State Records Archive
Title: Bangemall – Native Affairs
Keywords: Monkey, Banjo, Tambourene, Jennie, Robert Wilkinson, Bangemall, Mt Phillip Station, Alfred Oakley, labour
Dec 3rd, 1908
To Chief Protector of Aborigines
I would like you to settle a little difference betwixt A E Oakley Mt Phillip Stn and myself. A native by the name of Banjo who was in my employ for some years had a woman named Tambourene, alias Jennie. Banjo died and the woman fell heir to native named Monkey in Oakley’s employ. The native does not want the woman to go to Oakley’s station, he wants to come to Bangemall. He ran away and was arrested for absconding and let off with a caution. The boy was bribed with his [word missing?] to signe [sic] on again and has since ran away. Oakley accuses me of arbouring [sic] the woman, which has never been on his station. I am giving her rations to cart wood and water to 4 blind relief natives. As a license can not keep natives about the Hotel, Mr Aycliffe and myself never serve natives and I don’t think there is a native in the camp knows the taste of spiritous liquors if there is it is not of our giving. If I am allowed a native to work it would go hard with me as I could not afford to pay a white man to shepherd the few killing sheep for the place. The said Monkey has cleared to the Ashburton for Wilga which they paint with for Corobooree [sic]. If he should come back as he is a good boy would you let me know if there is such a thing as absconding under the British flag. The boy does not want to stay on Mt Phillip Station and the woman does not want to go. Please let me know and I will try and make them go to the station or detain them as you wish in anticipation.
To: Mr Wilkinson, Bangemall
13th Jan 1909
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 3rd ultimo and to inform you that if the Native Monkey is an employee of Mr Oakley and is duly signed on as such you have no right to keep him in your employ, also that according to tribal custom, the woman mentioned is Banjoes wife and he wishes her to live with him, the proper course for you to adopt is to assist her to do so.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines
Robert Wilkinson was the owner and publican of the Bangemall Hotel. He found a large gold nugget while prospecting at Bangemall in 1904 and in 1905 was granted a license for the hotel with Mr Ayliffe. In 1912 the license was contested by the police because of the “ruinous and dilapidated” state of the building: “There were holes in the roof and with every fall of rain a part of the walls of the rooms came away…There was no accommodation and no beds, and travellers had to camp outside.”
Alfred E Oakley was the manager, then owner of Mt Phillip Station. In a 1927 interview with Oakley, the newspaper reported, “When Mr Oakley first penetrated the wilds of the northern country, as they then were, the natives were very numerous and treacherous. In those days no white man thought of going to bed without his revolver in close proximity. Today, however, there is hardly an aboriginal to be seen.”