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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 68a

Original Document 68a

Continuing memoranda - with one enclosure : Cowper's memo re aborigines in NSW. Parramatta and Blacktown - history of missionary activities. 11 June 1838 

[382] Attempts made to ameliorate the condition of the aborigines in New South Wales

1814 - 1823

VidGovtVGesOrdin 10 Decem /14

At Parramatta an establishment was commenced for the institution and maintenance of the aborignes' Children. This Institution succeeded as well as could be expected, & indeed beyond the anticipations of many several of the Boys and Girls made a fair progress in reading, writing, arithmetic and religious knowledge.   The Colonial Secretary, however, did not like the Institution, and he desired measures for its abolition. _ about 1822, I think, the Children were all removed from Parramatta to someplace near Prospect, called the " Black Town " _ this change was a precursor to the final and complete extinction [383] of the "Native Institution", in 1823, or 1824.   On 31 Janry 1815 an attempt was made to induce a number of the adult Blacks to locate and settle themselves at "Georges Head" there were Huts erected, and small patches of Garden Ground were prepared for them; and our Boat was given to them. A European man was appointed to assist the natives, but this plan was not attended with success.   But the European, feeling a little, if any, interest in the welfare of the natives, did not protect the property thus appropriated for them, and in a short period the Huts and Gardens, &c were destroyed, and the boat was lost, and this attempt failed.

About 1820, or 1821 another plan was [384] devised on the half of a different Tribe at Elizabeth Bay , Huts were erected, and some Ground was prepared for their cultivation.   But this place was too near to Sydney for while there was none to protect the property, there were many to destroy. _ in these attempts to settle and civilize the adult Natives there was no Missionary employed to instruct them, nor any person of rank, intelligence, or influence, or of integrity, to encourage them in their new condition, or to show them by his own example the advantages of Christianity. 

Williams Cowper

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