Lock Hospitals

A O Neville’s Evidence – Pt 7

State Records Office of Western Australia
Microfilm
Acc 2922/1-2
Title: Transcript of evidence 1934
Item 1 & Item 2

Aborigines Royal Commission  005-3

Monday, 12th March, 1934

H. D. Moseley, Esq., Commissioner.

AUBUR [sic] OCTAVIUS NEVILLE, Chief Protector of Aborigines, sworn and examined:

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] Continued…

15. Have you a copy of his report ? — Yes, I will supply it. One of his recommendations was that there should be an itinerant officer in the Kimberleys to be entrusted with the matter of inspecting and treating natives between Derby and Wyndham, his headquarters to be in Hall’s Creek. After Dr Cook’s visit, two or three conferences were held between…

[End of page 18]

the Ministers and the officers concerned, and it was finally agreed that leprosy should be a matter for the Medical Departnent and that I should continue to control the incidence of venereal disease amongst natives. Consequently I am not able to give much evidence regarding leprosy that will be obtainable from the Medical Department. It was suggested that native leper cases should be transferred to a leprosarium at Darwin. In company with the Minister, I visited the Federal health authorities in Melbourne with a view to getting that suggestion put into effect. It was not done then, but it was brough about more recently and lepers are supposed to be sent to Darwin. In 1925 I again pointed out that in the Kimberleys I had cone across a number of revolting cases of disease. All the district medical officers were not then administering the treatment we had adopted at our hospitals. As a result of my representations they were asked to do so in order that they might treat local cases. I also recommended that the district medical officer at Derby should be relieved of his duties for 12 months so that he could travel up and down the coast and administer the propor treatment. That was not agreed to. I further pointed out that a suitable policy to control the increase of the disease would be the gradual establishment of small native stations or depots in order that we might get in touch with the natives and eventually effect the cure of those needing attention. We had plenty of rumours regarding the incidence of the disease in different parts of the north but could not get anything tangible on which to act. On the contrary, our own stations advised that there were no general signs of disease existing in the far North, and in that statement at least one missioner concurred.

16. The district from which most of the lepers came recently was one of those traversed by Dr Cook and found by him to be comparatively clean. One road board — I think it was Broome — suggested an annual inspection of natives on the same lines as those followed in the expedition conducted by Dr Cook, but owing to the high cost, the suggestion was not given serious consideration.

[End of page 19]

In 1927 I pointed out that it would be just as cheap to appoint a permanent travelling medical officer who would be always on the job to do the work. Since then I have repeatedly urged the appointment of inspectors, at least one of whom should be a medical man. I submit file 126/33 (Exhibit 4). I pointed out that district medical officers could not be expected to visit the interior and that as a matter of fact they did not do so unless something special transpired. Consequently they could not know or seek out the condition of the natives.

17. Natives in remote districts disguise their condition. If they know that anyone is going to visit them, ten to one they will clear out until that person has left. I contend that only an officer of the Aborigines Department — a medical man or otherwise — travelling and repeating his visits can be expected to ascertain the real condition of those people. There have been short visits by medical men and recently the medical officer at Derby has done excellent work in discovering lepers; but had my recommendation been adopted in the first place, we would not have had the condition that prevails today. We would have been very much further advanced in the matter of the treatment of venereal disease. Because those people have simply been left alone for so long and because no one has understood their condition and because the diseased ones have not been actually located, the present
rather bad state of affairs has resulted.

18. In 1928, I recommended the establishment of a native hospital just from that district outside Wyndham. We had had several medical reports from that district notifying the presence of venereal disease, and are still getting them. The reason we know so much about those things — we are not given details — is that whites are contracting venereal disease and they allege they get it from the natives. Whether that is so, I am unable to say. However, Wyndham has forwarded quite n number of complaints during the last two or three years.

[End of page 20]

No money wag available for such hospital, and I could not go on with it. The position is the same today. I put In File 184/28 (Exhibit 5).

19. Another difficulty cropped up some years ago when lock hospitals were in existence. The difficulty was that shipping companies refused to carry veneral cases. Now and again we were able to get one on board, largely on sufferance, but in the last year or two it has been impossible to convey natives in that way. At intervals during the past ten years I have suggested that we should have a boat of our own. Then the North-West Department was in existence we tried to arrange with the Commonwealth for a vessel for the use of the Fisheries Department, the Aborigines Department and the Customs Dept, but negotiations failed. Lately I have continued to urge that we should have a boat and that that boat should be established at Munja Station. Possibly something will come of that recommendation in the near future. It is essential that we should have a boat of our own to carry natives and to transport our goods and produce to Broome. There are difficulties experienced in approaching Derby by a small boat. Vessels prefer to go to Broome. Again there is the question of transporting lepers to Darwin and about this there has been considerable difficulty. If we had our own boat it would be a simple matter to take them there. Such a vessel would have to be an auxiliary boat. Also there would be saved the cost to us of certain services. It would cost no more, probably less, than we are spending today in certain directions. Further, with regard to the question of venereal disease on the stations in Kimberley, and particularly East Kimberley, I recently arranged for a visit of the district medical officer at Wyndham to our Moola Bulla Station. Moola Bulla is probably one of the best conducted stations in the North, as indeed a Government station should be, and you would expect to find no more adverse conditions there than anywhere else. I am going to submit a copy of the doctor’s report which I received about the end of last year. It is on Page 50 of File No.120/26 (Exhibit 6). It is safe to say that the natives on the other stations are in no better condition than are those at Moola Bulla.

[End of page 20A]

A O Neville’s Evidence – Part 6

State Records Office of Western Australia
Microfilm
Acc 2922/1-2
Title: Transcript of evidence 1934
Item 1 & Item 2

Aborigines Royal Commission  005-3

Monday, 12th March, 1934

H. D. Moseley, Esq., Commissioner.

AUBUR [sic] OCTAVIUS NEVILLE, Chief Protector of Aborigines, sworn and examined:

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] Continued…

[Handwritten insert] Coming to Paragraph (d) of the Commission “Disease amongst aborigines and measures for their treatment”

When I became Chief Protector, I found there was an impression, particularly in the North, that the natives were very much afflicted with venereal disease. There were hospitals on Bernier and Dorre Islands capable of treating 480 patients annually. Actually while those hospitals were in existence, for nine or 10 years, 600 patients in all were treated at an annual cost of over £70 per head, which is enormous. That did not include the cost of collection and transport. There were never more than 100 patients at a time on the islands, usually between 50 and 60. Fear of the sea was one of the causes which prevented diseased natives from being discovered, for no doubt they used to hide. There was then an officer who used to travel about collecting diseased natives. The journeys to which I am about to refer took place between 1913 and 1917. On his first trip this officer went, it was thought he would secure about 200 patients. Actually he got only 47. On another expedition, in 1915, he got only 13 patients, and on his final trip he found only 32 bad enough to be sent to the islands.

[End of page 16]

After very carefully surveying the position, I recommended that the Government should close those hospitals—they were simply wasting money—and that in their stead hospitals should be erected on the mainland and the natives encouraged to enter them. One hospital was established at Port Hedland and another at Derby. At that time there was very little talk of leprosy. Only 13 cases were discovered between 1909 and 1917. From 1920 to 1923 11 more cases were discovered, including one white, and from 1924 to 1929, 27 cases were found. I mention this specifically to show that most of the leprosy discovered has been within the last three or four years. As regards venereal disease, hospitals on the islands seemed to have cleaned up the existing cases so far as they could be found, but those cases never included patients from the country beyond the usual confines of civilisation. The department has made every effort to convey to the hospitals any native afflicted with venereal disease. Protectors have been enjoined to report every case discovered, and they have to make an annual statement of the conditions in their districts. In 1917 I sought the permission of the Commissioner of Public Health to enable certain of my officers and one or two missionaries to administer a certain form of treatment for cases of venereal disease and he agreed. Throughout the North there are now some 12 officers entitled to do that. They reside in places beyond the reach of ordinary medical aid. There has never been discovered amongst natives the amount of venereal disease alleged to exist. On many occasions we have asked medical officers to visit certain areas and the result has always been more or less the same, namely that they could not find the cases said to exist.
14. In recent years the incidence of the disease has become more apparent. In 1922 I pointed out that venereal disease was increasing and that natives were suffering from other forms of disease. I myself had been through the Kimberleys and I urged the advisableness of a medical inspection right through the North in order to ascertain the prevalence of venereal disease,

[End of page 17]

leprosy, and other complaints. In 1923, I repeated that suggestion. We had an outbreak of hookworm in 1921, but owing to prompt measures taken by the Rockefeller survey party under Dr. Baldwin, that appears to have been eliminated, as a result of those representations. Dr Cecil Cook, a Commonwealth officer, was loaned to us in 1924. He went through the North and made a survey. He was an expert in tropical diseases. He visited practically every station in the Kimberleys and in the North-West as far south as Roebourne. He examined in all 2,432 natives and found four cases of leprosy in natives and 84 natives suffering from granuloma venereum. It in important to explain the difference between venereal diseases. There are three forms from which the natives seem to suffer. Granuloma venereum is an Asiatic disease, which was evidently introduced by Asiatics years ago. So far as I can judge, it is the most easily cured of the lot. It does not seem to afflict whites or it has not afflicted whites here, although I believe it can do so. There is also ordinary syphilis from which the natives have not suffered to any great extent, and lastly there is gonorrhoea which is the commonest form, and the form that is increasing, it being so easily conveyed from one to another. It is the early stage of venereal disease and can easily be cleaned up. We have been administering special treatment for granuloma at our own hospitals and have turned out hundreds of natives apparently cured. It is not a long treatment; the natives are in hospital as a rule for only three or four weeks. Some natives have returned re-infected and have been discharged again cured. Dr Cook made several important recommendations.

Clothing for indigent natives

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0046
Title: Lock Hospital – re Bon Marche a/c 69/2/9. Flannel & Co

Keywords: Bernier Island, Dorre Island, Lock Hospitals, Boolgin Station, Bangemall, Bremer Bay, Broome, Carnarvon, Cranbrook, Cue, Dairy Creek, Cossack, Derby, Esperance, Gascoyne, Halls Creek, Kanowna, Katanning, Kellerberrin, Lawlers, Mandurah, Mt Magnet, Mt Phillip, Mulline, Nannine, Norseman, Northampton, Nullagine, Onslow, Peak Hill, Roebourne, Sharks Bay, Whim Creek, Wiluna, Yalgoo, Yathalla Station, Charles Fartiere, Henry Brodribb, clothing

[This file has been divided according to the places and dates of the correspondence contained therein. There are also a number of items in this file that are discussions about clothing manufacture between Chief Protector Aborigines and the storekeeper at Fremantle Gaol, where the clothing for the department was made, as well as tenders and accounts for clothing and fabrics, which have not been transcribed – if further information is required, please contact Katitjin]

Bernier & Dorre Island Lock Hospitals

[Memo]
From Chief Protector of Aborigines
To Corporal Buckland, Wyndham
Oct 2, 1908
I am forwarding to you, by SS Bullarra, today 6 dresses and 6 blankets for use of Aboriginal Natives being transported to Bernier Island.
Please note that the above are for the use of the women only, suffering from venereal disease, and the patients are to be supplied with one of each before being put on the boat.
[Appended note]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Six blankets and six dresses were received and issued to native women suffering from venereal disease who were sent to Bernier Island. Two other dresses had to be purchased locally as eight women were sent and an account for payment has been issued.
Buckland

[Letter]
From: Charles Moore & Co, general merchants
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Dec 17, 1908
Dear Sir,
Re 50 costumes, which your Stores Manager at North Fremantle could not trace. We have to advise that these were signed for by J T Odgers on Oct 23rd.
Yours faithfully,
Charles Moore & Co
[Appended note]
Mr MacGregor
Please ascertain from Mr Odgers what became of this parcel. Is this the brown paper parcel referred to in previous correspondence and sent away by you on Minilya?
E W Pechell
Dec 18, 1908
[Appended note]
This is the same parcel. It was forwarded to Dorre Island Native Hospital.
J MacGregor
Dec 22, 1908

[Memo]
Govt Stores to Chief Protector of Aborigines
Dec 23, 1908
I find that the clothing mentioned, was not sent to North Fremantle, but to Fremantle, and same was forwarded to Dorre Island Native Hospital per the S S Minilya, about the end of October. Vide my letter to you of 29th Oct last.
G W Sampson
[Appended note]
C P A
Please see above minute from which it would appear costumes have gone to Dorre Island. Where would they be now? Perhaps at Carnarvon? If so, they could be sent to Bernier Island where clothing is required.
E W Pechell
[Appended note]
Wharfinger, Carnarvon
Dec 24, 1908
Sent per Minilya end October last parcel costumes addressed Dorre Island. Were they landed at Carnarvon. If so please advise where are they now
C P Gale

[Telegram]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Dec 26, 1908
No package landed per Minilya. Package costumes landed ex Bullarra October eighth. Police in possession
Wharfinger, Carnarvon

[Telegram]
To: Police, Carnarvon
Dec 31, 1908
Understand costumes native women landed per Bullarra October last in your possession. Please send first opportunity to Dr Lovegrove Bernier Island and inform me how many sent.
E W Pechell

[Letter]
The Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
24 Aug, 1909
With reference to the 400 yards of denim forwarded to our Department recently by the Government Stores, I have to advise that this is required for trousers for this Department. Before making these up however, I shall be glad if you will make a sample pair, as Dr Lovegrove, Superintendent Medical Officer of the Lock Hospitals, advises that so far as trousers for the diseased natives are concerned, it would be better if these were made with running strings, somewhat like pyjamas. I shall be glad therefore, if you will have a sample pair made as early as possible, and forwarded to this Department.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
11 hands safe. Genesta totally wrecked Dorre thirteenth. Dinghy stove in. Parted cable easterly gale, piled up rocks south and white beach all gear salvaged. Waited weather, proceeded Bernier hospital dinghy. Returned Carnarvon this morning per relief boat [remaining sentence blacked out]. No blankets clothing Dorre. Dresses shirts urgently required [remaining sentence blacked out].
Brodribb

[Report]
Clothing – Dorre Island
There were no stocks of native clothing or blankets on hand. In connection with the manufacture of trousers for the native patiets, Dr Lovegrove desires that these shall be made with running strings, in place in buttons, as if made in this way, the work of dressing the patients will be far more handy. He asked me to see Dr Hickenbotham in connection with this matter, which I did, and he confirmed Dr Lovegrove’s view.
Brodribb

[Telegram]
Angelo, Carnarvon
30 Aug, 1909
Send over soon as possible doctor will have go Dorre with men to instruct orderly treatment return doctor Bernier thence Carnarvon load Mauds be sure blankets per Minderoo gone Dorre otherwise no blankets Dorre provide men sufficient temporary clothing pending supplies Koombana
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
The Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
Aug 30, 1909
Please consign per Koombana, to the Officer in Charge, Dorre Island, c/o Mr E H Angelo, Carnarvon, 25 pairs trousers and 25 shirts
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
Dr F Lovegrove,
Bernier Island,
C/o Mr E H Angelo,
Carnarvon
Sept 3, 1909
With reference to your requisition for 400 yds of striped galatea for dresses, I beg to advise that we are forwarding 100 yds of this galatea, and 300 yds of other material, as we were unable to buy the galatea under contract. The other material was used by the Lunacy Department for dresses, and I think your Matron will find it very suitable.
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
The Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
With reference to the pyjama trousers for the natives,the sample is to hand, and I am returning it under cover this day. These trousers should be open for a few inches in the front, like ordinary pyjamas, otherwise the pattern will do. Please make up 50 pairs in this way, and consign them to “The Officer in Charge, Dorre Island, c/o Mr E H Angelo, Carnarvan.” I shall be glad also if you will advise me when these goods are consigned.
Chief Protector Aborigines

Balla Balla Station

[Letter]
Balla Balla Station
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Mar 24, 1909
Dear Sir,
I now write you re Aborigines clothing for the winter: the weather in May gets cold and it is necessary for clothing to be here by that time. The trousers for the males require to be full length. Last year your department sent knickerbockers.
Yours faithfully,
Geo R Ray

[Letter]
To Mr George R Ray, Balla Balla
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Cossack, a parcel of clothing containing 4 pair trousers, 4 shirts and 5 dresses for indigent natives. When this parcel comes to hand please advise me.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Cossack
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr Geo R Ray, forwarded under your care to Cossack. Will you be so good as to have this parcel forwarded to Mr Ray at Balla Balla.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Bangemall & Gascoyne Junction

[Memo]
March 3, 1908
Subject: Clothing to Natives
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
It is frequently brought our notice that the old natives under relief up country are in want of clothing. We have either to buy the things 2nd hand in Perth, or order them made at the nearest “Centre”. Both of these ways are expensive and the 2nd hand clothes are not generally suitable. I would suggest a contract being called for through the Tender Board for clothing for men and women of some warm material – shirt and trousers for men and skirts for women. They could be stored here and sent out as required.
E W Pechell
PS Attached herewith is an extract from Mr Fartiere on the subject
[Page 2]
While on the clothing subject I may point out that the Natives receiving Govt assistance for rations are very unfortunately situated respecting the clothing part. The stations look upon the natives as being under government support and not requiring further attention with the result that the blacks are often in the most inclement time of the year left in a state bordering on nudity and I can point out that was the condition I found the Bangemall natives during my visit to that locality, they were a most miserable collection of unfortunates – cold, bleak, wet weather, piercing cold winds – several of them suffering from coughs and chest complaints with barely anything on to cover their nakedness and certainly not sufficient to meet what is required for decency sake, irrespective of health requirements. I certainly consider this a matter which requires the Department’s condemnation, etc etc.

[Memo]
[Undated – December, 1908]
To: Fartiere, Onslow
When you come across urgent cases natives requiring relief, rations, clothing, make arrangements yourself. Do not wait for authority. Have arranged for Bangemall natives clothing.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Mar 9, 1909
Sir,
Kindly forward to me for use of the old and decrepit abo in the locality 12 dresses for old women, 12 pairs of trousers and 12 shirts for the old men. I will see that they are distributed judiciously, and as the winter is fast approaching I would urge that the aforementioned be sent at once, addressed to care of the Carnarvon Police.
Const E Spry
Junction Police Station,
Gascoyne River

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I should like to draw your attention to the number of natives about without clothes, and in view of the fast approach of winter, I would ask that you should cause to be sent to the OIC Junction, via Carnarvon, two dozen suits of clothes, and a similar number of dresses for the women, suitable for these old and decrepit natives. These will be issued subject to discrimination. I might add that Constable Spry is at present absent, and should be back in the course of a few weeks. However, I should be glad to learn as early as possible your views on the matter, and await your instructions in regard to such.
F C Gray, Constable
[Appended note]
Approved
C Gale
10 May, 1909

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Carnarvon
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr Robert Wilkinson, forwarded under your care. When this comes to hand will you kindly send it on to Mr Wilkinson.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Mr Robert Wilkinson, Bangemall
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Carnarvon, a parcel of clothing containing 5 pair trousers, 5 shirts and 7 dresses for indigent natives. When this parcel comes to hand please advise me.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Bangemall
To: H A Herbert, Storekeeper, F[remantle] P[rison]
Sept 1, 1909
Dear Sir,
Yours of 6.7.09, I have not received invoice or clothing from the police of Carnarvon. I believe P C Grey is using them for the diseased natives, which he is collecting from the district and the natives on the relief are practically without clothing.
Yours Faithfully,
R Wilkinson

[Letter]
The Officer in Charge,
Police Station,
Carnarvon
Oct 16, 1909
Some time in April, or early in May a consignment of clothing was sent by the Fremantle Prison to Mr R Wilkinson, Bangemall, c/o the Police, Carnarvon. Mr Wilkinson now advises me that he has never received this clothing, which for the use of indigent natives. He further states that he believes it is being used by Constable Gray, for the diseased natives which he is now collecting in the district. I shall be glad if you can let me have any information in regard to this matter.
Chief Protector Aborigines
[Appended letter]
29 Oct 1909
To: Sergt Stokes
I respectfully beg to note the remarks of the Chief Protector and I have to inform you that two parcels of clothing were received here at this Station addressed [?] Police from the Protector of Aborigines, and no address on them directing either of them to Bangemall. Neither have I received any advice that any parcel of clothing was forwarded to Bangemall from Aborigines Dept.
I had applied some time back for [?] clothes and took it they were sent in answer to my application. Const Gray informed me that the natives at Bangemall are not in want of any clothes. No doubt it advice had been sent to me and they had been properly addressed they would have reached Bangemall if these clothes had been intended for that place.
I may also state that most of the clothing was used by Const Gray to clothe the diseased natives which he was collecting for the Island.
Const Spry

Boolgin Station

[Extract from letter]
Boolgin Station
May 2, 1909
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Dear Sir
+ + + + +
The natives are very badlly off for clothing… please find a list of the names of natives who have a just claim for clothing…
H Hunter
Original in 19/09 and list of natives in 173/09

[Letter]
To: Mr H Hunter, Boolgin Station, Cape Levique, via Derby
June 29, 1909
Sir,
I have to acknowledge your favour of May 2, making application for blankets and clothing for indigent natives. This letter only reached me yesterday. As it will take a month or six weeks for these goods to reach you, and by that time the winter will be over, I hardly see any use in forwarding them now. Your request however has been noted for supplies next winter, and these will be forwarded to you early, in order to be in time.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Boolgin Station
5 July 1909
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Sir,
I beg to acknowledge receipt of native rations, which came to hand on the 2nd of July. I regret to say that no blankets or clothing have come to hand. I wrote your Department some time ago, advising them that blankets and clothing should be available in April, again in May I wrote stating that the natives are very badly off for clothing and blankets, and enclosing a list of the names of the natives who have a just claim for blankets and clothing.
There are over 200 natives on this peninsula and when they see the natives of the south-west of them about Beagle Bay and the natives to the north-east of them, about Sunday Island, with their winter outfits, they naturally ask why they are being left out in the cold. The whole of these natives come to me for assistance, but I cannot afford to supply blankets and clothing or I would willingly do so.
For the past six weeks I have been sewing together the empty flour bags, to provide some sort of covering, but flour bags are a poor substitute for blankets and clothing. Many years ago, when I first came to the colony, I was given to understand that every native in Australia could get a fit out once a year, by simply asking for it. It was then known as the Queen’s bounty, and judging by the crown on the blankets, it is only reasonable to suppose that it is now the King’s bounty.
Assuming that it is state property I venture to remark that if the funds at the disposal of the Department being insufficient to provide blankets and clothing for the natives in this district, the matter could be brought under the notice of the Government, through our member for the district, for I am sure he would have the support of the settlers of the district in that respect. Trusting that a supply of blankets and clothing will be sent forward as soon as possible.
I am, Sir,
(signed) Henry Hunter
PS Rations will last till the end of September.
[Note] Original letter in 19/09

[Telegram]
9 Aug, 1909
To: Isdell, Travelling Protector Aborigines, Fitzroy Crossing
Hunter Boolgin Station complaining absence blankets and clothing two hundred natives please look into and report when visiting.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Bremer Bay

[Letter]
To Messrs Drew, Robinson & Co, Albany
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing forwarded to you, addressed to Mr Edward Hanna, Bremer Bay. When this comes to hand will you please have it sent on.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Mr Edward Hanna, Bremer Bay
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through Messrs Drew, Robinson & Co, a parcel of clothing containing 4 pair trousers, 4 shirts and 4 dresses for indigent natives. When this parcel comes to hand please advise me.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Broome

To: Officer in Charge Police, Broome
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing containing 12 pairs trousers, 12 shirts and 12 dresses. When these come to hand will you please distribute them among the indigent natives.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Carnarvon

[Letter]
To: Messrs Dalgety & Co, Ltd, Carnarvon
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, on your station. This parcel contains 2 pairs trousers, 2 shirts and 6 dresses.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Cossack

[Letter]
To Mr T Rogers, Cossack
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Cossack, a parcel of clothing containing 3 pair trousers, 3 shirts and 4 dresses for indigent natives. Will you please call at the Police Station for this parcel.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Cossack
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr T Rogers, forwarded under your care to Cossack. Mr Rogers will call at the Police Station for this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Cranbrook

[Letter]
To Mr A C Gardiner, Cranbrook
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you a parcel of clothing containing one dress for an indigent native. Please advise when this parcel comes to hand.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
May 14, 1909
Sir,
I have this day received, per post from Gaol Dept WA advice note 1537, 1 dress. Kindly advise me which native I have to give this to and you will greatly oblige.
Yours faithfully,
A C Gardiner

[Letter]
To: Mr A Gardner, Cranbrook
May 19, 1909
Sir,
I have the honor to acknowledge yours of the 11th instant, with reference to one dress forwarded to you. Only one dress was forwarded, as by our ration register it would appear that your last account, from 1st dec to 22nd Feb, was only for the relief of one female native. That being the case, the dress forwarded was for that native.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Cue

[Letter]
To Mr A Brodie, Cue
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police in Nannine, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, containing 2 dresses. Will you kindly call at the Police Station for this parcel.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Cue
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I am arranging to have forwarded through you a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr A Brodie. Please hand this parcel to Mr Brodie when he calls.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Dairy Creek Station (Daury Creek)

[Letter]
Dairy Creek Station, Upper Gascoyne, WA
Aug 7, 1909
To: Chief Protector Aborigines
Would you kindly send clothing for eight old and infirm aborigines natives, six women and two men.
R E Lewis, for John Fitzpatrick

Derby

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police, Derby
Apr 21, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to forward to you a parcel of clothing, consisting of 3 pair trousers, 3 shirts and 4 dresses. Will you please have these distributed among the indigent natives.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Esperance

[Letter]
To Messrs Drew, Robinson & Co, Albany
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing addressed to Postmaster Esperance. When this comes to hand will you please have it sent on.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Mr F J Daw, Postmaster, Esperance
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through Messrs Drew, Robinson & Co, a parcel of clothing containing 6 pair trousers, 6 shirts and 6 dresses for indigent natives. When this parcel comes to hand please advise me.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Esperance
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Dear Sir,
You advised me a few weeks back a parcel of drapery from Drew Robinson was about to be sent me for distribution. This has now come to hand and I will await your further instructions before I distribute any of them.
I may say there’s not many natives here at the moment. Johnny Dib, his lubra & children, but there may be others come along if they should hear there is clothing for them. I will see in any case that those who are in want and destitute shall have them.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
F Daw

Gascoyne

[Letter]
To: Mr H E Stone, Gascoyne
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you through the Police at Geraldton, 5 pair of trousers, 5 shirts and 3 dresses for indigent natives. Please advise when these are received.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police, Geraldton
Apr 21, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded under your care at Geraldton, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr H E Stone, Gascoyne. When this comes to hand, will you be so good as to have it forwarded to Mr H E Stone.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Halls Creek

[Telegram]
Weather Halls Creek bitterly cold no blankets yet arrived absolutely necessary blankets and shirts trousers dresses for old people be sent arrive not later that April.
Isdell

Kanowna

[Letter]
To Mr G L Jones, Kanowna
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Kanowna, a parcel of clothing containing 2 pair trousers, 2 shirts and 2 dresses for indigent natives. Will you please call at the Police Station for this parcel.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Kanowna
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded, under your care at Kanowna, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr G L Jones. Mr Jones will call at the police station for this parcel
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Katanning

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Katanning
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you a parcel of clothing containing 6 pair trousers, 6 shirts and 10 dresses for indigent natives. When this parcel is received please distribute to the natives.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Kellerberrin

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Kellerberin
Apr 21. 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mrs J Adams, forwarded to you. Mrs Adams has been asked to call on you for this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines
[Appended notes]
Received this 26th day of May 1909 from Constable Police Kellerberrin one box of clothing for indigent aboriginal natives. Jane Adams
Per Insp Woods
Respectfully forwarded box of clothing handed over to Mrs Adams – her acknowledgement.
Cahill 28.6.09

[Letter]
To Mrs J Adams
Apr 21, 1909
Madam,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police Kellerberrin, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, containing 1 pair trousers, 1 shirt and 3 dresses. If you will call on the Police this will be handed to you.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Kellerberin
Apr 21. 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Messrs Leake Bros, forwarded to you. Messrs Leake Bros have been asked to call on you for this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines
[Appended notes]
28.06.09 Received from Const Cahill clothing for indigent aboriginal natives. Leake Bros
Per Insp Woods
Respectfully forwarded box of clothing handed over to Messrs Leake Bros
Cahill 28.6.09

[Letter]
To: Messrs Leake Bros, Kellerberrin
21 Apr 1909
Sirs,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police, Kellerberrin, a package of clothing for indigent natives. Will you please call at the Police Station for these.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Lawlers

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Leonora
Apr 20, 1909
I am arranging to have forwarded through you a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr G W White, Lawlers. When this comes to hand will you kindly have it sent on.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Mr G W White, Lawlers
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you through the Police at Leonora, 3 pair of trousers, 3 shirts and 4 dresses for indigent natives. Please advise when these are received.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Memo]
To: Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
May 11, 1909
Will you please forward to the Police, Lawlers, as early as possible, the undermentioned clothing for aboriginal natives:-
12 dressses, 12 pairs trousers, 12 shirts
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Mandurah

[Letter]
To: Mr C Tuckey
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you through the Police at Pinjarra, a parcel of clothing containing 1 pair of trousers, 1 shirts and 2 dresses for indigent natives. Please advise when these are received.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Pinjarra
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr C Tuckey, forwarded under your care to Pinjarra. Will you be so good as to have this parcel forwarded to Mr Tuckey.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter copy]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
May 24, 1909
You will see enclosed slip that I have received the clothing for natives. I am handing out same today.
Yours faithfully,
C Tuckey
Other portion of letter deals with rations to Hilda Mippy
Memo
Slip refered to is a receipt which should have been returned to the Storekeeper, Fremantle, This has now been returned. EL 27/5/09

Mt Magnet

[Letter]
To Police Constable McLernon, Mt Magnet
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you a parcel of clothing containing 3 pair trousers, 3 shirts and 2 dresses for indigent natives.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Mt Phillip

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Mar 6, 1909
Dear Sir,
Please send blankets and clothes for the coming winter for the destitute natives mentioned in the enclosed return.
Yours faithfully,
Ayliffe & Oakley
3 Natives named on form referred to:-
Jabidy, Yarrabiddy, Barraga

Mulline

[Letter]
To Mr T D McAlpine
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Menzies, a parcel of clothing containing 3 pair trousers, 3 shirts and 3 dresses for indigent natives. Please advise when this parcel comes to hand.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Menzies
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded a parcel under your care, addressed to T D McAlpine, Mulline. Will you kindly arrange to have this parcel sent on to Mr McAlpine.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
T D McAlpine, Store & Bakery, Mulline
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
May 25, 1909
Dear Sir,
The parcel which you forwarded to myself, through the Police at Menzies, has arrived here.
I am, yours respectfully,
T D McAlpine

Nannine

[Letter]
To Police Constable McDonald, Nannine
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you a parcel of clothing containing 5 pair trousers, 5 shirts and 5 dresses for indigent natives.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Police Station, Nannine
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
May 23, 1909
The parcel of clothing forwarded by you, for use of indigent natives, was received on the 22nd inst.
J McDonald, Const 266

Norseman

[Letter]
To Mr T Donovan, Norseman
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Norseman, a parcel of clothing containing 3 pair trousers, 3 shirts and 4 dresses for indigent natives. Will you please call at the Police Station for this parcel.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Leonora
Apr 21, 1909
I am arranging to have forwarded through you a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr T Donovan. Mr Donovan has been asked to call at the police station for this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Jun 3, 1909
Dear Sir,
Com 21/4/09 you wrote me that you were sending a parcel of clothing for indigent natives. Up to date I have not received any parcel, I am dropping you this note in case parcel has been sent and miscarried.
Yours faithfully,
J Donovan
[Appended notes]
Mr Long – Ring up Storekeeper Frem Prison and ascertain when sending. JB
Mr Brodbribb, If possible this clothing will be sent by post tomorrow. EL 8/6/09

[Letter]
To: Mr J Donovan, Norseman
Jun 9, 1909
Sir,
I have the honor to acknowledge yours of the 3rd instant, relative to a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, which has not yet been received. I have to advise that these should reach you within the next few days, as the Gaols Dept, who are making this clothing, were unable to complete it earlier.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Norseman
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Jun 21, 1909
Dear Sir,
The parcels of clothing for indigent natives arrived safely, and we have distributed contents as follows:
Nellie, aged woman, 1 dress
Bandy, aged woman, 1 dress
Minnie, aged woman, 1 dress
Total 4 dresses
Charlie 1, paralysed man, 1 shirt, 1 trousers
George, paralysed man, 1 shirt, 1 trousers
Charlie 2, aged man, 1 shirt, 1 trousers
Total 3 shirts, 3 trousers
The trooper here accompanied us, and distribution as above was made principally on his advice.
Yours faithfullly,
J Donovan

Northampton

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Northampton
I beg to inform you that I am forwarding a parcel of clothing for indigent natives addressed to Mr William Lucas, Northampton, care of yourself. Mr Lucas will call for this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Mr William Lucas, Northampton
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police Northampton, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, containing 1 pair trousers, 1 shirt and 4 dresses. If you will call on the Police this will be handed to you.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Nullagine

[Letter]
To: Constable Stow, Protector of Aborigines, Nullagine
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, through the Police at Port Hedland, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, containing 12 pairs trousers, 12 shirts and 24 dresses. Please advise me when you receive this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police Station, Port Hedland
21 Apr, 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded under your care at Port Hedland, a parcel addressed to Const H Stow, Nullagine. Will you kindly arrange to have this parcel forwarded as early as possible.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
7 July 1909
Police Station Nullagine
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Herewith acknowledge having received from Port Hedland by camel team – one parcel containing 24 dresses, 12 pair trousers, and 12 shirts – clothing for indigent natives.
H Stow
Protector

Onslow

[Letter]
To Police Constable Harry, Onslow
Apr 21, 1909
With reference to the clothing for indigent natives, I beg to inform you that the Storekeeper at the Fremantle Gaol has been asked to forward to you 6 pair trousers, 6 shirts and 6 dresses.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Onslow Police Station
4 May, 1909
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
In reference to your memo 810 46/09, re clothing for indigent natives, I take it that the clothing mentioned is for Onslow Station.
If so, I beg to inform you that by order of the Resident Magistrate the said natives were provided with clothing locally on the 20th ult. Had I received any intimation from you that the Dept would send clothing of course none would have been supplied here.
I will with your authority hold the clothing here until the next half-year.
I might say that shirts and trousers for winter supply is not of much use to natives here (they feel the cold very much), they also require coats.
Const M Barry

Peak Hill

[Letter]
To Mr James O’Connor
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police in Nannine, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, containing 4 pair trousers, 4 shirt and 6 dresses. Please let me know when this comes to hand.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Nannine
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I am arranging to have forwarded through you a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr James O’Connor. When this comes to hand will you kindly have it forwarded.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
To Chief Protector Aborigines
24 Apr, 1909
Re natives about ten males fifteen females pitiable condition weather very cold advise send clothing when forwarding blankets
Inspector Sellinger

[Telegram]
To Inspector Sellinger, Peak Hill
24 Apr, 1909
Clothing railed Fremantle care Nannine today
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Memo]
Memo for Protector of Aborigines
24 Apr, 1909
Peak Hill advise your telegram of 24th to Inspector Sellinger is undelivered. The addressee has left.

[Telegram]
Apr 26, 1909
To: Officer in Charge, Police, Peak Hill
Re Inspector Sellenger’s wire clothing railed Fremantle care Nannine Saturday.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Memo]
To: The Store Keeper, Fremantle Prison
Apr 28, 1909
I beg to confirm my telephone message of Saturday last, requesting you to forward 15 dresses, 10 shirts, and 10 pairs of trousers to the Officer in Charge, Police, Peak Hill.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Report]
Police Dept, Cue
Oct 21, 1909
To: Chief Protector Aborigines
Whilst at Peak Hill I saw 20 out the 30 odd indigent aborigines mostly females, some of the women were indecent for want of clothes and the camp … some arrangement would have to be made for getting their rations out to them. I recommend that about 20 dresses in one piece of some strong and warm material be sent at Police at Peak Hill for distribution. The nights are cold and the debilitated state of these unfortunates and the … [remaining two lines illegible]
Drewry

[Letter]
To: Inspector Drewry, Police Station, Cue
28 Oct, 1909
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 21st instant; and in reply to inform you that 20 dresses will be sent to the Police, Peak Hill, for distribution.
C F Gale
Chief Protector of Aborigines
[Appended note]
To: P C Buck, Peak Hill
To note and inform me if more dresses are required but see that they are issued only in needful cases.
Drewry
1.11.09
[Appended note]
Inspector Drewry,
I respectfully report having received per Geoff Carroll vans, this date, twenty dresses & twenty shirts. I respectfully ask to be supplied with another twenty dresses as there are a number of very old female natives who require dresses.
Louis Buck
3/12/09

Roebourne

[Telegram]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Mar 22, 1909
Stations this district asking clothing for indigent natives. Shall I purchase locally. Weather getting very cold.
Sergt Pilmer

[Telegram]
To: Sergt Pilmer, Roebourne
Apr 1, 1909
Am arranging to ship clothing for natives first boat leaving for North-West.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Roebourne
21 Apr, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you a parcel of clothing containing 24 pair trousers, 24 shirts and 24 dresses for indigent natives. Will you please arrange to distribute these among the indigent natives.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Tambrey, Roebourne
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
June 8, 1909
Sir,
How is it that the pauper natives do not get their clothes and blankets till after the cold weather is now as so far no clothes have been sent up to the Tableland Police Station and as it is now in the middle of winter they are suffering from the cold as [illegible] that one of the blankets will not last a native for twelve months. Last year it was the same they got their clothes after the cold weather was over. The way the clothes are sent up is a disgrace to the Ab department and the dresses sent to the women are made of the [illegible] it is possible to get. Hoping you will see into this.
Yours truly,
William Cusack

[Letter extract]
Original in 173/09
Inspector’s Office, Roebourne
July 5, 1909
x x x x x x x
If you will permit me, I would suggest that instead of buying clothing locally for discharged native prisoners, a supply for distribution be forwarded from Fremantle Prison, the material is of better quality, and I venture to say would be found cheaper, in the event of your deciding to forward clothing for this purpose, I would require approximately 50 pairs of pants, 50 shirts, and 50 light leather belts, any surplus could be distributed to indigents as required, there is good strong accommodation here.
(Signed) W H Pilmer
[Appended notes]
Clothing approved order from Gaol
C F Gale
15.7.09

[Letter]
To: Sergeant Pilmer, Police Station, Roebourne
July 20, 1909
With reference to that portion of your letter of the 5th July asking to be supplied with 50 pairs of trousers, 50 shirts and 50 light leather belts, for indigent natives and discharged prisoners, I have to inform you that these cannot be sent at present, as the contracts for the supply of the necessary materials have only just been let, and it will be three or four months before they are to hand. The clothing mentioned will be forwarded to you as early as possible. The belts, however, have been ordered and these should be forwarded to you by the Gorgon, which is timed to leave Fremantle on the 24th instant.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
Roebourne, Sergt Pilmer
[undated]
Please advise when next batch native prisoners will be discharged
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Next batch of prisoners due for discharge twenty-one twenty-third February
Sergt Pilmer

Sharks Bay

[Letter]
To: Mr A H Moore, Denham
21 Apr 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police, Shark Bay, a package of clothing for indigent natives, containing 2 pairs trousers, 2 shirts, and 2 dresses. Will you please call at the Police Station for these.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police, Sharks Bay
21 Apr 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded under your care a package of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr A H Moore, Denham. Mr Moore will call for this parcel.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Mr A H Moore, Denham
21 Apr 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police, Shark Bay, a package of clothing for indigent natives, containing 2 pairs trousers, 2 shirts, and 2 dresses. Will you please call at the Police Station for these.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
June 12, 1909
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
I have received this day from W H Clarke PO one parcel of clothing for indigent natives. I am awaiting your instructions as to the distribution of them as there is only one female native on the ration list at present.
Yours faithfully
Thomas Meekhumes

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Sir,
I respectfully report that the parcels of clothing addressed as above duly to hand this date and have handed them over to Mr T Meekhumes, the contractor, who has taken over the business formerly carried on by Mr Moore.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
W H Clarke

[Letter]
To: Mr T Meekhumes, Shark Bay
July 8, 1909
Sir,
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter inquiring re the clothing forwarded to you for indigent natives. In reply will you please note that this clothing is for indigent natives only; and if there are none at present needing same, kindly keep on hand until it is required.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Whim Creek

[Telegram]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Infirm natives Balla Pool enquiring for clothing informed quantity forwarded April consignment blankets only received here.
Const Growden

[Telegram]
June 12. 1909
To: Constable Growden, Whim Creek
Clothing for natives forwarded by post per Burrumbest Wednesday last
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Wiluna

[Memo]
Police Station
Leonora
To: Const Walker, Wiluna
The articles mentioned in attached voucher have been forwarded to you through Cobb & Co.
L Hunter

[Letter]
To Officer in Charge, Police Station, Leonora
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I am arranging to have forwarded through you a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr Walker. When this comes to hand will you kindly have it forwarded.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To Mr William Walker, Wiluna
Apr 21, 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police Leonora, a parcel of clothing for indigent natives, containing 1 pair trousers, 1 shirt and 9 dresses. Please advise when these are received.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Receipt herewith for clothing recd for aged natives.
Please note
I could do with a dozen more dresses and a dozen shirts and trousers for the aged natives here of both sexes. Also some clothing for native girls under 9 years of age. Six of them are running about at the Natives Camp in rags.
When forwarding goods of any kind to Wiluna, please forward via Nannine whence they can be forwarded here for 1d per lb.
Wm Walker
Protector

Yalgoo

[Letter]
To: Mr T Pidgeon
21 Apr 1909
Sir,
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded to you, care of the Police, Yalgoo, a package of clothing for indigent natives containing 5 pairs trousers, 5 shirts and 6 dresses. Will you please call at the Police Station for this clothing.
I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
To: Officer in Charge, Police, Yalgoo
21 Apr 1909
I beg to inform you that I am arranging to have forwarded under your care a package of clothing for indigent natives, addressed to Mr T Pidgeon. Please hand this parcel to Mr Pidgeon when he calls.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Yathalla Station

[Telegram]
May 20, 1908
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Require authority purchase two dresses & shirt & pants sick natives Yathalla Station
Osborn, Sub-inspector

[Telegram]
To: Roebourne Police Station
Please purchase clothes sick natives Yathalla
Chief Protector of Aborigines

Interdepartmental correspondence

[Memo]
Subject: Clothing for Natives
Apr 16, 1908
To: Comptroller General of Prisons
Have you any objection to clothes for use of Ab. Natives being made up at the Fremantle Gaol. This Department will provide the stuff and pay for the making up – same as the Charities Dept.
C F Gale
[Reply]
Will be only too delighted to do so. I requested the department in 1906 to give us the same. I am glad there is now a chance of getting it.
[signature illegible] CG

[Memo]
To Govt Stores, Fremantle
Please forward the following number of blankets to the different places consigned to the names opposite:
Carnarvon, 20, Sergt Stokes
Onslow, 20, Corpl Barry
Cossack, 12, Coxwain Rodgers
Port Hedland, 15, Coxwain Fry
Broome, 10, Corpl Stewart
Derby, 10, Sub-Insptr McCarthy
Wyndham, 6, Corpl Buckland
C F Gale
Acting Chief Protector of Aborigines
Oct 2, 1908

[Memo]
Receipts & Issues of Aboriginal Native Clothing
Sherlock Station, 4.5.09, 2 dresses, 2 shirts, 2 trousers
Millstream Station, 8.5.09, 3 dresses
Springs Station, 8.5.09, 4 dresses, 1 shirt, 1 trousers
Cooyapooya Station, 29.5.09, 2 dresses, 2 shirts, 2 trousers
Discharged Native Prisoners, 12.6.09, 8 shirts, 8 trousers
Tableland natives, 15.6.09, 15 dresses, 10 shirts, 10 trousers

[Letter]
To The Stores Manager
I attach an order for 1,500 yards of shirting for the aborigines, Item No 2,238. Will you please have this made up into shirts – 300 large size, and the remainder medium size, all shirts to be made very long, both back and front, delivery to be made to this Department.
Chief Protector of Aborigines
2 Dec, 1908

[Memo]
Storekeeper, Govt Prison, Fremantle
Re Clothing for Aboriginal Natives
Jan 9, 1909
Costumes:-
I beg to inform you that I have ordered 450 yds of cloth (for women’s costumes) to be sent to you. These costumes should be slightly bigger than the ones previously made, as some of those sent to Bernier Island proved too small. More stuff will be sent shortly.
Shirts:-
650 yards shirting for 200 shirts. 40 shirts should be made so as to act as a costume for boys and girls under 14.
Trousering:-
443 yards of denim are being sent, and, including the 57 yards now in store, should make nearly 200 trousers. I note that you take the 77 knickers now in store off our hands. The new trousers should be made in the ordinary way, full length and with a fly instead of a flap. Please make a careful note of this. The knickers did not prove a success.
This clothing is urgently required.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Memo]
To Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
Mar 25, 1909
Will you please let me know what garments you have at present made up and the total garments that will be made when all the stuff has been utilised. Please also let me know the date when you expect to complete the lot.
H H Brodribb
Chief Protector of Aborigines
[Appended notes]
Mr Brodribb
On hand:-
Dresses 113
Shirts 214
Trousers 153
Sufficient material to make 110 trousers on had. In three weeks time could give delivery
H Herbert, storekeeper, 27.3.09

[Letter]
To: Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
Apr 1, 1909
With reference to our telephonic communication of this morning, I shall be glad if you will arrange to have shipped, at the earliest opportunity, the following native clothing:-
1) To the Officer in Charge, Police Station, Roebourne – 18 dresses, 18 shirts, 12 pairs trousers.
2) To Bernier Island, c/0 E H Angelo, Carnarvon – 60 shirts
3) To Constable E J Spry, Junction Police Station, Gascoyne River, c/o Police, Carnarvon – 12 dresses, 12 shirts, 12 pairs trousers.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

 

Lock Hospital – re Bon Marche a/c 69/2/9. Flannel & Co

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0042
Title: Lock Hospital – re Bon Marche a/c 69/2/9. Flannel & Co

Keywords: Bernier Island, Dorre Island, Lock Hospitals, Richard Pilmer, Henry Hunter, Boolgin Station, Bangemall, Robert Wilkinson, Peak Hill, clothing

[There are a number of items in this file that are discussions about clothing manufacture between Chief Protector Aborigines and the storekeeper at Fremantle Gaol, where the clothing for the department was made, as well as accounts for clothing and fabrics, which have not been transcribed – if further information is required, please contact Katitjin]

[Letter]
To: Sergeant Pilmer, Police Station, Roebourne
July 20, 1909
With reference to that portion of your letter of the 5th July asking to be supplied with 50 pairs of trousers, 50 shirts and 50 light leather belts, for indigent natives and discharged prisoners, I have to inform you that these cannot be sent at present, as the contracts for the supply of the necessary materials have only just been let, and it will be three or four months before they are to hand. The clothing mentioned will be forwarded to you as early as possible. The belts, however, have been ordered and these should be forwarded to you by the Gorgon, which is timed to leave Fremantle on the 24th instant.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
7 July 1909
Police Station Nullagine
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Herewith acknowledge having received from Port Hedland by camel team – one parcel containing 24 dresses, 12 pair trousers, and 12 shirts – clothing for indigent natives.
J Stow
Protector

[Letter]
Boolgin Station
5 July 1909
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
Sir,
I beg to acknowledge receipt of native rations, which came to hand on the 2nd of July. I regret to say that no blankets or clothing have come to hand. I wrote your Department some time ago, advising them that blankets and clothing should be available in April, again in May I wrote stating that the natives are very badly off for clothing and blankets, and enclosing a list of the names of the natives who have a just claim for blankets and clothing.
There are over 200 natives on this peninsula and when they see the natives of the south-west of them about Beagle Bay and the natives to the north-east of them, about Sunday Island, with their winter outfits, they naturally ask why they are being left out in the cold. The whole of these natives come to me for assistance, but I cannot afford to supply blankets and clothing or I would willingly do so.
For the past six weeks I have been sewing together the empty flour bags, to provide some sort of covering, but flour bags are a poor substitute for blankets and clothing. Many years ago, when I first came to the colony, I was given to understand that every native in Australia could get a fit out once a year, by simply asking for it. It was then known as the Queen’s bounty, and judging by the crown on the blankets, it is only reasonable to suppose that it is now the King’s bounty.
Assuming that it is state property I venture to remark that if the funds at the disposal of the Department being insufficient to provide blankets and clothing for the natives in this district, the matter could be brought under the notice of the Government, through our member for the district, for I am sure he would have the support of the settlers of the district in that respect. Trusting that a supply of blankets and clothing will be sent forward as soon as possible.
I am, Sir,
(signed) Henry Hunter
PS Rations will last till the end of September.
[Note] Original letter in 19/09

[Telegram]
9 Aug, 1909
To: Isdell, Travelling Protector Aborigines, Fitzroy Crossing
Hunter Boolgin Station complaining absence blankets and clothing two hundred natives please look into and report when visiting.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Memo]
Police Station
Leonora
To: Const Walker, Wiluna
The articles mentioned in attached voucher have been forwarded to you through Cobb & Co.
L Hunter

[Letter]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Receipt herewith for clothing recd for aged natives.
Please note
I could do with a dozen more dresses and a dozen shirts and trousers for the aged natives here of both sexes. Also some clothing for native girls under 9 years of age. Six of them are running about at the Natives Camp in rags.
When forwarding goods of any kind to Wiluna, please forward via Nannine whence they can be forwarded here for 1d per lb.
Wm Walker
Protector

[Letter}
The Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
24 Aug, 1909
With reference to the 400 yards of denim forwarded to our Department recently by the Government Stores, I have to advise that this is required for trousers for this Department. Before making these up however, I shall be glad if you will make a sample pair, as Dr Lovegrove, Superintendent Medical Officer of the Lock Hospitals, advises that so far as trousers for the diseased natives are concerned, it would be better if these were made with running strings, somewhat like pyjamas. I shall be glad therefore, if you will have a sample pair made as early as possible, and forwarded to this Department.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Telegram]
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines
11 hands safe. Genesta totally wrecked Dorre thirteenth. Dinghy stove in. Parted cable easterly gale, piled up rocks south and white beach all gear salvaged. Waited weather, proceeded Bernier hospital dinghy. Returned Carnarvon this morning per relief boat [remaining sentence blacked out]. No blankets clothing Dorre. Dresses shirts urgently required [remaining sentence blacked out].
Brodribb

[Report]
Clothing – Dorre Island
There were no stocks of native clothing or blankets on hand. In connection with the manufacture of trousers for the native patiets, Dr Lovegrove desires that these shall be made with running strings, in place in buttons, as if made in this way, the work of dressing the patients will be far more handy. He asked me to see Dr Hickenbotham in connection with this matter, which I did, and he confirmed Dr Lovegrove’s view.
Brodribb

[Telegram]
Angelo, Carnarvon
30 Aug, 1909
Send over soon as possible doctor will have go Dorre with men to instruct orderly treatment return doctor Bernier thence Carnarvon load Mauds be sure blankets per Minderoo gone Dorre otherwise no blankets Dorre provide men sufficient temporary clothing pending supplies Koombana
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
The Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
Aug 30, 1909
Please consign per Koombana, to the Officer in Charge, Dorre Island, c/o Mr E H Angelo, Carnarvon, 25 pairs trousers and 25 shirts
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
Dairy Creek Station, Upper Gascoyne, WA
Aug 7, 1909
To: Chief Protector Aborigines
Would you kindly send clothing for eight old and infirm aborigines natives, six women and two men.
R E Lewis, for John Fitzpatrick

[Letter]
Dr F Lovegrove,
Bernier Island,
C/o Mr E H Angelo,
Carnarvon
Sept 3, 1909
With reference to your requisition for 400 yds of striped galatea for dresses, I beg to advise that we are forwarding 100 yds of this galatea, and 300 yds of other material, as we were unable to buy the galatea under contract. The other material was used by the Lunacy Department for dresses, and I think your Matron will find it very suitable.
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
The Storekeeper, Fremantle Prison
With reference to the pyjama trousers for the natives,the sample is to hand, and I am returning it under cover this day. These trousers should be open for a few inches in the front, like ordinary pyjamas, otherwise the pattern will do. Please make up 50 pairs in this way, and consign them to “The Officer in Charge, Dorre Island, c/o Mr E H Angelo, Carnarvan.” I shall be glad also if you will advise me when these goods are consigned.
Chief Protector Aborigines

[Letter]
Bangemall
To: H A Herbert, Storekeeper, F[remantle] P[rison]
Sept 1, 1909
Dear Sir,
Yours of 6.7.09, I have not received invoice or clothing from the police of Carnarvon. I believe P C Grey is using them for the diseased natives, which he is collecting from the district and the natives on the relief are practically without clothing.
Yours Faithfully,
R Wilkinson

[Letter]
The Officer in Charge,
Police Station,
Carnarvon
Oct 16, 1909
Some time in April, or early in May a consignment of clothing was sent by the Fremantle Prison to Mr R Wilkinson, Bangemall, c/o the Police, Carnarvon. Mr Wilkinson now advises me that he has never received this clothing, which for the use of indigent natives. He further states that he believes it is being used by Constable Gray, for the diseased natives which he is now collecting in the district. I shall be glad if you can let me have any information in regard to this matter.
Chief Protector Aborigines
[Appended letter]
29 Oct 1909
To: Sergt Stokes
I respectfully beg to note the remarks of the Chief Protector and I have to inform you that two parcels of clothing were received here at this Station addressed [?] Police from the Protector of Aborigines, and no address on them directing either of them to Bangemall. Neither have I received any advice that any parcel of clothing was forwarded to Bangemall from Aborigines Dept.
I had applied some time back for [?] clothes and took it they were sent in answer to my application. Const Gray informed me that the natives at Bangemall are not in want of any clothes. No doubt it advice had been sent to me and they had been properly addressed they would have reached Bangemall if these clothes had been intended for that place.
I may also state that most of the clothing was used by Const Gray to clothe the diseased natives which he was collecting for the Island.
Const Spry

[Report]
Police Dept, Cue
Oct 21, 1909
To: Chief Protector Aborigines
Whilst at Peak Hill I saw 20 out the 30 odd indigent aborigines mostly females, some of the women were indecent for want of clothes and the camp … some arrangement would have to be made for getting their rations out to them. I recommend that about 20 dresses in one piece of some strong and warm material be sent at Police at Peak Hill for distribution. The nights are cold and the debilitated state of these unfortunates and the … [remaining two lines illegible]
Drewry

[Letter]
To: Inspector Drewry, Police Station, Cue
28 Oct, 1909
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 21st instant; and in reply to inform you that 20 dresses will be sent to the Police, Peak Hill, for distribution.
C F Gale
Chief Protector of Aborigines
[Appended note]
To: P C Buck, Peak Hill
To note and inform me if more dresses are required but see that they are issued only in needful cases.
Drewry
1.11.09
[Appended note]
Inspector Drewry,
I respectfully report having received per Geoff Carroll vans, this date, twenty dresses & twenty shirts. I respectfully ask to be supplied with another twenty dresses as there are a number of very old female natives who require dresses.
Louis Buck
3/12/09

[Letter]
To The Stores Manager
I attach an order for 1,500 yards of shirting for the aborigines, Item No 2,238. Will you please have this made up into shirts – 300 large size, and the remainder medium size, all shirts to be made very long, both back and front, delivery to be made to this Department.
Chief Protector of Aborigines|
2 Dec, 1909

Katitjin Notes:

Pilmer, Richard Henry (1866-1951)
Richard Henry Pilmer 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.

Constable Stow
Transferred from Hamelin Police Station at Karridale to Nullagine in 1907

Walker, William
William Walker was a police constable at Wiluna, who was also designated as a Protector of Aborigines. The conflict of interest arising from being both a police officer and a “Protector” was apparent even in those days, as attested by the following newspaper item:

Police Constable William Walker is entitled to write himself “protector of aboriginals” at Wiluna, in addition to his other duties. Walker has recently been charged with torturing his own black tracker by chaining him up for a night by the neck, a subject that might certainly be held to warrant some official investigation. But even allowing that is at present an “ex-parte” statement, isn’t it absurd that a constable should be appointed a deputy-protector of natives at all? In his former capacity it is his duty to put the fear of the white man’s law into the heart of our black brother Bill and to keep it there. It is his business to hunt the natives out of the town as much as possible, to shoot the native’s mangy dogs, to pursue and arrest the native for the numerous offences which that unfortunate person is mainly occupied in committing. In his latter capacity he is expected to physic the sick native, to clothe the naked one, to feed the old and infirm. It is likely the unsophisticated aborigines will go to zealous constables like Walker for succor, for relief, for protection? His very name strikes fear into their souls. His very presence in the neighbourhood is an inducement to them to cut and run. [Sunday Times 06.10.1907]

Hunter, Harry (1865-1941)
Harry Hunter 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.

Wilkinson, Robert
Robert Wilkinson was the owner and publican of the Bangemall Hotel. He found a large gold nugget while prospecting at Bangemall in 1904 and in 1905 was granted a license for the hotel with Mr Ayliffe. In 1912 the license was contested by the police because of the “ruinous and dilapidated” state of the building: “There were holes in the roof and with every fall of rain a part of the walls of the rooms came away…There was no accommodation and no beds, and travellers had to camp outside.”

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)

Bernier Island water supply

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0009
Title: Bernier Island – water supply
Keywords: Bernier Island, Frederick Lovegrove, Lock hospitals

[The technical details of reconstructing the wells that are recorded in the original report have not been included here. If further information is required contact Katitjin for a copy of the relevant file]

[Letter]
Carnarvon
7/12/08
Dr Lovegrove, of Bernier Island, has reported to me that in his opinion the water supply on the island is insufficient to carry any more Native patients, without running a great amount of risk and advises that no more patients should be sent there until the water supply is assurred. I have been, since this report, in communication with the Public Works Dept and have been informed that there is no Officer of that Department stationed at Carnarvon who could give a report.
Will you please advise me if you know of any capable man that could be sent over to report on this question, with some idea as to what it would cost for doing so. From my own observations while at the island I do not think there is much fear for anxiety but to be absolutely on the safe side I should like my opinion confirmed.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
Carnarvon
To the Chief Protector of Aborigines
17/12/08
Sir,
In reply to your letter of the 7th instant, re ? of water supply at Bernier Island, all that is required to provide a good supply would be to enlarge the present well or dig another well a short distance from the present one, the one mill could work both wells. All the coastal wells will give out if drawn heavily. You will find if either of these suggestions are acceptable there will be plenty of water for all purposes…
I have the honor to be, Sir, you obedient servant,
[Signature illegible]
Resident Magistrate

[Report]
Report on the Bernier Island Water Supply by Mr Brodribbs
I inspected all the wells, and found them on the whole in good condition…
At the present time they are drawing very little on the rainwater tanks, the water for hospital purposes being carted daily from the well. This is a somewhat laborious undertaking, as the tank in the cart has to be filled by bucket, as the present tank on the well is level with the ground. It should be put on a stand, so that the cart may come under and fill up. The well could then be closed in. At the present time the natives are drawing their water out of the well by the bucket, the consequence being that the water splashes down and further helps to break away the ground below the timbered portion…

[Note]
Extract from Dr Lovegrove’s letter of 8/9/09
I have engaged a man named Batty at 10/- per day to act as orderly while Shirrefs attends to the dressings. All available spare time of both men will be utilised in timbering the well and making other permanent improvements as opportunity offers.

Katitjin Notes:

Dr Frederick Alexander Lovegrove was the nephew of Dr Thomas Lovegrove, the Principal Medical Officer of WA. He was the medical supervisor of the Lock hospitals on Bernier & Dorre Islands from 1908 – 1910, after which he went to Tambellup, where he was the general practitioner for many years.

Bernier Island
From 1908 to 1918, the remote islands of Bernier and Dorre, off the coast of Shark Bay, were used to isolate and treat Aboriginal people from all over the North-West, who supposedly had venereal diseases.
Quote from Daisy Bates, The Passing of the Aborigines, Chapt 9:

Dorre and Bernier Islands: there is not, in all my sad sojourn among the last sad people of the primitive Australian race, a memory one-half so tragic or so harrowing, or a name that conjures up such a deplorable picture of misery and horror unalleviated, as these two grim and barren islands of the West Australian coast that for a period, mercifully brief, were the tombs of the living dead.

For more information about the Lock Hospitals on Dorre & Bernier Island, see Jade Stingemore’s PhD thesis entitled Surviving the ‘cure’: life on Bernier and Dorre Islands under the Lock Hospital regime. It is available for open access download at the University of Western Australia Research Repository.

Jebb, Mary Anne. The Lock Hospitals experiment: Europeans, Aborigines and venereal disease. Studies in Western Australian History, No. 8, Dec 1984: 68-87.

 

 

Taking provisions and mails to Dorre and Bernier Islands

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0003
Title: Journal of W.P.C. Delfs (730) from 10 – 13th Dec while taking provisions and mails to Dorre and Bernier Islands from Carnarvon

Aboriginal patients on Bernier Island

Aboriginal patients on Bernier Island

[Report]
Station: Carnarvon
Journal of WPC J E Delfs
1908From the 10th to the 13th of December

10th Dec
Left Station at 6am for cutter Genesta. Boarded cutter at 7am. Left anchorage at 8:15am for jetty anchored off jetty at 8:45am. Took aboard per dinghy 10 sheep, 1 bag vegetables and effects of Robert Lack (cook for Doree Island), also mails for Island. Left at 11:20am for Doree Island under double reefed mainsail, staysail and small jib. Wind blowing fresh from S.W. At 3:20pm the wind having increased the jib was taken in. At 6pm anchored in Bush Bay, blowing strong from S.W.

11th Dec
At 6am blowing hard from S.S.E. At 9am the wind having moderated a start was made for Doree Island under double reefed mainsail and staysail, the wind having veered to South. At 11:40am wind dropped and the vessel was becalmed till 1pm when a light breeze came in from the S.W. A reef was taken out of mainsail and the squall jib set. At 4:30pm the wind having freshened causing a choppy sea the jib was taken in. At 5:50pm anchored under seaweed bank off white beach landed on Doree Island went ashore at 6:20pm with Mailey[?], returned to Cutter at 7:15pm.

12th
At 6am blowing fresh from South. At ? landed 3 sheep and effects of Robert Lack. Saw R Fielder head carpenter who stated everything was going on satisfactory and that the framework of the building are up. No complaints. Returned to cutter at 10:30am. At noon left for Bernier Island under ? mainsail and staysail, wind moderate from SW. At 4pm anchored at Bernier by ? had landed the remaining 7 sheep, mail and vegetables in food order.

13th
At 6am light breeze from south blowing, at 8am went ashore for mail. Saw Dr Lovegrove. No complaints. Received mails and returned to cutter at 9am. At 10am left for Carnarvon under reefed? mainsail, staysail and swell jib. Moderate S.W. wind blowing. Anchored in Tegs Channel at 2:15pm, all correct. R Talbot passenger from Bernier. Wm Henrietta Assistant.

Katitjin Notes:

Quote from Daisy Bates, The Passing of the Aborigines, Chapt 9:

Dorre and Bernier Islands: there is not, in all my sad sojourn among the last sad people of the primitive Australian race, a memory one-half so tragic or so harrowing, or a name that conjures up such a deplorable picture of misery and horror unalleviated, as these two grim and barren islands of the West Australian coast that for a period, mercifully brief, were the tombs of the living dead.

For more information about the Lock Hospitals on Dorre & Bernier Island, see Jade Stingemore’s PhD Thesis entitled Surviving the ‘cure’: life on Bernier and Dorre Islands under the Lock Hospital regime. It is available for open access download at the University of Western Australia Research Repository.