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“ The boat was already in the water, was hostile-and these considerations and every thing packed up, for the pur- not only deterred the intrepid and judi. pose of crossing the river, when Mr Finch cious leader from crossing the Karaula, approached the camp, and I hastened to but determined him to turn his atten. congratulate him on his opportune arrival. tion to the journey homewards. On But he told a dismal tale—two of his men the 7th of February they commenced being killed, and all the supplies, cattle,
their retreat. and equipment, fallen into the hands of the natives. This catastrophe occurred at “ Feb. 9.-I was awoke by the shouts the ponds of “Gorolei,' beyond Mount of a numerous tribe of natives, and on Frazer, which Mr Finch had reached, after going out of my tent I found that they having been distressed, even more than covered the opposite bank to the water's our party had been in the same place, for edge. They stood in scores on our empty want of water. This privation had occa- carts like so many sparrows, and on every sioned the loss of his horse and several old tree or stump likely to afford them a other animals, so that his party had only better view of my camp. But I overlookbeen able to convey the supplies to these ed them completely, and as they became ponds, by carrying forward a portion at a more and more vehement in their lantime, with two bullocks only, from the dry guage and gestures, the greater was our camp. Mr Finch at length succeeded in satisfaction in being on the right side of lodging all these stores at the ponds, but the river. What they did say, we could not being unable to move them further with guess ; but, from their loud clamour and out the rest of the cattle, he left them gestures, all the leading men seemed to be there, and proceeded forward on foot in a most violent passion. One word only along our track with one man, in expec- they knew of the language spoken by our tation of falling in with my party at no stockmen, and that was budgery,' or great distance in advance. After ascer good; and this, I concluded, they had taining that our party was not so near as learned at some interview with Dawkins, he hoped it was, and having reached the who used it ever and anon, in addressing Gwydir, and traced our route along its them. They were handling every thing banks, until he again recognised Mount attached to our empty carts, which still Frazer,-he returned at the end of the remained on that side, and some of our second day, when he found neither his men went over to prevent any serious in. tents nor his men to receive him, but a jury to them. All the clamour seemed heap of various articles, such as bags, directed at me, apparently inviting me by trunks, harness, tea and sugar canisters, signs to cross to them, and I therefore &c., piled over the dead bodies of his men, went to the water's edge, curious to know whose legs he, at length, perceived pro- their meaning. They there assumed the jecting. The tents had been cut in pieces; attitudes of the corrobory dance, and tobacco and other articles lay about; and pointed to the woods behind them. These most of the flour had been carried off, al- were the finest looking men of their race though some bags still remained on the that I had seen. The peculiar colour of cart. The two remaining bullocks con- their bodies, covered with pipe-clay, gave tinued feeding near. This spectacle must them an appearance of being dressed. have appeared most appalling to Mr Finch, They were in number about 100, all men uncertain, as he must have been, whether or boys, the strongest carrying spears. the eyes of the natives were not then upon None of the words of Barber seemed at him, while neither he nor his man pos. all intelligible to them, but on mentioning sessed any means of defence! Taking a the Nammoy, they pointed to the southpiece of pork and some four in a havre- west, which I knew was the direction sack, he hastened from the dismal scene, where that river was nearest to the camp. and by travelling all day, and passing the I recognised the gigantic pipe-clayed man, nights without fire, he had most provi- who had presented his spear at me, when dentially escaped the natives, and, at we first reached the Gwydir so much higher length, reached our camp.”
up. This he clearly explained to me hy ges
tures. A good deal of laughter (partly Instead of a supply of stores, an
res, an feigned, I believe, on both sides) seemed to additional demand was now about to soften the violence of their speech and acbe inade on the much-exhausted stock tion, but when I brought down a tomahawk, of provisions—the rainy season was and was about to present it to the man approaching they had behind them whom I had formerly met, and who had two hundred miles of country subject first ventured across, their voices arose to inundation, without a bill to which with tenfold fury. All directed my attenin that case they could repair--the tion to a dirty-looking old man, who disposition of the natives on their rear accordingly waded through the water to me, and received my present. Several still more, I directed the Doctor to pace other stout fellows soon surrounded us, backward and forward on the bank before and with the most overbearing kind of our tents, with a firelock on his shoulder, noise, began to make free with my person with the calm air of a sentinel, and withand pockets. I was about to draw a pistol out noticing the natives opposite. They, and fire it in the air, when White, mis. accordingly, also kept back, although one taking my intention, observed that their of them crossed to the bullock-driver, who vehemence probably arose from their im was alone, watching the cattle on our left, patience at our not understanding them, and endeavoured to persuade him to go which I thought very likely. They re- over the river with him. The whole at peated so incessantly the words, 'Einer,' length disappeared without further parley, . Einer,' that I ran up the bank for my Under any other circumstances I should book, remeinbering to have seen the word, certainly have been willing to have met and found that • Einèr' meant a gin, or their civilities at least half-way, but re. female, as will appear on referring to the cent events had weakened our confidence vocabulary I obtained at Wallamoul. The in the natives. When night came on we translation of this produced a hearty laugh saw their fires behind the trees, at a little among our men, and Finch dryly observe distance back from the river, and we also ed, that some would then be very service heard their voices; but to complete the able. I was in doubt whether they meant effect of our coolness in the evening, which to enquire, on pointing to our tents, whe. certainly must have puzzled them, consither we had any, or whether they wished dering our kindness in the morning, I sent to accommodate us with wives. At up a rocket, after which their very fires length they rather suddenly drew together disappeared, and we heard their voices on the bank, again making signs of dancing no more.” the corrobory dance, beckoning to some By and by they recognised the of the men to go with them, and express
park-like scenery which they had foring their intention to depart and return
merly crossed on their advance, at a again to sleep there, by saying “Nàngary,'
distance of about three miles from and pointing to the ground. This I understood clearly, and very soon they
the old camp at Rodrigo Ponds.
“ While I stood near this spot, attendall disappeared. Fortunately, pone ascended the bank to our tents, as it was
' ing the arrival of the party, which was not desirable they should know our num.
still at some distance, I overheard a female bers exactly. It did not appear that they
voice singing. The notes were pleasing, understood the nature and effect of fire
and very different from the monotonarms. Mean-while our wheels had been
ous strains of the natives in general. Just found so frail, that we must have halted
then I had been admiring the calm repose here under any circumstances, in order to
of the surrounding landscape, gilded by strengthen them for the tough work they
the beams of a splendid setting sun, and were to encounter. The carpenters, there
anticipating a quiet night for the party. fore, worked hard at them this forenoon.
The soft sounds, so expressive of tranquilIn thus returning, I gathered for my kind
lity and peace, were in perfect unison with friend Mr Brown a hortus siccus, of such
the scene around. Nothing could have plants as appeared new to me; the field
been more romantic, nevertheless I could of research being obviously at this time
most willingly have dispensed with the acconfined to our line of route. As soon as
companiment at that time, so associated the natives were gone, I set all hands, ex
were all our ideas of the natives then with cept the carpenters, to the cart, still in the
murder and pillage. When my men came bed of the river, and it was thus at length
up, I directed them to give a hurrah,' in brought up the bank. We next yoked the
hopes that it would put the party, whoever bullocks to the empty drays and cart on
they might be, to flight. Yet, after a cheer the opposite side, and all were soon
about as rough as English throats could brought safely through the river to our
well utter, the sweet strain, to my surprise, own side. I preferred doing this work
continued, when the natives were absent, because I •And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.' did not wish them to see what difficulties But this was not the song of 'hope,' the passage of a river occasioned to us. but of despair, at least so it sounded to
“ When the sun was near setting, the me under the circumstances, and so it voices of our unwelcome visitors were really proved to be, as I afterwards asceragain beard, and they soon appeared, gaily tained. painted white for the corrobory; but this “Men's voices were also heard, as we return I had foreseen, and had forbidden proceeded quietly to our old ground, and the men from looking towards them; and, I could not help regretting that, after hav. in order to discourage their approaches ing given those natives on the Gwydir the slip, and seen no other the whole day, we “A lonely cart, and two dead bodies should again find the identical spot, where covered by the remains of Mr Finch's we were to pass the night, pre-occupied equipment, now marked the spot where by natives. The party set up their tents, we had formerly encamped. The two bul. and the song ceased, but I proceeded with locks were no longer to be seen. The Mr White towards the place whence the natives had revisited the spot, since Mr sounds came, and from which smoke arose. Finch last quitted it, and had carried off We there saw several persons amid smoke, the remainder of the flour, and great part and apparently regardless of our presence; of the canvass of the tent. The bodies indeed, their apathy, as compared with were covered by a pile of various articles, natives in general, was surprising. A such as saddles, bows and yokes, harness, young man continued to beat out a skin packsaddles, trunks, and cannisters, &c. against a tree withoạt caring to look at us, The savages appeared to have been ignorand as they made no advance to us, we ant of the use of sugar, tea, and tobacco, did not go up to them. Mr White, on articles which those aborigines nearer to visiting their fires, however, at 10 P.M. our colony prefer to all other things. A found that they had decamped.
large cannister of tea had been emptied “ All this seemed rather mysterious, un on the ground, a similar cannister, more til the nature of the song I had heard was than half full of sugar, lay on its side, so explained to me afterwards at Sydney by that its contents were still good, the lids the bush-ranger, whom I visited in the hulk of both cannisters having been carried off. on my return. He then imitated the notes, The whole stock of tobacco lay scattered and informed me that they were sung by about the ground, destroyed by the late females when mourning for the dead; rains. A spade, a steel-yard, and a hamadding, that on such occasions it was usual mer were left ; although iron had been so for the relatives of the deceased to seem desirable that one of the iron pins of the inattentive or insensible to whatever peo. cart was carried away. The two hair ple might be doing around them.
trunks belonging to Mr Finch, and which " At the time, however, this behaviour contained his clothes, papers, &c. remain. of the natives only made us more on our ed on the heap, uninjured and unopened, guard, and impressed the men with a sense while the truly savage plunderers had carof the necessity for vigilance, especially ried off, apparently as stuff for clothing, during the night, when a watch was set the canvass of the tent. From these cir.. on the cattle, and two men guarded the cumstances it was obvious that the murcamp, while all the rest slept with their derers were quite unacquainted with the arms at hand.”
colonists or their habits.
“ The bodies were now in the most ofSuch precautions were necessary,
fensive state of putrefaction, and already for they were followed on their route
so much decayed that we could not even by a numerous tribe of natives. The
distinguish the persons, except by the main body, upwards of a hundred
smaller frame of Bombelli. The body of strong, continued to move parallel to the bullock-driver lay under the cart. it, and were eyed sternly by the party where he had been accustomed to sleep ; advancing towards the spot where that of Bombelli about four feet from it. were lying their wounded friends. As No dress appeared to have been on either, they approached the plains, they saw besides the shirts, and one side of each before them the signal-fires and smokes skull was so shattered, that fragments lay of other savages, who were, however, about on removing these remains into a themselves hidden in the bush. The grave. It seemed most probable that the bold outline of the Nandawar range natives had stolen upon them when asleep. was a comfortable prospect, although
“I ought to state here, that Mr Finch, they were still to investigate the par.
on first leaving the settled districts, had ticulars of the tragedy which had been
five men, two of whom having behaved ill, acted at this time. It was not till the
he had been obliged to send back to the
colony. 18th of February that they once more
“Having interred the bodies, we loadtraced the line of the water-course
ed the cart with such serviceable articles which had saved their lives, when they
as still remained, and yoking it to three of first providentially fell in with it just
the horses which the men had brought, we as the men were beginning to sink,
returned towards the camp. By the smoke overcome by extreme and long-conti.
which arose from various parts we pernued thirst. To them it had then
ceived that the aborigines were watching been the happiest of camps, after such our proceedings, and I considered it dea deliverance, and now they were to sirable, under all circumstances, that we witness in the same spot a scene of should return to the camp that night, al. death.
though the distance was seventeen miles.
“On approaching these remains of Mr arrived safe, bringing up the old horse, Finch's party in the morning, I had pro- which after resting a while, and drinking ceeded under cover of the scrubs, that the at the water (found by Whiting as well as natives might be as little as possible aware by us), had come on tolerably well.” of our movement or intentions. We now It was well that the party had been returned towards our camp along the ori. able to get on as they did -fairly out ginal track as being a direction not only of those low levels and dense scrubs, the most favourable for the cart, but more
where the natives had begun to hang expeditious; for, as the route was already
about them like hungry wolves; and marked, no further care was necessary as
the Major says he could not reflect to the line, and I could thus devote my
on what might have been the consewhole attention to the natives who were about. When we reached the head of the
quence, had they been delayed only highest slope, near the place whence I first
one weck longer there, without feeling saw these ponds, a dense column of smoke
grateful for their providential escape. ascended from Mount Frazer, and, subse. It was obvious that had they got fast quently, other smokes arose, extending in in the mud, or hemmed in by inundatelegraphic line far to the south, along the tions, they might have been harassed base of the mountains, and thus communis on one side by the natives of the Gwycating to the natives who might be upon dir, and on the other by the plunderers our route homewards, the tidings of our of Mr Finch's party, until they shared return. These signals were distinctly seen a similar fate. The rain had continued, by Mr White at the camp, as well as by for some days, to pour from a “sky us.
that might have alarmed Noah," and “ The sun set soon after we passed the ground had become a sea of mud. Mount Frazer, but, fortunately, not until To a hill in the neighbourhood he woods no longer intervened between us gave the name of « Mount Mud." and the camp. On that naked horizon we On the 22d February occurred the might hope at length to see our fires, following unintelligible scene at the and we plainly understood the invitation now understood their meaning. They had of the men to visit these females. But pointed forward along the way we were the party was much more disposed to fight pursuing, holding the hands as high as the than to make love just then, and I have breast, as if to show how deep; and then little doubt but that by throwing a single to the eastward, as if to say that direcspear the natives would have pleased them tion would be better. We were now more than by all the civility they were forced to retrace our steps, and in followevidently anxious to show us ; so ready ing the direction indicated by the natives, were they at that time to avenge the late we made a slight detour, thus avoiding murders — when even the odour of corrup- the difficulty, and travelled over hard tion still hung like a pestilence about the ground into our old track again. This articles recovered from the plundered useful information, given so kindly by these camp. The natives, however, perhaps out natives, convinced me that no treachery of pure cordiality, in return for our former was intended ; although among the men disinterested kindness, persisted in their who had so recently buried their comrades, endeavours to introduce us very particu. I believe a different opinion prevailed.” larly to their women. They ordered them to come up to the party, divested of their
y were then nine miles distant; time unintelligible : and I knew the bearing sufficiently well to be able to travel by compass nearly in their “ We had not advanced far beyond the direction. A few bushes on the dark out. scene of that interview, when I perceived line of the horizon were long useful, as a number of natives running before me precluding the necessity for repeated le. along our line of route. I hastened after ference to the compass in the dark; but a them, when I perceived several men ad. dark cloud arose beyond and obscured the vancing to meet me. They halted in a western horizon. Just then a good old rather formal manner at some distance, and pack-horse, named Rattler, knocked up, I next came upon their spears, which, with and I reluctantly gave orders to leave him a stone hatchet, had been laid across our behind, when Whiting, the old guardsman, track. There I alighted from my horse, volunteered to remain with him, and bring and proceeded slowly towards them on him on after he had rested: this, in the foot, inviting them, as well as I could, to face of both hunger and danger, I duly come forward, and which they accordingly appreciated, and remembered long after, did. Three men met me at balf-way. to his advantage. We soon after came One of these seemed rather old, another upon some surface water, and refreshed was very stout and fat, and the third had the tired animals. Precisely at eight an intelligent countenance and thin person, o'clock, as I had arranged with Mr White, being thickly covered with the most raised a rocket ascended from the camp, and to sort of scarifications, so much so indeed, us was just perceptible, like a needle in that I was half inclined to think that the the remote distance. That little column slightness of his frame might be partly of fire, however, was enough to assure the owing to the lacerations which covered it. fatigued men, and enable me to mark two other members of the tribe soon came up, stars in the same direction, which guided and as the carts by this time had arrived me on towards the camp. At length we at the spears on the ground, I took one could distinguish the large fires made there up, and explained to the natives that the for the same purpose, and by ten o'clock wheels passing over would break them; we terminated the arduous labours of the still these strange people would not re. day, and I had the satisfaction to find that move them, and I concluded that this the party under Mr White had remained prostration of their weapons was intended undisturbed. Two more rockets were af- to make us acquainted with their friendly terwards sent up for the guidance of disposition towards us. They began to Whiting, and a huge fire was also kept call loudly to their gins, who stood assem. burning, until, at 3 A.M., the old soldier bled under a large tree at some distance,
On the 26th, the party passed the cloaks and bags, and placed them naked old encampment beside “ the Barbefore us. Most of the men appeared to ber's” stockyard near Tangulda, and, possess two, the pair in general consisting soon afterwards, met Mr Brown of of a fat plump gin and one much younger.
Wallamoul and his stockman, on Each man placed himself before his ging, horsebaek, who had followed their and bowing forward with a shrug, the track thus far, on the information of hands and arms being thrown back point- “ Mr Brown," the native, and were ing to each gin, as if to say—Take which proceeding to examine the “ Barber's" you please. The females, on their part, stockyard. They informed them that evinced no apprehensions, but seemed to the native guide had confessed to them regard us beings of a race so different, that his dread of the savage natives without the slightest indication of either had induced him to return. Mr Brown fear, aversion, or surprise. Their looks overtook them again next day, and were rather expressive of a ready acqui- informed them that he had found va. escence in the proffered kindness of the rious brands of his cattle on portions men; and when at length they brought of hide at the stockyard of that cele. a sable nymph vis-a-vis to Mr White, I brated bus
te, brated bushranger. On the morrow, could preserve my gravity no longer,
longer, the ford of Wallanburra was the only and throwing the spears aside, I ordered the bullock-drivers to proceed. I
stream that separated them from the endeavoured to explain by gestures that
Christian world. That once passed, two of our party had been killed by their wey mig
ir they might joyfully bid adieu to pes.
! countrymen, and pointed to the place, so tilence and famine, the lurking savage. that, as Mr White thought, they under
and every fiend of flood and field. stood me. On seeing the party again in
the party again in Under the sense of perfect security motion, most of the natives disappeared, once more, and relieved from the one or two only lingered behind trees, and anxiety inseparable from such a it then occurred to me to offer them a charge, every object within the counsmall iron tomahawk in exchange for that try of civilized man appeared, to the of stone which lay beside the spears. 1 eyes of the Major, couleur de rose. therefore sent Dawkins to them, to make After crossing the Peel, he left the a bargain if he could, but on going back party in charge of Mr White, and, athe saw most of the natives running off with tended only by his man Brown, comspears in their hands, and could not make menced his ride homewards through his object understood by those who re- the woods, forwarding from Segenhoe mained. The earth in this part of our old to Government his official despatch, track had become very soft, and although announcing the return of the party and the surface was undulating, it possessed a
the result of the expedition. peculiar rottenness, so that where the
On his arrival at Sydney, the Major upper crust bore me on horseback, the
found that his report of the course of carts would suddenly sink to the axle. The horses at length began also to sink
the Peel and Nammoy coinciding, as through the surface crust, and we were notified in his first despatch, with the approaching a hollow which appeared like- Barber's description of these rivers, ly to be still worse; and when our wheel- had encouraged the Government to carriages at length got quite fast, I recol- placa considerable confidence in that lected some gestures of the natives, and
story. It was now obvious,