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3-077 (Raw)

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author,male,Mollison, William Thomas,un addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Bride, 1898
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3-077-raw.txt — 6 KB

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Middle of 1836. - A. F. Mollison came to Port Philip in a vessel from Hobart Town, to view the land, having gone from Sydney to Hobart Town, as there were no vessels sailing from Sydney to Port Phillip at that time. (Major Mitchell had not returned from his journey through Australia Felix at this time.)
John Batman, McKillop, Fawkner, and others, had been settled at Port Phillip two or three months when A. F. Mollison arrived.
Sheep (breeding ewes) were being brought over from Van Diemen's Land for the first settlers - price 20s.
Having seen the country, he returned to Sydney, via Van Diemen's Land, and started (April 1837) from a station on the Murrumbidgee, which he had bought a year before, with 5,000 sheep (collected from various quarters, price 25s. to 31s. 6d.); 600 cattle; 20 horses. [257]
End of 1837. - After a long and harassing journey, wintering at Bontherambo by the way, he reached Coliban, and formed that station.
Ebden had reached Carlsruhe six weeks before with stock, and shortly afterwards Yaldwyn came down and took up (what is now W. H. F. Mitchell's) country.
I joined A. F. Mollison in 1838. We lived in reed mia-mias and tents comfortably enough for some time. The winters were much drier. The Coliban, now a formidable stream when flooded, was crossed on a plank during the first winters.
1838. - Pyalong was occupied as a cattle station. W. Hamilton, Mundy & Smythe and F. A. Powlett followed in this quarter.
1839-1840. - The head of the Loddon - present aboriginal station - was first occupied by A. F. Mollison. The country north of this river had been frequently explored before, but was called the "barren plains," and supposed to be without water. Look at them now.
1840. - Lyon Campbell followed, and then L. Mackinnon and others.
Early part of 1841. - Parker occupied our station on Loddon as a reserve for the aborigines, and, settling there, attempted to carry out the Exeter Hall views for their civilization, with but slight success, as was to be expected.
The aborigines in our neighbourhood (afterwards known as the "Jim Crow" tribe) were from the first peaceable. They were a small insignificant tribe, frequently spoiled and oppressed by the more numerous and warlike tribes from the Goulburn, Murray River, and westward, who used to carry off their women, &c.
There is a tradition of one, if not two, bloody encounters between parties of these last tribes and Hutton's men. Hutton was then the furthest out to the north-west, and it is pretty well known that several white men, getting lost in the bush, were cut off by the natives, as they were never heard of afterwards. [258] At any rate the shepherds felt, or pretended so much alarm, that, at the request of the settlers about and beyond Mount Alexander, a small party of the 28th Regiment was stationed on the Campaspe during 1838 and 1839, to protect both whites and blacks. The squatters, or rather their men, should be in fairness freed from the imputation cast upon them by the Protectors and Missionaries of corrupting the native women. From the first I know that the use of the women was offered by themselves and their husbands indifferently for a very trifling gratuity.
It was always believed that they were cannibals - that is, that now and then, under particular circumstances, they ate portions of the human body, rather as a rite, perhaps, than to make a meal.
There are traditions of portions of the body, usually hands or fingers, being observed in the lubras' bags, but of doubtful authenticity, I think.
Certainly, in conversation, they admitted the fact; but this does not prove it, because we know that they will at any time admit or say anything which they think will please their interlocutor - witness the bunyip and (Mr. Powlett's?) great serpent of the interior, both of which have been accurately described in fifty different shapes; also the volcanic eruptions of Jim Crow, &c., &o.; in short, if leading questions are put to them, as is usually done by enthusiastic inquirers, who are following up their own ideas, they (the natives) may, as I think, be made to say or to describe anything.
1839. - Sheep were in this and the following year taken hence to Adelaide - considerable numbers by sea. Price paid here in 1839 by McFarlane and others for the purpose of sending to Adelaide, 27s. 6d. for breeding ewes. Wheat sold at the Coliban at 20s. the bushel. [259]
January, 1840. - The first shipment of cattle hence to New Zealand by Welsh and others. Cows, £10; steers, £12.
1841. - The first mill for grinding corn by water-power was erected at the Coliban about this time.
1842. - Fat wethers this year from 8s. to 12s.
1842-45. - In these years there was a great depression of the pastoral and agricultural interests. Yet the colony continued to advance slowly in point of comfort and property, although there was but little money. Many squatters, who in their earlier operations had become indebted to the merchants, were obliged to surrender their stations, and were left penniless. The new men who bought at this time have become rich, escaping the privations and anxieties of the first pioneers, their predecessors. They have been floated on to wealth by the tide of general prosperity, but of the older settlers who held on, many pressed down by the unfavourable terms on which assistance was granted to them, have only recently, after a struggle of years, found themselves freed from their difficulties.
Now, in the pride of wealth consequent on the wonderful gold discoveries, the early squatters, their sufferings, and their services to the colony, are alike forgotten, and men seem to regard them, as the new heir regards the furniture and portraits of the distant relative to whom he has succeeded, as something to be at once quietly consigned to the lumber-room or the auction marts.
1845-53. - From this period there are printed records of the progress of the colony and its general statistics, which it will be at once more easy and more satisfactory to consult, than somewhat loose memoranda.