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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 102a

Original Document 102a

[767] Memorandum for Mr Scott

In the year 1816 or 1817 the natives were troublesome nearly all over the distant parts of the County of Cumberland .   They committed several murders in the Cowpastures and Appin Districts at Richmond and Mulgoa and down the Hawkesbury River; at which time, the wife of Wm Lewis and his Govt. Servant was murdered at the Farm called 'Kearns Retreat' at the junction of the Nepean and Grose River, a Man or two of Mr Crawley's on the Nepean between Belmont and the Grose , and Joseph Obson or Hobson commonly calld[768] "Joe the Hatter" and a Man was killed by the natives while at work on his Farm near Belmont .   About the same time various murders and depredations was committed by the natives on the lower Hawkesbury River and its branches.   About this time Govr . Macquarie dispatched military parties to various parts of the Colony, some to the Cowpastures (now Camden) Appin , North Richmond, and down the Hawkesbury, and at the same time Proclaimed Martial Law against the Blacks throughout the whole of the colony, [1] [769] and offered a reward for the capture of several of the ringleaders whose names were known whether taken dead or alive.   Among the number named was two or three natives who had been bread up in European Families from their Infancy and became the most desperate Murderers.   In 1825 a party of natives from Richmond and another from the Hunter met at Putty on the old Hunter River Road and killed one man and left the other as they supposed dead but who was found by Mr G Bowman's overseer and men when driving his sheep to the [770]Hunter in a speechless state, his Head crawling with vermin in the wound received from the Blacks.

This murder was supposed and believed to be True , from Information recd from other natives, to have taken place through those two men, having been Instrumentle in having some of the natives apprehended in 1816 or 17 whom Govr Macquarie offered the reward for and outlawed by his Proclamation.    The natives were not allowed to carry any War like Instrument within a certain distance of any White Man's Dwelling on pain of being dealt with according to Martial Law.   The [771] Military did not attempt to take the Blacks and make Prisoners of them but shot all they fell in with and received Great Praise from the Government for so doing.

   All those occurrences can bed found mentioned more particularly in the Sydney Gazette of those dates.


[1] Deleted: At the same time

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