police

Rations to indigent natives Lower Murchison. Proposed reduction in rates at Cue, Nannine, Mt magnet, Peak Hill.

State Records Archive
Consignment: 255
Item: 1908/0966

Title: Rations to indigent natives Lower Murchison. Proposed reduction in rates at Cue, Nannine, Mt Magnet, Peak Hill.

Keywords: rations, Cue, Nannine, Mt Magnet, Peak Hill, police, Aboriginal protectors

[Letter]
13/220
18th Sep 1908
To: Inspector of Police, Cue
From: The Chief Protector of Aborigines
I am directed to write to you regarding accounts for rationing Aboriginal natives by Police Constables J McDonald, Nannine, McLernon, Mt Magnet, Jas O’Connor, Peak Hill and A Brodie, Cue. J McDonald, McLernon and A Brodie how charging 9d per day for each native. 14 lbs of flour given at Mt Magnet and Cue it’s too much. Natives here frequently state they cannot get through 10 lbs in the week. The Chief Protector is of the opinion that the natives at Nannine, Mt Magnet and Cue should be rationed at 6d per day each. With reference to Peak Hill there are on the list three half-caste girls who should if possible be sent to Perth and from there forwarded to some mission. Please let me know if this can be done also report fully regarding rations at stations I have mentioned.
E. W. Pechell

[Accounts Memo]
Police Dept, Murchison District, Cue
3rd Oct 1908
Memo of accounts for Rations to Indigent Aborigines, Sept quarter 1908
A Brodie, Const, Cue
2 @ 30 days @ 9d and 4 @ 20 days @ 9d = £5/5/-
J McLernon, Const, Mt Magnet
5 @ 30 days @ 9d = £5/12/6
J O’Connor, Const, Peak Hill
19 @ 30 days @ 9d = £21/7/6
Wm Walker, Const, Wiluna
9 @ 30 days @ 9d plus half-caste child 30 days @ 6d = £14/5/-

[Letter]
9th October 1908
From: F. G. Mitchell, Police Department, Sub-Inspector’s Office, Cue
Sergt Simpson,
The Chief Protector of Aborigines considers 10 lbs flour per week sufficient for each native on ration list and that the charge should be reduced to 6d per diem. Is Const Brodie agreeable to ration natives on this scale and at price?

[Added to letter]
9/10/1903
Constable Brodie,
Are you agreeable to ration indigent natives at the scale and price and given herein?
Louis W Simpson
Sergt 51

[Added to letter]
13/10/08
Sergt Simpson
I am not agreeable to ration natives on the scale and price herein mentioned, but would be agreeable to do it at 7d per day. If the flour was reduced to 8 lbs per week, I would be willing to do it at 6d.
I may mention that the rations supplied by me to the natives is of the best quality available in Cue.
A Brodie
Const 498

[Letter]
9th October 1908
From: F. G. Mitchell, Police Department, Sub-Inspector’s Office, Cue
Const McDonald, Nannine
The Chief Protector of Aborigines considers the rations to indigent natives and cost should be reduced. He suggests 6d per diem would be sufficient and the scale 10 lbs flour weekly and I presume some tea and sugar. Meat and tobacco, no doubt he considers unnecessary. Please reply at once if you will ration at above price and state the scale you will provide.
F. G. Mitchell
Sub-Inspr

[Added to letter]
10/10/08
Sub Inspt Mitchell
The ration of 10 lbs of flour, 1 1/2 lbs of sugar and 3 ozs of tea per week without meat and tobacco would not I think be enough rations for these natives. At the present time the natives get their rations every day for if given at once they gorge themselves for a couple of days and do the best they can for the remainder of the week, besides the regular supply every day, one or two natives always turn up for their breakfast, so that they really get more than is charged for and frequently get two cakes of tobacco instead of one per week.
Frequently clothing is given them or else they would next to naked. If the Chief Protector will forward three pairs of trousers, four shirts, and three dresses for the use of the natives. I will have them delivered as I think necessary and will supply 10 lbs of flour, 1/2 lb of sugar and 3 ozs of tea per week to deserving natives at 6d per day, but if I find I cannot do it except at a loss I will forward a further report about the matter
J McDonald
Cons 266

[Letter]
9th October 1908
From: F. G. Mitchell, Police Department, Sub-Inspector’s Office, Cue
Const McLernon, Mt Magnet
The Chief Protector of Aborigines complains at the quantity of flour indigent natives receive weekly. He suggests 10 lbs per week is quite sufficient and a reduction in charge accordingly to 6d per diem. Will you do it at the above price and state the scale on which you will provide. This does not mean reduction of tea and sugar.
F. G. Mitchell
Sub Inspr

[Added to letter]
10/10/08
Sub Inspt Mitchell, Cue
I have to report for your information regarding indigent natives that as flour is 2 1/2 per lb here, a person could scarcely do this for 6d per diem for 10 lbs per week. I am aware that the 14 lbs was too much for one native per week and I would suggest that allowance of flour be reduced to 8 lbs the week each. This in addition to a bit of bush food they can gather would then be ample for them. I can give 8 lbs flour, 2 lbs sugar, and 1/4 lb tea each per week here at 6d per diem.
J McLernon
Const 346

[Letter]
9th October 1908
From: F. G. Mitchell, Police Department, Sub-Inspector’s Office, Cue
Const O’Connor, Peak Hill
The Chief Protector of Aborigines complains at the quantity of flour indigent natives receive weekly.He suggests 10 lbs per week is quite sufficient and a reduction in charge accordingly to 6d per diem. Will you do it at the above price and state the scale? Reply at once.
F. G. Mitchell
Sub Inspr

[Added to letter]
12/10/08
Sub Inspt Mitchell, Cue
I respectfully report for your information the scale of flour issued to the natives per day is 2 lbs each. I have no objection to reducing it down to 10 lbs per week but I cannot see my way clear to reduce it to 6d per diem.
Jas O’Connor
Const 787

[Memo]
To Inspector of Police, Cue
12th Oct 1908
In my memo of today concerning relief to natives in your district I forgot to mention that I have not yet received any reply to questions contained in my letter 13/220 re the three half-caste girls on the relief list at Peak Hill. Unless they are very strong reasons against it arrangements should be made to send them to Perth.
C. F. Gale
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
13/10/1908
To Sub-Inspector Mitchell
Re: Rationing indigent natives proposed reduction from 9d to 6d per diem
Const Brodie’s minute forwarded for your information and that of the Chief Inspector of Aborigines.
Louis Simpson
Sergt 51

[Added to letter]
17/10/08
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
I cannot do better than by forwarding you the different constables reports in regard the subject matter. The constables are undertaking to do what it would be impossible to find a civilian to do; that is, supplying the natives with food with practically no remuneration for services rendered and the use of money outlayed.
I would have replied sooner but when your letter reached Cue I was away in district it was therefore laying in my office for about 14 days before it could receive any attention.
The Const at Peak Hill informs me he is unable to supply at present for information in regard to the two half caste children being sent to Perth. He however tells me it is impossible to get anyone to bring them as far as the train.
Please note two lbs bread is 5d in Cue, 7d Nannine, 10d Peak Hill. You can form an opinion as to how much is left when rations supplied are paid for.
F. G. Mitchell
Sub-Insptr

[Letter]
Peak Hill
16th Nov 1908
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines
Dear Sir,
I have the honour to address this letter of protest to you. The native people at this district are persecuted by many both by word and deed, and I wish to call to your notice the most recent, the publication by the Murcheson Times (Cue) of a malicious report that – “tribes of natives are hanging around and menacing the police station where for half castes are awaiting transport to the coast etc”
Now I as one who for over five years have closely studied the native people, and was in a humble measure active in obtaining the order to make provision for the protection of them. Three little girls (Teresa/Daisy 8 3/4 yrs – Maninda/Lizzie 5 3/4 years – Rosie 6 yrs) and living close to the police station, visiting the children and also explaining to their native friends and relations the good fortune the girls would meet, know that those statements are shamefully false and that’s some cowardly spirit supplies numerous scandal and lies to newspapers to the hurt of the poor people so maligned. Cannot some special measure be taken to end this? I hope to get an extended report at a future date.
Faithfully Yours,
John McNaughton JP MB FRCSE

Katitjin Notes:

McNAUGHTON, John
Dr John McNaughton was appointed by the State Board of Health as the medical officer for Peak Hill in 1903. He was made a Justice of the Peace in Peak Hill in 1908. He was frequently in conflict with local settlers due to his vocal disapproval of the way Aboriginal people were treated and gave heavy penalties for crimes of violence against Aboriginal woman in the Peak Hill court.

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

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1908/0332

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

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

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

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

A O Neville Evidence Part 18

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

Tuesday, 13th March, 1934

H. D. Moseley, Esq., Commissioner.

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

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part 11] [Part 12] [Part 13] [Part 14] [Part 15] [Part 16] [Part 17] Continued…

I refer to Sections 118-120 of the Licensing Act, Section 45 of the Aborigines Act. The Licensing Act does not include half-castes, nor does it enable exempted aborigines or half-castes to obtain liquor. The object we have in view is to make it an offence to supply liquor, either to aborigines, half-castes or coloured persons, unless exempted, and to exclude those from licensed premises unless similarly exempted. In practice, most cases are taken under the Aborigines Act, as it has a wider application than these sections of the Licensing Act. It is proposed to insert a new section after Section 45 of the principal Act as follows: —
“45A.(1) Any person being the holder of a publican’s general license or wayside house license who shall permit or suffer any aboriginal or half-caste not exempt from the provisions of this Act to enter remain in or loiter about his licensed premises shall be guilty of an offence against this Act,
(2) Any aboriginal or half-caste not exempted from the provisions of this Act who enters or remains on or loiters about the premises in respect of which a publican’s general license or wayside house license under the provisions of the Licensing Act 1911-22 is held shall be guilty of an offence against this Act provided that this section shall not apply to any aboriginal or half-caste employed on the licensed premises under a permit granted by the Chief Protector.”
With regard to the first part, it has been ruled by the Crown Law Department that “aboriginal” means an aboriginal, defined under Section 2 of the Act and not under Section 3.

83. There is no definition under Section 2? — It says an original inhabitant of Australia; in other words, a half-caste is deemed to be an aboriginal is not included in the Section.

84. The definition in Section 2 is that of a half-caste. You have to read Section 3 to find out the definition of “aboriginal”? — I was thinking of the amendment we propose to make defining an aboriginal in that section.

[End of page 70]

I have here a minute by the Assistant Crown Solicitor written in 1932 and dealing with the definition of “aboriginal”. I put in the Chief Secretary’s department file No. 302/32 (Exhibit 22). Our object is to prevent natives, half-castes or coloured parsons obtaining liquor unless they are definitely exempted. A considerable number of people are getting liquor. At Wagin the other day the suppliers claimed that some they supplied did not come under the Act, but the Protector won his case. The last proviso in the proposed new section covers the granting of a license by the Chief Protector to a publican who may wish to employ a native on his premises. We give permission to publicans in the North only to employ as a yardman a male native, but we do not allow any females on the premises. Under regulation, the Chief Protector has power to give a special permit for that purpose. Sections 47 to 52 deal with firearms. These sections should be restored, but I do not think that is likely to happen. I recognise the wisdom of having one authority only to deal with the issue of licenses for firearms.

85. Probably anything that is done in that direction should be done by amending the Firearms Act? — The Commissioner of Police should work in conjunction with the Protector in regard to licenses to natives, so that there may be no injustice done to them. If the matter is left in the hands of the police, very few natives, as we know, will be permitted to carry firearms. Section 58 of the Act deals with penalties, it is proposed to increase some of the penalties which, in our opinion, are insufficient. We propose to substitute the words “three years” for “six months” in the fourth line, and to substitute the words “one hundred” for “fifty”.

86. That is the maximum term of imprisonment ? — Yes. We also propose to add the words “or both” after “pounds” in the last line. In the North, men, particularly Asiatics,

[End of page 71]

are constantly being brought up for supplying liquor to aborigines. They pay the fine of £50, but commit the same offence soon afterwards. The penalties are less than those provided in other ordinances in Australia. It would be a good check on wrongdoing if the penalties were increased. It is proposed to amend Section 59A. of the principal Act by inserting a new subsection as follows :—
“No admission of guilt or confession before trial shall be sought or obtained from any aboriginal or half-caste charged or suspected of any offence the punishment for which may involve loss of life or liberty except with the consent of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, and if any such admission or confession is obtained it shall not be received in evidence.”
Section 59A. of the Act provides that a native shall not plead guilty, shall not be allowed to plead guilty, can only plead guilty if the Protector does it for him, and is quite satisfied that he should plead guilty. In criminal court cases there is never a plea of guilty put in; it is always a plea of not guilty in order to give the native a chance. We find, however, that police officials extract confessions from natives and produce them in court as evidence. The two things are inconsistent. We bring a native to court and tell him we are going to give him a fair trial according to British law. In effect, he starts out as not guilty of the offence. Shortly after, the police trot out the confession. I invariably protest in court against such confessions being put in. The judge has remarked that the two things are not the same. The confessions have not always been accepted as evidence. Nevertheless, a man stands condemned in spite of the fact that he is not permitted to plead guilty. It is our duty to prove a man guilty, if he is guilty.

87. We are rather altering the law as it applies to others? — Some of the admission are definitely obtained by threats. A native does not understand what is required of him. He willingly says he is guilty, and tells the whole

[End of page 72]

story with a certain amount of glee. In the case of a native murder, be may not see that he has done any wrong, and thinks he is a fine fellow. He thinks he is telling you something it was right for him to do from his point of view. He does not see why he should keep back the fact that he is guilty, and he spills it all out. The police go to him, and something of this kind occurs.

[End of page 73]

The policeman says to the native, “you want to tell me all about the killing business”. He does that to extract an admission. The policeman, as he must do, also says, “Suppose you don’t want to tell me, all right.” The native does not see any harm in telling him and he replies, “I did it all right. Of course I did.” Then the native goes on to tell the policeman why he did it. I suggest that if a white man were to be spoken to by a policeman along those lines in such circumstances, he would naturally shut up like an oyster because he would know that he would have to stand his trial. A white man in those circumstances would not say a word unless there were certain circumstances that might compel him to do so. Natives should not be asked such questions by policemen.

It is our duty to show that the native committed the murder if he did so, and to prove the charge. Here is a case in point. A man named, we shall say, Barney, is arrested on a charge of murder. The policeman says to him, “What you want spear old fellow for?” The native answers the policeman giving the reason why he did it and explains how he did it. Of course he would do so because the native thought he was doing right according to tribal law. The contentions I have raised coincide with our idea that native courts should be established to deal with such cases. I consider the clauses proposed to be embodied in the new legislation are necessary for the protection of the natives in order to give them a fair unbiassed trial. I submit a copy of a minute I seat to my Minister last year dealing with matters I have been referring to including the establishment of native courts (Exhibit No. 23). In every dependency or country where there are natives and in some of the Australian States, special courts have been established to deal with native tribal cases. We propose that special oourts shall be established in Western Australia for a similar purpose. I was asked to give evidence on that subject before the Royal Commission on the Constitution of the Commonwealth in 1927. I did so and since then the matter has been taken up in different parts of Australia and I claim that I was the first to make that suggestion in the interstate of the aborigines.

[End of page 74]

A O Neville’s Evidence Part 10

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] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] Continued…

I personally did discover, in years gone by, the names of dead natives still on the list as being fed, or being paid for. We hold, particularly in the far North, a number of large reserves. Some of these are held for stations, and others for the future use of natives. The reason for the establishment of cattle stations was, briefly, the fact that in years gone by the natives killed the settlers’ cattle to a large extent, and that the authorities were at their wit’s end to know what to do to prevent this. They used to gaol the aborigines, and the police were always out chasing cattle killers. Moola Bulla was established in 1911. Prior to that the State was spending about £10,000 a year in bringing natives to justice and keeping them in gaol. In 1903 there were 314 natives in gaol, and in 1909 there were 369. As soon as the native stations were established, the killing began to decline. Wherever the stations have influence today, there is no cattle killing at all. There may be an odd case, once or twice in a year; but the killing has practically ceased, and the cost now is infinitely less than it was in those days.
24. The stations, of course, are not expected to pay, and in fact do not pay; but they are run at a very limited cost and earn quite a lot of money, which goes into the Treasury. The average annual cost of a station like Moola Bulla is about £800, whereas the average annual cost of a place like Moore River is about £4,000. The cattle stations are a very cheap means of settling the native difficulty. Those stations are sanctuaries to which all the natives repair whenever they want to. They sit down for a few weeks, enjoy as much meat as they can eat, and then go off again. But always the principle is adopted that the natives have to do some work before they are fed. The question of native stations is very important to the North. They extend along the whole coastline…

[End of page 27]
…of our State, and practically to Queensland.

25. There has been poaching by aliens along that coast for many years, and the aliens have been in contact with the natives. They have introduced Asiatic diseases, and altogether their association with natives has been most undesirable. Huge reserves for aborigines are quite useless unless adequately protected, and they cannot be protected by regulation alone. There must be somebody there in authority to safeguard them. There are always men of an adventurous turn of mind travelling around the coast, both foreign and British, ever indifferent to the risk of their lives. They treat lightly any possible danger from natives. Unfortunately it is these men that have done the harm, harm which is aggravated by the further necessity for police intervention. A spirit of antagonism has been raised up between the natives on the one part and the gospel of putting in the boot on the other. This mutual antagonism will remain wherever natives are numerous, and probably it will become more serious unless steps are taken to improve the position. I foresee constant friction and probably a repetition of some of those regrettable incidents which we have read about lately, and which discredit the name of Australia abroad. It is too late to shut the door after the horse has gone out. We have even had the occupation of these reserves of ours by whites within recent years, without any knowledge of the authorities whatever. There is nothing to prevent persons from landing and establishing themselves in freelance fashion on the reserves, possibly to the ultimate embarrassment of the department end the Government.

26. The one authority which the natives readily recognise is the Government, not as exemplified by the police, whom they classify as something apart, but as exemplified by the agencies established by the department, specially created for the natives. The Aborigines Department have to bridge the gulf between the two factions, and there is not any other agency…

[End of page 28]

…which can do it equally well or gain the confidence of the natives to the same extent. It is my view that on every reserve of any magnitude there should be a Government native station such as those we possess in the North. Some of these stations should be large, some just big enough to suit local requirements, and others mere depots. The managers of these stations are picked men, married, living with their wives; and so far as we are concerned the sites for these places are co-terminous with the tribal districts. These managers are trusted by the natives, and respected by them. They do their duty without fear or favour, and are of a type mostly found in the North — virile, capable, resourceful. At Munja Station on the west the natives will carry the sick 200 miles so that the manager may tend them.

27. You mean their own sick people ? — Yes. Should that manager require to admonish a native for wrong-doing, he simply sends a message to the man to come in and the man comes in and submits to his punishment. The oldest-established native customs, such as the promising of children of tender years to old men already possessed of wives, are giving way under our system, and family life is being restored on those stations and children arc increasing there. My point is that if the department concerned with the welfare and protection of the natives gets in first and establishes its relations with the natives, that is the proper and indeed the only way to be adopted for policing those large areas, or rather I should say caring for the natives in those unsettled areas. We should get in first, so to speak. We have to pave the way for white settlers, and in the process we have to see that a fair deal is given to the natives. The money that is spent on the apprehension of wrong-doers, on the search for missing whites, and on maintenance of remote police stations might be better spent on the provision and upkeep of these outposts.

[End of page 29]

26. Coastal stations should have a vessel attached to them, provided with auxiliary power and with a wireless receiving or transmitting set. Since the native stations were established in the Kimberleys and the method of dealing with cattle killers was altered, a number of police stations have been closed there, and thus there has been some reduction in the police force stationed in the Kimberleys. Before Munja was established there had been a number of murders of whites, and probably of blacks too, but mostly of whites so far as we know, in the area north of Munja. Since the station was established, there has been nothing of the kind, and the natives are rapidly becoming accustomed to whites; in fact, settlement is increasing. Before that the few isolated settlers had to get out. Now you can go anywhere in that country with comparative safety. The native station is better than the police station, so far as the North is concerned. However, I do not deprecate the wonderful work the police have done. They have been only obeying orders and using traditional methods. I think those methods should give place to others which do not create hostility in the native mind and which in the end succeed in bringing about order and goodwill, and even-handed justice to white and black alike. I do not want to reflect upon the missionaries in what I have said. The missionary is doing good work, and the department can use him as its agent. But, generally speaking, this work is beyond the means and facilities of missionary endeavour, and is the Government ‘s job.

29. What I want to emphasise is that the voice of authority is the only voice which the natives will regard. These northern stations of ours have not got the institutional character of the southern settlements. The natives on the northern stations have an unrestricted life, and the stations are very popular with them. Whether the institutional element will have to come in at a later date I do not know.

[End of page 30]

I fancy it will, because we have the half-caste children brought in from other stations, and those children have to be cared for and educated. The life on those northern stations is the life which the natives themselves understand.

[End of page 31]

Dairy Creek Station. Relief to natives

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0029B
Title: Danee Creek. Relief to natives

Keywords: Dairy Creek Station, Edward Spry, Rose Fitzpatrick

[Letter]
Junction Police Station
To: Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
28th November 1908
Sir,
Enclosed I beg to hand you voucher for £10-2-6 signed by R E Lewer for your information and action. I beg to submit the following explanation.
The person named R E Lewer was formerly know as Miss R E Fitzpatrick of Dairy Creek Station during the month of November. Miss Fitzpatrick was married to a Mr C F Lewer of Carnarvon where now resides, before leaving Dairy Creek to be married she handed over to the care of her cousin Miss McCormick of Dairy Creek stores etc of flour, sugar and tea. Miss McCormick is to carry on the rationing of the natives.
I would like to know from you if I am in order certifying to [illegible] the above conditions and if not what steps to take in the matter.
The Police Station is situated some 55 miles from Dairy Creek and is visited when on our patrol of the district. Natives up there all appear to be satisfied and contented.
E J Spry Const

[Memo]
Mr Pechell
Transfer of rationing officer approved.
C F Gale
12.1.9

[Memo]
To P C Spry
Re letter 13/291 or 12.1.09 change of hands, relief to natives Dairy Creek approved. Mr Spry requested to certify to accounts as heretofore.
E D P
12.1.09

Katitjin Notes:

Spry, Edward James (1871-1944)
Edward Spry was a policeman in the Gascoyne Junction region from 1898 to 1910, and was made a Protector of Aborigines in 1906. He continued to work in the North-West at Port Hedland and Broome until 1924, when he transferred to Katanning as the Protector of Aborigines for that district. Spry was at Boulder Police Station from 1928-1933, when he transferred to Fremantle. When he retired in 1937, after 42 years of service, his career was eulogised in the Perth Mirror newspaper.

Junction Police Station. Relief to indigent natives

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0029A
Title: Junction Police Station. Relief to indigent natives

Keywords: Edward Spry, Junction Station, Charles Clark, Easton & Co

[Letter]
The Junction
To: Mr E J Spry, Officer in Charge, Junction Police Station
Dear Sir,
Having completely run out of flour and sugar, owing to non-arrival of supplies, I am compelled to request that you will kindly ration indigent natives with their usual allowance, they have been freely supplied up to night of 28th inst.
I am writing to my firm re position I am placed in and they will no doubt acquaint the Protector of Aborigines re my action, and the Protector no doubt will in turn advise you.
Yours faithfully
Charles Clark
For Easton & Co, Junction Branch

[Letter]
Junction Station
29th Nov 1908
To: The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
Sir,
Your telegram of 21st inst to hand and your instructions noted re indigent natives. I respectfully beg to attach a letter received by us dated 29th inst from Mr C Clark, Sub-Manager for Easton & Coy of the Junction re indigent natives handed over to them by me on the 1st September last. I took the natives over on the above date 29th inst and rationed the natives as previously done by me: 8 lbs flour, 1/2 lb sugar, 1/4 lb tea, two sticks tobacco & pipes & medicine when required (per week). For the past month I have supplied Easton & Coy in flour & sugar to ration the natives through them not supplying this branch with stores. As they have been trying to dispose of this business, they took over the natives.
While they were in my charge for eight years & since Easton & Coy took them over I have supplied dogs to catch kangaroos for them.
Yours respectfully,
E J Spry

Katitjin Notes:

Edward James Spry (1871-1944)
Edward Spry was a policeman in the Gascoyne Junction region from 1898 to 1910, and was made a Protector of Aborigines in 1906. He continued to work in the North-West at Port Hedland and Broome until 1924, when he transferred to Katanning as the Protector of Aborigines for that district. Spry was at Boulder Police Station from 1928-1933, when he transferred to Fremantle. When he retired in 1937, after 42 years of service, his career was eulogised in the Perth Mirror newspaper.

Claremont – tuberculosis

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0022
Title: Claremont – Native Affairs

Keywords: Wyndham, Claremont

[Memo]
From: Aborigines Dept
To: Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Perth
Jan 4th, 1909
The Police at Claremont report that a native living in the bush is in a very weak state, suffering from some lung trouble. he is receiving some attention but there is no doubt he could be sent to the hospital. In the event of our deciding on this step, in the morning could we obtain the use of your cart to bring the native in? The constable at Claremont states that he is too weak to come in by rail.
E W Pechell

[Memo appended to the above]
The cart would be available if requested by tomorrow morning.
Kelly

[Memo]
From: Aborigines Dept
To: Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Perth
Jan 6th, 1909
Many thanks – Please start off cart at 9am tomorrow. I have made arrangements with the Police at Claremont
E W Pechell
RMO [Resident Medical Officer] at Perth Hospital informed to expect native
Native’s name is Wyndham – supplied with a blanket & a little lunch pack

[Memo]
Aborigines Dept
The native Wyndham arrived at hospital early afternoon of 9th in a very weak state. I visited him then – the man seems to be in the late stage of consumption.
EWP
9.1.09

[Memo]
Aborigines Dept
The native Wyndham died during the night of 10th inst in hospital. Relatives and friends at Claremont informed.
EWP
11.109

Wiluna – Lake Nabberu camp

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0020
Title: Wiluna – Native Affairs

Keywords: Birriliburu, William Walter, Nabberu, Wiluna, Wandaroo, Banyie, Yarran, Agot, Willie, Lena

[Report]
Police Dept
Murchison District
Wiluna Station
23rd Dec 1908
Report of Wm Walker PC
Relative to Aged & Indigent Natives
Sub-Insp Mitchell, Cue
I respectfully report for the information of the Chief Protector of Aborigines, re above, as follows:-
Owing to there being a general assembly of the various parts of the big NABBEROO Tribe of Aborigines, otherwise known as the LAKE WAY tribe, at Wiluna recently (some 300 strong), I have received a large number of complaints from various settlers out at the Gwalia Consolidated Mine, 3 miles from Wiluna.
The Natives of this tribe have been swarming about the Mines and outside Camps begging food and in many instances stealing it from unprotected camps.
On Sunday morning last the 20th inst, accompanied by a party of civilians, I raided the big encampment of these natives on the south side of Lake Violet, with the object of endeavouring to find and secure a number of guns and rifles, said to be in the possession of these natives, but on searching the Camp thoroughly no sign of any firearms or ammunition could be found.
Whilst searching the Camp which covered fully a mile of country, Mr Tweedie (one of the party) drew my attention to 5 natives whom he considered should receive attention and food.
These natives were sitting at an isolated fire and presented a most wretched and awful spectacle. Their names are as follows:- Wandaroo, male, aged about 55 years, totally blind and in very emaciated condition; Banyie, female, about 55 years, blind, and ditto; Yarran, male, aged about 60, is very infirm looking; Agot, also called Willie, aged about 16, is in advanced consumption; Lena, aged about 5 years, is a female half-caste child who looks very miserable and half-starved. I have placed these natives on the relief list, as from the 23rd inst, see account herewith.
Wm Walker
Constable 197
Protector of Aborigines
Wiluna District

[Memo]
Mr Pechell
Acknowledge and approve of action taken
C F G
11.1.09

Katitjin Notes:

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]

Jacky Wyndham returning to his native country Turkey Creek

State Records Archive
Consignment: 652
Item: 1909/0004
Title: Aboriginal Native Jacky Wyndham returning to his native country Turkey Creek

Bringing prisoners to Wyndham for spearing cattle, 1930. (State Library of WA)

Prisoners being taken to Wyndham for spearing cattle, 1930. (State Library of WA)

[Letter]
29.12.08
From Police Station, Narrogin
To Chief Protector of Aborigines
Sir,
I have to report for your information that there is at Narrogin an Abr Native named Jacky Wyndham. This native wishes to return to his country, Turkey Creek near Wyndham. He came down here three years ago with a man named Kelly. He left Kelly two years ago and at present is living with Mr Brown Narrogin. Brown states the native is only stopping with him until the Police send back to Wyndham. Will you kindly make the necessary arrangements to have the native sent back to his country as he has no money.
F B Cunningham
Constable

[Letter]
Jan 13th 1909
From the Chief Protector of Aborigines
To Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Wyndham
I would feel obliged by your ascertaining from you Officer at Turkey Creek, who was responsible for allowing the Ab Nat Jacky Wyndham about 3 years ago to leave without proper recognisance being entered into, with a man named “Kelly” for his safe return to his own country. This native is now adrift at Narrogin, and has to be returned at the expense of the Government. He will probably leave Fremantle by a steamer on the 9th of February for Wyndham. When he arrives please arrange for his return to Turkey Creek.
C F Gale

[Letter]
From the Chief Protector of Aborigines
To Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Wyndham
04.02.09
An Ab. Nat. named “Jack Wyndham” is leaving for his own country Turkey Creek, on the 9th instant, by the steamer to Wyndham. On his arrival please look after him, and do what is necessary to get him to his home.
Chief Protector of Aborigines
[Note at the base of letter]
The Chief Protector of Abos [sic]
This native was sent up to his country on 3rd March 09
? Auckland
17/4/09

[Letter]
13th January 1909
From Chief Protector of Aborigines
To Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Narrogin
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 27th ulto, and to request that you will ask Mr Brown to allow the Ab Nat Jacky Wyndham to remain with him for the present. A steamer I find is leaving for Wyndham on the 9th February. Arrangements can then be made to send the Native by her, and from there by land to Turkey Creek. I will inform you later when to send him to Fremantle.
C F Gale
[Note on bottom of letter]
Mr Gale
Mr Brown will allow Ab Nat Jacky Wyndham to remain with him until 9th February 1909
W S Crowe

[Telegram]
4th February 1909
To Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Narrogin
Steamer leaves for Wyndham day break ninth instant. Please send Jacky direct to Fremantle with a letter to P C Sweeny, who will look after until his departure.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
4/2/09
To Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Fremantle
Please present this letter to the agents of the steamer leaving for Wyndham on the 9th instant, as an authority to provide the Native “Jacky” with a dock passage to Wyndham and charge the Aborigines Department.
Chief Protector of Aborigines

[Letter]
5/2/09
Narrogin Police Station
To Const Sweeney
The bearer Ab Native Jacky is to be forwarded to Wyndham by steamer leaving Fremantle 9th inst. The Chief Protector of Aborigines telegraphed to me yesterday as follows:-
Steamer leaves for Wyndham day break ninth inst. Please send Jacky direct to Fremantle with a letter to P C Sweeney, who will look after him until his departure.
Jacky is a nor-west native and the Ab are returning him to his country.
W S Crowe
Const No 282

[Telegram]
6/2/09
Fremantle Police Stn
Sergt Smyth
The Ab Native Jacky is at present at the Lockup awaiting transit to Wyndham.
J Sweeney

[Telegram]
6/2/09
Sup Hopkins
Please arrange for this native to leave by ? on the 9th inst.
John McKenna
Inspector of Police

[Letter]
Wyndham
19th April 09
To The Chief Protector of Aborigines, Perth
In reply to your letter of 12th ? last re Abo native Jacky Wyndham being taken from Turkey Creek about 2 years ago. I have made enquiries and am informed that this native was taken from Wyndham not Turkey Creek.
Kelly was at one time warder at Wyndham Gaol and I am informed was in partnership with ? Scott in a farm at Narrogin. ? Scott was gaoler here at the time and at present is gaoler at Carnarvon.
He may be able to supply the information required.
? Auckland

Katitjin Notes

Interestingly, this appears to be a case whereby an Aboriginal person who was taken far away from his country – Warnum (Turkey Creek) to Narrogin – but was able to return, at his own request, and at the government’s reluctant expense. It might be that Jacky Wyndham was in the Wyndham gaol in 1906 and taken south, illegally, by the gaolers. Clearly, public servants such as the warders would have been well aware of the protocols and formalities involved in “removing” an Aboriginal person from their country; therefore, there seems to be some secrecy involved in using this person’s labour at their farm. It opens some questions regarding the illegal use of labour: Was this a widespread practice or just something confined to these two gaolers?

Charles Frederick Gale (1860-1928) was Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1907 to 1915. You can read his biography at ADB.

Joseph Herbert Kelly and George J Scott were gaol warders at Wyndham Gaol. They were partners in a farm, Bokerup, near Cranbrook, but Scott is not recorded as living there. Scott was gaoler at Carnarvon Gaol. Kelly remained on the Bokerup property for some years and is mentioned in various newspaper items between 1911 and 1915.

Media Response to the Roth Report II

The following newspaper articles are responses to the Roth Report, recorded in the Western Australian Goldfields’ newspaper, the Kalgoorlie Miner. The newspaper and date are followed by the headlines as written in the article and brief outline of what is contained in the article. Click on the date to go to a PDF version of that item.

Kalgoorlie Miner
30 Jan 1905
Treatment of Aborigines
Indenture System Condemned
Grave Abuses
This item does not refer to the main findings of abuse, neglect and corruption by Anglo-Australians recorded in the Report and focusses only the abuses of Aboriginal labour by Asians working in the pearling industry.
214 words

Kalgoorlie Miner
01 Feb 1905
Dr Roth’s Report on Aborigines
Statement by Commissioner of Police
Denial of Charges
The Commissioner of Police, Captain Frederick Hare, “strongly denies the statements in connection with the manner in which native prisoners are arrested.”
382 words

Governor Sir Gerard Smith

Governor Sir Gerard Smith

Kalgoorlie Miner
01 Feb 1905
In the Waste Places of WA
This editorial comments on the abuse of apprentices contained in the Report. It refers to a previous attempt to investigate the ill-treatment of apprentices in the Goldfields, during the time of Governor Sir Gerard Smith in the late 1890s; it is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek and amusing description of the pompousness of the British Raj:
“It will be remembered how some years ago rumours of the treatment of the aboriginal apprentices by some of their owners reached the old country and the Home Government deputed Governor Sir Gerard Smith to [investigate]. This he undertook personally and thoroughly. People on the borders of civilization bear vividly in mind how he and his retinue started out into the wilds with all pomp and circumstance of camels, cane lounges, umbrellas, cooking utensils, and what not – possibly a tennis set – and how small boys cheered and gave patronizing encouragement to the expedition into the great unknown. What the result of this well-equipped inquiry was is not generally known. The leader certainly returned safely or his disappearance would surely have been notified, but a great reticence was observed, and no noticeable change has since taken place. The rattling of the pots and pans on the camel’s back perhaps warned the men expected to be caught, and time was thus given them to wash and clothe the apprentices and bind up their wounds and pour in oil and wine. And there was leisure for the children to be taught hymns and catchisms and to learn how to say how happy they were.”
1,128 words