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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 1

Original Document 1

Extracts from Orderly Books 11th Sept 1795 to 31st December 1797 : 22 February 1797


The frequent attacks and depredations to which the settlers situated on the Banks of the Hawkesbury and other places are liable from the natives; render it indisposably necessary for the general security on the farmers and their families, as well as for the preservation of their crops, that they should upon all occasions of alarm mutually afford their assistance to each other, by assembling without a moment delay whenever any numerous body of Natives are known to be lurking about the Farms; - By such an active attention to their own safety that the visits of those people would be less frequent than of late they have been; and many lives would thereby be preserved.

It is therefore hereby   expected and ordered by the Governor that all the people residing in the different districts of the settlement, whether the alarm be on their [2] own Farms or any other persons as upon such occasions shew the most scrupulous attention to their direction, in order that those frequent murders and Robberies may be prevented.   If it shall hereafter be known that any settlers or other person do withdraw or keep back their assistance from those who may be threatened or in danger of being attacked, they will be proceeded against as persons disobeying the Rules and orders of the settlement, and the Settlers are hereby strictly enjoined to report all such persons as may offend herein.

It is proper here also to signify that it is His Excellencys positive injunction to the settlers and others who have firearms, that they do not wantonly fire at or take the lives of any of the Natives, as such an Act would be considered a deliberate Murder, and subject the offender to such punishment as (if proved) the law might direct to be implemented.

It has been intimated to the Governor that there have been frequently seen amongst the natives two white men [3] who it is known have absconded from their duty, and who it is believed direct and assist in those acts of hostility by which so many have suffered.   It is therefore recommended to all Persons in the settlement, who know and have heard of the white men abovementioned, and particularly to the Settlers who are so much annoyed by them, that they use every means in their power to secure them, that they may be so disposed of as to prevent their being hereafter troublesome or dangerous,

The Governor takes this opportunity of strictly forbidding the Settlers from giving any encouragement to the Natives to lurk about their farms there can be no doubt had they never met with the shelter which some have afforded them, they would not at this time have been so very troublesome and dangerous.

[4] Extract from the Orderly Books

22nd February 1797

depredations of the Blacks

Published by the Centre for Comparative Law History and Governance of Macquarie University, and State Records NSW