Yeeda Station

Report on employment of Aborigines

State Records Archive
Consignment: 129
Item: 1468/1884
Title: Sgt. Troy report on employment of aborigines by settlers – Derby.

Keywords: Yeeda Station, Lulingui Station, Liveringa Station, Kimberley Pastoral Company, Patrick Troy, Edward Lemon, John Pollard McLarty, William McLarty, Francis Gregory, Augustus Gregory, Robert Fairbairn, George Rose, Munbine, employment

To Sergt Troy
In the report sent in by PC Lemon of his trip up the Fitzroy, no mention is made of the natives employed by the whites. I should like to know how many natives (male and female) of the district are on each station and how they are employed and also whether he saw and conversed with any of the natives on the stations.
R Fairbairn, Govt Resident

To R Fairbairn Esq, Govt Resident
In reply to your memo re the employment of natives by settlers, I beg to state that owing to your not giving any special instructions, the police are not in a position at present to give all the information you required. I am supplying all I can, and what is wanting can be obtained the next time the police visit the Fitzroy.
I may state that hitherto the police have carefully observed how the natives were being treated by their employers, and when they saw anything that ought to be noticed have not failed (to my knowledge) to note and report it.
P Troy, Sergt

To P C Lemon
You will be good enough to supply as fully as possible the information required by the Govt Resident.
P Troy, Sergt

To Sergt Troy
In addition to my journal of this day I have to state that there are about 20 natives employed on the Yeeda River Station and about 10 at Lulingui. These natives are employed as shepherds and general servants. There are no women employed by the managers of either of these stations, but the shepherds have their women with them, and these assist their husbands in looking after the sheep.
I saw two natives on the branch of the Fitzroy who were signed to Mr W McLarty and I believe there are a great many more natives signed by Messrs J P and W McLarty who live entirely in the bush. I saw natives on the above-mentioned stations and conversed with them, they appeared to be well fed and perfectly contented and made no complaints against anyone whatever. Messrs Gregory Brothers employ no natives as yet. I did not visit Messrs Daly Brothers – they having shifted, I followed their track a few miles and as they were going in the direction of Yeeda Station, I summised they were going to that station to shear and dip and therefore I did not follow them any further. I found however on my arrival at the Yeeda that they had not arrived there but had come down within a few miles of it. They however employ one native who has two women.
Edward A Lemon P.C.

Kimberley District, Derby Station
I have to report the following journal for the information of the Superintendent of Police:-
July 9th, 1884
PCs Lemon, McAtter and native assistant Charlie left station at 8.30am for the purpose of visiting settlers on the Fitzroy River and of making enquiries into the alleged cattle-killing by natives near the Fitzroy River a few months ago. Police horses Sentinel, Senator, Soldier and Jarvis.
Arrived at Nobby’s Well at 1.30pm. Left Nobby’s Well at the Yeda River Station at 6pm. Distance 22 miles – no complaints of natives at this station. Mr G Rose, Manager.
July 10th
Left Yeeda River Station at 7.30am, camped on the Fitzroy River for dinner. Left Fitzroy at 2pm and arrived at the Kimberley Pastoral Company Station at 4.30pm. Distance 15 miles. No complaints of natives at this station. Mr J P McLarty, Manager.
July 11th
Left K P Company’s station at 7am – met a traveller – Mr J Gregory proceeding to Derby – camped at 11am. Left camp at 2pm and arrived at the station of Messrs Gregory Bros at 6.30pm. Distance 25 miles. No complaints of natives at this station. Messrs Gregory Bros, Managers
July 12th
Left camp at 7.30am. Arrived at an outstation of the Kimberley Pastoral Company at 11am – distance 12 miles. No complaints of natives. Messrs Logue and Lamb at this camp.
July 13th
Sunday – remained at camp
July 14th
Left camp at 7am for a branch of the Fitzroy River for the purpose of obtaining further particulars relative to the alleged killing of cattle by natives a few months ago. Crossed the Fitzroy at 8am and struck the branch about 9am – about 4 miles from its junction with the Fitzroy. Camped at 11am. Left camp at 2pm and followed river until 6pm and camped. Distance 25 miles. Can hear natives shouting on the other side of the river. Will visit them for tomorrow morning. This branch has been running for the last 8 miles.
July 15th
Left camp at 6am to visit native camp. Found a small party of natives. These natives state that they do not know of any cattle killed. A native named Munbine alias George says he has seen the cattle further on up the river very recently. Followed on the river with the native George. Struck old cattle tracks at 11am. Went on until 2pm – could not see any more natives or any indications of cattle having been killed. There are very recent tracks at this waterhole – probably not more than a week old. These cattle are, I believe, the ones that were supposed to be killed. As I have followed this river for about 40 miles and the tracks here being recent, I do not think it necessary to go on any further. Left camp at 4pm on return track. Camped at 6pm. Distance 22 miles.
July 16th
Left camp at 7am and camped at 11am for dinner. Left camp at 2pm and arrived at the Fitzroy at 5.30pm. Distance 25 miles
July 17th
Left camp at 7am for Liberinga [sic]. Arrived at Liberinga at 1pm. Found that Messrs Daly Bros had shifted. Distance 18 miles.
July 18th
Horses strayed a long way, causing a late start. Left camp at 9am – camped for dinner at 12 noon. Left camp at 2pm and arrived at Lulingui (K P Camp) at 5pm. Distance 15 miles.
July 19th
Left Lulingui at 7am and arrived at the Yeeda River Station at 1pm. Distance 15 miles. The country around this station is in flames, caused by natives.
July 20th
Left Yeeda River Station at 9.30am (horses having strayed as all feed is burnt). Arrived at 4.30pm. Distance 22 miles.
Backs of horses sound
Edward A Lemon PC

21.07. 1884
I also have to state that shearing is going on at the Yeeda River Station and the Kimberley Pastoral Company Station. The scab on both these stations are very bad. The sheep are dipped as they are shorn and removed to clean country. The sheep of Messrs Gregory Bros are clean as also are the sheep belonging to the Kimberley Pastoral Co in charge of Messrs Logue and Lamb. A great many scabby sheep have been lost by shepherds in the employ of Yeeda River Company and if their sheep should eventually find their way among clean sheep, they (clean sheep) would no doubt be again infected. The condition of the sheep that are clean is good. The scabby sheep are more or less in bad condition. The cattle and horses all appear in good condition. The branch of the Fitzroy River which I followed up was through principally pindan country. There was also open country slightly wooded. The pindan country appeared to be very good. The natives state that there are large plains about two days journey further on. About 30 miles up the river there is a deep permanent pool about 5 miles long, evidently supplied by springs as it causes the river to flow for a distance of 15 miles. Further up the river, I saw other pools, some fresh and some very brackish – but they were not permanent. There is a great deal of salt left on places where the water has dried up.
Mr McLarty of the Kimberley Pastoral Company Stn reports the following articles having been stolen from the home station during the latter part of last month. One fleam[??], one gold wedding ring and a portion of a silver watch chain – William Parker suspected. These article were extracted from a box, the property of Mr J P McLarty – Parker, who was cook at the station, left the district in Mary Smith on the 1st inst. Mr J P McLarty had missed the articles prior to this and suspected Parker; in fact, Mr McLarty was at Derby prior to and at the time the Mary Smith sailed and yet failed or neglected to give any information until after the man had left the district.
Edward A Lemon

Natives at Yeeda not in need of Govt relief

State Records Archive
Consignment: 255
Item: 1900/0006
Title: Yeeda Station – natives not in need of Govt relief

Keywords: Yeeda Station, Wallal Station, Arthur Clifton, rations

To Officer in Charge, Police Dept, Derby
The Manager of the Yeeda Station informs me that he has been feeding 10 or 12 decrepit old natives for some years past and asks whether he can get any compensation for doing so in future.
The opinion expressed in Parliament is that employers of natives should in all charity support the natives who have worked for them or their immediate relatives when they come destitute and past work and if I am to comply with requests like these from all the stations in each district, the vote allowed me will be expended before half the year is over. I should be much obliged if you would from time to time collect information for me from your officers instructing them to enquire into the condition of the natives at each station they may visit and whether the destitute ones have been former labourers thereon. This would assist me very much in deciding how much relief I can fairly allot. Please reply as soon as possible.
Henry Prinsep

Mr Prinsep,
For your information as game of all description is very plentiful on the Fitzroy, I think it would be an unwise precedent to give relief to any of the natives.
I also think that the stations who have had natives in their employ from their childhood should be made to provide for them in their old age.
M H Brophy
Sub Inspt Police

To Corpl Buckland
Please report for the information of Mr Prinsep if you are aware of any old or decrepit natives at the Yeeda Station who require relief.
M H Brophy
Sub Inspt Police

To Sub Inspr Brophy
For the information of Mr Prinsep I have to report that I do not know of any old or decrepit natives at the Yeeda Station. The Yeeda is a cattle station and they do not employ a great many natives, most of those employed are young boys without women.
About two years ago, the Yeeda employed a large number of natives as they had both sheep and cattle, but they have shifted all their sheep to Myroodah about 70 miles further up the Fitzroy and most of the natives are there. There are thousands of kangaroos and plenty of fish within 2 or 3 miles of the Yeeda, so I do not think that any natives who may be at the Yeeda should require any relief.
A M Buckland

See report from P C Buckland and remarks thereon by Inspr Brophy
Acknowledge and say I’m glad to hear that the aborigines there can get plenty of game and do not need government relief.

To Secretary, Aborigines Protection Board, Perth
I beg to remind you it is now three months since you promised to communicate further, with regard to decrepit natives I reported requiring assistance.
I must remind you, I have had no further reply. And would like to know why! At present there is an old native and his woman on the homestead I have been keeping in food and medicine for some weeks passed as the man cannot hunt for himself and it doesn’t seem fair that stations should be called on to provide for its aged natives when something like £10,000 a year is spent in providing for them in other places of the colony.
I believe the system has been abused in places and I think it likely to continue unless there is more strict supervision. It is not my intention to dictate to the Board what is right and what is wrong. But if one can believe all one hears that goes on at some of the distributing centres. There is room for improvement in places. I think perhaps a close inspection of matters at Wallal Statoin (below La Grange Bay) would reveal a state of things far from satisfactory. I would like it to be distinctly understood my opinions are entirely based upon hearsay from travellers. But as I am stationed on the Broome-[illegible] road junction, I see nearly all travellers and consequently have the statements of many on the matter. And if half of them are true things must be in a disgraceful state. I do not wish my name used as informant in this matter but felt it was my duty to repeat this.
Yours truly,
Arthur E Clifton
Yeeda Station

See letter from Mr A Clifton of Feb 19th 1900
Acknowledge and say that I am now in receipt of further information regarding the conditions of the natives on the Fitzroy River – their ability to get food which is abundant. In a country where there is as much game and as many able young men in the tribes to catch it and feed their old relatives, I do not think the time has arrived for the government to pamper them with too readily afforded relief, which in some other parts of the colony has been said to have pauperised them needlessly – I regret to have delayed so long in my further communication to him but other matters supervened and prevented the subject from coming up for which I must apologise – I take note of the reports which have come to him verbally from travellers and will keep an eye on the places mentioned – as to Wallal as strict measures as possible in such a distant spot are now being taken.

To Chief Protector Aborigines, Perth
Dear Sir,
I am in receipt of yours of 26th May and carefully note what you say re natives.
I extremely regret you find it unnecessary to grant relief to any of the Fitzroy natives.
It is neither my business nor intention to dictate to you what should be done.
Your source of information is if I mistake not, from one whose sympathies are not with the squatter and one who shares the opinion of a few others that the squatter should keep all the decrepit natives in the district, which is as unfair as I would be to expect a landlord to maintain all aged tenants on his holding.
There is a lot to be said on the matter which I do not care to enter into.
And I feel sure if you were to send a capable and impartial man through the district, you would gain much valuable information which you cannot get from either the Resident Magistrate or the Police for reason I will not explain.
I thoroughly agree with you that it does not do to afford relief too readily to the natives. It does an erroneous amount of harm. And I am afraid those who distribute rations at times abuse the privelege.
I can honestly assure you the cases I have brought under your notice are thoroughly deserving of relief. But I cannot in fairness to my employer continue rationing them.
Yours Faithfully,
Arthur E Clifton

Reply and say that if there are any really urgent cases of distress among the natives in the vicinity of Yeeda Station and on reference to the Govt Resident he approves of relief being given I will certainly confirm his approval and acknowledge the account for payment. These accounts should be sent in monthly on the form prescribed (3 copies enclosed) and duly certified by someone who knows of the service having been performed. A travelling inspector will before very long be visiting his district.

To Chief Protector Aborigines, Perth
Dear Sir,
Yours to hand re natives
As there appears to be an Inspector travelling though our district shortly I shall wait his arrival before doing anything concerning relief of natives. One of the old natives I spoke of requiring relief has since died.
Yours Truly,
Arthur E Clifton

Katitjin notes:

Clifton, Arthur Ernest (1873-1952)
The Clifton family were a prominent settler family in the Bunbury-Australind area. Their family homestead, Rosamel, in Australind, was a large dairy and sheep farm that remained in the family for subsequent generations. The Rosamel property was next door to Parkfield, the family farm of George Canler Rose, who, with other Rose family members, were also pastoralists in the Kimberleys. Furthermore, Arthur’s uncle was Archibald Gervase Clifton, who was the Resident Magistrate and Warden for the Kimberleys Goldfields District between 1892 and 1901, although his wife and four children remained living another family farm, Upton, which was adjacent to Rosamel. Arthur married in 1901 and returned to the family property in Australind.

Brophy, Michael (1858-1923)
Inspector Michael Brophy, born in New Zealand, started his police career in the Kimberley region as a trooper in 1891, before being promoted to Inspector at Kalgoorlie in 1902. He went on to Bunbury and then to Fremantle, before retiring in 1922. While in the Kimberley, Brophy led a punitive expedition which resulted in the shooting of 30 Aboriginal people. Brophy reports that, “‘In all my experience with natives I have never known them to make such plucky and determined fight as those blacks.”

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

Prinsep, Henry Charles (1844-1922)