborigines
Cheque for £1 herewith. Please forward receipt.
Kelly

[Letter]
The District Police Officer, Northam
10/5/09
With reference to the sum of £1 received from you, being the proceeds of the estate of the deceased aboriginal native Bobby, I desire that this money be expended on his widow and family, in purchasing any winter or other clothing that they may require. I enclose postal note for £1, and would be glad if you will act accordingly. Kindly forward me receipted vouchers for the monies expended.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Receipt]
Mr Findlay, Kellerberrin
Receipt for print and cotton supplied to Liza and Nellie, widows of the late Bobbie Teetum
25 print, buttons, & needles £1

Katitjin Notes:

Question: The horse and cart were valued at £7, why did the Bobby’s widows only receive £1? At no time did Eliza and Nellie have any say over the disposal of their inheritance from Bobbie.

It is interesting to note that Eliza and Nellie did not spend the money, as suggested by the Protector, on clothes, but instead spent the money on dressmaking materials, which indicates that they were skilled in sewing.

Alan Fairfax Crossman (1872-1927) was a lawyer from England who was farming in Doodlekine for about ten years before going to Hawaii in 1911. He served as a Captain in the Canadian Mounted Rifles in World War I and died in Kenya in 1927.

William Patrick Cahill (1872-1919) was a police officer who was stationed in Coolgardie for several years before coming to Meckering, and then went to Busselton, where he was stationed for seven years before dying in the 1918-19 influenza epidemic.

Charles Frederick Gale (1860-1928) was Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1907 to 1915. You can read his biography at ADB.

Edmund Donald Pechell was secretary to Charles Frederick Gale, and sometimes worked as Acting Chief Protector of Aborigines.

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