John McCarthy

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

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.

William Eardley desires marry half caste girl

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0002
Title: Derby. William Eardley desires marry half caste girl

[Letter]
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
05.01.08
Re your wire of 4th January instant William Eardeley’s application for permission to marry a halfcaste girl.
Eardeley is a young man who is hardly able to keep himself, at present he is doing odd jobs about an hotel in Derby. He never does any hard work. He appears to me to be slightly demented. He was an inpatient of the Derby Hospital some time ago, a few days ago, he was asked to pay the Hospital fee but refused to pay. He said he had no money.
I do not consider him a fit and proper person to marry the halfcaste and strongly recommend that his application be refused.
He has no home or settled place of abode.
J McCarthy
Acting Sub Inspector
[Police Station, Derby]

[Letter]
To: Mr William Eardeley, Derby
February 10th 1909
Sir,
In reply to your application to marry a half-caste aboriginal, I beg to inform you that this cannot be granted.
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Katitjin Notes:

William Eardley was a Scottish immigrant, born in Glasgow in 1875, who came out to South Australia with his family when he was a child. When he enlisted during the First World War at Broome in 1915, he gave his occupation as “bushman.” He was discharged 1916 on medical grounds, having contracted malaria, but re-inlisted 6 months later. After the war, he married Winifred Maud Robinson in Perth and returned to live in South Australia, where he worked as an overhead linesman and supported a family of 8 children, living in the same house for most of that time. He died in Adelaide at the age of 77, in 1952.

Given that most men simply cohabited with Aboriginal women without formally marrying, partly, no doubt, in order to avoid the difficulties involved in the process, as well as the interference of the Chief Protector of Aborigines and the Police, it would appear that Eardley was at least sincere and willing to make a formal commitment – was he really not “a fit and proper person”?

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.