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3-081 (Original)

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In October 1844, I came up to the Murray to look for unoccupied country suitable for pastoral purposes, and went out exploring on the other side of the river, and saw much available country. [348] The lowest stations then were Messrs. Collyer's on this side, and Mr. Clark's on the other side of the river. Mr. E. B. Green had taken up a run below Mr. Clark's, which he had to vacate for about twelve months on account of the hostility of the blacks.
In February 1845, I brought my stock (sheep and cattle) up to the Murray, and stationed them temporarily on the Yalloak Creek, about thirteen miles below the Messrs. Collyer's home-station, and went out exploring on this side of the river, accompanied by Mr. McDougall (acting for Mr. J. C. Curlewis) and Jack, a native of Twofold Bay, and after being out fourteen days returned to my camp at the Yalloak Creek. Mr. McDougall and I proceeded to Melbourne to obtain depasturing licenses, and before my return poor Jack had been enticed away by other aborigines, who murdered him the day after. I was much surprised that he joined them, as I had frequently heard him express his belief that if they got an opportunity they would kill him, and that he put no faith in anything they might say to the contrary. I was much grieved at his loss, for he was a merry, agreeable fellow, a first-rate bullock-driver, and an expert horseman. He was about twenty years of age, and had lived seven years with the whites. I came here early in June. Mr. Curlewis had passed to Lake Bogs; Mr. James Cowper had located himself on the other side of the Loddon, with sheep, about eighteen miles from this; and Mr. James Rowan arrived at Gunbower Station shortly afterwards.
I cultivated a friendly feeling with the natives, and I found them inoffensive and obedient. Upon one occasion, however, seven strange blacks came to the hut; there was no one at home but myself, and after some conversation with them I went to the river for water. Previous to stooping down I happened to turn round, and saw one of the natives (Warrigal Jemmy, afterwards transported for life) following me a few yards behind, with my own axe uplifted and clasped in both hands. I fixed my eye upon his, walked deliberately up to him, and gently took hold of the axe, which he quietly relinquished. [349] I walked back to the hut conversing with him, as if he had done nothing to excite my suspicion, and I concealed the circumstance from my own men and the natives on the station for about two years. When I mentioned it to the natives of this place they said they had no doubt but that Warrigal Jemmy intended to kill me, but that he acted from impulse, and there was nothing premeditated. At another time, when near the Reedy Lake, about 30 natives, naked and armed with spears, surrounded me, and I was well pleased to recognise three of the blacks from my own station among them, whom I advised immediately to go home - which they did. The party, when I saw them, were going in the direction where, two days afterwards, about six miles distant, two of Mr. Cowper's shepherds were murdered by aborigines, who, about that time, showed much hostility towards Mr. Cowper, and shortly afterwards towards Mr. Curlews's. The latter sustained loss, from their attacks upon his cattle, of about £6,000. The cause was, I believe, the following. Some white men on one side of the Murrabit called out to some blacks on the other side to come to them; the latter inquired who they were, and were told that they were Mr. Curlewis's men, shooting ducks. The unsuspecting blacks were crossing in a canoe, when one or two of them were shot by the whites, who were Mr. Cowper's men.
In April 1846 I went about 140 miles down on this side of the Murray, accompanied by two whites and a Gunbower black-fellow. When about ten miles below the country since occupied by Mr. Beveridge, we saw a number of natives at a distance, who seemed very frightened of us. At length they approached nearer (carrying green boughs in their hands, which they kept waving towards us), and came to the opposite bank of a creek, when we carried on a conversation through my blackfellow, and two of them agreed to cross to us if we sent away our guns, which was done. We were short of provisions at the time, and they promised to meet us next day with fish. We then proceeded lower down the river, resolving to return next day. [350] After parting with the natives, my blackfellow informed me that when we went for the fish the natives would kill us; that they told him so, and asked him to join them. I doubted his statement. After consideration, and after questioning him closely at different times, I discovered that he was trying to deceive me, which he confessed, but said that we ought to shoot them after they brought us the fish. We met the two natives next day, according to appointment, who gave us the promised fish. One of these men afterwards assisted to murder Mr. Beveridge. Some months after I came up here, Mr. A. McCallum occupied Mount Hope and Tragowell, and Mr. Green re-occupied the stations on the opposite side of the Murray. The Gunbower blacks are 35 in number; the Mially Water blacks (or my blacks) are 32 in number, and are not decreasing.
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