Thomas Andrews

State Records Office of Western Australia
Cons. 987
Item 2
Submissions of evidence – A (2), B, C-D, Carrolup Mission, E, F-K, L-M, Moseley, H D (Royal Commission); N-P, S; Rischbeith, Bessie; R, T-Z.

Folder “A”:
Thomas Andrews’ letter

[This letter is written in pencil and the handwriting, from someone who is near illiterate, is very difficult to read. The spelling has been left as in the original. Original is available on request.]

To Mr Mosely, Commonier

This is the statement to treatment of natives

Please return to Thom Andrews, 65 Francis St Perth

Sunday March 18

To the Commisoner for Investion for the Aboriginal Western Australia. I here desire to make a statement as to the trement of the poor unfortnate who have fallen foul under secomantors most deplorable to any roc under the sun. I arrived in Western Aus in the year of [illeg] 1897. My first experience in Aus was when I saw a gang of natives of riffle owner of Aus tie up with chain round they necks in Derby Western Aus After waitg for a few days a Bullant came down took the food I went up with [illeg] to the staton and in due course we arrived in [illeg] the first sight confronted me was naked children and women not seeing this before in any part of the world I took pity on them and I distributed some clothes among 

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I brought when I landed the Boss of the station got on to me for given it to them and treat them like dog. No being used to this thing I recented very much. A few days after I arrived at the station a native came tot he station well built man and the Boss took him to a little shed used as a black smith shop the he took down sterrup join and twisted the leather around his wrists and belabored him and cutting him from head to foot [illeg] all the time he had his pistle [illeg] his waist then he let him go saing somthg in his lanuage and that man [illeg] seen or heard after. Little while after a white man came the station looking for work and he was given job to go and cut some posts

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to build a shearing shed a little while after that again another white man came to the station and said to the Boss I done it I shot the bullock this was a bullock prearrang between the to. I left them all around it and told them I was going to get some salt the Boss reply alright Police will have them all they not far away. This was a gang natives was to be beleved to the Police as to [illeg] the [illeg] between the managers and the police 12 or 15 in all. About a week or so after the first white man that went out to work came back and took one of the sins knocked her down and done what he wanted to and then went away. When the Boss came back the Jin told that

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white man knock her down and the Boss came down the shearing shed where I shifted to bring with him [illeg] to spear each he left them behind the shed and he walked over to where I was sitting he picked up a iron bar which was on the ground and lifted it up above his head and he was going to strike me [illeg] blow with it I lifted up my left hand I waved it off these to natives he brought with him was to spear me if I would had fought him. But the Greater Power told me not to I told him I did not come here to fight saying I will [illeg] you to back down [illeg] that tas a lie. This [illeg] I heard him using the folling word 

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one morning at the table boundry rider came to station. While at breakfast consation took place regarding me as to how much I was getting in singerporean money the Boss told the boundry rider about me shouting with pain then [illeg] said I had some lepercey recieved can then the boundry said I saw that Jin dead behind a bush the Manager yes I no all about it I beet into her the this word I leave to the Commisonr to interpret as he said this the boundry look up and saw me standing behind the Boss and he touch the Boss foot under the table. He looked back and said I wonder if she died this woman was shot because the Boss said that she was rotten with pox

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that was the reason why [illeg] from down these natives to spear me to hide is guilt. While in the shed one morning they sent me down a plate of rice and some tea. I start the rice I found it was very bitter something told me not to eat it I spit it out and a hen was going along at the time she stop to pick it up and I threw some more on the ground after eating the reset outside she dropped dead taking some of this rice and put in it in some paper and the iron bar I wrapped it in my swag. I was going down to Derby to seek justice to my sorrow I [illeg] [illeg] of justice before long the station a [illeg] gang was brought [illeg] then came [illeg] told me in is language something but 

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he was arrested for wounding a native [illeg] spear at run and he say 18 natives was in the chain gang going constable Pinmer took it off them off the chain and took them out in the bush and he shot in cold blood and brought the chain back. Regan[?] the Patty and ask him what he had done with them and he said I let them all go that was a lie he had to tell them something because those natives was never see again or heard off. All this was [illeg] in the year that [illeg] was that was very much hunted by the white man for shooting a police man who himself [illeg]. Not forgetting to state

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that the Govenment of Western Aus are not aware of the treatment of the native for they are all well [illeg] with all the last commison [illeg] on the Enquiry not the [illeg] and shooting those Mission Natives by Constable Saint Jack and his friends and here I must state again that police man going back to Derby they got to many of the station managers say we have got nobody this time can you give us a gang and this is because the Govenmen pays the police 2/6 a head for every native brought down on the chain and [illeg] to the inlawful qustody

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the native are aqusede of eithe of killing the bullock or sheep for which it is deliberate lie as a white man goes and do those things and [illeg] the native round it the dead cows and the police come and collered them and [illeg] the time that are tralling the police become a very good teacher telling them when you go before Big fellow Boss Boss ask you kill a bullock you say year all the time and that is the lesson the police learn them [illeg] down on the chain ready down the [illeg] they are brought before the Beloved White Brother who ask in turn did you kill the bullock or sheep they all say yes. And then are all

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convicted. And given a very long time in Prison. In many cases they go bak home they will be rearested and charge with some lieing charges because it dos not matter they are ony Blackfellers a 2/6 is attached to every one of them and it do not matter how much pain is afflicted up thes poor inforde native of the soil because they have no one to protect them against their [illeg] White Brother. The native out in the bush have keep well out of sight of the White man. Whenever they happen to see a White man in the Bush they run for their lives for fear that of White mans bullet. You Commonser will be told about the man trading with the women

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by some of the Witness who will not like to tell the truth the reason why the man send the woman to the White man is because the White man taught them to do these thing from the beginning. When White man come along and see native he ask where is your women in many cases the bloke wants to shield his wife then the White man will then offer him tobacca tea and sugar a pipe and the tobacca and sends her along after the White man doe he [illeg] for her he goes [illeg] team and suggest and tobacca then she goes away [illeg] is cooked and [illeg] the lot this is not apply to the White man only but every other that happen to come along

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that is how they were toght and that is the reson that bush will lend the women. You Commisoner will be told about that the women are surfing with veneral [illeg] and other [illeg]. [illeg] recived was brought about among them by the White man before they become to was there was not such thing among them if he gos and have connexon with any Jin it does not matter a drop to him wheder it is clean or filthy and she [illeg] and give it to another man and that is how [illeg] recied among them the time I was [illeg] in I was doing the cooking for the jailer I had rely often had to go out side of the jail

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the call in the Police to have dinner. One day going on this errand I saw in front of the Police quarters spread on the ground a White sheet from end to end was full of little dirt like markings this was discharge of the [illeg] belong to the [illeg] who was suffering from veneral this man name was Bullon. Even the Police take very unfair advantage of the black women sometime they called a young jin have been around the station for they own use. I have good many more to say but I think that will do for [illeg]. Presant I am very [illeg] it as been very unfair trement to these poor unfordrde natives

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[illeg] these people had been taken in hand from the beginning and taught they will have been one of the clevest race of the world as there is not many natives left in WA now will you [illeg] advice the goverment to make a arrangement with the goverment of India or other color races with a view of handing these people over to them where they will be better care for and educated thereby saving the govermen all this trouble of have a lot of troops chasing them all over the bush like they did the time they were hunting for Mr [illeg] the Aborigine Protector Pilger he to went on the chase to hunt down

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Mr Mitchel going on this hunt to help to shoot down this Abroge did not show much of protection [illeg] to for those who did he pretend to care for Coming down south the people little bit more compassion for the Abringal such as Geralton and Dongra Minngnew best of all coming down right to Moora and New Nosia where they seem to treat them more like slave than anywhere else here I must give a few [illeg] regarding the treatment of the native in the mission. [illeg] native that is born the mission. When they are able to work until a wife is provided thes couple are given a house to live in

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from that time that man become beast of burden is suppose to get a pound week wags with that he has to cloth himself and his Mrs by and by at a future date child is born he may be a black child or he may be nearly white and has face not Aboriginal but Spainard and in house a dark couple marry some time there is 2 dark children and one or 2 nearly white. Where did these children come from I leave you [illeg] to guess. Regarding the treament of the younger people I think is was almost

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Abonabee every evening the boys are taken and marched to chapel with a Christan Brother behind. When they take the seat inside the Brother sits [illeg] behind to watch that they dont look at anybody. If any boy look round to see any of sister or relatives they Brother jump up from his seat give the boy slap in the face and not satified with that he unbucle his belt and he start to belabor the boy you cannot here priests praying the sound of the thrasing. While the preast saying the pray

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With all this treatment none of the hundreds of people who frequent the church ever protest against this Christian Brother flogging the children of the soil of Aus for looking round to see if any relation or friends are in the church. The trement of the girls was most unhuman I ever saw they are [illeg] in a compound like place it was fenced round with slab 9 or 10 feet high so close together that wind could not get threw the cracks. This little creature could not see anybody outside or they were not allowed to speak to anybody. The only time that

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they could see any one was at the church time morning or evening. When they to be marched up to church with the Brother behind watching to see that did not speak to anyone. When they got in and take there places the Brother well behind them if any girl happened to look round to see if any brother or friends they to will get a smack in the face. So here we see that this comic opera was not confined only to boys so the girls have to get there share to. After service they march out and go back again to the compound and the Brother well behind

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to prevent them speaking to any one or to give them any thing. When the girl or boy come of age a couple chosen not by there own consent by somebody else. After they brought the first batch of sisters and the girl was better care for. But the compound life still remain the same and this in the Roman Cathlic mission and so call Christian treatment no one seem to take the matter up before.

This statement made by me as I saw and what I was told on [illeg] you commercers do not [illeg] Plese [illeg] no doubt someone will try and make this lie but never less it is to true.

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