James Isdell

J. Isdell, Nullagine. Native question general in district

State Records Archive
Consignment: 255
Item: 1900/0363
Title: J. Isdell, Nullagine. Native question general in district

Keywords: Coorabung (Charley), James Isdell, George Olivey, Axel Ostlund, Marble Bar, Nullagine, Mosquito Creek, Clemenen, Walker, Wordley

[Letter]
Nullagine
14th Apr 1900
To H C Prinsep Esq
Dear Sir,
I would like to again draw your attention to native affairs in this district. If the Government really do intend to watch over and guard the natives against their rapid deterioration and extinction, steps should be taken to do so, the allowing of bush natives to settle down in the close proximity to bush settlements simply means their learning all the white man’s vices and be inoculated with various loathsome diseases. The whole enactments regarding natives wants revising and several new provisions made for their benefit. The allowing of natives to assemble and settle permanently close to these mission centres is not only injurious to the natives themselves but also causes many natives who have kind masters, well cared for and clothed to run away and join the idle natives camped near settlements. It also causes many natives who are well cared for and employed on stations in the neighbourhood to run away and also join these idle vagabonds, these idle natives will not work for anyone – they live on the illicit trade of their women, they are also acquiring a liking for spirits, as in [illeg.] of their camping so close to settlements it is almost impossible to prevent – gins being smuggled into their camps at night time. I was in Marble Bar a few weeks ago, and saw many natives men and women camped you may say in the streets. For the benefit of the natives such a thing should not be allowed.
It makes it a very difficult matter for the police to arrest any natives in these camps, as their movements are so closely watched, that timely warning is always giving of their approach. most the natives camped on the Nullagine townsite do not belong to this district or river, they are mostly from the Oakover and from a distance of over 100 miles eastward. They are simply attracted here by the prospect of being able to trade their women and to live an idle lazy life so a course should not be encouraged by the Government. The want of food does not bring them in, as the country to which they mostly belong is teeming with game and vegetables owing to the last four years good seasons and scarcity of blacks. I would suggest until the government has had time to collect information on which to base a new aboriginal act, that the police should receive strict orders that all unemployed natives should be compelled to camp at least 3 miles outside the limit of any townsite, ending no consideration whatever allow any native women inside the limit, by this means many present idle natives would be compelled to take to their natural way of living and hunting in the bush. Any native men or boys who are employed to be allowed within the limit. And to be also allowed to camp not nearer than a mile from the settlement. The police at present are powerless under present circumstances to abate the nuisance, there is no law in place to cope with it, to arrest and sentence natives under the Vagrant Act would simply entail upon the government is very heavy expense as from Mt Mulligan alone I could send 100 natives in one batch. I am sure that if the matter was talked over with Sir John Forrest, he would plainly see the great injury that is being done to the northern natives through lax regulations and I am sure he would sanction such orders that whilst benefiting all the natives would in no way interfere between masters and servant. I am hoping the government will adapt my previous suggestion as to gathering information from all portions of the colony before pursuing any fresh regulations or new enactments. Mr [Francis Edward] Walsh, the magistrate at Marble Bar, informs me I can [get] a sufficient supply of blankets from him for the few decrepit natives that require them when the cold weather sets in.
I remain yours faithfully,
James Isdell

[Memo]
15/5/00
Chief Protector
See letter from Mr J Isdell of April 14th ’00
EOP
Acknowledge and thank him – add that during the last year I have been earnestly considering the best means of checking the intercourse, especially the mining centres between the white and black race – and intend to recommend certain enactments to that end – He will be glad to hear that a very suitable man has been appointed as travelling inspector and is now making his way toward the Pilbarra field via the Ashburton and Fortesque – [illeg.] started last August – the area is a large one certainly but I hope the activity of this officer will enable him to reach the Pilbara District in a reasonable time. Meanwhile I have ‘your’ letter of last Dec still before me and will use the information therein in my arguments towards reform. I regret much that my representations in this direction during the last session, owing to the heavy duties of the Parliament then were unavoidably left standing over.
HCP
15.5.1900

[Memo]
From Clerk of Petty Sessions
To The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Place: Nullagine, N.W.
Date: 28th April 1900
Re. Coorabung Charley Ab. N.W.A
Sir,
I have the honour to forward your report on conviction of this Ab Native, together with the remarks thereon by J Isdell Esq J. P.
Clerk of Petty Sessions, Nullagine
Note:
Acknowledge – say I have read Mr Isdell’s remarks on this case and shall use them when representing necessity for fresh cases re aborigines
HCP
18.5.1900

[Memo]
See letter from J Isdell of 12.6.00
EOP
20/7/00
Acknowledge – say that the Inspector (W Geo Olivey) may be travelling incognito for what I know, but I fear not always – However, he is a very shrewd and impartial observer – I will make the suggestion to him when I next write – I am glad to say I have received visits from one or two residents of the Pilbarra field whose statements quite corroborate Mr Isdell’s.
HCP
20.7.00

[Memo]
See letter from Mr J Isdell dated Nullagine dated July 6th 1900, re condition of natives at Nullagine.
EOP
8/8/00
Please reply by wire to Isdell Nullagine – 80 blankets were sent to R M Marble Bar on 23rd April for distribution – am wiring to him re your letter 6th July
HCP
Wire to R M Marble Bar – 80 blankets for natives sent you 23 April. Trust you distributed a good number at Nullagine where I hear a number of old and decrepit natives require them. Please see that the instructions in my coming letter of advice are carried out and report if more rations are required there.
HCP
Mr P
If more are reported as required please order them – also blankets.
HCP
8.8.00

[Letter]
Nullagine
11th Aug 1900
To H C Prinsep
Dear Sir,
Yours of 20th July and Mr Olivey just to hand. Also your telegram re native blankets. I sincerely hope that Mr Olivey in his capacity as Travelling Inspector is all you anticipate.
Re native blankets: I have had some correspondence with the Resident Magistrate at Marble Bar on the subject and sent him in the names of about 35 old decrepit natives who are living on the charity of the white residents – and who should be supplied with blankets, clothing and rations by the Government. So far I have not received any blankets for this district. As the Nullagine is a separately proclaimed district from Marble Bar, will you in future arrange that all blankets, clothing etc for natives here be addressed to the district, to avoid delay and correspondence with Marble Bar. I cannot possibly see why many squatting stations and police stations should received the amount of supplies they do, and this district be denied any. Hoping all this will be rectified on the receipt of Mr Olivey’s reports.
I remain, Yours Truly,
James Isdell

[Memo]
Beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter 11th August and to inform you that next season I will send you a bale of blankets, separate from those of Marble Bar – I will write to you further on receipt of Mr Olivey’s report, when no doubt Mr Prinsep will have returned from the Eastern Colonies where he has been on a visit.
EOP

[Letter]
27 Sept 1900
From the Resident Magistrate Marble Bar
To The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter No 4/144 of 21st July last.
When in Nullagine on my last visit I made inquiries and find that there are practically no indigent natives in the district. There were a few old natives who should have had blankets for the cold weather, but the supply arrived too late.
In reference to the rumoured immorality of the natives, I have collected a good deal of information but I notice in the Roebourne newspaper that Mr Olivey, your Inspector, is likely to visit the district. I think perhaps it will be better for me to see him and he can then judge for himself and supply a report on this branch of the native question.
I have, etc,
A Ostlund
Resident Magistrate

[Memo]
Acknowledged with thanks – It will be better, as you suggest, to wait ill Mr Olivey our Travelling Inspector visits Nullagine, when he can confer with you on the native question in the Nullagine district and report to this office.
EOP
16.10.00
PS
I will see that the blankets reach you in good time, next season.

[Letter]
17.12.1900
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Nullagine
At this Township I saw twenty natives altogether, but only a few of them were employed and those mostly women. The two hotel keepers, Messrs Clemenen and Walker, employed two or three men each, three women are employed at the hop-beer shop and the butcher has one man and two or three women working for him. At a garden a mile or so up the river a white man named Wordley keeps a woman, there being several natives loafing about there at times. At this garden I saw and treated a very bad case of syphilis and have left medicine with Wordley to contine the treatment. I visited two or three other camps, in company with Constable Brown and found two men about 55, both pretty strong and hearty and three old women two of them nearly blind. These later I should have put on relief but until the loafers are cleared out the township I consider it is useless to feed these old people, as those able to work would probably get the benefit of the rations supplied.
I also saw two half caste children – one a boy about eight or nine at Wordley’s garden and the other, a child only a few weeks old, at Butcher’s camp.
I was informed there were a great many natives about the township just before my arrival, but they had gone into the bush towards Roy Hill farther back for a big Corroboree. The natives for the most part absolutely refuse to work and live on the prostitution of the women. I believe several white men keep women in and around the township and outlying camps, but it is a difficult matter to obtain any definite information, the police constable being quite a new hand and knowing nothing at all about natives.
James Isdell of Mosquito Creek told me he has applied for blankets for the old natives last winter, but none were obtainable. I have since ascertained that there is now a good supply at Marble Bar and will make arrangements for a bale to be sent to Nullagine before the next winter. The police station is very primitive, being a small bough shed, with a big log to chain prisoners onto. The prisoners (native) brought in from Hornjan’s Horryan’s Horrigan’s Station and convicted of cattle killing were kept in the police camp for two or three days.
G. S. Olivey
Travelling Inspector
Corunna Downs

[Telegram]
Nullagine
To Chief Protector of Aborigines
Hold business license in connection my business at Nullagine – have been accustomed employ two old native women about three hours daily – daily officer in charge police refuses allow native women in township – is he justified – these women receive from me daily rations and clothes sufficient for themselves and family
D H Bradshaw

[Memo]
Chief Protector
See report from Mr Isdell dated 14.11.00, also letter from Mr Olivey reporting on Nullagine dated Corunna Downs 18.11.00
EOP
17.12.00
NB
See if we have any reports at all from Mr Ostlund – if not, why not, to get one at once and see if it agrees with private reports of Olivey’s.

[Memo]
Chief Protector
See wire from Mr Bradshaw date 7 Dec 1900 re police refusal to allow two natives in township of Nullagine although in employment
EOP
7/12/00
Reply
Not knowing circumstances decline to interfere with police who act under orders of Resident Magistrate – but consider that generally native women should be kept out of township
HCP
7.12.00

Katitjin Notes:

James Isdell
James Isdell was a pastoralist, parliamentarian, and traveling protector of Aborigines. Although he expresses compassion in his communications in some records, such as his regard for protecting the assets of Turkey in Item 1910/0318, he was more notoriously known for being the instigator of the Canning Stock Route and an “enthusiastic child removalist.” The following quote is from a chapter by Robert Manne, in the book Genocide and settler society: frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history (2004), edited by A. Dirk Moses:

The most enthusiastic West Australian child removalist in these early days was James Isdell, the former pastoralist and parliamentarian, who was appointed traveling protector for the north in 1907. On 13 Nov 1908, Isdell wrote from the Fitzroy River district to the Chief Inspector, Charles Gale. “I consider it a great scandal to allow any of these half-caste girls to remain with the natives.” On 15 Jan 1909, Gale issued Isdell with the authority to “collect all half-caste boys and girls” and to transport them to Beagle Bay. Isdell expressed his gratitude: “It should have been done years ago.” By May 1909, he was able to report from Wyndham that the entire East Kimberley region had been “cleaned up.”
Isdell was aware that sentimentalists from the south sometimes wrote letters to newspapers “detailing the cruelty and harrowing grief of the mothers.” He regarded such complaints as nonsensical. “Let them visit and reside for a while” in one of the native camps and see for themselves “the open indecency and immorality and hear the vile conversations ordinarily carried on which these young children see, listen to, and repeat.” Isdell did not believe that the Aboriginal mother felt the forcible removal of her child more deeply than did a bitch the loss of a pup. “I would not hesitate,” he wrote, “to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.” “All Aboriginal women,” he explained in letters to Gale “are prostitutes at heart” and all Aborigines are “dirty, filthy, immoral.” (Moses 2004, 222-223)

Olivey, George Sydney (1863-1937)
George Olivey was the first Travelling Inspector for Aborigines, appointed in 1899 to make a grand tour of the state with the aim of ensuring that the policies of the Department for Aborigines, under Chief Protector Henry Prinsep, were being complied with. He continued in this role until 1902. Born in Sydney to a British military family (his father was Lieut-Col Sir Walter Rice Olivey), he came to Western Australia in about 1887 and was part owner of Annean Station, near Nannine until 1909. He then farmed at Clonbinane, near Busselton until 1911, after which he became the Rabbit Inspector at Northam for the Dept of Agriculture.

J Isdell, Broome. General report (as Travelling Protector) Part 1

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1908/0332

Title: J Isdell, Broome. General report (as Travelling Protector)

Keywords: James Isdell, Broome, Willy Creek, Barred Creek, John McCarthy, police

[Letter]
Broome
8 Feb ’08
To: Chief Protector, Perth
Sir,
Two of my horses having gone astray I have been delayed but have just got them and leave on Monday 10th.
With reference to the murder of a black woman by her man and of which I wired now. I was acquainted with both and considered [illeg.] a dangerous character and I think there will be some difficulty in capturing him. My complaint in the matter shared with most of Broome residents is the totally inadequate police protection for such a town as Broome with its population of over 1000 Asiatic and 200 Aborigines. I do not know of any northern coastal town that has greater claims for mounted police than Broome. This large number of aborigines within a hundred miles radius alone entitles the place to one. The foul murder of a black woman within a mile of the town, shows the necessity of it. It was not a tribal murder, but I think that drink and coloured men had something to do with it, at any rate owing to there being [illeg.] mounted police our outfit for such, no steps were taken to follow up the murderer. I can safely say that if it had been a white man or woman that was so fatally murdered both horses and police would have been quickly formed. At present there are only two foot police in Broome. One of those is a water policeman having charge of the jetty. The other one is a new arrival straight off the streets of Perth, totally ignorant of aborigines and asiatics, who is although willing enough, totally unacquainted with natives and their ways and equally so with the horde of aliens. The corporal in charge cannot do outside duty, as his whole time is taken up in the office, writing red tape reports, etc. There is one solitary useless horse worth about £5 at most and this is the [illeg.] to the district, murder or any other legally foul crime can be committed with impunity and no police to check or follow up the criminals. The whole police arrangements are a real disgrace to the police dept and the govt for allowing it to exist. I blame Sub-Inspector McCarthy who is in charge of the district and resides in Derby. He is well aware of the state of affairs, but as economy in the police dept means practically [illeg.] promotion of course it is his interest to keep down expenses even the use of a native to look the horse or as a tracker is a farce. I’m having to get a boy if available at his own expense. The whole business is a disgrace and I hope questions will be asked as soon as [illeg.] that will expose the present mal-administration of the dept.
I remain yours obediently,
James Isdell

[Letter]
Barred Creek
18.02.08
To: Chief Protector, Perth
Sir,
I left Broome on Tuesday 11th en route for Carnot Bay. On Sunday before leaving a native named Jacky murdered his woman about a mile from Broome. As there is only the corporal and one foot policeman and a water policeman at the jetty, with no horses nor outfit to follow up the murder however I am glad to say I succeeded in capturing Jacky yesterday evening, with a little strategy and assistance from Capt Frances of the schooner Hercules he is now safe on board the schooner and I am sending him into Broome on a lugger today. I have no means of securing him in camp otherwise have taken him by horses.
I visited Willy Creek and saw a fair number of natives, as this creek is the best fishing ground along this coast, between Broome and Carnot Bay, I will shift all natives from Barred Creek to there. There are three coloured men camped cutting firewood and only boats for firewood enter the Creek. I visited some native wells in the Pindan but found these all dry. From Willy Creek I pushed on to Barred Creek arriving on Sunday. A very large number of natives were camped here but they had cleared our before I arrived. However most of them went away to Willy Creek and Streeter’s Station, of course when I leave they will all come back as they are well aware that there is no mounted police in the district. Capt Frances, who has a large staff of coloured me, overhauling his boats, complains very truthfully and bitterly about the neglect of the police dept in not having a mounted man to keep the natives away. They demoralise his men and prevent him keeping order amongst them. He wrote to Corp Stewart on the matter, I saw his letters on the day I left Broome. I told the Corporal to take it to the Acting Resident Magistrate as he had charge of the district and that I had done my best to get a mounted man and would not bother any more. Last December I had a wire from your department stating a good man was coming from Wyndham but have heard nothing further. On Sunday 9th, Capt Frances informs me a boat arrived from Broome with grog on board. Consequently there was a wild orgie amoungst the natives for a day or two, many of them getting knocked about fighting. I would strongly recommend the closing of Barred Creek against all natives starting from south bank of the mouth of the creek, thence 2 miles south, thence 2 miles east, thence 4 miles north, thence 2 miles west to coast, this would take in all the camping ground. Barred Creek is not a good fishing ground and after the boats leave no natives come near the creek until following lay up season. Willy Creek, 10 miles south of Barred Creek, is their main camping ground.
There has been very little rain anywhere, the country being very dry, last year up to end of January the average was 27 inches, this year to date it is barely 9 inches, a vast difference. I am afraid that if a change does not soon take place large numbers of back country abos will flock into the coast for food and water. I am afraid that along the southern coast from Broome to Wallal will be very bad and a large number of abos thrown on hands of the Dept for food. It must be remembered that the whole of that line of coast has been leased. The natives have not any acre of land of their own. The Govt stock route wells are being used by some [illeg.] stations and a native is not allowed to camp on any of them. This is a public scandal unless some provision is made by the way of reserves in the near future I am sure the relief expenditure will keep mounting. My past correspondence I have spoken strongly re this point and hope the [illeg.] country will be resumed for native purposes.
I remain yours obediently,
James Isdell

Aboriginal woman and half-caste son of late John McKenzie

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1910/0318
Title: James Isdell. Queensland. Aboriginal woman and half-caste son of late John McKenzie, Frog Hollow

Keywords: Frog Hollow Station, John MacKenzie, James Isdell, Sam Muggleton, McGrath, Beagle Bay, Turkey, Lilly

[Telegram]
18 Mar 1910
Telegram from Halls Creek
To Aborigines Dept, Perth
McKenzie Frog Hollow accidentally shot left Queensland aborigine woman and half-caste son aged four. Also left property cattle horses. What steps advisable secure woman’s return own country if she wishes and sufficient have son brought up Beagle May Mission. Send reply for police assistant. Isdell

[Letter]
18.3.10
Halls Creek
To Chief Protector, Perth
Sir,
Two cases of death of white men have just taken place in Halls Creek district in which natives are slightly interested. John McKenzie was accidentally shot a few days ago at Turkey Creek. He lived at Muggleton’s Frog Hollow Station and was the owner of cattle, horses and some pastoral leases. He had at the station an aboriginal woman belonging to Queensland and a young half-caste boy. I wrote to you about him last year, unfortunately I can not give you the date, as I was compelled to leave a lot of my books at [illegible] as I had no room to carry them back to Halls Creek.
In the winding up of his estate provision should be made to send the woman back to her country and to bring the boy up at Mission Station. The boy is about 4 years old and McKenzie told me he intended to send him south for education as soon as he was 6 years old.
The second case happened a few days after when S Muggleton, owner of Frog Hollow Station, was found the bush, very ill, along with his horse, he was brought home but died shortly after. He is supposed to have had a fall from his horse. On his station are a family of aboriginal girls named McGrath and they own some cattle and horses. Muggleton told me one of the girls had 8 or 9 cattle and another one horses. I also wrote you last year on this matter because the mother of these girls was on the indigent list receiving relief at Halls Creek. Mr Way, the RM, left Halls Creek yesterday to hold inquiry and I gave him notes of both cases, but I thought it advisable that the Department should instruct police or else magistrate to make full inquiries, also that magistrate protect the girls and also woman and child of McKenzie.
I remain, yours obediently,
James Isdell

[Letter]
26.3.11
To Chief Protector, Perth
Sir,
Constable Taylor, Turkey Creek, took 6 half-castes to Wyndham last February, for transmission to Beagle Bay, included amongst them is a son of the late John McKenzie of Frog Hollow. Mr McKenzie left a half share in a cattle station to his brother and he was to look after the boy, but he is a ne’er-do-well and had no money of means of sending the boy away and paying for his keep. As the little boy was being neglected and practically living with aborigines I sent him away. As McKenzie’s estate can well afford to pay for him, what steps had best be taken to compel the brother to do so. The latter does not deny his liability.
Frog Hollow Station is likely to change ownership, and consequently probably new arrangements may have to be made re killing cattle for natives. I previously wrote to the Department with reference to a mare on the station belonging to a half-caste girl (Lilly) sent to Beagle Bay two years ago, but have received no reply. I would suggest that she be sold and proceeds remitted to the Beagle Bay Mission to help pay for the girl’s keep. The mare is old and worth about £8 or £9. Both Turkey and her half-caste son, now grown up, have horses, about 16 in number, but most of them belong to Turkey, who is an aborigine woman belonging to Northern Territory, but has been here for nearly 20 years. In the event of the station changing ownership, there may possibly be some bother over them. I would like to receive full instructions to act on your behalf in protecting the woman’s interest.
I remain, Yours obediently,
James Isdell

[Letter]
318/10
6th May, 1911
To Mr J Isdell
Travelling Protector of Aborigines
Turkey Creek
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 26th March last, and to inform you that an illegitimate child has no standing in law against the estate of its father.
The brother of the deceased McKenzie could not be compelled to contribute to the support of such a child, and unless he voluntarily assists, the law could not force him to do so.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Turkey Creek
8.6.11
To Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Sir,
With reference to your letter 318/10, 6th May, re late McKenzie’s illegitimate son, as the father fully acknowledged his son and expressed his intention to me and others to educate and have him taught a trade, and as he died leaving ample property to meet a charge for his upbringing, I should have thought the estate would be liable, if the father is liable when alive (as he would be under the Aborigines Act) then his estate should be liable at his death. The mother, I am afraid, will do little for the boy.
I remain, Yours obediently,
James Isdell

Katitjin Notes:

Questions: What became of John McKenzie’s little boy? What became of Turkey and her cattle? What became of the McGrath girls and their property? Was their legal rights to that property recognised?

Isdell, James (1849-1919)
James Isdell was a pastoralist, parliamentarian, and traveling protector of Aborigines. Although he expresses compassion in his communications in this record, he was more notoriously known for being the instigator of the Canning Stock Route and an “enthusiastic child removalist.” The following quote is from a chapter by Robert Manne, in the book Genocide and settler society: frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history (2004), edited by A. Dirk Moses:

The most enthusiastic West Australian child removalist in these early days was James Isdell, the former pastoralist and parliamentarian, who was appointed traveling protector for the north in 1907. On 13 Nov 1908, Isdell wrote from the Fitzroy River district to the Chief Inspector, Charles Gale. “I consider it a great scandal to allow any of these half-caste girls to remain with the natives.” On 15 Jan 1909, Gale issued Isdell with the authority to “collect all half-caste boys and girls” and to transport them to Beagle Bay. Isdell expressed his gratitude: “It should have been done years ago.” By May 1909, he was able to report from Wyndham that the entire East Kimberley region had been “cleaned up.”
Isdell was aware that sentimentalists from the south sometimes wrote letters to newspapers “detailing the cruelty and harrowing grief of the mothers.” He regarded such complaints as nonsensical. “Let them visit and reside for a while” in one of the native camps and see for themselves “the open indecency and immorality and hear the vile conversations ordinarily carried on which these young children see, listen to, and repeat.” Isdell did not believe that the Aboriginal mother felt the forcible removal of her child more deeply than did a bitch the loss of a pup. “I would not hesitate,” he wrote, “to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.” “All Aboriginal women,” he explained in letters to Gale “are prostitutes at heart” and all Aborigines are “dirty, filthy, immoral.” (Moses 2004, 222-223)

Muggleton, Samuel (1855-1910)
Sam Muggleton, born in NSW, he went to Queensland for 15 years before coming to Western Australia where he lived for 20 years as a stockman and then pastoralist at Frog Hollow, where he worked his stock with John McKenzie and Turkey, an Aboriginal woman from Borroloola in the Northern Territory. Frog Hollow had a reputation for “kindness to Aborigines” in that the workers had some degree of autonomy on the station. More about Sam Muggleton here.
See also Item: 1909/0042

MacKenzie, John
From the West Australian newspaper 16 Mar 1910
Mr John McKenzie, who was killed on Frog Hollow Station, was also an old identity in the district. He had been a stockman, but by hard work had attained a position of some affluence and was a partner with Messrs Cranwell and Yates in a station adjoining Alice Downs. His age was about 53
http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/26251937

Lilly – indentured to Mrs Buckland

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0042
Title: “Lilly” indentured to Mrs Buckland

Keywords: Lilly, Sam Muggleton, Turkey, Frog Hollow, Arthur Buckland, John McCarthy, James Isdell, labour, missions, Beagle Bay Mission, Wyndham

Key Phrases:

[Unwillingness to go to the Mission]
“Re Corpl Buckland’s statement that this girl did not wish to go away, not one of the half castes will consent to leave their country. If their wishes were considered there would not be many go to the Mission Station.” [J McCarthy, policeman]

[Letter]
From Chief Protector of Aborigines
To Inspector of Police, Protector of Aborigines, Derby
Oct 19th, 1907
In reply to your letter of the 27th inst re half-caste girl “Lilly” at the Frog Hollow Station, I think the best thing to be done would be to send her to the Beagle Bay Mission. She will be looked after just as well there as in one of the Institutions, South. There are now 10 sisters there, who look after the girls and for that reason I wish all the children from the East and West Kimberley Districts sent there. As Mr Muggleton claims to be the guardian of “Lilly” perhaps he will pay the necessary expenses of the girl’s removal. Please let me know what can be done in the matter.
E D Pechell
For Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
[Letter]
From Chief Protector of Aborigines
To Mr S Muggleton, Frog Hollow, East Kimberley
Oct 19th, 1907
Sir,
Re half caste girl Lilly. I have communicated with the Chief Protector of Aborigines regarding Lilly, he has instructed me to take charge of her and send her to the Beagle Bay Mission Station. There are 10 sisters (nuns) there to look after the girls. She would be well cared for there.
I understand that you are desirous of taking her to Wyndham yourself. If so, you could hand her over to Const Wilson who would make the necessary arrangements for her keep while she remained in Wyndham and her passage to Broome. If you cannot take her to Wyndham would you be good enough to hand her over to the Halls Creek Police when they are passing with prisoners en route to Wyndham.
Thanking you in anticipation
I am, yours respectfully,
J McCarthy
Acting Sub Insp

[Letter]
To Const Cahill, Halls Creek
20.11.07
Mr Sam Muggleton of Frog Hollow in August last requested me to do something re to a half caste girl named Lilly aged about 13 years who lives with the blacks on his station.
I have communicated with the Chief Protector and he has instructed me to have her sent to Beagle Bay Mission Station.
When the next escort leaves Halls Creek will you please instruct the Constable in charge to call on Mr Muggleton and get the girl and take her to Wyndham. Mr Muggleton may perhaps prefer to take her to Wyndham himself. In that case, he may be allowed to do so.
J McCarthy
Acting Sub Insp

[Letter]
To Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
[Undated]
I have to report that there is a half caste girl named Lilly aged about 12 years at Mr S Muggleton’s Frog Hollow Station in East Kimberley. This child is near sighted.
Mr Muggleton who states he is this child’s guardian is of the opinion that she should be sent to one of the Institutions for half castes and in the event of arrangements being made would undertake to convey her to Wyndham and hand her over to a Protector until such time as she could be sent away.
I have seen this child and respectfully recommend that some arrangements be made for her removal from Frog Hollow.
J McCarthy
Acting Sub Insp

[Memo]
To Corpl Buckland
8.9.08
When in East Kimberley last year my attention was drawn to a half caste girl named Lilly who was living with the natives at Frog Hollow.
In consequence of a conversation with Mr Sam Muggleton about her removal to the Beagle Bay Mission Station and was authorised to have her sent to the mission.
I wrote to Mr Muggleton accordingly and asked him to hand her over to one of the escorts from Halls Creek en route to Wyndham. I also wrote to the OIC Police Halls Creek instructing him accordingly.
I have not heard anything further but an account was passed at Wyndham for £1-5-0 for maintenance of half caste Lilly. Is this the same girl? If so, please report her whereabouts.
J McCarthy
Acting Sub Inspector

[Memo]
To Act Sub Insp McCarthy
22/10/08
This is the same girl. She was brought to Wyndham by Mr Muggleton to be sent away, but did not want to go. Permission was granted by the Chief Protector of Aborigines for my wife to keep her and she is under indenture to her.
Buckland

[Letter]
To Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
From District Police Office, Derby
12.12.08
Re Half-caste girl Lilly
When travelling through East Kimberley in 1907 at a place called Frog Hollow, about 150 miles from Wyndham, my attention was directed to this child’s neglected state.
I communicated with your department giving particulars concerning her and was instructed to have her sent to the Beagle Bay Mission.
I gave instructions accordingly and for some time heard nothing further until I saw her name on an account for rations supplied her at Wyndham. I then wrote to Corpl Buckland the OIC Wyndham concerning her whereabouts and he informed me that Lilly was indentured to his wife.
I wish to bring this under your notice because having made all the arrangements I was not informed of these proceedings or referred to in any way. I think the girl should have been sent on to the Beagle Bay Mission. I know of different cases where halfcaste girls have been employed by residents in places where they can associate with natives and have not seen one educated or treated any different to a full blooded woman, and in most cases they drift back to the Aborigines camp.
Re Corpl Buckland’s statement that this girl did not wish to go away, not one of the half castes will consent to leave their country. If their wishes were considered there would not be many go to the Mission Station.
J McCarthy
Acting Sub Inspector

[Letter]
To Corpl Buckland, Police Dept, Wyndham
Jan 12th 1909
With reference to the girl Lily from Frog Hollow, I have received some further correspondence from Actg Sub Inspr McCarthy on the matter. The papers relating to this girl having been indentured to Mrs Buckland seem to have been mislaid, I would therefore feel obliged by your forwarding me copies of them at your earliest convenience.
C F Gale

[Letter]
To Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
19th April, 09
Sir,
In reply to your letter of 12th January last, which reached me too late to reply to by last mail.
I attach copy of agreement, signed by my wife, re indenture of halfcaste Lily.
I may state that my wife has no wish to keep this girl, who I am sorry to say has turned out to be very light fingered and besides she is always wanting to go back to her country.
I intend to see Mr Isdell on his arrival here with reference to the girl, but I would like to point out that it would be useless trying to educate her as her eyes have been bad since childhood and she is very near sighted. Dr Parer RMO has attended her here for her eyesight and is of the opinion she will go totally blind.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant
A L Buckland

[Copy of indenture agreement]
Aborigines Department
Aborigines Act 1905 (Sect 8)
To Mrs Buckland, Wyndham
Madam
As the legal guardian of the halfcaste child Lily, I am willing that she shall remain in your care for the time being and until this permit is revoked but on the following conditions:-
1) That medical attendance be supplied by you when necessary
2) That proper food and clothing and housing are supplied by you and that her education is proceeded with
3) When called upon by me that any wages deemed advisable by a local protector be given by you to the said Lily and paid to a local protector named by me
4) That this permit is revocable at my will
I am, Madam, your obediently,
C F Gale
1-8-08
I agree to the above mentioned conditions
A L Buckland

“Frog Hollow”
Via Turkey Creek
Wyndham
To The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
[undated – received at Aborigines Dept 25th Aug 1909]
Sir,
I would like to ask your advice in regards an aboriginal woman named Turkey who has been in my employment for the last fifteen years. The said woman is a native of the Northern Territory is about 40 years of age has two grown up half caste children and one [illegible] black about 6 years of age, she also has an aboriginal husband. She has horses and cattle of her own but no brand. I may be leaving these parts at any time and what I want to know is would I be allowed to take out a brand for the said woman Turkey and if so would anyone be allowed to interfere with the property of the woman Turkey.
Another matter I would like to draw your attention to is viz about 10 years ago while mustering cattle on my run I came upon a little half caste girl in the bush who was practically starving, her aboriginal mother having deserted her. I handed her over to old Turkey who reared her. About two years ago Inspector McCarthy of the Derby Police whilst on his patrol advised me to send the half caste girl known as Lilly south to a mission. I was quite willing to do so and pay any expenses incurred thereby. The Inspector informed me that immediately she arrived in Wyndham she would be handed over to a white woman who would take every care of her. When the girl arrived in Wyndham she was immediately pounced upon by the local Corporal of Police who used her as a drudge about the place for a couple of years.
I complained repeatedly about it but was put off with evasive answers. A few weeks ago whilst in Wyndham the girl who is now over sixteen years of age wanted badly to come back home to the station and I was given to understand that she was coming back. As soon as my back was turned she was immediately shipped south. The girl has been use to stock and nothing else. She has had no training whatever that would fit her for a life south and I think it only fair that the girl should be sent back an given a chance to live a comfortable life and be able to look after her own stock, she having cattle and horses of her own.
Trusting that you will give these lines your careful and early reply.
Your respectfully,
S Muggleton
PS
What makes me ask about the stock belonging to Turkey is on account of a lubra that had stock on a neighbouring station. The local Protector of Aborigines Mr Isdell was to sell to me the stock belonging to this lubra and I having bluntly refused as I did not consider it just to do so.

[Letter]
To Mr S Muggleton
Frog Hollow Station
Turkey Creek
Via Wyndham
August 31, 1909
Sir,
With reference to that portion of your letter dealing with the half caste girl Lily, I shall be glad to learn the number of cattle and horses she has. In asking for this information, I wish to point out that it is my earnest desire to protect in every possible way all half caste children, and to afford them security in any property they may possess.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
C F Gale
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Katitjin Notes:

Question:
What happened to Turkey’s and Lilly’s cattle and horses? It would seem that a number of Aboriginal women owned their own stock, which shows considerable enterprise and agency.

Muggleton, Samuel (1855-1910)
Sam Muggleton, born in NSW, he went to Queensland for 15 years before coming to Western Australia where he lived for 20 years as a stockman and then pastoralist at Frog Hollow, where he worked his stock with John McKenzie and Turkey, an Aboriginal woman from Borroloola in the Northern Territory. Frog Hollow had a reputation for “kindness to Aborigines” in that the workers had some degree of autonomy on the station. More about Sam Muggleton here.

Buckland, Arthur (1880-1942)
Arthur Buckland was a police officer in the Kimberley region for over twenty years. He married Amy Walker in Derby in 1905. He was officer in charge of the Wyndham Police Station during the Forrest River Massacre incident and his evidence as a witness was used in the subsequent Royal Commission.

McCarthy, John
Sub-Inspector John McCarthy had been in the Police Force since 1888. He had gone to Derby in 1905, as a promotion his role in Perth as the police prosecutor at the Perth Police Court. He was well liked by the press for his courteousness, and considered a “zealous and capable” officer. He had served in the North-West, in Marble Bar and Roebourne, between about 1895 and 1900, before returning to Perth.

Messrs Bell & Male, Weedong. Relief to natives

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0025
Title: Messrs Bell & Male, Weedong. Relief to natives

Keywords: Toorgabur, Juigabur, Joongabur, Coongoo, Billy, Molge, Sambo, Archie Male, Weedong Station, James Isdell, Beagle Bay Mission, Nicholas Emo, Josef Bischofs, Cygnet Bay Mission, Lacepede Islands, Harry Hunter, pearling, pastoral stations, Kimberley, Boolgin

[Account authorising payment for rations]
To: Bell & Male, Weedong Station
1908 Maintenance of Aborigines:
8d per day
Apr 1 – Jun 30
Toorgabur, Jenny, 60, infirm
Juigabur, Mary, 60, infirm
Joongabur, 65, blind
Coongoo, Billy, 60, infirm
May 27 – Jun 30
Molge, Sambo, 50, wooden leg

[Letter]
From: Streeter & Male, Broome
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
4 July, 1908
Dear Sir,
I enclose vouchers for maintenance of several natives in April, May, June.
Some four months ago, Mr Isdell was at our small station recently started at Pender Bay (some 30 miles north of Beagle Bay Mission) and arranged with our manager to look after a few old and infirm natives, also any others Mr Isdell might send whilst journeying further towards Derby.
The particulars as on the vouchers are supplied by my manager, but to me personally Mr Isdell has been unable to communicate. On the May voucher appears one man with a wooden leg – he was sent down by Mr Isdell after being some weeks away from Pender Bay.
Yours faithfully,
Bell & Male
Archie Male

[Memo]
Mr Isdell replied no such authority given as he considered the station should support the natives.
E W P [Edmund Pechell]

[Telegram – no date]
To: Isdell, Fitzroy
From: Pechell, Aborigines Dept
Please say if you sanctioned Bell Male Weedong five natives at eight-pence

[Memo]
By letter 13/162
Messrs Bell & Male informed that Mr Isdell had been communicated with and that it was found that he had given no authority for the relief of five natives at the Weedong Station. Therefore, under the circumstances, relief could not be passed.
E W P
4/8/08

[Letter]
From: Streeter & Male, Broome
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
21 Aug, 1908
Dear Sir,
We are in receipt of your letter 13/162 and I must say we are very surprised at the contents. Mr Bell is now in Broome and the writer has gone into the matter thoroughly with him. The natives mentioned in the vouchers attached were sent to Weedong (Pender Bay) by your inspector Mr Isdell – some of them were, we believe, from Cygnet Bay, who had been looked after by Father Nicholas. These natives, as you see by the vouchers, are very old and quite helpless, one blind and one with a wooden leg, and to leave them without support would mean the end of their existence. We fail to see any reason why Mr Isdell should have said that these natives should be supported by us after having sent them. The station has been in existence barely two years and considering Mr Bell does not use natives, only one horse boy who is well-looked after by us, it seems rather absurd to say that they should be kept by the station. I would suggest that you get confirmation of our case from Father Bischoff of the Beagle Bay Mission who is a man taking grate interest in the natives and doing a great work. We certainly can’t afford to keep them ourselves and would much prefer to have them sent elsewhere than on our premises, but it would be a most inhumane thing to leave them unprotected so that until we hear from you again we shall continue to support them on your account being sent us by Mr Isdell. Since Father Nicholas left Cygnet Bay there are numbers of old natives in this district not being looked after as they should be, as we have reason to believe although they should be looked after by Mr Hunter of Swan Point, it is evidently not being done. The latter information we would ask you to be confidential and get a report from Father Bischoff who is a Protector as to whether it is a fact. Had Mr Isdell been in the district we would have communicated with him, but if the above is correct it is certainly your duty to remedy same.
Yours faithfully,
Bell & Male
Archie Male

[Memo]
To C P A [Chief Protector of Aborigines]
I have written again to Mr Isdell re this relief at Weedong. Also to Father Bischof
E W P
2/11/08

[Telegram]
12 Nov 1908
From: Fitzroy
To: Aborigines Dept
Wired August first no sanction or authority from me. Charge relief Weedong Station Male & Bell can well afford feed few indigents. Beagle Bay Mission relief only sixteen miles from Weedong
Isdell

[Memo]
C P A
In face of Mr Isdell’s telegram, do you consider relief should be given to the Weedong Station for natives mentioned in voucher form and by Messrs Bell & Male.
E W P

[Memo]
Mr Pechell
Inform Male & Bell that from information received from our inspector they must have misunderstood the authority quoted by them. It appears to be a genuine case of relief and the account must be paid. Inform the ? when paying that as the Mission Beagle Bay Station is so near them I consider it advisable that these natives should be sent there & that no further accounts will be paid.
C F Gale
20.11.08

[Letter]
To: Messrs Bell & Male, Weedong Station, near Broome
23rd Nov 1908
Sirs,
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 21st August, received here a short time back, re relief to the natives at your Weedong Station and inform you that from information received from our inspector you must have mistaken the authority given and quoted amount.
However, as the natives maintained by you seem to be genuine cases for relief, I have forwarded the voucher for payment through the Treasury at Broome. As the mission at Beagle Bay is near you, I consider it advisable that these indigent natives should be sent there and that no further accounts should be forwarded for their relief from Weedong.
I have the honor to be, Sirs, your obedient servant,
C F Gale

[Letter]
From: Beagle Bay Mission
To: Aborigines Dept
2nd Dec 1908
Dear Sir,
In your letter from the 3rd Nov you asked my opinion as to the relief of 5 natives on Mr Bell’s station, Weedong. Personally I have been different times at the said station of Messrs Bell and Male, where I have seen the old and infirm natives. These natives surely should be on the infirm list.
As to the Department bearing the expenses, I can only mention that Mr Bell himself is a very upright and honest man, but as his station is only in the beginning, he will have scarcely any profit from his work for the first 5 years.
Under these circumstances I doubt very much if he would have the inclination to look after the infirm natives, if the Department should refuse to bear at least part of the expense.
I am, Sir, your faithful servant,
Fr Jos Bischofs

[Letter]
Broome
31 Dec 1908
To: The Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Dear Sir,
We are in receipt of your letter of 23 Nov re natives at Weedong Station.
I regret to see you think our information from your Inspector is incorrect. On this point I must again say there was no misunderstanding as your Inspector even pointed out to Mr Bell, our Manager, the method of applying for payment and the details required. This fact alone should show you that at that time he considered the claim just.
Personally, the writer does not believe in the often made attempt to get your Dept to pay for natives which are often used on stations. As in the instance the firm I am managing Messrs Streeter & Co, who I can say support perhaps more old natives than any station in the North but still in this case many of them are old servants or have children working there in which case or cases I am quite in accord with you – its the duty of the many stations to support such natives.
However, in this case at Weedong, the facts are very different – the country has never before been opened up or used and the natives, which are a fair charge on the station, are maintained by it although only the horseboy is used. These natives sent by Mr Isdell are from Cygnet Bay country and I would not either myself or allow my manager to claim unless such was just.
To get stores to these parts is very expensive as a lugger has to be hired to get supplies sent up so you will see it is no advantage to us to have them there.
I trust you will arrange for the B. B. Mission or someone else to take them away as they are too old and decrepit to go on their own. In the meantime, I enclose the amount to date and shall continue to support them at your expense until some such arrangement is made to relieve me of them.
I trust you are making inquiries re the old natives about this part of the north for since Father Nicholas left Cygnet Bay and shall be pleased to hear from you that this is being done.
Yours faithfully,
Bell & Male
Archie Male

[Letter]
To: Messrs Bell & Male, Weedong Station, Broome
Jan 26th, 1909
Sirs,
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 31st ultimo and to inform you that I have made enquiries re the old Natives now in your neighbourhood and formerly of the Cygnet Bay Mission.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your’s obediently,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: J Isdell Esq, Travelling Protector of Aborigines, Halls Creek
Messrs Bell and Male of the Weedong Station have written two or three times re old and decrepit Natives from Cygnet Bay, hanging about the country in their neighbourhood.
I understand from your report that arrangements were made to send all Father Nicholas Emo’s old Natives to Hunter of Boolgin; was not this idea out, if not what arrangements were made for the Natives who did not go to Boolgin.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Halls Creek
To: Chief Protector, Perth
Letter undated or numbered to hand with reference to granting of relief to old natives at Bell & Male’s Weedong Station. I never sanctioned the granting of relief to any natives on Weedong, if so, I would have at once acquainted the Aborigine Dept. Neither Messrs Bell or Male never made any written application to me for relief, if they had I would have refused it. I could not recommend it and what’s more they ought to be ashamed of themselves for asking for it – Mr Male is a large cattle run with a big pearling fleet, large store business, and has had all exclusive monopoly of the very best butchering business in West Australia, that of Broome, and could well afford to feed 100 old natives. On my visit there were 3 od women and 1 old man, and if I am not mistaken the old man is the father of one of the stockboys, though I am not certain.
Mr Harris of Carnet Bay Station is a poor man, struggling hard, yet he feeds 7 old natives besides children and never hinted at relief. Weedong is only 16 miles from Beagle Bay Mission Station where old natives can get relief there if they want. When one comes to travel through Kimberley, and compares the price of stores paid by inland natives with those on the coast, I can only say all coastal station owners ought to be ashamed of themselves, it’s pure and simple.
From Derby to Upper Fitzroy and Margaret River carriage[?] is from £25 to £30 per ton, flour is over £40 per ton, and every station finds indigents and also bush natives and not a single station owner or manager ever mentioned the word relief, excepting one station over the Leopold, Mount Barnett, and that was for beef only. I would stop all relief on coastal stations, where stores are cheap and compel them to feed a certain number of natives, for having use of land and service of younger natives, if they hadn’t the younger natives, they could be looking after and feeding the old people, stores on coast are only 2 or 3 pounds over Fremantle prices. I will sanction no relief without approval of the Aborigines Dept and applications must be made in writing.
The only relief that is necessary in that portion of the coast is at Hunter’s Boolgin Creek where nearly all the old Cygnet Bay natives belong to.
I remain, yours obediently,
James Isdell

[Letter]
Ord River
May 18th, 1909
Sir,
I beg to acknowledge per private river mail yours dated Jan 14th & 26th, no 13/305 and 13/337 with reference to Bell & Males complaint about indigents and the heavy expense incurred feeding indigents at Hunters Boolgin Homestead.
I have already written Department with reference to Bell & Males application. I look on it as an imposition asking for assistance to feed a few old natives. If the old natives are troubling them there is a police constable stationed at Beagle Bay. They should request him to remove them to the Beagle Bay Mission relief station, which is only 16 miles from Mr Bell’s homestead.
With regard to Boolgin, it is a difficult matter to settle. Mr Hunter absolutely refuses to have anything to do with the old people. When I first asked him, he would not take relief money but at last agreed to serve out natives if supplied by the Dept. From Disaster Bay King Sound along this coast as far as Pender Bay there are a number of old natives men and women, but very few young natives. Father Nicholas had most of them at his Cygnet Bay Mission, and if I mistake not (I have not got the records with me) he got relief money for 32 natives. It was on that basis I calculated the supplies for Hunter. If it has been exceeded it is so without authority. Sunday Island natives are nearly all young men & women from 20 years to 35 years old – very few old ones & few very young ones. Nearly if not all these natives belong to the mainland, along the coast I have named, if such is the case it accounts for so many old people being thrown on their own resources. I want to investigate that point and find out how many of the Sunday Islanders are related to the old people. These old people on mainland will not live in the islands, there are really no natives belonging to Sunday or the other Islands, they all belong on the mainland, and only used the Islands for hunting & fishing purposes. Then again the regulations regarding the taking of natives as crews on boats are so lax that many of the younger men have been taken away and not been returned. I write very strongly on this particular question whilst in Broome early last year, suggesting alterations to protect these coastal natives. The proportion of women to men is so much larger on the coast it shows that a number of men must have disappeared. Whilst at Boolgin I would like to talk to take a run over to the Lacepedes in Hunter’s boat and inspect it in regard to its suitability to keep native prisoners on to work the guano deposits. Will you wire me to the Fitzroy if I can do so. The whole of that coast, as well as Derby, is a veritable death trap for horses from Kimberley worms, I am sure to lose some, as they are bound to contract the disease, although it may be months before they die.
I hope you do not blame me for not getting answers to your letters and telegrams in reasonable time, some of my correspondence is six months old before reaching me – your two January letters only reached me three days ago per private person.
I remain, yours obediently,
James Isdell

Katitjin Notes:

Archie Male (1877-1923)
Archie Male worked in partnership with his older brother Arthur Male (a Liberal MP for many years), with large cattle holdings in the North-West, which were exported to Java in exchange for rice and sugar used as provisions for the indentured Asian labourers of their extensive pearling fleets. Due to his interests in employing Japanese divers for the pearling industry, Male was the Honorary Consul for Japan in Broome from 1910 until his death in 1923. He was opposed to certain applications of the White Australian Policy that worked to prevent the employment of Asians, and the Male brothers worked vigorously to exempt Asians working in the pearling industry from the prohibitions of the Policy. Archie Male was Mayor of Broome for many years.

James Isdell was a pastoralist, parliamentarian, and traveling protector of Aborigines. Although he expresses compassion in his communications in this record, he was more notoriously known for being the instigator of the Canning Stock Route and an “enthusiastic child removalist.” The following quote is from a chapter by Robert Manne, in the book Genocide and settler society: frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history (2004), edited by A. Dirk Moses:

The most enthusiastic West Australian child removalist in these early days was James Isdell, the former pastoralist and parliamentarian, who was appointed traveling protector for the north in 1907. On 13 Nov 1908, Isdell wrote from the Fitzroy River district to the Chief Inspector, Charles Gale. “I consider it a great scandal to allow any of these half-caste girls to remain with the natives.” On 15 Jan 1909, Gale issued Isdell with the authority to “collect all half-caste boys and girls” and to transport them to Beagle Bay. Isdell expressed his gratitude: “It should have been done years ago.” By May 1909, he was able to report from Wyndham that the entire East Kimberley region had been “cleaned up.”
Isdell was aware that sentimentalists from the south sometimes wrote letters to newspapers “detailing the cruelty and harrowing grief of the mothers.” He regarded such complaints as nonsensical. “Let them visit and reside for a while” in one of the native camps and see for themselves “the open indecency and immorality and hear the vile conversations ordinarily carried on which these young children see, listen to, and repeat.” Isdell did not believe that the Aboriginal mother felt the forcible removal of her child more deeply than did a bitch the loss of a pup. “I would not hesitate,” he wrote, “to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.” “All Aboriginal women,” he explained in letters to Gale “are prostitutes at heart” and all Aborigines are “dirty, filthy, immoral.” (Moses 2004, 222-223)

Harry Hunter (1865-19) is a controversial figure: he was a pearling master who set up a camp at Boolgin Creek and subsequently lived there. The following is an extract from the book “Harry Hunter and Sydney Hadley“:

“Harry Hunter walked down to his store, revolver on his hip as always, whip and knife in hand. He took out a large burlap sack and a length of rope, locked the door again, and went on down to the beach.” “Just above the edge of the sea, a rowing boat lay on the sand. Nearby a group of Aboriginal children was playing, one of them a big boy, almost full grown. Harry Hunter told that boy, ‘Row this boat’.” “Soon after they set off, he said, ‘This boat is too light. Pull across to the island and bring some rocks’. The boy did so, lowering them in carefully, so they wouldn’t go through the bottom, then rowed out to the deep water, where sharks pass down King Sound when the tide runs full” “Out there, Harry Hunter put his revolver to the boy’s head, killed him, put the body and rocks in the sack which he tied with the rope and dropped over the stern.” “Taking the oars, he rowed back to the mainland shore, pulled the boat up on the beach and walked away.” Jack Hunter.

Bischofs, Josef (1878-1958)
Father Josef Bischofs was a German missionary, who arrived in WA in 1905 as part of the Pallotine Mission, who built up the Beagle Bay Mission after the Cistercians left in 1899, and stayed until 1920. He translated the bible into Nyul-nyul and wrote extensively on Aboriginal customs. He was very outspoken in his objection to marriages between Aboriginal women and Asian men.

Father Nicholas D’Emo was a Spanish missionary of the Cistercian Order, who was the first priest at Broome and helped to establish the Beagle Bay Missionary. He arrived in 1895 and remained after the Cisterian Mission left in 1899. He was President of the Broome Filipino Association and employed an Aboriginal woman, who was married a Filipino man, as teacher in the school he established in Broome. After leaving the Cistercian Order, he ran a schooner with other Filipinos and then went on to establish the Lombadina Mission, where he died in 1915.

Lock hospitals – fit subjects for

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0015
Title: Lock Hospital – fit subjects for

Keywords: Lock hospitals, Mulga Downs Station, Winnie, Cooberong, Wineri, Richard Pilmer, Arthur Adams, Oobagooma Station, Bernier Island, Dorre Island, Cuteen, Yambanum, Jimmy, Elvire Station, Ruby Plains Station, James Isdell

[Memo]
Police Station
Tableland
28 Dec 1908
Sergt Pilmer
I beg to report for the information of the Chief Protector of Aborigines that when I visited Mulga Downs Stn on the 8th inst. I inspected an Abo Native woman named Winnie @ Cooberong or Wineri who is suffering from a severe form of venereal disease and who Mr Miller the manager considers a fit subject for the lock hospital.
I am also of the same opinion.
She is about 35 yrs of age and is unable to perform any work and is totally dependent upon the station for her sustenance.
S W Hardy

[Memo]
Chief Protector, Perth
28/12/08
Submitted for your information. Mulga Downs Station is 180 miles from Roebourne. It will be a costly matter getting this unfortunate woman down. However, I await your instructions.
R H Pilmer
Aborigines Dept Recd Jan 7 1909

[Telegram]
22 Jan 1909
From Roebourne
To Police Station Perth
Four female two male diseased natives Marble Bar Station please advise what be done with them
Sergt Pilmer

[Telegram]
2 Feb 1909
From Derby
To Chief Protector Aborigines, Perth
Two natives male and female suffering venereal disease from Obagooma now hospital where shall they be sent
McCarthy, acting sub

[Telegram]
1 Feb 1909
From Derby
To Lovegrove, Medical, Perth
Imperative that two venerial [sic] natives now in Derby hospital be transferred by this boat to Bernier Island retreat.
Adams

[Memo]
To Chief Protector of Aborigines
Please deal with attached telegram from Dr Adams at Derby
[Signature illegible]
Colonial Secretary’s Dept
Medical Public Health
3 Feb 1909

[Telegram]
3 Feb 1909
Resident Magistrate
Derby
Men’s island hospital not ready for patients. Women must be kept until next batch of women patients sent Bernier. Instructions will be given when to collect patients of both sexes.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
3 Feb 1909
Sergeant Pilmer
Roebourne
Men’s island hospital not yet ready for patients. Waiting to transport both sexes from inland at one expense. Patients mentioned must stay until further instructions
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
From District Medical Office, Derby
To Acting Sub-Inspector, Police Dept, Derby
Jan 15th 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that on the evening of the 13th inst two aboriginals were delivered into my charge by Police Constable B H Fletcher suffering from extensive venereal disease. These natives named Cuteen (female) and Yambanum alias Jimmy (male) have been entered into the hospital as patients, there to remain until such time as your department undertakes their transference to the Bernier Island retreat.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Arthur R Adams DMO

[Report]
Police Department
West Kimberley
Roebourne Station
Jan 15 1909
Report of B H Fletcher Const
Relative to 2 diseased (venereal) natives found in Native camps at Obagamma
I have to report finding 2 Ab Natives Cuteen and Yambanum in the natives camps at Obagamma on the 28th December 1908. There were over 80 natives camped there and these 2 were in a frightful condition and I thought it my duty to bring them in to the Derby Hospital.
I handed these 2 natives to Dr Adams RMO on the 13th Jan 09.
B H Fletcher

[Memo on the bottom of the above report]
Actg S I McCarthy
Forwarded.
J T Brodie 15/1/09
To Chief Protector of Aborigines
Forwarded. Please see Dr Adam’s letter attached. I request to be instructed as to when these diseased natives will be sent away and where to.
J M McCarthy
Acting Sub-Insp
16/1/09

[Telegram]
From Derby
To Chf Protr Aborigines, Perth
6 Feb 1909
Yours of third inst the two venereal natives decamped from hospital see memo to Lovegrove in post it is impossible to control diseased unless isolation area and appurtenances be gazetted as reserve within meaning of aborigines act they cannot be legally detained in Derby lockup.
Resident Magistrate

[Telegram]
From Halls Creek
To Aborigines Dept, Perth
20 Feb 1909
Visited Elvire and Ruby. At Elvire male aborigine bad chronic venereal. Arranged man camped there feed him eighteen pence a day. Cannot walk or ride. Can get him Halls Creek per sulky hire pound per day. Say three pounds. Cruel to leave him where he is. Two women many months in relief camp. Very bad chronic cases should be sent immediately Bernier. Teamster refuses take diseased natives. No vehicles Halls Creek. Only alternative spring cart from Wyndham. Wrong to keep them lingering relief camp.
Isdell

[Telegram]
Isdell, Halls Creek
Your wire re diseased natives relief camps. Hospital for men not quite ready. When it is instructions will be issued collection natives both sexes and send them down together in one batch to save expense. In meantime have all arrangements ready for transport to coast all syphilitic natives so that when time comes there will be no delay. What would cost hire be spring cart from Wyndham.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
From Port Hedland
To Dept of Aborigines, Perth
25 Feb 1909
Aboriginals Nelly & Tommy bad venereal disease cases. Here no hospital. Please advise as to disposal.
Browne, Resident Magistrate

[Telegram]
To Resident Magistrate, Port Hedland
Please have temporary shelter made if necessary. Also see to their well being as far as possible. Dorre Island not quite ready for males. The two sexes will be sent down together very shortly from different stations. Will advise.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
From Halls Creek
To Aborigines Dept, Perth
26 Feb 1909
Owing to heavy rains setting in, engaged vehicle bringing in sick native from Elvire. Arrived today, three days hire three pounds thirteen days, sustenance at Elvire nineteen shillings and sixpence. Please authorise Magistrate pay amounts.
Isdell

[Telegram]
To Resident Magistrate, Halls Creek
From Aborigines Dept, Perth
27 Feb 1909
Please pay for transport etcetera sick natives from Elvire three pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
From Halls Creek
To Aborigines Dept
1 Mar 1909
In accordance wire received 23rd, telegraphed Sergt Wyndham reply sixty two pounds. Sum preposterous. Strongly advise most economical police aborigine depts. Combine purchase large tilted spring cart leading shaft harness. Ship Wyndham first steamer. Use of Halls Creek can always hire horses settle. All future transport difficulty and heavy expense same convenience wanted Fitzroy Crossing. No possible getting vehicle Halls Creek made diligent enquiry.
Isdell

[Letter]
(Stamped: Received Medical Public Health Dept 11 Mar 1909)
To PMO, Medical Dept, Perth
From District Medical Officer
Derby
Jan 27, 1909
Sir,
I beg to report that two aboriginals suffering from venereal disease were delivered into my charge by the local police on the 13th inst. These natives, named Yambanum @Jimmy and Cuteen, were entered as in-patients (nos 322 & 323 on the Admittance Register) of the Derby Hospital. They were in an extremely loathsome condition, the female (Cuteen) in particular with mass of condylomata from sacrum to pubes, including inner aspect of upper third of thighs. Considerable improvement occurred under treatment while awaiting shipment for the “Retreat” at Bernier Island: howbut the shippers declined to take any more diseased natives, and not receiving reply to my wire of the 25th inst (the Derby Police are also awaiting instructions from the Head Office) the SS Bullsea left without them on yesterday afternoon. Early this morn both patients absconded from the hospital, again illustrating the futility of treatment without an isolation reserve being gazetted, and a “Contagious Disease Act” being in force.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Arthur R Adams
DMO

[Memo]
To Chief Protector of Aborigines
From Principal Medical Officer
2 Mar 1909
Will you please reply to Dr Adam’s letter, direct, in regard to the matters referred to, in the attached letter
M Hope
PMO

[Letter]
To The Resident Magistrate, Derby
Mar 29, 1909
Your letter to the PMO of Jan 27th has been passed on to me for answer. I am taking steps to have a reserve under the Aborigines Act declared at each port along our northern coast, and such reserves will include the area on which hospitals are built. By referring to section 12 of this Act you will notice that the Minister may cause any aboriginal to be removed and kept within the boundaries of a reserve etc, and that any aboriginal who may refuse to be kept within the boundaries of such reserve shall be guilty of an offence. The Solicitor General informs me that as soon as these reserves are proclaimed, it will be your duty to receive any natives suffering from venereal disease, and immediately wire down to the Hon. the Colonial Secretary the names of such aboriginals, when the Minister will wire up to you instructions to keep such diseased natives within the boundaries of the reserve. On receipt of the telegraphic instructions you will be in a legal position to detain the native in the hospital, and if he escapes you will have power to issue a warrant for his arrest, and to bring him back again. For your information, I beg to state that I am having very considerable difficulty with the steamship companies in getting diseased natives down from our northern ports to the lock hospitals. They have one and all refused to bring them down on the same conditions as the first lot was sent, and I believe that we shall have to charter a special steamer, and make every effort to collect as many natives suffering from these diseases as possible, in order that we can bring them down to the islands in sufficient number to pay us for the charter of the boat.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
Wyndham
21/4/09
To Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Six halfcaste, two aboriginal children sent Broome per Junee today for Beagle Bay, also two females for Bernier.
Resident Magistrate

[Telegram]
Apr 23rd, 1909
To Resident Magistrate, Wyndham
Under no circumstances send full blooded aboriginals away from their own country to Missions without approval. Do not wish any more venereal patients sent south until after winter. Please advise Police
Chief Protector

[Telegram]
27 Apr 1909
To Police, Broome
Two diseased native women being sent from Wyndham to Broome per Junee. Doctor instructed treat them out patients until can be sent Bernier. Please meet and arrange for rations.
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
From Resident Magistrate, Derby
To Chief Protector, Aborigines Dept, Perth
19th April, 1909
Sir,
I am in receipt of your answer dated March 29th last.
I thank you for the concise information contained therein, and I am pleased to note that my recommendation of “Reserves” for diseased natives (including the areas on which hospitals are built), so long formulated (as far back as September 1907) are within sight of realization.
Your directions will be duly observed.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Arthur R Adams RM & DMO

Katitjin Notes:

Oobagooma Station, also spelled Obagama, Obaguma, was a cattle station about 80 north of Derby. It was established by the McLarty family in 1884 and is now a uranium mining property, zoned as a military training area and closed to the public.

Dr Arthur Reginald Adams was a government medical officer working in the north-west region for many years as a doctor and as resident magistrate. He was a doctor in Collie in 1902 and then moved up to Derby where he was the only doctor from 1907 – 1910. He was very popular and the townspeople of Derby, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Turkey Creek all signed a petition for his reinstatement in 1910 and again in 1913, at which time he was resident magistrate in Onslow. He was also resident magistrate in Esperance for some years. He finally retired in Onslow in 1940, where he had been resident magistrate since 1933.

Richard Henry Pilmer (1866-1951) was a controversial policeman stationed in the north-west for many years. Born in New Zealand, he came to Western Australia as a surveyor in 1891, joined the police force in 1892, stationed in the north-west until 1899, during which time he gained a reputation as a violent and aggressive policeman, infamous for his use of a cat-of-nine-tails with Aboriginal prisoners. In 1897, he was a part of the police force trying to capture the Bunuba resistance leader, Jandamarra, and shot him in the hip. He enlisted in the Boer War and on his return in 1901, as a non-commissioned officer, he was so disliked by his men that when he landed in Fremantle he was pelted with potatoes, dough, and ink as he walked down the gangplank, which led to his nickname “Pelted Pilmer.” He was then stationed at Collie but was so unpopular that the townspeople made a petition to have him removed. Pilmer returned to the north-west until about 1911, when he was the leader of a punitive expedition on the Canning Stock Route, leaving from Leonora. Here is a newspaper item from the West Australian, June 9, 1901:

Ex-Policeman Pilmer
A Little of His Past
Pelted Pilmer, of the returned contingent is an illustraion of the way they manage things in the West. He was formerly employed in the Nor-West to bring in runaway niggers with chains round their necks for the squatters to try them. As the squatters owned the niggers, they would receive severe penalties and, perhaps, flogging was the chief. Pilmer did the flogging when nobody else would. He flogged 30 in one batch and received 10s per head for his labors. The ordinary cat-o’-nine tails would not satisfy him. He got a broom handle and fastened nine bullock hide strips with knots in them to both ends. The knots were about six inches apart. With this he flogged the blacks at the triangles and brought flesh and blood with every blow. He boasted that he worked so hard that he had to rub himself with eucalyptus afterwards, he was so stiff. Then he made a profit out of feeding his chain gangs of niggers, for whom he charged 7s per head per day, while he gave them nothing but kangaroo and flour water for food. This was how he made his money in the Derby district.

James Isdell was a pastoralist, parliamentarian, and traveling protector of Aborigines. Although he expresses compassion in his communications in this record, he was more notoriously known for being the instigator of the Canning Stock Route and an “enthusiastic child removalist.” The following quote is from a chapter by Robert Manne, in the book Genocide and settler society: frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history (2004), edited by A. Dirk Moses:

The most enthusiastic West Australian child removalist in these early days was James Isdell, the former pastoralist and parliamentarian, who was appointed traveling protector for the north in 1907. On 13 Nov 1908, Isdell wrote from the Fitzroy River district to the Chief Inspector, Charles Gale. “I consider it a great scandal to allow any of these half-caste girls to remain with the natives.” On 15 Jan 1909, Gale issued Isdell with the authority to “collect all half-caste boys and girls” and to transport them to Beagle Bay. Isdell expressed his gratitude: “It should have been done years ago.” By May 1909, he was able to report from Wyndham that the entire East Kimberley region had been “cleaned up.”
Isdell was aware that sentimentalists from the south sometimes wrote letters to newspapers “detailing the cruelty and harrowing grief of the mothers.” He regarded such complaints as nonsensical. “Let them visit and reside for a while” in one of the native camps and see for themselves “the open indecency and immorality and hear the vile conversations ordinarily carried on which these young children see, listen to, and repeat.” Isdell did not believe that the Aboriginal mother felt the forcible removal of her child more deeply than did a bitch the loss of a pup. “I would not hesitate,” he wrote, “to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.” “All Aboriginal women,” he explained in letters to Gale “are prostitutes at heart” and all Aborigines are “dirty, filthy, immoral.” (Moses 2004, 222-223)