Re disposal of Aboriginal Native boy lately in employ Mr Meagher

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0013
Title: F.P. Huchinson, Newlgalup (upper Blackwood) Re disposal of Aboriginal Native boy lately in employ Mr Meagher

Keywords: Thomas Hutchinson, James Strapp, Gerald Meagher, Gerald Hester, Bridgetown, Blackwood River

Key phrases:

Perhaps I am too easy with him. Of course I didn’t wish to kill him with work but I thought he might be useful chopping a bit of wood for the house & spend his time going round the fences. Mr Meagher has been used to managing these fellows and understands how to treat them. I have since heard that Mr Meagher don’t want him back otherwise I should have sent him away.
(Thomas Hutchinson, farmer)

[Letter]
“Newlgalup”
Upper Blackwood
Via Bridgetown
Dec 22 1908
The Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Sir,
I want to draw your attention to an Aboriginal boy & seek your advice in reference thereto.
The boy in question is a North-West native and was with Mr Meagher of “Condinup” 6 miles away from here until some 6 weeks ago when he came along to me and said he had come away from Mr Meagher as he didn’t want him, and the other white boy Mr Meagher had wanted to fight him. I took him in & thought if Mr Meagher didn’t want him he might be useful to me. I have given him a good time but I must confess he is no use to me.
Perhaps I am too easy with him. Of course I didn’t wish to kill him with work but I thought he might be useful chopping a bit of wood for the house & spend his time going round the fences. Mr Meagher has been used to managing these fellows and understands how to treat them. I have since heard that Mr Meagher don’t want him back otherwise I should have sent him away. If I clear him out it may not be for the lad’s good as I don’t think anyone round here would take him in.
He would be a useful lad I think to some one wanting a boy to look after a horse and trap, he is very good for a job like that & I think would just about suit such a job.
He is about 17 years of age and talks English very well indeed.
Perhaps you can see a way out of the difficulty as it means that I must either get him another place or send him away to do as he likes which I want to avoid if possible.
I remain,
Yours faithfully,
T P Hutchinson

[Letter]
Officer in Charge
Police Dept
Bridgetown
Mr F P Huchinson [sic], of Newlgalup has written to me, re an Aboriginal boy, who has lately been in the employ of Mr Meagher of Condinup. The boy has left Mr Meagher and has gone to Mr Huchinson, with whom he is now staying. Mr Huchinson states that he does not require the services of the boy, but says he would be a useful lad for anyone wanting one to look after a horse and trap.
I would feel obliged by your ascertaining under what condition the boy was serving Mr Meagher, whether under permit; also in the event of the boy being without employment, if there is anyone in the neighbourhood who would employ him.
14th January 1909

[Letter]
14th January 1900
To:
T P Huchinson Esq
Newlgalup
Upper Blackwood
Via Bridgetown
Sir,
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 2nd ultimo, and inform you that I have written to the Police, Bridgetown, to find out from them further particulars re the Native boy lately in the employ of Mr Meagher and now staying with you and to, if possible, find him some employment.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Obedient Servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
South Western District
Bridgetown Stn
February 5th 1909
[To] C F Gale Esq, Chief Protector of Aboriginals
Sir,
Your 13/309 14th January 09
Mr Maher employed this boy under a permit granted by Inspector [illegible] of Bunbury Aboriginal Protector. Mr Maher states the boy ran away from the homestead and do not require him further. Mr Gerald Hester of Blackwood Park is willing to employ the boy providing a permit is granted.
I remain, Sir, yours obedly [sic]
Jas. Strapp

[Letter]
The Officer in Charge,
Police Department,
Bridgetown
Sir,
In reply to your letter of the 5th instant, I beg to inform you there is no objection to Mr Gerald Hester employing the native boy lately in the service of Mr Maher provided he obtains a permit from the nearest Protector in his district.
Chief Protector of Aborigines
Feb 19, 1909

[Letter]
South Western District
Bridgetown Station
22nd Feb, 1909
To C F Gale Esq
Sir,
Your 13/09 duly received. I am writing to Mr G Hester re this matter tonight. Advise you on reply.
Yours obedly,
Jas. Strapp

Katitjin Notes:

Despite having been a thriving community prior to British invasion, by 1909 there were very few Aboriginal people in the Bridgetown area, having been “moved out” or shot by police and settlers. It is of interest that the boy in question is from the “North-West”. For more information on Bridgetown see Bridgetown History.

Questions:
Why is “the boy” not ever named in any correspondence? How did he come to be so far from his home in the “North-West”?

Thomas Pendock Hutchinson (1864-1939) was a sheep farmer at Newlgalup farm, on the upper Blackwood River

Gerald Shenstone Meagher (1864-1937) was a sheep farmer at Condinup farm, on the upper Blackwood River. His father had been a convict and was involved in a number of civil disputes in the Bassendean area in the early 1880s, and declared bankrupt in 1891, at which time Gerald Meagher was living in the North-West. In the late 1890’s Meagher was a hotel keeper in Port Hedland, which might account for this Aboriginal boy coming from that area. In 1906, as a sheep farmer at Condinup with 1000 acres and 2000 sheep, on the Blackwood River, he was appointed as a magistrate and justice of the peace for the Blackwood region.

Gerald Hester (1864-1929) was the son of the first British colonisers of the Blackwood area. His family displaced the Australians living in this area and although the family have a mixed record regarding the treatment of Aboriginal people, Gerald Hester seems to have taken more trouble than others to acquaint himself with their language and adopted a boy, Dampling, in the 1880s. Dampling’s death from a fall in 1891 was recorded and commiserated in the newspaper, which was unusual for that time.

James Edward Strapp (1866-1954), born in Toowoomba, Qld, held positions as a policeman in Perth, Mt Gould, Cue, Nannine, Bridgetown.

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