State Records Archive
Title: Wiluna – Native Affairs
Keywords: Birriliburu, William Walter, Nabberu, Wiluna, Wandaroo, Banyie, Yarran, Agot, Willie, Lena
23rd Dec 1908
Report of Wm Walker PC
Relative to Aged & Indigent Natives
Sub-Insp Mitchell, Cue
I respectfully report for the information of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, re above, as follows:-
Owing to there being a general assembly of the various parts of the big NABBEROO Tribe of Aborigines, otherwise known as the LAKE WAY tribe, at Wiluna recently (some 300 strong), I have received a large number of complaints from various settlers out at the Gwalia Consolidated Mine, 3 miles from Wiluna.
The Natives of this tribe have been swarming about the Mines and outside Camps begging food and in many instances stealing it from unprotected camps.
On Sunday morning last the 20th inst, accompanied by a party of civilians, I raided the big encampment of these natives on the south side of Lake Violet, with the object of endeavouring to find and secure a number of guns and rifles, said to be in the possession of these natives, but on searching the Camp thoroughly no sign of any firearms or ammunition could be found.
Whilst searching the Camp which covered fully a mile of country, Mr Tweedie (one of the party) drew my attention to 5 natives whom he considered should receive attention and food.
These natives were sitting at an isolated fire and presented a most wretched and awful spectacle. Their names are as follows:- Wandaroo, male, aged about 55 years, totally blind and in very emaciated condition; Banyie, female, about 55 years, blind, and ditto; Yarran, male, aged about 60, is very infirm looking; Agot, also called Willie, aged about 16, is in advanced consumption; Lena, aged about 5 years, is a female half-caste child who looks very miserable and half-starved. I have placed these natives on the relief list, as from the 23rd inst, see account herewith.
Protector of Aborigines
Acknowledge and approve of action taken
C F G
William Walker was a police constable at Wiluna, who was also designated as a Protector of Aborigines. The conflict of interest arising from being both a police officer and a “Protector” was apparent even in those days, as attested by the following newspaper item:
Police Constable William Walker is entitled to write himself “protector of aboriginals” at Wiluna, in addition to his other duties. Walker has recently been charged with torturing his own black tracker by chaining him up for a night by the neck, a subject that might certainly be held to warrant some official investigation. But even allowing that is at present an “ex-parte” statement, isn’t it absurd that a constable should be appointed a deputy-protector of natives at all? In his former capacity it is his duty to put the fear of the white man’s law into the heart of our black brother Bill and to keep it there. It is his business to hunt the natives out of the town as much as possible, to shoot the native’s mangy dogs, to pursue and arrest the native for the numerous offences which that unfortunate person is mainly occupied in committing. In his latter capacity he is expected to physic the sick native, to clothe the naked one, to feed the old and infirm. It is likely the unsophisticated aborigines will go to zealous constables like Walker for succor, for relief, for protection? His very name strikes fear into their souls. His very presence in the neighbourhood is an inducement to them to cut and run. [Sunday Times 06.10.1907]