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Title: Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early QueenslandAuthor: Recorded by his daughter (Constance Campbell Petrie)* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *eBook No.: 2000451h.htmlLanguage: EnglishDate first posted: May 2020Most recent update: May 2020This eBook was produced by: Colin ChoatProject Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editionswhich are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright noticeis included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particularpaper edition.Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check thecopyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing thisfile.This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictionswhatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the termsof the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.

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Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland

(Dating from 1837)

Recorded by his daughter (Constance Campbell Petrie)

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (2)

Published 1904.
Brisbane:Watson Ferguson & Co.


Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (3)

Tom Petrie


The greater portion of the contents of this book first appearedin the Queenslander in the form of articles, and when thosereferring to the aborigines were published, Dr. Roth, author of"Ethnological Studies," etc., wrote the following letter to thatpaper:—

* * *

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences

(By C.C.P.)

To The Editor.

Sir,—It is with extreme interest that I have perused theremarkable series of articles appearing in the Queenslanderunder the above heading, and sincerely trust that they will besubsequently reprinted...The aborigines of Australia are fast dyingout, and with them one of the most interesting phases in thehistory and development of man. Articles such as these, referringto the old Brisbane blacks, of whom I believe but one old warriorstill remains, are well worth permanently recording in convenientbook form—they are, all of them, clear, straightforwardstatements of facts—many of which by analogy, and from earlyrecords, I have been able to confirm and verify—they show anintimate and profound knowledge of the aboriginals with whom theydeal, and if only to show with what diligence they have beenwritten, the native names are correctly, i.e., rationallyspelt. Indeed, I know of no other author whose writings on theautochthonous Brisbaneites can compare with those under theinitials of C.C.P. If these reminiscences are to be reprinted, Iwill be glad of your kindly bearing me in mind as a subscriber tothe volume.

I am. Sir, etc.,
COOKTOWN, 23rd August.


My father's name is so well known in Queensland that noexplanation of the title of this book is necessary. Its contentsare simply what they profess to be—"Tom Petrie'sReminiscences;" no history of Queensland being attempted, though asketch of life in the early convict days is included in its pages.My father's association with the Queensland aborigines from earlyboyhood, was so intimate, and extended over so many years, that hisexperience of their manners, their habits, their customs, theirtraditions, myths, and folklore, have an undoubted ethnologicalvalue. Realising this, I determined as far as lay in my power tosave from oblivion by presenting in book form, the vast body ofinformation garnered in the perishable storehouse of oneman's—my father's—memory.

To my friend. Dr. Roth, Chief Protector of Aboriginals,Queensland, I am indebted for the proper spelling of aboriginalwords, and I wish to thank him for all his kindly interest andhelp. The spelling thus referred to is that adopted by the RoyalGeographical Society of London, and followed in other continentalcountries. In this connection I may mention that the Brisbane orTurrbal tribe is identical with the Turrubul tribe of Rev. W.Ridley. It was my father who gave this gentleman the originalinformation concerning these particular blacks.

Scientific names of trees and plants have been obtained throughthe courtesy of Mr. F. M. Bailey, F.L.S., Government Botanist,Brisbane.

Constance Campbell Petrie.
"Murrumba," North Pine,
October, 1904.




Tom Petrie—Andrew Petrie—Moreton Bay in theThirties—Petrie's Bight—First Steamer in theRiver—"Tom's" Childhood—"Kabon-Tom"—Brisbane orTurrbal Tribe—North Pine Forty-five years ago—Alonewith the Blacks—Their Trustworthiness andConsideration—Arsenic in Flour—BlackPolice—Shooting the Blacks—Inhuman Cruelty—St.Helena Murder—Bribie Island Murder.


Bonyi Season on the Blackall Range—Gatherings likePicnics—Born Mimics—"Cry for the Dead"—Treatedlike a Prince—Caboolture (Kabul-tur)—Superstitions ofthe Blacks—Climbing the Bonyi—Gathering theNuts—Number at these Feasts—Their Food whilethere—Willingness to Share.


Sacrifice—Cannibalism—Small Number killed inFights—Corroborees—"Full Dress"—Women'sOrnaments—Painted Bodies—Burying the Nuts—Changeof Food—Teaching Corroborees—Making new ones—HowBrown's Creek got its Name—Kulkarawa—"Mi-naMee-na".


"Turrwan" or Great Man—"Kundri"—Spirit ofRainbow—A Turrwan's Great Power—Sickness andDeath—Burial Customs—Spirit of theDead—Murderer's Footprint—Bones ofDead—Discovering theMurderer—Revenge—Preparations for a CannibalFeast—Flesh Divided Out—A Sacred Tree—Presentedwith a Piece of Skin—Cripples and Deformed People.


How Names were given—"Kippa"-making—TwoCeremonies—Charcoal and Grease Rubbed on Body—Feathersand Paint—Exchanging News—Huts for theBoys—Instructions giventhem—"Bugaram"—"Wobbalkan"—Trial of theBoys—Red Noses—"Kippa's Dress."


Great Fight—Camping-ground—Yam-sticks—Boys'Weapons—Single-handed Fight—Great Gashes—CharcoalPowder for Healing—Same Treatment Kill a White man—NosePierced—BodyMarked—"Kippa-ring"—"Kakka"—NotchedStick—Images Along the Road-way.


"Fireworks Display"—Warning the Women—SecretCorroboree—"Look at this Wonder"—Destroying the"Kakka"—How Noses were Pierced—Site ofKippa-rings"—Raised Scars—Inter-tribal Exchange ofWeapons, etc.—Removing Left Little Finger—Fishing orCoast Women.


Mourning for the Dead—Red, White, and YellowColouring—No Marriage Ceremony—Strict MarriageLaws—Exchange of Brides—Mother-in-Law—Three orFour Wives—Blackfellows' Dogs—Bat Made the Men andNight-Hawk the Women—Thrush which Warned theBlacks—Dreams—Moon and Sun—Lightning—Curesfor Illness—Pock Marks—Dugong Oil.


Food—How It was Obtained—Catching and CookingDugong—An Incident at Amity Point—Porpoises NeverKilled; but Regarded as Friends—They Helped to CatchFish—Sea Mullet and Other Fish—FishingMethods—Eels—Crabs—Oysters andMussels—Cobra.


Grubs as Food—Dr. Leichhardt and Thomas Archer TastingThem—Ants-Native Bees—Seeking for Honey—Climbingwith a Vine—A Disgusting Practice—SweetConcoction—Catching and Eating Snakes—Iguanas andLizards—AnotherSuperstition—Hedgehogs—Tortoises—Turtles.


Kangaroos—How Caught and Eaten—Their Skins—TheAboriginal's Wonderful Tracking Powers—Wallaby, Kangaroo Rat,Paddymelon, and Bandicoot—'Possum—'PossumRugs—Native Bear—Squirrel—Hunting on BowenTerrace—Glass House Mountain—Native Cat andDog—Flying Fox.


Emus—Scrub Turkeys—Swans—Ducks—co*ckatoosand Parrots—Quail—Root and Other Plant Food—Howit was Prepared—Meals—Water—Fire—Howobtained—Signs and Signals.


Canoe-making—Rafts of Dead Sticks—How Huts wereMade—WeaponMaking—Boomerangs—Spears—Waddies—YamSticks—Shields—StoneImplements—Vessels—Dilly-Bags—String.


Games—"Murun Murun"—"Purru Purru"—"MurriMurri"—"Birbun Birbun"—Skipping—"Cat'sCradle"—"Marutchi"—Turtle Hunting as aGame—Swimming and Diving—Mimics—"TambilTambil."


AboriginalCharacteristics—Hearing—Smelling—Seeing—EatingPowers—Noisy Creatures—Cowards—Property—Sexand Clan "Totems"—"The Last of His Tribe."


Folk Lore—The co*ckatoo's Nest—A Strange Fish—ALove Story—The Old-woman Ghost—The Clever MotherSpider—A Brave Little Brother—The Snake'sJourney—The Marutchi and Bugawan—The Bittern's Idea ofa Joke—A Faithful Bride—The Dog and theKangaroo—The Cause of the Bar in South Passage.


Duramboi—His Return to Brisbane—Amusing theSquatters—His Subsequent Great Objection toInterviews—Mr. Oscar Friström's Painting—DuramboiMaking Money—Marks on His Body—Rev. W. Ridley—ATrip to Enoggera for Information—Explorer Leichhardt—AnIncident at York's Hollow—An Inquiry Held.


A Message to Wivenhoe Station after Mr. Uhr'sMurder—Another Message to Whiteside Station—Alone inthe Bush—A Coffin Ready Waiting—The Murder at WhitesideStation—Piloting "Diamonds" Through the Bush—A Reasonfor the Murder—An Adventure Down the Bay—No Water; andNothing to Eat but Oysters—A Drink out of an OldBoot—The Power of Tobacco—"A Mad Trip."


A Search for Gold—An Adventure with theBlacks—"Bumble Dick" and the Ducks—The Petrie'sGarden—Old Ned the Gardner—"Tom's" Attempt to ShootBirds—Aboriginal Fights in the Vicinity of Brisbane—TheWhite Boy a Witness—"Kippa" making at Samford—WomenFighting Over a Young Man—"It Takes a Lot to Kill aBlackfellow"—A Big Fight at York's Hollow—A BodyEaten.


Early Aboriginal Murderers—"Millbong Jemmy" and HisMisdeeds—Flogged by Gilegan the Flogger—DavidPetty—Jemmy's Capture and Death—"Dead Man'sPocket"—An Old Prisoner's Story—Found in a WretchedState—Weather-bound with the Murderers on BribieIsland—Their Explanation—"Dundalli" theMurderer—Hanged in the Present Queen Street—A HorribleSight—Dundalli's Brother's Death.


The Black Man's Deterioration—WorthyCharacters—"Dalaipi"—Recommending North Pine as a Placeto Settle—The Birth of "Murrumba"—A Portion ofWhiteside Station—Mrs. Griflfen—The First White Man'sHumpy at North Pine—Dalaipi's Good Qualities—A Chatwith Him—His Death—With Mr. Pettigrew in EarlyMaryboro'—A Very Old Land-mark at North Pine—Proof ofthe Durability of Blood-wood Timber—The Word "Humpybong."


A Trip in 1862 to Mooloolah and Maroochy—Tom Petrie theFirst White Man on Buderim Mountain—Also on Petrie'sCreek—A Specially Faithful Black—Tom Petrie and his"Big Arm"—Twenty-five Blacks Branded—King Sandy one ofthem—The Blacks Dislike to the Darkness—CrossingMaroochy Bar Under Difficulties—Wanangga "Willing" his SkinAway—Doomed—A Blackfellow's Grave Near "Murrumba."


"Puram," the Rain-maker—"Governor Banjo"—His GoodNature—A Ride for Gold with Banjo—Acting aMonkey—Dressed Up and Sent a Message—Banjo and theHose—"Missus Cranky"—Banjo's Family—His Kindnessto Them—An Escape from Poisoning—Banjo's BrassPlate.


Prince Alfred's Visit to Brisbane in 1868—A Novel Welcometo the Duke—A Black Regiment—The Man in PlainClothes—The Darkies' Fun and Enjoyment—Roads Tom Petriehas Marked—First Picnic Party to Humpybong—Chimneyround which a Premier Played—Value of Tom Petrie's "MarkedTree Lines"—First Reserve for Aborigines in Queensland(Bribie Island)—The Interest It Caused—FatherMcNab—Keen Sense of Humour—Abraham's Death atBribie—Piper, the Murderer—Death by Poison.



Death in 1872 of Mr. Andrew Petrie—A Sketch of His Lifetaken from the Brisbane Courier—Born in 1798—HisDuties in Brisbane—Sir Evan Mackenzie—Mr. DavidArcher—Colonel Barney—An Early Trip to Limestone(Ipswich)—Two Instances of Aborigines Recovering from GhastlyWounds.


"Tinker," the Black and White Poley Bullock—Inspecting theWomen's Quarters at Eagle Farm—A PicnicOccasion—Cutting in Hamilton Road, made originally by WomenConvicts—Dr. Simpson—His After-dinner Smoke—HisFormer Life—The "Lumber-yard"—The Prisoners'Meals—The Chain-gang—Logan's Reign—The"Crow-minders"—"Andy."


"Andy's" Cooking—Andrew Petrie's Walking Stick as aWarning—Tobacco-making on the Quiet—One Pipe Among aDozen—The Floggings—"Old Bumble"—Gilligan, theFlogger, Flogged Himself—His Revenge—"Bribie," theBasket-maker—Catching Fish in Creek Street—Old Barn thePrisoners Worked In—"Hand carts."


The Windmill (present Observatory)—OverdueVessel—Sugar or "Coal Tar"—On the Treadmill—ChainGang Working Out Their Punishment—Leg Irons PutOn—Watching the Performance—Prisoner's Peculiar Way ofWalking—"Peg-leg" Kelly—Fifteen or Sixteen Years forStealing Turnips—Life for Stealing a Sheep—Tom Petrie'sLessons—The Convict's "Feather Beds"—First Execution byHanging—Sowing Prepared Rice.


Mount Petrie—"Bushed"—The Black Tracker—Relicof the Early Days—Andrew Petrie's Tree—Early Opinion ofthe Timbers of Moreton Bay—An Excursion toMaroochy—First Specimens of Bunya Pine—First on BeerwahMountain—"Recollections of a Rambling Life"—Mr.Archer's Disappointment—Another Excursion—A Block ofBunya Timber—"Pinus Petriana"—Less Title toFame—Discoveries of Coal, etc.


Journal of an Expedition to the "Wide Bay River" in1842—Discovery of the Mary—Extract from Mr. AndrewPetrie's Diary—Encountering theAborigines—Bracefield—Same Appearance as the WildBlacks—Davis—"Never Forget His Appearance"—CouldNot Speak His "Mither's Tongue"—Blackfellow with aWatch—Mr. McKenzie's Murdered Shepherds—FrazerIsland—Mr. Russell Sea-sick.


The Alteration of Historical Names—Little Short ofCriminal—Wreck of the "Stirling Castle"—Band ofExplorers—Sir George Gipps—Trip Undertaken in a"Nondescript Boat"—Mr. Russell's Details of the Trip—ANovel Cure for Sunstroke—Gammon Island—Joliffe'sBeard.


The Early-time Squatters—Saved by the Natives fromDrowning—Mr. Henry Stuart Russell—"Tom" Punished forSmoking—"Ticket-of-Leave" Men—First Racecourse inBrisbane—Harkaway—Other Early Racecourses—Pranksthe Squatters Played—Destiny of South BrisbaneChanged—First Vessel Built in Moreton Bay—The Parson'sAttempt to Drive Bullocks—A Billy-goat Ringing a ChurchBell—The First Election—Changing Sign-boards—SirArthur Hodgson—Sir Joshua Peter Bell.


"Old co*cky"—His Little Ways—The Sydney Wentworths'"Sulphur Crest"—"Boat Ahoy!"—"co*cky" and theFerryman—"It's Devilish Cold"—"What the Devil are YouDoing There?"—Disturbing the Cat and Kittens—AlwaysSurprising People—Teetotaller for Ever—TheWasherwoman's Anger—Vented His Rage on Dr.Hobbs—Loosing His Feathers—Sacrilege toDoubt—"People Won't Believe That"—Governor Cairns.


Mr. Andrew Petrie's Loss of Sight—Walked His Room inAgony—Blind for Twenty-four Years—Overlooking theWorkmen—Never Could be Imposed Upon—His Wonderful Powerof Feeling—Walter Petrie's Early Death—Drowned in thePresent Creek Street—Only Twenty-two Years—Insight intothe Unseen—"You Will Find My Poor Boy Down There in theCreek"—A Very Peculiar Coincidence—Walter Petrie'sGreat Strength—First Brisbane Boat Races.


Great Changes in One Lifetime—How Shells and Coral WereObtained for Lime-making—King Island or"Winnam"—Lime-burning on Petrie's Bight—DivingWork—Harris's Wharf—A Trick to Obtain"Grog"—Reads Like Romance—Narrow Escape of a Diver.


Characters in the Way of "Old Hands"—Material for aCharles Dickens—"Cranky Tom"—"DeafMickey"—Knocked Silly in Logan's Time—"Wonder How LongI've Been Buried"—Scene in the Road Which is Now QueenStreet—A Peculiar Court Case—First BrisbaneCemetery.


List of Places, Names, Plants and Trees.






Perhaps no one now living knows more from personal experience ofthe ways and habits of the Queensland aborigines than does myfather—Tom Petrie. His experiences amongst thesefast-dying-out people are unique, and the reminiscences of hisearly life in this colony should be recorded; therefore I take upmy pen with the wish to do the little I can in that way. My fatherhas spent his life in Queensland, being but three months old whenleaving his native land. He was born at Edinburgh, and came outhere with his parents in the Stirling Castle in 1831. He isnow the only surviving son of the late Andrew Petrie, a civilengineer, who, as every one interested knows, had much to do withQueensland's young days.

The Petrie family landed first in New South Wales, but in 1837(about twelve years after foundation of Brisbane) came on toQueensland in the James Watt, "the first steamer which everentered what are now Queensland waters." The late John Petrie, theeldest son, was a boy at the time, and "Tom ", of course, but achild. Their father, the founder of the family, was attached to theRoyal Engineers in Sydney, and was chosen to fill the position ofsuperintendent or engineer of works in Brisbane. The Commandant inthe latter place had been driven to petition for the services of acompetent official, as there seemed no end to the blunders andmistakes always being made. The family came as far as Dunwich inthe James Watt, then finished the journey in the pilot boat,manned by convicts, and landed at the King's Jetty—thepresent Queen's Wharf—the only landing place thenexisting.

Although my father cannot look back to this day of arrival, heremembers Brisbane town as a city of about ten buildings. Roughlyspeaking it was like this: At the present Trouton's corner stood abuilding used as the first Post Office, and joined to it was thewatchhouse; then further down the prisoners' barracks extended fromabove Chapman's to the corner (Grimes & Petty). Where theTreasury stands stood the soldiers' barracks, and the Governmenthospitals and doctors' quarters took up the land the Supreme Courtnow occupies. The Commandant's house stood where the new LandsOffice is being built (his garden extending along the river bank),and not far away was the Chaplain's quarters. The CommissariatStores were afterwards called the Colonial Stores, and the block ofland from the Longreach Hotel to Gray's corner was occupied by the"lumber yard" (where the prisoners made their own clothes, etc.).The windmill was what is now the Observatory, and, lastly, a placeformerly used as a female factory was the building Mr. AndrewPetrie lived in for several months till his own house was built.The factory stood on the ground now occupied by the Post Office,and later on the Petrie' s house was built at the present corner ofWharf and Queen Streets, going towards the Bight (hence the namePetrie's Bight). Their garden stretched all along the river bankwhere Thomas Brown and Sons' warehouse now stands, being bounded atthe far end by the saltwater creek which ran up Creek Street.

Kangaroo Point, New Farm, South Brisbane, and a lot of NorthBrisbane were then under cultivation, but the rest was all bush,which at that time swarmed with aborigines. So thick was the bushround Petrie's Bight that one of the workmen (a prisoner), engagedin building the house there, was speared; he wasn't much hurt,however, and recovered.

While living at the Bight when a boy my father rememberswatching the first steamer which ever came up the river (theJames Watt stayed in the Bay). When she rounded KangarooPoint, with her paddles going, the blacks, who were collectedtogether watching, could not make it out, and took fright, runningas though for their lives. They were easily frightened in thosedays. Father remembers another occasion on which they wereterrified. His father one night got hold of a pumpkin, andhollowing it out, formed on one side a face, which he lit up byplacing a candle inside, the light shining through the openings ofthe eyes and mouth. This head he put on a pole, and then wrappinghimself in a sheet with the pole, he looked, to the frightenedblacks' imagination, for all the world like a ghost, and they couldhardly get away fast enough.

From early childhood "Tom" was often with the blacks, and sincethere was no school to go to, and hardly a white child to playwith, he naturally chummed in with all the little dark children,and learned their language, which to this day he can speakfluently. A pretty, soft-sounding language it is on his lips, butrather the opposite when spoken by later comers; indeed, I do notthink that any white man unaccustomed to it from childhood can eversuccessfully master the pronunciation.

"Tom," and his only sister, when children, used to hide outamong the bushes, in order to watch the blacks during a fight; andonce when the boy had been severely punished by his father forsmoking, he ran away from home, and after his people had lookedeverywhere, they found him at length in the blacks' camp out BowenHills way. There was one blackfellow at that time these childrenused to torment rather unmercifully: a very fierce old man, fearedeven by the blacks, who believed he could do anything he choose inthe way of causing death, etc. He was called "Mindi-Mindi" (or"Kabon-Tom" by the whites), was the head of a small fishing tribewho generally camped at the mouth of the South Pine river, and wasa great warrior. One day the children found him outside their home.They teased and called him names in his own tongue till the mangrew so fierce that he chased the youngsters right inside. The girlgot under a bed, and "Tom" up on a chair, where the blackfellowcaught him, and taking his head in his hands started to screw hisneck. One hand held the boy's chin and the other the top of hishead, and in a few minutes more his life would have ended, but thescreams brought the mother just in time. Father's neck was stifffor some time after this, and the children never tormented old"Kabon-Tom" again. They declared always that this man had aperfectly blue tongue, and the palms of his hands were quite white.It was said that he screwed his own little daughter's neck, andthought nothing of such things. However, he and "Tom" weregenerally friends, indeed this is about the only occasion on whichthe boy fell out with a blackfellow. "Kabon-Tom" must have beenabout ninety when he died, and was a very white-haired old man. Hewas found lying dead one day in the mud in the Brisbane river.

Later on in life, when my father employed the blacks, they werealways kind and considerate about him. They are naturally anaffectionate people, and he with his good and kindly disposition,and his fun—for the blacks do so enjoy a joke—was verypopular with them all. Nowadays it is seldom one sees anaboriginal, but some years ago, when they would come at times andcamp round about here (North Pine), it was amusing to see theexcitement when they found their old friend in the mood for a yarn.To watch their faces was as good as a play, and to hear Father talkwith them!—it seemed all such nonsense, and many a time hassome one looking on been convulsed with laughter. A good-naturedpeople they surely are, for amusem*nt at their expense does notcall forth resentment; rather would they join in the laugh.

Queensland is a large country, and the tribes in the Northdiffer in their languages, habits, and beliefs from the blacksabout Brisbane. Father was very familiar with the Brisbane tribe(Turrbal), and several other tribes all belonging to SouthernQueensland who had different languages, but the same habits, etc.The Turrbal language was spoken as far inland as Gold Creek orMoggill, as far north as North Pine, and south to the Logan, but myfather could also speak to and understand any black from Ipswich,as far north as Mount Perry, or from Frazer, Bribie, Stradbroke,and Moreton Islands. Of all the blackfellows who were boys when hewas a boy there is only one survivor; most of them died offprematurely through drink, introduced by the white man.

On first coming, nearly forty-five years ago, to North Pine,which is sixteen miles by road from Brisbane, the country roundabout was all wild bush, and the land my father took up was aportion of the Whiteside run. The blacks were very good andhelpful, lending a hand to split and fence and put up stockyards,and they would help look after the cattle and yard them at night.For the young fellow was all alone, no white man would come nearhim, being in dread of the blacks. Here he was among two hundred ofthem, and came to no harm.

When, with their help, he had got a yard made, and a huterected, he obtained flour, tea, sugar, and tobacco from Brisbane,and leaving these rations in the hut, in charge of an oldaboriginal, went again to Brisbane, and was away this time afortnight. Fifty head of cattle he also left in the charge of twoyoung blacks, trusting them to yard these at night, etc; and toenable the young darkies to do this, he allowed them each the useof a horse and saddle. On his return all was as it should be, noteven a bit of tobacco missing! And those who know no better say theaborigines are treacherous and untrustworthy! Father says he couldalways trust them; and his experience has been that if you treatedthem kindly they would do anything for you.

On the occasion just mentioned, during his absence, a stationabout nine miles away ran short of rations, and the stockman wassent armed with a carbine and a pair of pistols to see if he couldborrow from Father. Arrived at his destination, the man found butblacks, and they simply would give him nothing until the master'sreturn. The hut had no doors at the time, and yet they hunted fortheir own food, touching nothing.

A further refutation of the treachery and untrustworthiness ofthe blacks is the following:—One young fellow, learning toride in those days, was thrown several times. My father, vexed withthe mare ridden, mounted her himself, and giving the animal a sharpcut with his riding whip, sent her off at full gallop. He carried arevolver in his belt, which he always had handy, as often theblacks would get him to shoot kangaroos they had surrounded andhunted into a water-hole. The mare galloped on, then, stoppingsuddenly, somehow threw her rider in spite of his good seat. Thefirst thing he remembered afterwards was seeing a company of blackscollected round him, crying, and one old man on his knees suckinghis back, where the hammer of the revolver had struck. They thencarried him to his hut, and in the morning he was nothing but stiffafter his adventure. And there was no white man about!

Many a time when the blacks wished to gather their tribestogether for a corroboree (dance and song), or fight, they wouldsend on two men to inquire of Father which way to come so as not todisturb his cattle. This was more than many a white man would do,he says. To him they were always kind and thoughtful, and he wishesthis to be clearly understood, for sometimes the blacks are verymuch blamed for deeds they were really driven to; and of coursethey resented unkindness. For instance, the owner of a station somedistance away used to have his cattle speared and killed. Fatherwould remonstrate and ask the why, and the blacks would answer: Itwas because if that man caught any of them he would shoot them downlike dogs! Then they told this tale: A number of blacks were on theman's run, scattered here and there, looking for wild honey andopossums, when the owner came upon them and shooting one youngfellow, first broke his leg, then another shot in the head killedhim. The superior white man then hid himself to watch what wouldhappen. Presently the father came looking for his son, and he wasshot; the mother coming after met the same fate.

My father knew the blacks well who told him this, and wassatisfied they spoke truthfully. It may strike the reader, why didhe not make use of his information and bring punishment to theoffender? Well, because in those days a blackfellow's evidencecounted as nothing, and no good would therefore be gained, butrather the opposite, as the bitterness would be increased, and theblacks get the worst of it. You see, the white men had so manyopportunities for working harm; at that time several aboriginalswere poisoned through eating stolen flour, it having been carefullyleft in a hut with arsenic in it.

To show that the aborigines were not unforgiving, here is anexample: The squatter before mentioned, who shot the blacks, wentonce to Father to see if he would use his influence with theaborigines and get them to go to his station and drive wild cattlefrom the mountain scrub—a difficult undertaking. He agreed tosee what could be done, on condition that the blacks wereconsiderately treated, and advised the man to leave all firearmsbehind, and accompany him to their camp, where he would do hisbest. "Oh, no! I can't do that," was the reply. "If you won't cometo the camp," replied Father, "they will not understand, and won'tgo; you need fear nothing; they will not touch you while I'mthere."

After some discussion, the man was persuaded, though heevidently was in fear and trembling during the whole interview. Theblacks agreed to go next day, which they did, leaving their ginsand pickaninies under Father's care till their return. In threedays they were back, and reported they had got a number of cattlefrom the scrub, and that the man—"John Master" they calledhim—had killed a bull for them to eat, and was all right now,not "saucy" any more. They added that they had agreed to go backagain, and strip bark for him.

This second time the blacks took their women folk and children,and were away for two or three weeks working for the squatter,cutting bark, etc., and were evidently quite contented and happy.However, in the meantime a report was got up on the station to theeffect that the blacks were killing some of the cattle; so a manwas sent to where Sandgate now is to ask assistance from the blackpolice, who were stationed there.

These black police were aborigines from New South Wales anddistant places, and they, with their white leader, came and shotseveral blacks, the remaining poor things returning at once totheir friend in a great state, protesting they had not touched abeast. Father met the squatter soon after, and said to him: "You'rea nice sort of fellow; how could you cause those poor blacks to beshot like that? You know perfectly well they did not kill yourcattle." The man excused himself by saying that it was done withouthis knowledge, that he had a young fellow learning station work whogot frightened over the blacks, and went for the police on his ownaccount.

Another time, while out riding in the bush, my father heard agreat row, and a voice calling, "Round them up, boys!" And ongalloping up he came upon a number of poor blacks—men, women,and children—all in a mob like so many wild cattle,surrounded by the mounted black police. The poor creatures tried torun to their friend for protection, and he inquired of the officerin charge what was the meaning of it all. The officer—a whiteman, and one, by the way, who was noted for his inhumancruelty—replied that they merely wished to see who was who.But Father knew that if he hadn't turned up, a number of the poorthings would have been shot. Can one wonder there were murderscommitted by the blacks, seeing how they were sometimes treated?This same police officer (Wheeler, by name), later on was to havebeen hanged for whipping a poor creature to death, but he escapedand fled from the country. It is possible he is still alive. Hisvictim was a young blackfellow, whom he had tied to a verandahpost, and then brutally flogged till he died.

Three men were once murdered at St. Helena Island byaboriginals, and this is the side of the question given by "BillyDingy" (so called by the whites), one of the blacks concerned.Billy said that he and two other young men, each with his youngwife, were taken in a boat by three white men, who promised to landthem at Bribie Island, as it was then the great "bunya season," andthe aborigines always met there before travelling to the BunyaMountains (or, to be correct, Bon-yi Mountains—the nativesalways pronounced it so). Of the "bon-yi season" I will speak lateron.

Well, these men, instead of doing as they had promised, landedat St. Helena, and there set nets for catching dugong, acting asthough they had not the slightest intention of going near Bribie.They also took possession of the young gins, paying no heed toBilly, who pleaded for their wives and to be taken to Bribie aspromised. So Billy, poor soul, didn't know what to do, and at lastbethought him to kill the men. He did it in this way: Some distancefrom where they were camped a cask was sunk in the sand for freshwater, and Billy, in broken English, called to one of the men. BobHunter by name: "Bob, Bob, come quick, bring gun, plenty duck sitdown longa here." Bob went to Billy all unthinking, and, passingthe cask in the sand knelt to drink. There was Billy's chance, andhe took it, striking the man from behind with a tomahawk on theback of the head. Bob threw up his arm to save himself, only to becut on the arm, and then again on the head, and was killed. Billythen dragged him down to the water; and that was the end of thatman.

On returning to the camp after this "deed of darkness," Billytold the gins in his own language of what had happened, and that hemeant to finish by killing the other two, and they then could allget away together. The gins begged of him not to kill the others,but his mind was fixed, and remained unmoved. Fortune favoured himsurely, for he found one man alone sitting by a camp fire smoking,and, creeping up stealthily behind him, cut open his head with thetomahawk; and this man's body was in turn dragged to the water.

There now remained but one other, and he at that time away inthe scrub shooting pigeons. Billy followed, and, watching hisopportunity, struck the white man as he stooped to go under a vine.This last body was also dragged to the water, and that was the endof the three; and who can say the blacks were wholly to blame?

After the white men were thus disposed of, the natives all gotinto the boat and came to the mouth of the Pine River, where theyleft the boat, and walking round on the mainland opposite Bribie,swam across to the island. Bob Hunter's body was afterwardsrecovered, and it had a cut on the arm even as Billy described tomy father. The other bodies were never found, and it was thoughtthey were eaten by sharks.

My father had these three men—Billy and theothers—working for him afterwards till their death, and foundthem all right. He was also alone for days with Billy in the forestlooking for cedar timber.

An old man called Gray was killed at Bribie Island (July, 1849).This is the blacks' version as told to their friend: Gray used togo to Bribie with a cutter for oysters; he had a black boy as ahelp when gathering the oysters on the bank, and he imagined thisboy wasn't fast enough in his work, so beat him ratherunmercifully, being blessed with a bad temper. The boy escaped andran away from the oyster bank, swimming to the island, and he toldthe blacks of his ill-treatment. They were worked up to resentment,and went across and killed Gray. Father says of the latter: "I knewpoor old Gray well; he was a very cross old man, and many a slap onthe side of the head I got from him when a boy."


HAVING given some instances as proof of the statement that theblacks were murderers or quite otherwise, according to the whiteman's treatment of them, I will pass now to their native customs,and tell you of the "Bon-yi season." "Bon-yi," the native name forthe pine, Araucaria Bidwilli, has been wrongly accepted andpronounced bunya. To the blacks it was bon-yi, the "i" beingsounded as an "e" in English, "bon-ye." Grandfather (Andrew Petrie)discovered this tree, but he gave some specimens to a Mr. Bidwill,who forwarded them to the old country, and hence the tree was namedafter him, not after the true discoverer. Of this more anon.

The bon-yi tree bears huge cones, full of nuts, which thenatives are very fond of. Each year the trees will bear a fewcones, but it was only in every third year that the greatgatherings of the natives took place, for then it was that thetrees bore a heavy crop, and the blacks never failed to know theseason.

These gatherings were really like huge picnics, the aboriginesbelonging to the district sending messengers out to invite membersfrom other tribes to come and have a feast. Perhaps fifteen wouldbe asked here, and thirty there, and they were mostly young people,who were able and fit to travel. Then these tribes would in turnask others. For instance, the Bribie blacks (Ngunda tribe) onreceiving their invitation would perchance invite the Turrbalpeople to join them, and the latter would then ask the Logan, orYaggapal tribe and other island blacks, and so on from tribe totribe all over the country, for the different tribes were generallyconnected by marriage, and the relatives thus invited each other.Those near at hand would all turn up, old and young, but the tribesfrom afar would leave the aged and the sick behind.

My father was present at one of these feasts, when a boy, forover a fortnight. He is the only free white man who has ever beenpresent at a bon-yi feast. Two or three convicts in the old days,who escaped and lived afterwards with the blacks—James Davis("Duramboi"), Bracefield ("Wandi"), and Fahey ("Gilbury"), ofcourse, knew all about it, but they are dead now. Father met thetwo former after their return to civilization, and he has often hada yarn with the old blacks who belonged to the tribes they hadlived with.

In those early days the Blackall Range was spoken of as theBon-yi Mountains, and it was there that Duramboi and Bracefieldjoined in the feasts, and there also that Father saw it all. He wasonly fourteen or fifteen years old at the time, and travelled fromBrisbane with a party of about one hundred, counting the women andchildren. They camped the first night at Bu-yu—ba (shin ofleg), the native name for the creek crossing at what is now knownas Enoggera.

After the camp fires were made and breakwinds of bushes put upas a protection from the night, the party all had something to eat,then gathered comfortably round the fires, and settled themselvesready for some good old yarns, till sleep would claim them for hisown. Tales were told of what forefathers did, how wonderful some ofthem were in hunting and killing game, also in fighting. The blackshave lively imaginations of what happened years ago, and some ofthe incidents they remembered of their big fights, etc., were trulymarvellous! They are also born mimics, and my father has often feltsore with laughing at the way they would take off people, and strutabout, and imitate all sorts of animals.

When aborigines are collected anywhere together, each morning atdaylight a great cry arises, breaking through the silence: this isthe "cry for the dead." Imagine it, falling on the stillness afterthe night! It comes with the dawn and the first call of the birds;as the Australian bush awakens and stirs, so do Australia's darkchildren—or, rather they used to, for all is changed now. Itmust have been weird, that wailing noise and crying; but one couldimagine the birds and animals expecting it and listening for it;and the sun in those days would surely have thought something hadgone wrong, had there been no great cry to accompany his arising.Whether the dead were the better for the mourning, who can say? Butthey were always faithfully mourned for, each morning, and at duskeach night. It was crying and wailing and cursing all mixed uptogether, and was kept going for from ten to twenty minutes, such anoise being made that it was scarcely possible to hear oneselfspeak. Each person vowed vengeance on their relative's murderer,swearing all the time. To them it was an oath when they called aman "big head," "swelled body," "crooked leg," etc.; and so theycursed and howled away, using all the "oaths" they could think of.There was never a lack of some one to mourn for; so this cry wasnever omitted, night or morning.

After the dying down of the cry at daybreak, the blacks wouldhave their morning meal, and then, as in the case of this journeyto the Bon-yi Mountains, when my father accompanied them, they madeready to move forward on their way. A blackfellow would shout outthe name of the place at which they were to meet again thatnight—this time it happened to be the Pine—and off theyall went, hunting here and there, catching all sorts of animals,getting wild honey, too, and coming into the appointed place thatnight laden with spoil. This same thing went on day by day, andFather was treated like a prince among them all. They never failedto make him a humpy for the night, roofed with bark or perhapsgrass; while for themselves they didn't trouble, unless it rained.The third night they camped at Caboolture (Kabul-tur, "place ofcarpet snakes"), and next day started for the GlasshouseMountains.

During this journey my father noticed some superstitions of theblacks. For instance, going up the spur of a hill a dog ran throughbetween the legs of a blackfellow, and the man stood stock stilland called the dog back, making it return through his legs. Whenasked why, he said they would both die otherwise. Then, again, theytravelled along a footpath, which ran up a ridge, where there wasbut room to walk one by one, and the white boy noticed ahalf-fallen tree leaning across the way. Coming to the tree, thefirst blackfellow paused and pulled a bush from the roadside, and,throwing it down on the path, quietly walked round the tree, therest following him. Father asked the reason, and the man said thatif any one walked under that tree his body would swell, and hewould die; he also said that he threw the bush down as a warning tothe others. My father, of course, boy-like, wished to show therewas nothing in all this, and walked assuredly under the tree,drawing attention to the fact that he didn't die. "Oh, but you arewhite," they said.

It was the same thing always with regard to a fence; theaboriginals would never climb through or under a fence, but alwaysover, thinking here too that their body would swell and they woulddie. In the same way a blackfellow would rather you knocked himdown than have you step over him or any of his belongings, becauseto him it meant death. Supposing a gin stepped over one ofthem—naughty woman!—she would be killed instantly.Father has lain on the ground, and offered to let men, women, andchildren all step over his body, and if he died they were right intheir belief; but, if not, they were wrong. He offered blankets,flour, a tomahawk; but no, nothing would induce them, for they saidthey did not wish to see him die. As he survived the great ordealof walking under a tree, because of being a white man, one wouldthink they would risk the other, especially with a promised rewardin view. But not they.

Of course, we are speaking of the past; the blacks one sees oflate years will go through a fence or under a tree, or anything;just as they will smoke or drink spirits. They used to be fine,athletic men, remarkably free from disease, tall, well-made andgraceful, with wonderful powers of enjoyment; now they are oftenmiserable, diseased, degraded creatures. The whites havecontaminated them.

On the fourth day of this journey, about 4 o'clock, the partyarrived near Mooloolah, at a creek with a scrub on it, and allhands fell to making fires for cooking purposes, etc., and theystripped some bark to make a hut ("ngudur") for their white friendto sleep in, some placing a "pikki" (vessel made from bark) ofwater ready to his hand, others bringing him yams and honey oranything he fancied to eat. He had a little flour and tea and sugarwith him, which the blacks carried, but never touched, leaving themfor him. They did not think it worth while making huts forthemselves for one night, but just camped alongside the fire withopossum rug coverings.

Arriving at the Blackall Range, the party made a halt at thefirst bon-yi tree they came to, and a blackfellow accompanyingthem, who belonged to the district, climbed up the tree by means ofa vine. When a native wishes to climb a tree that has no lowerbranches he cuts notches or steps in the trunk as he goes up,ascending with the help of a vine held round the stem. But myfather's experience has been that the blacks would never by anychance cut a bon-yi, affirming that to do so would injure the tree,and they climbed with the vine alone, the rough surface of the treehelping them.

This tree they came first upon was a good specimen, 100 feethigh before a branch, and when the native climbing could reach acone he pulled one and opened it with a tomahawk to see if it wasall right. (The others said if he did not do this the nuts would beempty and worthless, and Father noticed afterwards that the firstcone was always examined before being thrown to the ground.) Thenthe man called out that all was well, and, throwing down the cone,he broke a branch, and with it poked and knocked off other cones.As they fell to the ground, the blacks assembled below would breakthem up and, taking out the nuts, put them in their dilly-bags.Afterwards they went further on, and, camping, made fires to roastthe nuts, of which they had a great feed—roasted they werevery nice.

Next day they travelled on again, till they came to where thetribes were all assembling from every part of the country, somehailing from the Burnett, Wide Bay, Bundaberg, Mount Perry, Gympie,Bribie, and Frazer Islands, Gayndah, Kilcoy, Mount Brisbane, andBrisbane. When all turned up there numbered between 600 and 700blacks. According to some people, the numbers would run tothousands at these feasts. That may have been so in other parts ofthe country, but not there on the Blackall Ranges. Each blackfellowbelonging to the district had two or three trees which heconsidered his own property, and no one else was allowed to climbthese trees and gather the cones, though all the guests would beinvited to share equally in the eating of the nuts. The trees werehanded down from father to son, as it were, and every one, ofcourse, knew who were the owners.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (4)

Aboriginal baby

Great times those were, and what lots of fun these children ofthe woods had in catching paddymelons in the scrub with their nets,also in obtaining other food, of which there was plenty, such asopossums, snakes, and other animals, turkey eggs, wild yams, nativefigs, and a large white grub, which was found in dead trees. Theselatter are as thick as one's finger and about three inches long.They were very plentiful in the scrubs, and the natives knew at aglance where to look for them. They would eat these raw with greatrelish, as we do an oyster, or they would roast them. Then theyoung tops of the cabbage tree palm, and other palms which grewthere, served as a sort of a vegetable, and were not bad, accordingto my father. The bon-yi nuts were generally roasted, the blackspreferring them so, but they were also-eaten raw.

It will be seen that there was no lack of food of differentkinds during a bon-yi feast; the natives did not only live on nutsas some suppose. To them it was a real pleasure getting their food;they were so light-hearted and gay, nothing troubled them; they hadno bills to meet or wages to pay. And there were no missionaries inthose days to make them think how bad they were. Whatever theirfaults Father could not have been treated better, and when theycame into camp of an afternoon about four o'clock, from alldirections, laden with good things—opossums, carpet snakes,wild turkey eggs, and yams—he would get his share of thebest—as much as he could eat. The turkey eggs were about thesize of a goose egg, and the fresh ones were taken to the whiteboy, while addled eggs, or those (let me whisper it) with chickensin them, were eaten and relished by the blacks, after being roastedin the hot ashes.

My father always noticed how open-handed and generous theaborigines were. Some of us would do well to learn from them inthat respect. If there were unfortunates who had been unlucky inthe hunt for food, it made no difference; they did not go without,but shared equally with, the others.


It has often been given out as a fact that the blacks grew sotired of nuts and vegetable foods during a bon-yi feast that tosatisfy the craving that grew upon them for animal food, theyterminated the meeting by the sacrifice of one gin or more. This isquite untrue, according to my father. As I have shown, the blackshad plenty of variety in the way of food during these gatheringsand, besides, on their way to the Bon-yi Mountains they travelledalong the coast as much as was possible, and got fish and oystersas they went along. Then, after the feast was all over, theyrepaired again to the coast, where they lived for some time on thechange of food.

The following passage from Dr. Lang's Queensland, issuedin 1864, was quoted once by a gentleman (Mr. A. W. Howitt), whodoubted its accuracy and wished my father's opinion on thesubject:—

"At certain gatherings of some tribes ofQueensland young girls are slain in sacrifice to propitiate someevil divinity, and their bodies likewise are subjected to thehorrid rite of cannibalism. The young girls are marked out forsacrifice months before the event by the old men of the tribe."

Dr. Lang, says Mr. Howitt, gave this on the authority of hisson, Mr. G. D. Lang, who, as the good doctor puts it, "happened toreside for a few months in the Wide Bay district."

My father says there is no truth in this statement; it is justhearsay, as there was no "such thing as sacrifice among theQueensland aborigines, neither did they ever kill any one for thepurpose of eating them. They were most certainly cannibals,however, as they never failed to eat any one killed in fight, andalways ate a man noted for his fighting qualities, or a "turrwan"(great man), no matter how old he was, or even if he died fromconsumption! It was very peculiar, but they said they did it out ofpity and consideration for the body—they knew where he wasthen—"he won't stink!" The old tough gins had the best of it;no one troubled to eat them; their bodies weren't of anyimportance, and had no pity or consideration shown them! On theother hand, for the consumer's own benefit this time, a young,plump gin would always be eaten, or any one dying in goodcondition.

I do not mean to infer that the aborigines ate no human fleshduring a bon-yi feast, for some one might die and be eaten at anytime, and then, too, they always ended up with a big fight, and atleast one combatant was sure to be killed. People speak of thegreat numbers killed in fight, but after all they were but few,though wounds, and big ones, too, were plentiful enough.

At night during the bon-yi season the blacks would have greatcorroborees, the different tribes showing their special corroboree(song and dance) to each other, so that they might all learnsomething fresh in that way. For instance, a Northern tribe wouldshow theirs to a Southern one, and so on each night, till at lastwhen they left to journey away again, they each had a freshcorroboree to take with them, and this they passed on in turn to adistant tribe. So from tribe to tribe a corroboree would gotravelling for hundreds of miles both north and south, and thisexplains, I suppose, how it was that the aborigines would oftensing songs, the words of which they did not understand in theleast, neither could they tell you where they had first comefrom.

When about to have a corroboree, the women always got the firesready, and the tribe wishing to show or teach their specialcorroboree to the others, would rig themselves out in full dress.This meant they had their bodies painted in different ways, andthey wore various adornments, which were not used every day. Menalways had their noses pierced (women never had), and it wasconsidered a great thing to have a bone through one's nose! Thisbone was generally taken from a swan's wing, but it might be from ahawk's wing, or a small bone from the kangaroo's leg; and wassupposed to be about four inches long. It was only worn duringcorroborees or fights, and was called the "buluwalam."

In every day life a man always wore a belt or "makamba," inwhich he carried his boomerang. This belt measured from six feet toeight feet in length, and was worn twisted round and round thewaist. It was netted either from 'possum or human hair—butonly the great men of the tribe wore human hair belts. A man couldalso wear "grass-bugle" necklaces ("kulgaripin") at any time; thesebeing made from reeds cut into little pieces and strung together ona string of fibre. But in addition to his everyday dress, during acorroboree a blackfellow would wear round his forehead a band madefrom root fibre, very nicely plaited, and painted white with clay;also the skin of a native dog's tail (cured with charcoal and driedin the sun), or, rather, a part of one, for one tail made threeheaddresses when cut up the middle. This piece of tail stuck roundthe head like a beautiful yellow brush—the natives called it"gilla," and the forehead band "tinggil." Then on his armkangaroo-skin bands were worn, and these had to be made from theunderbody part of the skin, which was of a much lighter colour thanthe back. Lastly, a man was ornamented with swan's down stuck inhis hair and beard, and in strips up and down his body and legs,back and front; or, if he was an inland black, parrot feathers tookthe place of the down.

Women wore practically no ornaments except necklaces, andfeathers stuck in their short hair in bunches, with bees' wax. (Thefeathers and bees' wax were always ready in their dillies.) Theirhair was always kept short, as they were apt to tear at each otherwhen fighting. Men's hair grew long, and some of the great men hadtheirs tied up in a knob on the top of the head, and when such wasthe case they wore in this knob little sticks ornamented withyellow feathers from the co*ckatoo's topknot. The feathers werefastened to the ends of the sticks with bees' wax, and these stickswere stuck here and there in the knob of hair, as Japanese placelittle fans; and they looked quite nice.

When a good fire was raging the gins all sat in rows of three orfour deep behind the fire. The old and married gins would have anopossum rug folded up between their thighs, which they beat withthe palms of their hands, and so kept time with the song they sang.The young women beat time on their naked thighs. They held the leftwrist with the right hand, and then, with the free hand open,slapped their thighs, making a wonderful noise and keepingexcellent time. A pair of blackfellows standing up in front of thegins between them and the fire, would beat two boomerangs together,and these men were in "full dress," as were those who danced on theother side of the fire. First these latter stood some distance offin the dark, but so soon as the singing and beating of time beganthey would dance up to the others.

The men and women learning the corroboree stood behind the rowsof gins seated on the ground, and two extra men, other than thosewith boomerangs, stood placed like sentinels before the women, withtorches in their hands, and they were generally also strangerslearning. The torches were fashioned from tea-tree bark, and made asplendid blaze, aiding the fire in its work of lighting up thedancers for the benefit of those concerned. Some few women woulddance, but they kept rather apart in front of the others, and theirmovements were different to those of the men—somewhatstiffer. Always there were two or three funny men among thedancers, men who caused mirth and amusem*nt by theirantics—even the blacks had members who could "act thegoat."

The aborigines painted their bodies according to the tribe towhich they belonged, so in a corroboree or fight they wererecognised at once by one another. In the former there wouldperhaps be ever so many different tribes mixed up, for they mightall know the same dance. Father says it was a grand sight to seeabout 300 men at a time dancing in and out, painted all colours.There they would be, men white and black, men white and red, menwhite and yellow, and yet others a shiny black with just whitespots all over them, or, in place of the spots, rings of whiteround legs and body, or white strips up and down. Yet again therewere those who would have strange figures painted on their darkskins, and no matter which it was, one or the other, they were allneatly, and even beautifully, got up. There they would dance withtheir head-dress waving in the air—the swan's down, theparrot feathers, or the little sticks with the yellow co*ckatoofeathers. And, of course, the rest of the dress added to thespectacle—the native dogs' tails round their heads, the bonesin their noses, and the various belts and other arrangements.

The dancers would keep up these gaieties for a couple of hoursand then all would return to camp, where they settled down to asort of meeting somewhat after the style of a Salvation Armygathering. One man would stand up and start a story or lecture ofwhat had happened in his part of the country, speaking in a loudtone of voice, so that all could hear. When he had finished,another man from a different tribe stood forth and gave hisdescriptions, and so on till all the tribes had been represented.Then perhaps a man of one tribe would accuse one from another ofbeing the cause of the death of a friend, and this would lead to achallenge and fight.

Things would be kept going sometimes up to midnight, when quietreigned supreme again till the daybreak cry for the dead. And ifthis was a strange sound when two or three tribes were gatheredtogether, what must it have been coming from all these many peoplesassembled for a bon-yi feast. It would start perhaps by one old manwailing out, and then in another direction some one would answer,then another would take up the cry, and so on, till the differentcrying and chanting of all the different tribes rose on the air,with the loud "swears" and threats of what they would do when theenemy was caught, relieving the wailing, monotony.

So the days went on for a month or more, and the blacks employedtheir time in various ways; some would hunt, while others madeweapons preparing for the great fight which always came off at thefinish. When a time for this was fixed, all would repair to an openpiece of country and there would keep the fight going for a week orso. Of the way this was managed I will speak another time.

At the finish of the great fight the tribes would start offhomewards, parting the very best of friends with each other, andcarrying large supplies of bon-yi nuts with them. The blacks of thedistrict sought out a damp and boggy place—soft mud andwater, with perhaps a spring—and buried their nuts there,placed in dilly-bags. Then off they went to the coast, living thereon fish and crabs for the space of a month, when they returned and,digging up the nuts, had another feast, relishing them all the moreno doubt because of the change to the seaside! The nuts whenunearthed would have a disagreeable, musty smell, and would be allsprouting, but when roasted were improved greatly. The blacks fromafar would also go to the coast if they had friends there whoinvited them, and they would be glad of a corroboree that took themseawards, if only for the one reason that they might have a changeof food.

I omitted to mention that, on the way to these feasts, theblacks in those days would often catch emus in the vicinity of theGlass House Mountains, and also get their eggs. This my father knewfrom what was told him, though none were found when he accompaniedthem. The feathers, the gins used to stick in their hair on stateoccasions.

At any time when a certain tribe had learnt a new corroboreethey would take the trouble to go even a long distance in order topass it on. They first sent messengers—two men and theirgins—to say they had learnt, or perhaps made, a fresh songand dance, and were coming to teach it. They would very likely staya week and then go home again, or perhaps a number of tribes wouldall congregate. Father has seen about five hundred aborigines at acorroboree on Petrie's Creek, and they came from allparts—some from the far interior. Some of them there hadnever seen a boat before, and made a great wonder of it, looking itover and examining it everywhere.

Father knew an old Moreton Island man, a great character, headof that tribe, who was a good hand at making corroborees. He woulddisappear at times to a quiet part of the island (the others sayinghe had gone into the ground), and when he reappeared he had a freshsong and dance to impart. The blacks would sing sometimes of anincident which had happened, and in the dance make movements tocarry out the song; for instance, if they sang of rowing they movedin the dance like an oarsman.

At times, if the words were decided upon, the whole tribe wouldsuggest movements which best carried them out. One of the songs myfather can sing was composed by a man at the Pine, and was basedupon an incident which really happened. Father heard of thehappening at the time, and afterwards learnt the corroboree. Hereis the whole story:—

Three boats went out in winter time turtling from Coochi-mudloIsland ("Kutchi-mudlo"—red stone). It was after the advent ofthe whites, and the natives wanted the turtles for sale, not fortheir own use. In one of the boats was a man called Bobbiwinta, whowas always successful in his ventures after turtle, being very goodat diving, and clever in handling the creatures. Presently thisboatload espied a turtle and gave chase, and whenever Bobbiwintagot a chance he jumped overboard, diving after it. However, it wasan extra big one, and he could not manage to bring it up. Thosewatching above saw bubbles rise to the surface, and knew he wasblowing beneath the water to cause the bubbles, so that some onewould come down to his assistance. Two more men jumped in at this,and catching the turtle, they managed to turn him over, and bringhim alongside the boat. Others in the boat got hold of thecreature, and between them all it was hauled on board. Then the menin the water got in.

It was not till now, when the excitement was passed, that theyfound a man was missing—Bobbiwinta. All looked and could seehim nowhere; men jumped overboard and searched, and the other boatscoming up helped, but to no avail, he was gone. A great wailing andcrying arose then, and by-and-bye a shark was seen floating quietlyabout, and all remaining hope went.

What seemed to strike the blacks was that they had seen no signof the man, not even a particle of anything—it was such acomplete disappearance. Natives are exceedingly tender-hearted inanything like this, and they were dreadfully cut up. Bobbiwinta'swife was in one of the boats. All camped that night at Kanaipa(towards the south end of Stradbroke), and next morning the beachwas searched and searched, but nothing, not even a bone, wasfound.

The story of Bobbiwinta's mysterious disappearance was told fromtribe to tribe; the natives seemed as though they could never getover the sadness of it. One night the man already mentionedbelonging to the Pine was supposed to have had a dream, in which acorroboree came to him des-criptive of the event. The song ran asthough the man from under the water, appealed forhelp—pitifully, pleadingly, all in vain. This corroboree wassung and danced everywhere, and years afterwards the mere mentionof it was enough to cause tears and wailings. The words had thismeaning: "My oar is bad, my oar is bad; send me my boat, I'msitting here waiting," and so on, sung slowly. Then quickly,dulpai-i-la ngari kimmo-man" (jump over for me friends), and so tothe finish. The following is the first portion of the song.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (5)

Another good corroboree was based on an incident which happenedwhen my father was a boy. This time it had reference to a younggin—Kulkarawa—who belonged to the Brisbane or Turrbaltribe. A prisoner, a coloured man (an Indian), Shake Brown by name,stole a boat and, making off down the bay, took with him thisKulkarawa, without her people's immediate knowledge or consent. Theboat was blown out to sea, and eventually the pair were washedashore at Noosa Head—or as the blacks called it then,"Wantima," which meant "rising up," or "climbing up." They gotashore all right with just a few bruises, though the boat wasbroken to pieces. After rambling about for a couple of days, theycame across a camp of blacks, and these latter took Kulkarawa fromShake Brown, saying that he must give her up, as she was a relativeof theirs; but he might stop with them and they would feed him. Sohe stayed with them a long time, and the bon-yi season cominground, he accompanied them to the Blackall Range, joining in thefeast there.

Before the bon-yi gathering had broken up, Shake Brown, growntired of living the life of the blacks, left them to make his wayto Brisbane. He got on to the old Northern Road going to Durundur,and followed it towards Brisbane. Coming at length to a creek whichruns into the North Pine River, there, at the crossing, were anumber of Turrbal blacks, who, recognising him, knew that he wasthe man who had stolen Kulkarawa. They asked what he had done withher, and he replied that the tribe of blacks he had fallen in withhad taken her from him, and that she was now at the bon-yigathering with them. But this, of course, did not satisfy thefeeling for revenge that Shake Brown had roused when he took offthe young gin from her people, and they turned on him and killedhim, throwing his body into the bed of the creek at the crossing. Aday or two later, men with a bullock dray going up to Durundur withrations, passing that way, came across Brown's body lying there,and they sent word to Brisbane, also christening the creek Brown'sCreek, by which name it is known to this day.

Kulkarawa, living with the Noosa blacks, fretted for her people,and she made a song which ran as follows:

"Oh, flour, where oh where are you now that I used to eat? Oh,oh, take me back to my mother, there to be happy, and roam nomore."

She evidently missed the flour which her own tribe got from thewhite people. The Noosa blacks made a dance to suit the song, andthe corroboree was considered a grand one.

Kulkarawa, after living with the Noosa blacks for about twoyears, was at length brought back to her own people. Fatherhappened to be out at the Bowen Hills or "Barrambin" camp, with twoor three black boys, looking for some cows, at the time shearrived. The strange blacks bringing her, both went and sat down atthe mother's hut without speaking, and the parents of the younggin, and all her friends, started crying for joy when they saw her,keeping the cry going for some ten minutes in a chanting sort offashion, even as they do when mourning for the dead. Then a regulartalking match ensued, and Kulkarawa was told all that had happenedduring her absence, including the finding and murder of Shake Brown(or "Marri-dai-o" the blacks called him), on his way to Brisbane.Then she told her news, and Father heard afterwards again from herown lips of her experiences.

The Noosa blacks introduced the corroboree at the "Barrambin"camp, and so it was sung and danced all round about, spreading bothnear and far.

In the song of a corroboree there were not generally many words,but these were repeated over and over again with different shadesof expression. Once my father had the honour of being the subjectof a corroboree; they sang of him as he was seen sailing with anative crew through the breakers over Maroochy Bar. The incidentand its danger I will mention later. The song described the way hethrew the surf from his face, etc. Who knows but what it livessomewhere yet, for it was possible for a corroboree to travel tothe other end of the continent.

A Manila man (who afterwards died at Miora, Dunwich, and whosedaughter lives there now) once taught a song he knew to the Turrbalblacks. They did not understand its meaning in the least, butlearnt the words and the tune, and it became a great favourite withall. My father also picked it up when a boy, and it has sincesoothed to sleep in turn all his children and two grandchildren.Indeed Baby Armour (the youngest of the tribe) at one time refusedto hear anything else when his mother sang to him. "Sing Mi-na"(Mee-na), he would say, if she dared try to vary the monotony. Hereis the song (Music arranged by W. A. Ogg.):

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (6)

In learning a fresh corroboree, some of the young fellows werevery smart, and, as to going to a dance, they were just as keenabout it as many white boys are.


Before going further, it is necessary for me to tell yousomething of a "turrwan" or "great man." Well, a "turrwan" was onewho was supposed to be able to do anything. He could fly, kill,cure, or dive into the ground, and come out again where and when heliked; he could bring or stop rain, and so on—all by means ofthe "kundri," a small crystal stone, which he made the gins andothers believe he carried about inside him, being able to bring itup at will by a string and swallow again! But my father has seenthese stones, and they were really carried in small grass "dillys,"under the arm, and were attached with bees' wax to a string madefrom opossum hair. These stones were generally obtained from deeppools, where they were dived for. The natives believed in apersonality they called "Taggan" (inadvertently spelt "Targan" inDr. Roth's Bulletin, No. 5), who seemed to be the spirit of therainbow, and he it was who was responsible for these stones orcrystals. Wherever the end of the rainbow touched the water, therethey said crystals would be found—they knew where to dive forthem.

Several men possessing these stones belonged to every tribe;they were never young men, but those who had been through manyfights, and had had experience. Each one was noted for somethingspecial. For instance, one was a man who could bring thunder,another could cure, and so on. Whenever there was a storm or aflood, the aborigines always blamed a "turrwan" of another tribefor sending it. Supposing the storm came from the north, it was aturrwan from a tribe in the north who was responsible, or if fromthe south they blamed a southern tribe.

When any one was ill, he was taken to a "turrwan" to be cured,and the latter would make believe that he sucked a stone from thesick person's body, saying that was the cause of the mischief,another "turrwan" of another tribe having put it into him. Forwhenever any one was ill, no matter under what circ*mstances, astranger "turrwan" (or rather his spirit) had most surely seen theafflicted one, and thrown the "kundri" at him. And a spirit couldfly, and thus do damage on a man miles away. If found out too latenothing could save him.

Aborigines do not believe they ever die a natural death; deathis always caused through a "turrwan" of another tribe. When a mandies, they think that at some previous time he has been killedbefore without its being known to any one, even himself. Verily astrange belief. They think he was killed with the "kundri" and cutup into pieces, then put together again; afterwards dying bycatching a cold, or, perhaps, being killed in a fight. The man whokilled him then is never blamed for the deed; "he had to die, yousee!" But they blame a man from another tribe for the real cause ofdeath, and do their best to be revenged; this causes all their bigfights. They manage to decide on the murderer—how, I willtell you again.

If any one was ill in camp, and a falling star was seen, therewould be a great crying and lamenting. To the natives it was a signthat the sick one was "doomed." The star was the fire stick of theturrwan, which he dropped as he flew away after doing themischief.

Talking of how the aborigines regard death, brings us to theirburial customs. Whenever the death of an aboriginal took place, allfriends and relatives would gather together and cry, each mancutting his head with a tomahawk, or jobbing it with a spear, tillthe blood ran freely down his body, and the old women did the samething with yam-sticks, while the young gins cut their thighs withsharp pieces of flint stone till their legs were covered withblood. In the meantime a couple of men would get some sheets oftea-tree bark on which to place the body, and if the corpse was notto be eaten, it would be wrapped up in this bark and tied round andround with string made from the inside of wattle bark. The feetwere always left exposed. Then two old men would carry the body,those mourning following behind, continually crying all the time.You could hear their cry a long way off. They would go somedistance till they came to a tree (generally in a gully out ofsight) with a fork in the stem, six or eight feet from the ground.Here they would pause and seek about for two suitable forked sticksto match this tree, and these they fixed in the ground at a littledistance from it, making the forks correspond in height with thatof the tree. Next two sticks cut about seven feet long would beplaced from the forked sticks to the tree fork, and from thisthree-cornered foundation a platform would be made with sticks putacross and bound with the wattle-bark string. All being ready, thebody would be lifted up on to this platform, which, without fail,would be made so that when the head was placed next the tree thefeet would point always towards the west.

After this, a space in the ground underneath the body about fourfeet square would be cleared bare of grass, and at one side of it asmall fire would be built. This was that the spirit of the dead manmight come down in the night and warm himself at the fire, or cookhis food. If the body was that of a man, a spear or waddy would beplaced ready, so that the spirit might go hunting in the night; ifa woman, then a yam-stick took the place of the other weapon, andher spirit could also hunt, or dig for roots. These weapons wereleft that the spirits might obtain food; it was not supposed thatthey would ever fight.

After finishing these preparations, the blacks would go awaylamenting, and the body was left in peace. Then the day afterburial—if it could be called burial—an old "turr-wan"would go without the knowledge of the others, back to where thisplatform stood erect with its burden, and stealthily he wouldprint, on the cleared ground beneath, a mark like a footprint withthe palm of his hand. After his departure, two women—oldwomen (near relatives of the deceased, a mother and her sister ifalive)—would appear on the scene. They, of course, would seethis mark, and at once would imagine that the murderer had beenthere and left his footprint behind him. Strange to say, too, theywould recognise to whom the footprint belonged! So back they wentto the others, and told them all who was the murderer—it wasgenerally some one they had a spite against in anothertribe—and there would be no question or doubt.

After that no one went near the body till the flesh had droppedoff, when two old women, relatives, again went, and, taking itdown, they would proceed to separate the bones from each other.Certain of these were always religiously put aside andkept—they were the skull, leg, arm, and hip bones—whilethose of the ribs and back, etc., were burnt. The bones kept wereput in a dilly, and so carried to the camp, and this dilly, withits sacred contents, accompanied the old woman relative on all herwanderings for months afterwards. In the meantime, however, thefollowing happened:—

At the camp a fire would be made some fifty or one hundred yardsfrom the huts, and all hands were called to come and witness theperformance. The bones were cleaned and rubbed with charcoal, andone of the old gins who discovered the murderer's footmark wouldsit in the middle, the rest surrounding her, and she would take thehip bones and, with a stone tomahawk, would chop them, accompanyingeach chop with the name of some black of another tribe, sung in achanting fashion. Now and again the bone would crack, and each timeit did this the woman happened to call the name of the man she hadtold them of, who had left his footprint behind on the clearedground, and the rest would exchange glances, saying he must be theguilty party.

Father has been present on these occasions, and the blacks wouldalways draw his attention to the unquestionableness of theconclusion arrived at. Nothing could persuade them that it was notfair and, should they come across the poor unfortunate singled out,his death was a certainty. Perhaps some night he would be curled upasleep in the dark, when suddenly he was pounced upon and put outof existence; or perhaps he would be innocently engaged at someoccupation when a dark form, sneaking up behind him, would send aspear through his skull, or otherwise do the deed. A death alwaysroused great desire for revenge, and the friends of the deceasedwould watch and plan in every way till at last their end wasaccomplished. And even when revenged like this, many a big fighttook place over a death. For the tribe to which the dead man hadbelonged would send a challenge to the tribe of the man heldresponsible for the deed, by two messengers, carrying a stickmarked with notches cut in it. This stick served to show that therewere a great number of blacks, and that they were in earnest. Themessengers suggested a place of meeting for the fight, and afterstaying perhaps a week would return to their friends, who wouldlook forward to the affray.

I have spoken of the blacks as cannibals, mentioning that it wasonly ordinary men and women of no condition who were buried. Hereis how a cannibal feast would be proceeded with: First, the bodywas carried about a mile away from the camp, and there placed onsheets of tea-tree bark near a fire. I may mention that it was apractice with the aboriginal to keep his body (minus the head) freefrom hair, by singeing himself with a torch. It was similar to thehabit of shaving. Should an aboriginal be unsinged he was unkempt,as a white man is who has not shaved. He could do his own arms andhands, etc., but would ask the assistance of others for the back.The singeing over, he rubbed his body with charcoal and grease,feeling then beautifully clean and nice. So perhaps it was thishabit which made the aborigines singe their dead for the last time,before devouring them.

A "turrwan" would take a piece of dry sapwood from an old tree,and lighting it well by the fire would keep knocking off the redashes till it burnt with a flame like a candle. With this, he wouldgive the body an extra good singeing all over, excepting the head,until the skin turned from black to a light brown colour. Then thebody would be rubbed free of any singed particles, and turned facedownwards, and three or four men, who had been solemnly standing atsome distance from the others, would slowly advance, one by one,singing a certain tune, to the body. Each of these men held a shellor stone knife in his hand, and the first would start by slittingthe skin open from the head down the neck, then retiring; his placewould be taken by the second man, who would carry the opening ondown the body, the third man down the legs, and so on till the skinwas opened right to the heels, and would peel off in one wholepiece.

During all this performance never a joke nor a laugh was heard,but everything was carried out with the utmost quietude andsolemnity. The body would be cut up when skinned, and the wholetribe, sitting round in groups in a circle, each group possessing afire, would watch expectantly for their share of the dainty. Onecan imagine how they would look forward to the feast as timeadvanced, and doubtless they watched with hungry eyes as the oldmen divided out the flesh in pieces to each lot. Immediately ongrabbing their portion, each group would roast and devour it, andin no time "all was over and done." The heart and waste parts wouldbe buried in a hole dug alongside the fire, and this interestinghole was marked by three sticks driven into the ground, standingabout a foot high, and bound round with grass rope. The hair, ears,nose, and the toes and fingers, without the bones, would be left onthe skin, which was hung on two spears before a fire to dry.Sometimes it would take some time to dry, and would have to bespread out each day; then, when ready, it would be blackened withcharcoal and grease. After that the skin was folded up and put intoa "dilly," and so carried everywhere by a relative with the certainbones that were kept.

These remains were always carried by a woman relative, who keptthem for six months or so, when she tired of the burden, or therewas a fresh one ready to carry; and so a hollow tree or a cave in arock was used as a depository. When my father came to North Pinethere was a hollow gum tree near where he settled, full of skinsand bones of the dead. This tree was burnt by bush fires, so,though part of it may still be seen, there is, of course, no traceof anything exciting in the way of remains. A tree used in this waywas considered sacred, or "dimmanggali," and no one dare triflewith its contents. The remains were not just thrown into thehollow, but must be carefully left in dillies, and thus hung onforked sticks in the tree. A hollow tree was looked for with a holein the trunk several feet from the ground (it must not open rightdown), or else a hollow one with no opening would be cut out asdesired. The idea was to place the forked sticks in the earth, sothat they stood upright, with the bags hanging on them.

When my father was quite a boy he was sent once to look for somestrayed cows to York's Hollow (the present Brisbane ExhibitionGround), which was all wild bush, and was a great fighting groundfor the blacks. At the time of which I speak the blacks were allcamped there, and when young "Tom" arrived on the scene he cameacross an old gin crying, and going up to her asked what was thematter. The woman replied that her "narring" (son) had been killedand pulling an opossum-skin covering from her dilly, displayed hisskin. It made the boy start to see the hair of the head and beard,the fingers, etc., all on the skin, and going home he toldGrandfather about it. The latter offered flour, tea, sugar,tobacco, a tomahawk, anything for the skin; but the old woman wouldnot part with it. Her husband, man-like, was more willing, however,and after some weeks turned up with a nice little new "dilly,"containing four pieces of his son's skin, two from the breast, andtwo from the back, and this he presented to "Tom" for his father.The scars or markings could be seen on these pieces, which were asthick almost as a bullock's hide.

The old blackfellow took pride in giving this present, and afterso honouring "Tom," called him his son, and all the tribe lookedupon the boy as such, and from that time forth he was considered agreat man or "turrwan," no one saying him nay, but doing anythingfor him and letting him know all their secrets. It got to be knownall over the place from tribe to tribe that he had been presentedwith portions of Yabba's son's skin, and so he was receivedeverywhere with open arms as it were, for Yabba was well known andrespected.

Women relatives of a dead person, possessing a skin, might givesmall portions from the back or breast to their friends of othertribes, when meeting them. The receivers would lament again overthe skin when in their own camp, but having been given this, theyfelt quite safe about their men relations visiting the tribe of thedeceased, for this giving of skin meant that the recipient was notconnected in any way with suspicion.

The bodies of children were never skinned, they were placed upon trees unless in extra good condition, when they would be eaten.Very young children or babies were roasted whole, and womengenerally ate them. In some instances babies were killed at birth,and then eaten by the old women—for instance, if the motherdied, for they blamed the child.

Cripples or deformed people were met with often enough among theaborigines, some with withered limbs, and these were invariablytreated kindly, as indeed were also all old people. Aborigineswould live to be seventy or eighty years of age, and if at any timethey were unable to fend for themselves, their relatives took themin hand, treating them with great respect and veneration. However,at death the bodies of cripples were just shoved anyhow into hollowlogs.

An aboriginal camp was always shifted immediately whenever adeath took place, and the trees round about where a native haddied, or where he had been eaten, would be nicked as a sign of whathad taken place.


Aborigines seldom had names alike, indeed they never had in thesame camp. In that respect they surely were more original than weare with our "Tom, Dick, and Harry," handed down from father toson. When an aboriginal child was about a week old, the motherwould, after consulting with her friends, give it some pet name.The child would be called by the name of some animal, fish, orbird, or perhaps by that of a hollow log, or Daylight, Sundown,Wind, Flood, Come-quick, Fetch-it, Go-away, Left-it, and so on. Thename, if the child was a girl, would remain with her, her lifethrough, but a boy's name was afterwards changed.

During a man's life he would possess three differentnames—the first as a child, the second when he wastransformed into a "kippa" (young man), and again the final when hebecame a grown man ("mallara") with a beard. This latter name wasdecided by men of his own tribe, and no special ceremony was held,but friends would consult about it during some corroboree. No manwas allowed to marry until he had come to possess his lastname.

Aboriginal boys were transformed into "kippas" in this wise.When they were a certain age, say from twelve to fifteen years,they went through a long ceremony, at the end of which they werelooked on as young men. There were two different ways in which thisceremony might be carried out; the simple or "Kurbingai" wasresorted to when there were not so many boys to be put through, andthese "kippas" did not take as high a rank as those who had gonethrough the greater ceremony, in the same way as a boy nowadays,who has been to an inferior school cannot be expected to be ascapable as another who has gone to a superior one. And often a boywould go through the greater ceremony when he had already beeninitiated at the "Kur-bingai."

The simpler ceremony was carried out as follows. When a certaintribe wished to convert their boys into kippas, they first pickedtwo men and sent them as messengers to a neighbouring tribe to seehow many boys there were in that tribe ready to be initiated.Arriving in the near neighbourhood of the camp, these men pausedand decorated themselves. First a mixture of charcoal and greasewas rubbed all over the body from head to foot, and this producedan extra glossy blackness. The aboriginals obtained plenty ofgrease from iguanas, snakes, fish, dugong, etc., and it was carriedabout with them in their "dillies" always, rolled up in nice softpieces of grass. They ate this grease at times, but apart from thatmust have used a great deal of it, for, whenever they wanted to"spruce up," they always rubbed themselves with grease andcharcoal. It was evidently to them what our bath is tous—they felt nice and fresh, and dressed, as it were. Thecharcoal was the same as that used dry to rub on wounds, and willbe referred to again. It was a very fine and soft powder, and mixedup well with the grease. When children were born, they were rubbedalmost immediately with this mixture—it made them blackerthan they would otherwise have been.

To return to the two messengers. After anointing themselves inthis fashion they would stick either feathers or swan's down intheir hair with more grease and then, according to the tribe towhich they belonged, they decorated their bodies either in red,yellow, or white designs or patterns. After that, loitering tillthe sun went down, and darkness was upon them, they made towardsthe camp, each beating two boomerangs together, and singing, asthey went, the recognised "kippa" song; till from the camp came ananswering cry, the blacks there taking up the song and beatingtheir boomerangs, giving thus an invitation to enter. Themessengers would do so, and the song was continued, and sung to afinish by the whole of the blacks assembled.

One can imagine how, after this, all would cluster round thevisitors, hearing and telling the news, talking over affairs, andmaking arrangements for the journey to the scene of action, wherethe first tribe were camped. The journey was probably undertakennext day, and the messengers were accompanied by the whole tribe,with the exception of two men, who in turn went to their nextneighbours; and so in the same way the news was carried from tribeto tribe, till all the people round about—men, women, andchildren—were finally gathered together for the ceremony.

In the meantime the blacks at the appointed place were not idle;they would build a large bush fence or shade (some distance awayfrom the main camp), formed in a half-circle, to be used in thedaytime as a protection from the sun, for the boys, and also partlyto hide them. Two or three huts nicely fashioned from tea-tree barkwere also put up about one hundred yards from the bush shade, andthese last were the sleeping abodes for the youngsters. Though eachfresh tribe as it arrived would camp just as it was for the firstnight—men, women, and children together—the women hadafterwards to build their own huts some good distance from theboys' Quarters.

The morning after the arrival of each tribe, the youngsters whowere to go through the ceremony would all be taken away from thecamp, so that they could not hear what their parents and otherswere talking about there, and when they were out of sight thefathers, mothers, and the rest would get together and suggest namesfor the boys. When agreed as to each name, the men would proceed towhere the boys were, leaving the gins behind and, when there, a"turrwan," going up to a boy, would whisper in his ear a name, thenturning round, would call it out in a loud voice, the result beinga regular roar and howl as the others present took up the name.After each boy had had his turn, the men would start singing the"kippa" song, then all proceeded back to camp, the boys returningto their parents.

This little preliminary over, the men of one tribe would go toanother tribe and demand the lads from their mothers, who, ofcourse, had to submit. These men must be of no relation to theboys. They would take them again into the bush, far enough away sothat the gins could not see nor hear them, and there they gave theboys their instructions. The youngsters were told that they mustnot, on pain of death, ask for anything, in fact speak at all;neither must they eat eggs, roes of fish, nor any female animal,and they must not look up to the sky. If they desired even toscratch themselves, they must do it, not with their hands, but witha stick. The men maintained that if the boys looked up the skywould fall and smother them, and the youngsters were made tobelieve this. Some, I suppose, were more credulous than others. Asfor the non-eating of eggs, roes, etc., that was kept up after theceremony—in fact, the boys were not allowed to eat thesethings till they had become grown or full-bearded men. My fatherused to think the idea a good excuse for the old people to claimthe best and daintiest food.

An instrument called the "bugaram" was now brought into use; itwas a thin piece of wood a quarter of an inch thick, cut in theshape of a paper knife, and was about seven inches long and twoinches wide; it was attached by means of a hole at the end, to astring eight or nine feet long, and when swung round the head wouldmake a roaring noise like a bull. The gins, who were never allowedto see a "bugaram," and to whom the actual ceremony of kippa-makingwas never revealed—for if they were discovered seeking outthe secrets of the mystery they would certainly bekilled—were persuaded that the "great men" actually swallowedthe boys, afterwards vomiting them up again on the day of the"great fight," which ended the ceremonies. The unearthly roaringsounds made with the "bugaram" were supposed by the gins to be thenoise the "great men" made in swallowing.

After sounding these instruments and displaying them for sometime before the boys (of whom there might be some fifteen ortwenty), the men took their charges to the bush shade prepared fortheir use, and here they were placed lying down on the ground inthe half-circle, each boy's head on another's hip. In this positionthey stayed till they tired, when they might sit up with their legscrossed tailor fashion, but only provided their heads were coveredwith an opossum rug. For sitting up, they were out a little fromthe shelter of the bushes, and could otherwise see the sky.Sentries (old men) armed, of course, were posted over the boys,pre-pared to spear any youngster who might be tempted to look up orlaugh, or otherwise break through the rules, and the rest of themen went out hunting, generally returning before sunset, when theygave the boys something to eat and drink. Father, who saw all theseceremonies when a boy, would sometimes plague the lads when the oldwarriors had their backs turned, tempting them to look up, etc.;the bays would grin and perhaps do so, though they dare not beforethe men. Children, black and white, are much the same the worldover, I suppose, and of course these boys would speak if they gotthe chance.

When dusk came on the men would assemble in a crowd before theboys, and go through all sorts of antics—jumping, anddancing, and laughing, and mimicking everything they could thinkof. With their fun they tried to tempt the boys to laugh and speakor look up; and they chaffed the lads considerably, shouting thattheir mothers were calling and appealing to their superstitiousnotions. The capers some of these men would cut, and the way theywalked and talked and strutted about, must indeed have beenlaughable. They would get hold of fire sticks, and two or threewould perhaps hold a poor, unfortunate companion by the shouldersand legs in mid-air, while yet another would poke a fire stick athim from below, making him squirm and jump. Even that would notbring a laugh from the boys, who knew better, having been warnedbeforehand.

In addition to all this, the men went through with a half song,half dance, which was kept sacred for these occasions, and was asecret from all the womenfolk. They also played with the"wobbalkan," an instrument like a "bugaram," only smaller, being aflat piece of wood one inch wide, and four inches long, which wastied fast to three feet of string, ending, unlike the "bugaram," ina handle similar to that of a stock-whip; and like a whip it wasused, making a humming noise when whirled round; then, as it wascracked, the noise resembled the bark of a dog. The boys beheldthese for the first time; they were too precious for everyday use;women never saw them.

With regard to the "bugaram" and "wobbalkan," the writer can sayfrom experience that there is no exaggeration in the description ofthe noises made, the bark, for instance, being remarkably like thatof a dog. No wonder the gins were afraid and crouched back intotheir huts, not knowing what the sound came from. Thirty or so ofthese going all at once would make a frightful row, and in the darkit would be most uncanny. The peculiar sound struck a chord ofdoubtful sympathy in our dog's nature one day evidently, whenFather twirled and cracked a "wobbalkan" to show us its nature, forthe animal ran as though he never meant to come back again.

To return to the kippa-making. This trial of the boys, as itwere, was kept up for a couple of hours or so; then in pairs thelads were marched off with their heads covered, two men leading theway with spears and waddies, the rest walking on either side, untilthey arrived at their sleeping camp, where they were put into thehuts for the night, men camping all round them. Much the same sortof programme was carried out day and night for three or four weeks,at the end of which time (according to this lesser ceremony) theboys had become "kippas."

Always after "kippa-making," the blacks had a great fight. Toprepare for this event, each boy was now taken in hand by ablackfellow belonging to a tribe other than his own, who woulddress him up. First, it goes almost without saying, that the ladswere rubbed over with charcoal and grease from head to foot; theywould not be dressed other-wise. Then their noses were painted redwith a fine red powder procured by rubbing two stones ("Cinnabar"sulphide of mercury) together (these stones could only be got incertain places), and when rubbed into the skin this powder produceda beautifully glossy colour. On any important occasion, the blackmen always had their noses red; bodies were painted in differentstyles, but noses were all the same. So it was with the boys.

I have described how a man in full dress would perhaps be allwhite down one side, and black the other, and so on, according tohis tribe, and these boys were now painted in the same way. Also,like the men, they would have the various bands and beltsmentioned. In addition, however, a "kippa" would wear asnake-throttle tied round his forehead, which had previously beencut out, slit open, and wound round a stick to keep it flat. Thisbelonged especially to a "kippa's" dress, as did also a sort oftail which hung from the back of one of the forehead bands, almostto the ground. This tail ("wonggin") was made from opossum hair,twisted up on the thigh into strings. Similar strings were worncrosswise over the chest and back, forming what was called a"barbun." The rest of the dress was similar to a man's—theparrot feathers, or the swan's down, the necklace, etc.

When a boy was ready dressed, he would have a small "dilly"presented to him, which had been made especially by his mother orsister. He never owned such a thing before, though he might oftenplay with one. The string handle would be put over his head, andthe bag itself under his arm. He would carry red powder for hisnose in this, also a "wobbalkan," which latter was given him thathe might play with it when alone in camp. Being now "full dressed,"he was allowed to speak.


After this dressing up of the boys a time was arranged for the"great fight." Two men were sent to the gins to order them, with afew old men, to move the whole camp to a ridge bordering an openpiece of country suitable for a fight. The gins, who would startoff first, had sometimes to go perhaps miles, though it wasgenerally to a stated place, where fights were often held. Therethe camps were arranged about one hundred yards from each other,the different tribes having theirs faced north, south, east, orwest, according to that part of the country they had come from. Onentering a camp, Father could tell at a glance to where any of thetribes belonged, by noticing the huts. For the doorways pointed towhence they had come, even in spite of the wind, which could beguarded against by breakwinds of bushes. However, if wet weatherset in, and things could be improved by the turning round of a hut,it was done. The boys or "kippas" had their camps made some sixhundred yards from the others, and when these were occupied,several old men were left in charge.

The day of the fight would come round, and the women thenrepaired to the open piece of ground selected, having with themeach a yam-stick with a small bunch of bushes tied to the end. Ayam-stick ("kalgur") is like a spear, but thicker; it is about sixfeet long, and tapers to a point; men never used it, but women did,as a weapon and also for digging for wild yams—the roots of avine, something similar to sweet potatoes, which the natives werefond of. Sticking these yam-sticks in the ground on front of them,the gins would stand awaiting the arrival of the newly-made"kippas," and the men, seeing they were ready, would start off withtheir charges down towards the fighting-ground.

Before starting, the youngsters would be formed in a line of twodeep, with two great men, each a "turrwan," taking the lead, andthese men were armed with spears, waddies, and boomerangs, and weredressed as for a fight, with paint and feathers or down on theirbodies, like the boys, according to their tribe. Like the boys,also, each man's nose was a glossy red, but through it he wore hisbone. Then he had the human hair belt—as they were great men.Each boy would be armed with two little spears, a boomerang stuckin his belt, and a small shield, also a waddy. In addition, he nowwore a fringe of green bushes stuck in the belt round hiswaist.

When the youngsters were ready to start, with the two men in thelead, the others, also dressed up, would range themselves behind,and on either side of the boys, then before moving they all gave anunearthly yell to let the gins know they were starting. Off theywould then go in a half trot, half walk, singing a war song as theyproceeded, and beating time with their waddies and boomerangs,keeping good time too, though they made a frightful row. When thegins saw them approaching, they also would start dancing about andsinging, apparently rejoiced at the reappearance of the "kippas,"who with the men would, when they came up, career gaily round thegroup of women three times, dancing and yelling their hardest. Thenthe women would snatch up their yam-sticks and point with the bushyend at whichever boy was their son or relation, and the boys wouldgrasp the bushes, pulling them off and putting them under theirarms, and all danced round again thrice as before.

The "kippas" divided into companies then, each to his own tribe,standing in line about thirty yards apart. The old warriors of thetribe stood behind them, and the women in a third rank behindagain. The newly-made "kippas" would then fall upon each other,fighting with their little spears and waddies, the rest looking on,no doubt enjoying the fun, which would last some twenty minutes orso.

After that the serious business of the day began, the "kippas,"drawing back, and the seasoned warriors taking their place in theplay. The young fellows would generally fight in solemn earnest,burning to earn distinction; but the elders had many an ancientfeud to satisfy, many a story of murder and abduction theyremembered when they saw the grim line of painted warriors beforethem, and the fight was sure to be a fierce one, the excitementgrowing as the blows increased. What a gruesome sight it must havebeen! Spears would fly fast, waddies sound with a crash againstthick skulls, and blood would flow freely. Also the women fromoutside, and the men who were too old to join in, would hurlsticks, stones, and curses in amongst the fighters, who chased andfought each other, keeping on the go for about an hour. All thetime the young fellows looked on and learnt, probably thinking ofthe time when they would be able to do as well or better, as is theway with young people. Becoming exhausted at the end of a certaintime, the warriors would take a well-earned rest, each sidesquatting down on the ground some two hundred yards apart.

It was remarkable to notice what little real harm was done afterall this fierce excitement, though the wounds in some cases seemedghastly enough. Should any one be killed, that ended hostilitiesfor the time. Otherwise, it would not be long before two men of oneside would jump up, and frantically running half-way across to theothers, they would brandish and wave their spears in a mostthreatening manner, as though to say, "Come along, youblack-hearted villains, and just see what you will get!" The"black-hearted villains" weren't to be frightened, however, and toshow their contempt for any such threat, and that they would not bebehind-hand in any fight, they were soon on their feet goingthrough exactly the same sort of antics themselves, as the othersretreated. Back would come the other two to threaten again, and soon, turn about, till at last all these threats ended in a challengefrom four or five of one side to the same number on the other for asingle-handed fight, man to man.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (7)

Catchpenny, or "Gwai-a" (Bribie Tribe)

The challenge was, of course, accepted, and the men then gotinto position, twenty or thirty yards apart, and began to throwspears and waddies at each other. Father says it was just wonderfulto see how the weapons were dodged; there perhaps would scarcely bea wound inflicted, even though things would be kept going forhalf-an-hour or so.

When this handful of blacks had played out their little part ofthe play, a "turrwan" of one tribe would rise up majestically andchallenge a man of another tribe at whose door he laid the blame ofthe death of a relative. These two would then go at it, swearing atone another, fighting, too, at close quarters, which the others hadnot done. They would both hold a stone knife in their teeth, notusing it at first, but doing their best to strike each other withwaddies, protecting themselves with shields. The shields used whenwaddies were the weapons in use were stouter and thicker than thoseused as a protection from spears.

Sometimes one man would receive a blow on the head, sometimes onthe leg, and the moment a blow found its way home thus, shields andwaddies were dropped at once, and the two men would close in, usingthe left arm and hand to clutch the enemy, while with the stoneknife, now in the right hand, they would stab and hack at eachother, cutting great gashes in the shoulders and back or thighs ofthe opponent. They dared not cut the breast, nor indeed any frontpart of the body; if those looking on saw this done they wouldinterfere immediately and kill the offender. The onlookers alsotook upon themselves to separate the two if they thought one wasreceiving more than his due share, and the friends of the mostseverely wounded promptly gave the other a few more gashes to makethings equal!—the victor being bound to stand quietly andsubmit to this being done. They fought very fiercely, these men;some of the gashes were terrible. Father has seen dozens on theirbacks, and sometimes extra deep ones on their thighs. To heal thewounds, they used charcoal powder, and sometimes just wood ashespounded down.

The aborigines never laid up with their wounds, though onewonders at it. Father has seen in a fight the skin of the head cutright through to the skull with a waddy. These deep cuts on thehead were treated in the same way as those on the body—justcharcoal put in them, and the wounds seemed to recover in a fewweeks' time. It would without doubt kill a white man to be treatedin the same way.

This fighting was kept up on the whole for about five hours inthe fore part of the day. After these champions had had their "go,"other fighting men would follow, and so on. When all was ended,everybody would retire to camp, the "kippas" who were thus beinginitiated into the art of warfare, being escorted to their quartersby a dozen men. The rest of the day was employed in hunting forfood, and at night the boys would play with the "wobbalkan" andwatch the men dance, etc. This was not for one day only, but forabout a week the fight went on, at the end of which time the"kippas" were supposed to be fighting men, able to fight their ownbattles. All through, though, they were kept away from theirmothers, and for three months or so after this they did not returnto the women's camp, but would hunt and camp with the elder men,keeping more or less to their dress, meanwhile.

After the great fight was over the "kippas" would have theirnoses pierced, and their bodies ornamented with scars, the latterbeing done in different ways, according to the tribe to which theybelonged. The natives here did not tattoo, but marked their bodies.The nose-piercing and body-marking was generally done in dull, dampweather, if possible, the idea being that it would not hurt so muchthen. And when all was over, the visiting tribes would depart tojourney homewards, taking each with them their own "kippas," oryoung men, the latter travelling apart from the others.

The greater ceremony of kippa-making was carried out in thefollowing fashion, and what is known as the "bora" ceremony ofother tribes is not unlike it. First a circle—called "bul" bythe Brisbane blacks, and "tur" by the Bribie Island tribe—wasformed in the ground, very like a circus ring, the earth being dugfrom the centre with sharp sticks and stone tomahawks, and carriedto the outside on small sheets of bark to form a mound or edginground the ring about two feet high. The circle itself was aboutforty or fifty feet across, and was quite round. Then a road fivefeet wide was made from the circle, running about six hundred yardsto another smaller circle, just the same, but half the size.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (8)

All along both sides of the roadway were placed peculiar imagesin clay or grass, two or three feet high, of kangaroos, opossums,native bears, emus, turtles, snakes, fish, and nearly all sorts ofanimals, as well as of men. Images were also cut in the bark oftrees which grew along the roadway.

Now a straight wattle tree was sought for, measuring from eightto nine inches through the trunk, and the blacks would grub allround this tree three feet or so away from the stem, cutting theroots through, and so falling it. This was easily done, as thewattle has no tap-root, and the other roots are all spread out nearthe surface. They were nice and flat these roots, and the blackswould trim them up a little, and also top the tree, leaving thebarrel about eleven feet in length. Then the whole thing would belifted and carried to the smaller circle where, in the centre, ahole three feet deep had been dug ready to receive it. The stemwould be well rammed into this hole, and the roots being uppermost,they would be laced with wattle bark, so making a sort of network,beautifully done, resembling somewhat the bottom of a large canechair; and this formed a platform six feet across. This stump orplatform the natives called "kakka," meaning "somethingwonderful."

The remains of a "kippa-ring," as we call it, may still be seennear Humpybong. There used to be one at North Pine, opposite towhere the blacksmith's shop now stands, and another at Samford.

As in the lesser ceremony, messengers were sent to aneighbouring tribe, and they would act in just the same way asthen, but this time, they carried a notched stick as a sign of whatwas to take place, and which pointed out, as it were, that a numberof boys were ready to be transformed into "kippas." The stick, onbeing presented to a "turrwan," meant an invitation for the tribeto come and bring along their boys.

While this was going on the blacks at the ring were busy fixingit up for the ceremony, and making their camps two hundred yardsaway. Sometimes two or three weeks would pass before all thedifferent tribes rolled up, and every batch of fresh arrivals fellto, like a lot of busy ants or bees, and made their own huts. Thetime, too, was employed in hunting for food, and so it passed tillthe tribes had all assembled. Then the boys would be taken away,and in their absence names were suggested for them, also they hadto listen to the instructions about speaking and eating, etc.

This finished, the youngsters were packed off to the large ring,and there they were placed inside, lying down all round the ring,each boy's head on another's hip—there would be probablyforty or fifty of them. The gins would go into the circle, anddance and sing the "lappa" song for about half-an-hour, the mendoing the same on the outside. Then the boys were made to sit up intwos all round on the mound, a space between each pair, their legsinside the ring, and a gin standing outside behind each boy—amother, sister, or some other relation. The singing would go on allthe time, and the boys must never look up at the sky, but simplystraight ahead.

Several men carrying boomerangs would now enter the ring, and aman going up to each boy would point at him with the boomerang. Theboy was supposed to catch hold of the end and, at the moment thathe did so, a gin behind clutched him by the hair of the head andlifted him up. Then, still holding on, the lads would follow themen across the ring, the gins behind, till they came to where theroadway started out to the smaller circle. Here the women wereordered back by the old warriors, and they remained in the largerring dancing and singing till the boys returned. They were neverallowed to go up this roadway, nor might they see the "kakka" onpain of death.

The boys were shown the images lining both sides of the way, themen drawing their attention to them with the continualcry—"Kor-e, kor-e, kor-e" ("Kor-é," with the e accented andsounded as an a, means "wonder"). Thus they would reach the smallercircle, where in the centre the "kakka" stood supreme, and on thisplatform five or six blacks would be found standing, freshlyblackened and all dressed up. These gentlemen were the great men ofthe day—they were all "turrwans," and when the boys appearedbefore them each man would pull a "kundri" stone from his mouth,showing it to the boys as much as to say, "Look at this wonder."They would also point out the "kakka" as something marvellous. Theboys from their babyhood had been taught to look on the "kundri"and its possessor with awe, and though they had never seen a"kakka" before, they had heard mysteriously of its wonders.


When the boys had been shown all there was to be seen in thesmaller circle, they were taken again to the larger one, and thereplaced as before, with the men and women all round outside, dancingand singing, some quite close, and others fifty yards or so awayfrom the ring. Then down the roadway would come the warriors fromthe "kakka" and, going up to each boy, a man would whisper in hisear the name formerly agreed on; then out this name would beshouted, and the roaring and singing and dancing which followedcontinued for the space of half-an-hour, when it gradually ceasedand died down. After that the gins and a few old men were left incharge, while the others went out hunting, to return with food, asupply of which they gave to the boys.

At night, the lads, still in twos round the ring, were treatedto a "fireworks" display. "Kundri" men would come running down theroadway to the big ring, with small fire sticks in either hand, andthese they would shake and brandish in front of the boys as theyran round the ring, making a great noise all the time. The men andwomen on the outside added to the row by singing and dancing, andthey also carried fire sticks, twisting them into all shapes andforms with their movements.

It was a sight worth seeing. Let us in fancy look at it in thesolitude of the bush. The dark forms ever on the move, the firesticks twisted into fantastic shapes and hoops of fire, lighting upthe little sober faces of the boys as they sat round the ring,watching the performance. And the white boy looking on at it all.What were his thoughts of it? To him it was a common occurrence;but to us, could we but see it now, it would, indeed, be a strangeand memorable scene. And as we look, the men in the ring, afterrunning till they surely tire, stand and brandish their sticks forthe last time, then cast them into the centre of the ring, wherethey blaze up, illuminating the night. This would end theperformance, and the "kippas" were marched to the special campprepared for them away from the others.

The next morning, after the cry for the dead and the early meal,etc., the "kippas" were once more taken to the ring, and placedthere in the old position with the men and women singing round themas usual. In the bush, fifty yards away, dark forms were hidden,two on either side of the ring. These were some of the great men,and presently one lot would start whistling as a sort of warning ofwhat they meant to do, and, being answered by their companions ofthe opposite side, they would all then go forward with a dance anda song to where the gins were, and start chasing the latter,calling to them to be off and camp by themselves, taking also theirbelongings. These poor creatures were threatened with instant deathif they disobeyed, or came near and dared to look at anything aboutthe ring. If black women are as curious as we are supposed to be,this was hard lines! Let us hope they are not.

After the women had gone out of sight and hearing, the youngmen, or "kippas," were taken to their quarters, and there fullydressed in the style described before. The men also dressed intheir fighting dress and, when ready, they marshalled the boys backto the ring. The youngsters then were shown the "bugaram" and the"wobbalkan," the men swinging the former and making it sound, alsoplaying with the latter, and instructing the boys how to use it. Inbetween, too, they would sing and dance the secret corroboree thatthe women must never hear nor see.

Each boy would now be presented with his "dilly," and the"wobbalkan" to put in it. Afterwards the men began to pick quarrelswith each other, calling names, and wrestling, even throwing oneanother to the ground; and this was all for the boys' benefit, thatthey might be tempted to speak. They were tempted in every way,spoken to, laughed at, jeered at—all as in the lesserceremony.

The second night the boys were taken up the roadway, and shownthe wonders there, by firelight this time. Their guides would carrylighted torches, and all along on both sides bright fires burned,casting their radiance on the fantastic figures which lined theway, and thus stood out in strange relief. They went on thus to thesmaller circle, and there the "kakka" came in for a share ofattention.

This sort of thing went on day and night for two or three weeks,sometimes longer; then a time was fixed for the "great fight." Butbefore that event came off, the boys would be one day taken fromthe big ring along the roadway to the smaller one, where they weremade to stand facing the "kakka" with the great men thereon. Hardlywould they be so placed when half-a-dozen blacks would come with aroar and a rush, and, grabbing hold of the "kakka," would shake itwith a will, the warriors on top pulling the "kundri" from theirmouths, and crying, "Look at this wonder." Still the men went onshaking until the "kakka" became quite loose, when they would liftit out of the hole (the warriors still on top), and lay it down onthe ground. The boys looking on would now have their heads coveredwith opossum rugs, so that they could not see what was done, andthe "kakka" was chopped into little pieces and scattered here andthere.

This over, the boys were taken to their camp and allowed tospeak. Perchance, before the fight they had their noses pierced, orperhaps it was after. Placed again round the large ring, they satwhile a "turrwan" went one behind and one in front of each boy. Theman in front would have long sharp nails, and with these he pinchedthrough the soft part of the boy's nose; that done he thrust asmall sharp spear through the opening, after which a piece of stickformed for the purpose three inches in length was put in, and thiswas kept there till the nose healed. Every day during the healingperiod water was poured on, and the stick was turned round Thenafterwards a round ball of bees' wax was kept in the hole for abouta month in order that it might be kept open.

All the time the boring of the nose was going forward, the"turrwan" at the back would keep beating, with his open hands, theboy's ears, and making a roaring noise. This was supposed toprevent the youngster from feeling pain! The "kippas" would remainin full dress during all this time, and when the nose-piercing wasover, all proceeded towards where the gins were camped, but the"kippas" still kept from their women friends, having their campapart as usual.

Each night now the young fellows would play with the"wobbalkan," making it hum and bark like a dog, and the men madethe "bugaram" roar, so that the gins in their camps, hearing thesenoises, grew afraid, and kept well inside their huts, thinking nodoubt that the poor boys were being swallowed.

For "kippa" making the aborigines did not each time make freshrings, but there were certain ones that different blacks alwaysused, and these they would fix up. For instance, the natives comingfrom the direction of Ipswich, Cressbrook, Mount Brisbane (inlandblacks) would, with the Brisbane tribe, generally use the ring atSamford, while the Logan, Amity Point, North Pine, Moreton andBribie Islands blacks (coast tribes) had their ring at North Pine.Others again from further north, such as the Maroochy, Noosa,Kilcoy, Durundur, and Barambah blacks would use the Humpybong ring.But it depended on which tribe had the most boys ready for theceremony, and did the inviting. If a coast tribe invited, then allthe others went to the ring that tribe would naturally use, and soon.

In the same way, there was generally a certain picked place forholding the fight after "kippa" making. The inland tribes went fromthe Samford ring to the site of the Roma Street Railway Station inBrisbane, and the coast tribes went either to Eagle Farm or to whatused to be known as York's Hollow, where the Exhibition now is.

The great fight I have already described, and when that was overthe "kippas" had their various ornaments taken off and put in adilly, and these were kept for another occasion for fresh boys.Boys who had gone through the "kippa" ceremony thought a great dealof themselves. Father was often amused at the way in which a smallboy—a "kippa" though—would lord it over a much biggerone who was not yet a "kippa." He would tweak the other's ear, pullhis hair, and otherwise treat him disrespectfully, and the big chapwould be bound to submit as quite an inferior. Or the little fellowwould chase the other as hard as he could go, his string tailflying out behind, and it was all quite right! How would white boyslike this?

It was the duty of the "kippas" to leave no trace behind of the"bugaram" or the "wobbalkan." They were supposed to burn theseinstruments when finished with, so that the gins might not seethem.

At the end the boys were marked with body scars, on the back,the breast, and on the shoulders and arms, in patterns according tothe tribe to which they belonged. These marks were made with sharpflint stones or shells, and had fine charcoal powder rubbed intothem. It was remarkable how the scars became raised after a shorttime; a white man's skin is not the same. Father saw "Duramboi"(Davis, the convict) after he had lived seventeen years with theblacks, and his body was marked, but the scars were flat, notraised as those of the blacks.

When all the ceremonies were over the blacks would still linger,hunting by day and having their corroborees by night, andthen—as always after any gathering, even a fight—theywould in the end part well pleased with each other, and excellentfriends. But before leaving any common meeting ground, theaborigines always exchanged possessions. For instance, the inlandblacks would give weapons, opossum rugs, dogs, etc., to the coastblacks for dillies made of rushes that grew only on the coast,shells for ornaments, and reed necklaces. It was a great practice,this intertribal exchange of various articles, and accounts for theway in which some weapon for instance, or perhaps a dilly bag,might be found far from its original home, having gradually madeits way after many years to scenes and pastures new. So when someinstrument was found in the possession of a certain tribe it didnot by any means follow that they had originally made thatinstrument.

I may mention here that the aborigines, men and women, all hadthe same body markings—that is, in the same tribe, for alldifferent tribes had different patterns. Each individual receivedthem as children; little boys or girls, when old enough, might betaken at any time and marked, without any ceremony, by old men(never women) of the tribe. However, boys could never receive theirshoulder marks till they had come to the "kippa stage."

Another practice was that of removing the left little finger ofall young girls. This was to show that they were fishing or coastwomen. When nine or ten years of age a little girl would have herfinger performed on by her mother, or some old woman, in this way.The gin would hunt round for some strong spider's web, and get thestring from this, or, failing that, she obtained some long hairfrom a man's head (women's hair was always short), and then withthis she would bind round and round the little finger on the firstjoint as tightly as possible. In time the string would cut into thejoint and the finger would swell up, the end mortifying. At thisstage the child was taken to an ant-bed, and there the woman satpatiently holding the finger for some hours, allowing the ants toget at it (but preventing them from going up the arm), till suchtime as they had eaten into the joint, and so caused the end tocome off easily. Afterwards the skin grew over the bone.

This was a regular practice with the blacks living on the coast;the inland people never did it. It was not done out of any hardnesstowards the children, but as a matter of course. Indeed, theaborigines were very fond of and kind to their children, and werecontinually "skylarking" with them. They would dress the littlepickaninnies up, even painting them, and then get them to dance andgo through with mimic corroborees, etc., laughing and thinking it agreat joke when the children responded. They also took a lot oftrouble and interest in the way of teaching them to swim, climb, oruse weapons of all sorts.


In contrast to white people, the aborigines wore red whenmourning for the dead. Black being their natural colour, it wouldnot of course express anything as it does with us. Red was put onall over the body, even the face, and then for deep mourning (forinstance, if the deceased were a brother or sister) splashes ofwhite clay relieved the monotony here and there. It was only theold people who troubled to mourn thus, however; and the old gins inaddition wore feathers coloured red, stuck in little bunches hereand there in the hair with bees' wax. (The bees' wax, which wascarried about in dillies, would be warmed and put on the feathers,and then quickly, ere it hardened, the little bunches would bestuck in the hair—the women helping one another.) The closefriends and relatives would remain so adorned for a month or two,but other old people, putting on mourning, would discard it againin a few days' time.

The red colouring used for mourning was not the same as thatused for reddening noses. They were both got from stones, but thelatter was more uncommon, and the Turrbal tribe could only obtainit by barter with inland blacks. In both instances, two stones wererubbed together, and the powder coming from them just rubbed intothe skin, but the mourning colour was a dull red, while the otherwas beautifully bright and glossy. Red colouring was called"kutchi," which, however, was the name given to any paint.

When putting on white clay ("banda") the natives would wet apiece well with their tongue, and so plaster it on. The yellowcolouring, or "purgunpallam," used at other times (never formourning) was obtained from a toadstool (Polysaccum olivaceum)which grew, strange to say, always beside a big ant's nest. Myfather says to his knowledge they never grew anywhere else. Theywere big and round, these toad-stools, and were full of a yellowpowder which the blacks rubbed dry into their skins. Whitetoadstools of the same shape are common enough.

For a woman about to become a wife, there was no painting up ofthe body, neither was there any particular ceremony or rejoicing ofany kind. The aborigines, however, were most strict and particularwith regard to their marriage laws—indeed, they would notdream of allowing things we do; for instance a man might not evenmarry any of his former wife's relations, and those we call cousinsand second cousins were quite out of the question. Marriages weregenerally arranged without the contracting parties having any saywhatever in the matter, and a man would often so get a wife from atribe other than his own, though this wasn't necessary.

At corroborees the different tribes exchanged their goods, suchas shields, spears, nets, etc., and often they made use of the sameoccasion to give and take wives. It was always a correctthing—indeed a general rule—for a "turrwan" of onetribe to give his daughter to the son of a great man of another,and then the son's father gave his daughter back for the other'sson. Or else they exchanged sisters. Or perhaps in the corroboreethere would be a man who danced and joked especially well, this manwould take the fancy of a "turrwan" in an opposite tribe, and so hewould generously present the capable young fellow with hisdaughter, or if he had none, his sister or next relation. Then theyoung man who had gained such a prize would give back his sister tothe old man's son, and so on, for it was always give and take.

If there was a widower in the camp, and the others thought himdeserving of a wife, or if there was a man unmarried and deserving,the blacks would consult together to choose a wife for him withouthis knowledge. Then, if all relations agreed, the gin would be toldby her friends who was to be her husband, and the man would be toldin the same way whom he had to take for his wife.

In spite of all this arranging, two young people would sometimesmake use of their own fancy, and run away together. There was sucha thing as that inconvenient passion called love amongst theaborigines, I suppose. These two young unfortunates would befollowed and brought back after a time, and straight away a fightwas arranged between their respective tribes. If his friends shouldwin, he was allowed to keep her, but, should her party have thebetter of it—then, oh injustice!—she was beaten and cutabout most frightfully, almost killed, and the pair were separated,she being sent back to her parents. Woman—poor woman—isthere no justice for you anywhere?

Sometimes when these exchanges were being made, a littlegirl—a mere baby—of five or six years, might be givento a man of thirty or forty. However, she would stay with herparents until she was about fourteen years old. Then one day a hutwould be made and a fire built in it, and the blackfellow would goalone into the hut, and sit beside the fire, the mother and fatherwould bring the girl to him, leave her alongside and then walk awaywithout speaking a word. Ever afterwards the mother must shun herson-in-law, and if she saw him she covered her face. She, however,might speak to her daughter. A mother-in-law was called "bugo-i,"and she always avoided her son-in-law thus. Even with the blacks,you see, a son and mother-in-law were not supposed to "hit it,"indeed with them it was a law that there should be no communicationwhatever between the two. According to some people this law with uswould save trouble!

Different tribes would be related one to the other all over theplace by these intermarriages, and Father always found some womanfrom another tribe in every fresh one he came across. The womanbelonged to her husband's tribe then, and children were alwaysspoken of as their father's son or daughter, not their mother's.And if a man died and left a wife and family, his brother wassupposed to take the widow; if there were no brother, however, thenthe next male relation of the deceased was responsible. Failing anyrelation, the widow was given to a man the tribe thought shouldhave a wife, or perhaps if she and some man had a fancy for oneanother, and the friends did not object, their marriage wasallowed.

A great man, or "turrwan," might have two or three or even four,wives. In such a case he would take one out hunting when he went,leaving perhaps two to seek for roots and prepare them against hisreturn. Then next day a different one would accompany him, and soon. These wives all lived happily enough together—the poorsavages knew no greater happiness apparently, than to serve theirlord and master. They were useful in carrying the burdens from oneplace to another. A woman, because she was a woman, always carriedthe heaviest load. A man took his tomahawk, his spear, and waddy,and that sort of thing; a woman humped along the weighty kangarooand 'possum skin coverings, the dillies with eatables, andsometimes also a heavy little piece of goods in the form of achild. At times, too, she would carry tea-tree bark on her back forthe humpies, while ever and anon, as they travelled along, the menenjoyed themselves hunting and looking for "sugar-bags" (nativebees' nests), etc.

Sometimes old men (never young ones) would carry puppies tooyoung to walk, but it was mostly women who did this also.Aborigines were "awful fond" of their dogs—they were the onlypets they had. They would never by any chance kill a puppy, butwould keep every one, and this, no doubt, accounted for the poorcondition of these followers. Father says that even in old daysthey were a mangy-looking lot. Probably they did not get sufficientfood, but had to live on the scraps and bones thrown to them.However, a gin would nurse a puppy just as carefully as any baby;all dogs would sleep with their owners, and they would drink fromthe same vessel. Children—in spite of their parents' fondnessfor them—if they dared ill-use a dog, would call downtorrents of abuse upon their little black selves, and they would besmacked soundly. Dogs would be taught to hunt; they were alwaysnative dogs in the old times, but those of the white man soon gotamongst them, and my father knew one blackfellow who carried adomestic cat about with him.

The aborigines used always to declare that the "billing" (whatwe know as the small house bat) made all their menfolk, and the"wamankan" (night-hawk) made the woman. They did not eat either ofthese, but might catch and kill them. If the men got hold of a"wamankan" they would bring it into camp, and holding it up wouldchaff the women about it. They also chased the "fair sex" all overthe place with this hawk, and with it plagued the life out of themin every conceivable way. For instance, they rolled it up in barkas though it were a dead body ready for burial, and putting it overtheir shoulder strutted about so. But supposing the women gotpossession of a "billing," then their turn came, and the men werelaughed at and taunted and chased. This kind of thing wouldgenerally start with jokes and yells and screams of laughter, butsometimes it ended pretty seriously in big fights and squabbles.Great cuts and gashes would then be the result, the women fightingjust as viciously as the men.

A bird, the piping shrike-thrush (Collyricincla Harmonica,Latham), which the blacks christened "mirram," was always watchedwhen it came near a camp, and it was spoken to and asked questionsabout certain things. The blacks noticed whether it called out inreply or not, and they took warning and acted accordingly. If thebird were silent all was well. Supposing, however, in spite of itssilence something went wrong after all, then instead of losingfaith in the bird they blamed themselves for not having asked itthe correct question.

On one occasion, when my father returned from the Turon diggingsin 1851, he showed the blacks some gold dust, and they informed himthey knew where there was lots of it. So they took him to Samfordto a creek in the scrub there, and sure enough there was plenty"yellow" showing, but the white boy saw at once it was only mica.However, they camped for the night there in the scrub.

Samford was all wild bush then. As darkness was descending abird (a "mirram") came and settled on a branch above their heads,and called out. An old blackfellow got up and spoke to it, askingif there were any strange blacks in the neighbourhood. The bird didnot answer but flew away, so the natives felt safe. However, lateron, a sound like something heavy hitting against a hollow treebroke the stillness. The sound was rather peculiar: to this day myfather says he can hear it in fancy in the quietude of the scrub.He suggested that it was a tree falling; but his dark companionswould not hear of this, and began to lament and blame themselvesthat they had not spoken properly to the "mirram." It certainlywould have answered if they only had asked the right question! Theysaid the sound was a strange blackfellow knocking, and though itdid not occur again, nothing quietened them, and one man sat up allnight watching. All to no purpose though, for nothing happened. Itwas on the way back to Brisbane from this trip, next day, that theblacks showed Father the "kippa" ring at Samford.

If an aboriginal dreamt anything special at any time, he wouldalways repeat the dream to his companions, and they would take itseriously. A dream was called "pai-abun," and, during one, a manwould often see a person who had died, and imagine that he was toldto do this or that—probably kill some one. Also, if he sawanything dreadful in his dream he became exceedingly afraid, andwould be convinced that the awful things he saw were really tohappen. Again, if the moon or sun became eclipsed, it was a suresign to the natives of the death of some one. Lightning, too,frightened them, and they always hid their spears and tomahawksduring a storm. Spears when not in use were left standing uprightagainst the doorway of a hut, and Father says that as a storm cameup you would see the natives taking these and their tomahawk andlaying them down on the ground under tufts of grass. Later on whenthey had learnt the white man's habit of smoking they always tooktheir pipes from their mouths when a storm was raging.

The aborigines had peculiar habits with regard to illnesses. The"kundri"—the crystal stone before spoken of—was held tobe the cause of pretty well everything in that way. A great manpossessing one of these stones was always to the fore. Atcorroborees he would come forward and, wetting his breast with hishand, would shake himself and then, with a noise like a frog or acrow, would pull forth the string, with stone attached, from hismouth, amidst a great cry and wonder from the onlookers. Father hasseen one of these men kneeling and sucking a sick man's body on thepart where the pain was, then rising after a time, pull the"kundri" from his mouth, saying he had sucked it from thesufferer's body. There is said to be power in belief, and it wouldseem so, for the sick man, believing his enemy's stone was removed,would feel better and probably recover. The "turrwan" would be cuteenough not to do this if he thought the case hopeless.

Another idea was, when any one was ill, to tie 'possum hairstring round the invalid's ankles and wrists. Father has seen a manfar gone in consumption, with hair tied on thus, and also round andround his body; an old gin sitting about a yard off had hold of theend of the body string, and with both hands she dipped it into somewater she had ready in a "pikki" (pot made from bark, or theflower-leaf of the palm), and from the water to her mouth.Constantly she did this, and so urgently, that her gums bled freelywith the rubbing, and the water became thick with blood sheexpectorated into it. The sick man, seeing this, believed the womanhad taken bad blood from his body. It was habit to let out blood incases of swelling and bruises.

The natives cured headaches in the following fashion:—

Two big flat stones were procured, these were made very hot, andthen one would be placed on the ground with an opossum rug over it.On this the patient would lay his head and the other stone would beput on top of that again with another piece of rug in between toprevent burning. There the man would lie grinning for some time,until the great heat took the headache away. Two other cures theyhad for headaches—one was to dive under water, and stop thereas long as possible, and the other was a very hard knock on thehead with a waddy. The latter my father has given them many a time,at their request.

Often for pains such as toothache the blacks would burn with afire stick—(for instance on the cheek). Their idea must havebeen that one pain would cure another. Flesh wounds would we washedand scraped with a stick till they ceased to bleed, then, asmentioned, fine charcoal powder or ashes would be put onthem—sometimes even only ordinary dirt. It was wonderful howsplendidly they healed up under this treatment. The blacks werealways very good to their sick, but they had their own ideas ofkindness. If at any time a man became unconscious, to make himrecover, his ears would be banged and shouted into. So long as hecould hear he was thought to be better.

When my father first came to North Pine, pock marks were verystrong on some of the old men; they explained to him how thesickness had come amongst them long before the time of the whitepeople, killing off numbers of their comrades. Pock marks theycalled "nuram-nuram," the same name as that given to any wart.(From this Neurum Neurum Creek, near Caboolture, gets its name.)The scourge itself was "bugaram," and the latter was what theinstrument similar to the "wobbaklan" was called. There wasprobably some connection, in that they were both awe-inspiring intheir way. The "bugaram," which the women never saw, was no commoneveryday instrument, and was looked on with wonder, while small-poxwas something to be spoken of in a whisper and with bated breath.After the advent of the whites, consumption took hold of the race,and where before natives lived to a good old age, one would hardlysee any old people—their remarkable freedom from sicknessseemed to disappear.

The natives were great believers in the curative properties ofthe dugong. Father has seen sick blacks, unable to walk, apparentlyin consumption, carried carefully to the mouth of the BrisbaneRiver, and there put into canoes and taken across to Fisherman'sIsland to where dugong were being caught. There they would live forsome time on the flesh of the dugong, and the oil would be rubbedall over their bodies, and in the end they would return quitestrong and well. In the early days of Brisbane, my father mentionedhow he had seen this for himself, to Dr. Hobbs, who was greatlyinterested, and afterwards recommended the use of dugong oil as aremedy similar to cod-liver oil, and this is how it came to befirst used medicinally in Queensland.

If all the old aboriginals of Brisbane could come to life againthey would not recognise their country—the country we havestolen from them. If they went hunting in the forests, where wouldbe their spoil?—where, indeed, would they find the forests tohunt in? Oh! how they must have loved those forests—theirforests; and could they return now, their cry would surely be asdespairing as that of "Oenone," as Tennyson paints her lamentingthe destruction of

" tallest pines,
my tall dark pines, that plumed the craggy ledge."

Never, never more would she see "the morning mist sweep throughthem," and never more shall one of Australia's dark children seeBrisbane as God made it. "God made the country, man made the town."As the black hunted careless and free in those days long gone,little dreamed he of what his brother-white would do—littledreamed there was a brother-white.

The waters even have changed since those times. Dugong used tobe very plentiful then, when there was nothing much in the way ofdisturbances. The blacks would catch them at Fisherman's Island, atSt. Helena, at a place near Dunwich they called "Gumpi," at BribiePassage, and at the mouth of the Pine River.


DUGONG.—For catching dugong the blacks used strong netsmade from the inside bark of a scrub vine (Malaisia tortuoso),which they called "nannam." This bark is exceedingly strong;indeed, pulling at it one cannot but be struck with its strength.To get the bark the blacks would cut the vine in lengths, and thenbeat these well with sticks until it peeled off easily with theteeth. This they would then soak in water for several days, at theend of which time the rough outer bark would be thrown away, whilewith their thumb nails the men would split the inner bark up intofibre. This fibre was dried and then twisted on their thighs intoexcellent string, which was very useful in many ways. On account ofits strength it was suitable for the "bugaram" and the "wobbaklan."These instruments were twirled round with great force, and thestring attached would indeed need to be strong. Then, also, netsfor large game or dugong needed great strength. Those for thelatter were formed of big meshes, and were sewn up in the shape ofhuge pockets; they were hand nets, and were finished off at the topby two pieces of stick ending in a handle. When making nets thenatives used to measure to get the correct size of mesh.

Dugong were only to be caught at certain seasons, and as thetime approached the blacks would be on the lookout. Seeing littlebits of seaweed floating on the water, they knew it was time toexpect what they awaited, for this seaweed spoke to them as it werewith the message that the dugong were coming. (Feeding on seaweedas they came along, they naturedly broke off little bits.) Two orthree men would, therefore, climb tall trees near at hand, and keepwatch, for with the tide the dugong often came in, making towardsthe banks near the shore, where they got more seaweed. Coming up tomake their peculiar blowing sound as they swam in, the creatureswould, of course, expose themselves to the gaze of the watchers onthe trees, who would at once let their companions know without aword or sound by signalling and pointing out the direction withtheir hands. Then two blacks would get into a canoe and paddlequietly out, so as to get behind the dugong, another nine or tenwould go with their large hand-nets out into the water up to theirnecks, on the banks, and they would stand there all in line, eachholding an end of the other's net, as well as his own, so making aregular wall. Then, when the creatures came up to blow again nearthis trap, the men in the canoe would hit the water with sticks andmake a great noise, so frightening their prey towards the nets.When one got into the pocket of a net, the men would all help andhold on, till the creature rolled itself round and round, and sogot drowned. Sometimes they would catch an old and a young dugongin different nets, and sometimes just one huge chap, who would betoo strong to hold, and would have to be let go. However, in thiscase, next day they would probably find him floating drowned,rolled up in the net.

When a dugong or "yangon," (yung-un) was pulled ashore it wouldbe rolled up on to dry ground. The aborigines had a peculiarsuperstition that should the gins see a dugong before it was cut upit would not be fat—would not, in fact, be in good condition.The gins knew to keep out of the way when one was captured. Anotheridea was that a twig or piece of grass must be put at once in eachearhole, or else the creature would be no good. Then a large firewas made, and the dugong rolled into it, and more fire placed ontop, till the carcass was half-cooked. Then head and tail were cutoff, the back opened down the middle, and the blubber and fleshtaken from the ribs in a large flake. The whole carcass would becut up after that, and divided out, the gins, who were then allowedto come along with their pickaninies, getting their share, and arare old feast was indulged in, after the further cooking of thepieces.

Talking of dugong, here is an incident which really happened, inafter years, when the blacks used the white man's harpoon: Thescene was Amity Point, Stradbroke Island. Five blacks went out in awhale boat to catch dugong, and they succeeded in harpooning oneoff Pelican Bank, but when the creature had taken the whole lengthof rope, he broke it, and made off. The blacks, who were veryexcited, pulled after him with all their strength, one man, knownas Scroggins, standing up watching. He could see the dugongplainly, as the water was shallow with a white sandy bottom, and atlast by diving down he managed to catch the end of the rope,holding to it bravely while the dugong pulled him along. When thecreature came up to blow, Scroggins came up also, and when it wentdown, Scroggins went down, and so on for about eight hundred yards,when the wounded dugong gave in, and lay on the top of the water.In the meantime the four in the boat had done their best to keepup, and they now came upon poor Scroggins lying quite still withthe rope in his hands, so lifted him on board, still holding to it.Then they hauled in the rope till able to harpoon the dugong again,and so kill and take him ashore.

Scroggins was none the worse for his jaunt through the water,though he swallowed a lot at each ducking. He said he wasdetermined to hold to his prize or get drowned in the attempt, andwhen all the blacks were gathered together for the feast, theypraised him for his pluck, also laughed till tired at the way hewent up and under with the dugong. The incident was told anddescribed always at any corroboree or meeting afterwards, and was asource of great amusem*nt. One of these five blacks ("Noggi") isalive yet at Stradbroke.

PORPOISES.—The blacks never, by any chance, killedporpoises, for they said they helped to catch fish. When my fatherwas a boy, his father sent men down to Moreton Island to work atthe pilot station there. Once he accompanied these men to theisland, and while there went out with the blacks to see how theycaught tailor fish. These fish come inland in schools like seamullet. The blacks there called them "punba," and further north"dai-arli." They came in, in great numbers, generally at the timeof westerly winds, when the sea would be calm. From Father'sexperience at that island, he says it certainly looked as thoughthe porpoises understood, and were the friends of the blacks. Thefollowing is what he told me:—

"The sea would be calm, and there would be no sign anywhere of aporpoise ("Talobilla"); the blacks would go along the beach,jobbing with their spears into the sand, under the water, making aqueer noise; also beating the water with the spears. By-and-by, asif in response, porpoises would be seen as they rose to the surfacemaking for the shore and in front of them schools of tailor fish.It may seem wonderful, but they were apparently driving the fishtowards the land. When they came near, the blacks would run outinto the surf, and with their spears would job down here and thereat the fish, at times even getting two on one spear, so plentifulwere they.

"As each fish was speared, it was thrown to shore, and therepicked up by the gins. The porpoises would actually be swimming inand out amongst all this, apparently quite unafraid of the darkies.Indeed, they seemed rather to be all on good terms and I have, withmy own eyes, more than once seen a blackfellow hold out a fish on aspear to a porpoise, and the creature take and eat it. One oldporpoise was well known and spoken of fondly. He had a piece ofroot, or stick of some sort, stuck in his back, having evidently atone time run into something, and by this he was recognised, for itcould be seen plainly The blacks told me it had been in him foryears, and they declared that the great man of the island had putit there, thus making him the big fellow of the tribe of porpoises.I have seen this creature take fish from a spear, and the white menworking on the island told me they often saw him knocking aboutwith the blacks. At all times porpoises would be spoken of withaffection by these Moreton Island blacks (the Ngugi tribe), whosaid they never failed when [porpoises were] called to drive infish to them."

Since writing the above I have come across the writtenstatements of two early authorities on this same subject. Mr. JohnCampbell, after describing the way the blacks signalled to theporpoises, etc., says:—

"Doubtless this statement about the porpoises and blacks fishingtogether will be pronounced—as I myself did upon hearingit—to be a myth, in fact, all nonsense. But further inquiryand observation has convinced me that it was a fact, and anypersons doubting it can convince themselves by going to Amity Pointduring the fishing season. The blacks even pretend to ownparticular porpoises, and nothing will offend them more than toattempt to injure one of their porpoises."

Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, in "Genesis of Queensland" (page 290),talking of a scene he saw enacted at Amity Point, but no otherplace, says:—

"It was so curious, that the evidence of my own senses alonepermits me to mention it. Cause and effect, however, were, in thematter, quite intelligible.

"We know that porpoises drive the smaller fry into shallows, inwhich they are able more easily to prey upon them. The affrightedshoals leap, when so pursued, out of the water with loudsplashings; these, their hidden pursuers follow, as stock-keepersround up and keep their cattle together.

"At Amity Point, if the watchful natives can detect one of theshoals, so common in the offing there, a few of the men would atonce walk into the water and beat it with their spears. The waryporpoises would be seen presently coming in from seawards, fullyalive and accustomed to the summons, driving in the shoal towardsthe shelving beach. Scores of the tribe would be ready with theirscoop nets to rush in and capture all they could, but not beforethe men who had summoned their ministering servants had spearedsome good-sized fish, which was held out, and taken off the end ofthe weapon by the porpoise nearest at hand. There was one oldfellow, said to be very old; as tame—with thoseblacks—as a puss* cat! he had a large patch of barnacles orsome fungus on his head, and a name which they believed he knew andanswered to."

MULLET.—In winter sea mullet (although spears were usedmore often than nets) were caught on the coast in some-what thesame way as dugong were captured. A pair of blacks would climb atree, and so watch for the schools of fish as they came in to theshore. The natives had wonderful eyesight, and nothing would escapethem. When they saw the fish coming, they made signs to theircompanions as to direction, etc., and a dozen or more men would gointo the water, with hand nets, and when the fish were about twelveyards or so from the shore, other blacks would throw stones andsticks in great quantities into the water, landing them seawards ofthe shoal. This would frighten the fish and cause them to shoot intowards the shore, the men in the water would quickly rush forward,meeting in a circle, and the fish were thus caught in their nets.Father has seen the blackfellows hardly able to draw their netsashore, they were so full.

Of course fish was very much more plentiful in those days, andthe natives were also very cunning in the way they managed things.Great feasts they would have in the mullet ("andakal") season,catching more than they could eat. Those over they did not waste,however, but would save for future use. A soft grass, not unlikekangaroo grass, grew on the coast, and this they would gather andtwist into fine ropes, which would be wound round and round eachfish very closely, so that the flies could not get at them. Thesefish would then be placed in dillies, and hung up on bushes ortrees near the camp, and they would keep so for a long time. Fatherhas tasted them a fortnight old, and they were then quite fresh andsweet. Of course, it was cold weather.

Fish were scaled by the blacks with the "donax" shell, or"yugari" (the native name), and then put whole on a nice fire ofmostly red-hot coals. When about cooked, a finger would be shovedin below the head at the fin, and the while inside drawn off,leaving the fish beautifully clean and nice. Fish were alwayscooked so.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (9)

Poinciana Tree at "Murrumba"

Fish in creeks were caught in this wise: The narrow and shallowparts of a creek would be blocked by stakes and bushes put across,and in this wall of bushes two or three openings would be left wideenough to permit of a black-fellow standing at each of them withhis hand net ready. (Of course, nets for fish were much smallerthan those for dugong.) They would not go near, however, until thetide was on the turn, when they went and stood up to their necks inthe water, ready to catch the fish. As a net began to fill theowner would close the mouth, and lifting up the pocket part, hewould catch hold of each fish in turn, and, putting the head in hismouth, would give it a bite through the net to kill it. All thefish being killed, and so unable to escape, the man placed the netagain in the opening, and stood ready for more, and so they went ontill the tide had gone down, emptying their nets now and again, ifthey got too heavy, by throwing the fish to the bank.

With the constant use of their fishing nets, a hard tumour grewon the outer bone of the wrist of each hand of the men. One couldalways tell an old fisherman by this mark, which was caused by thehandle of the net continually rubbing the bone.

Women never fished in the old times. Since, however, the blackslearnt the use of the white man's lines, the gins were great onesfor fishing, and my father has often been amused by a sort ofclicking noise they made with their mouth, after throwing the lineout. Laughed at, and asked why they did this, they replied that itencouraged the fish to bite. For the same reason they also tappedwith the end of the rod on the water two or three times immediatelythe line was thrown out. Men would do this, too, at times.

A fishing net was called "mandin," and the portion of the NorthPine River near where the railway bridge now crosses was known bythat name, for it was a great place for fish, and the blacks usedto have a breakwater of bushes built there.

One way the aboriginals had of capturing fresh-water fish was bypoisoning the water with a certain plant (Polygonum hydropiper).This plant—"tanggul"—which is not very large, and growson the edge of scrubs or in swampy places, was pounded up withsticks, and then thrown into the waterhole, and the water stirredup with the feet. Soon after the fish would seem to be affected,and would rise to the surface wrong side up, when they would becaught with the hands and thrown on to the bank.

EELS.—These were caught by nets, in salt water. Two menwould block the mouth of a small creek by holding hand nets on theground, and other men would go some distance up and return down thecreek, muddying the water as they came by moving about their feet.This would drive the eels down to the nets. In fresh water eelswere gradually caught in times of drought, when the water was low,by men muddying the water, and feeling for them with their feet. Atother times they would dam a small portion of water with mud banks,leaving openings in each wall, and then, when the eels (or fish)went through, the holes would be blocked and small hand nets usedto scoop up the fish; or they were speared. Sometimes spears wouldhave three or four prongs, which were all tied firmly to the centrehandle. Often a blackfellow, going out alone, would spear fish inclear water.

CRABS.—These were caught by a long hooked stick. It wouldbe put in a hole in the bank of a creek at low water, and the crab("yirin") felt for and pulled out. The blacks could easily tell ifthere was a crab in the hole by the marks it had left in the mudround about the mouth. Crabs were carried in dillies. Always inthese dillies a lot of small mangrove twigs were put. This, theblacks said, prevented them fighting, and so breaking their claws.Even of late years, when the natives used bags given them by whitepeople, they always put in these twigs.

I may mention here that the Turrbal tribe called the man-grove"tintchi" and it is interesting to know that quite a differentvariety grew at Noosa, the blacks there calling it "pirri," thename they gave their fingers. This was because of the peculiarfinger-like roots which seemed to clutch the soil.

Women and men both caught crabs, which they ate roasted, as theydid fish.

OYSTERS ("KIN-YINGGA"), MUSSELS, ETC.—The blacks would eatoysters raw, but were very fond of them roasted too, probablybecause they opened so easily then. In the old days the natives hadno idea whatever of boiling. Periwinkles ("nigg*r") they wouldroast, also mussels, such as the "yugari," and a larger fresh-watermussel. The latter they sought for by going into water holes, andfeeling all round the sides among the weeds with their feet.

COBRA.—This was another food the blacks were fond of. TheBrisbane tribe called it "kan-yi." It is a long and white grubwhich grows in old logs the salt water gets at, and was swallowedraw like an oyster. The aborigines got it out with stone tomahawks,by cutting up the wood it was in, and then knocking the piecesagainst a log, so dislodging the grubs which fell out. These weregathered up and put into a "pikki," and so carried to camp.Generally gins or old men got this cobra. They all took care tohave plenty coming on by cutting swamp oak saplings and carryingthese on to a mud bank, dry at low water, and piling them up there.These piles were some two feet high and six feet wide. Father hasseen them made in the Brisbane River, in Breakfast Creek, in theNorth and South Pine Rivers, Maroochy, and Mooloolah Rivers, andseveral creeks. The grubs in the swamp oaks were considered thelargest and best, although plenty were got from other trees whichfell in the water. The swamp oaks grew near the water, and so wereeasily got at. These piles would be dry at low water always, andcovered at high, and the natives would visit them in about a year'stime, making fresh ones then to take their place.


GRUBS.—It was, of course, the coastal blacks who madethese piles for cobra; the inlanders got grubs in trees. Largewhite ones were found principally in dead hickory trees in thescrubs; they were cut out with stone tomahawks. Then blue gumsaplings often contained grubs. The natives knew when they did bynoticing dust on the ground, so, climbing the sapling to where thedust came out, they would knock the bark off at the hole, shove asmall hooked twig up this till the grub was felt, and, with atwist, puU it out. These grubs were sometimes roasted, sometimeseaten raw. Other grubs were found in the grass-tree, orXanthorrhoea ("dakkabin"), at its base, and always a native knew oftheir presence by the dead leaves in the centre. Kicking the treewith his foot, it would break off at the bottom, and four or fivegrubs were sometimes found. These latter were always eaten raw.

With regard to this practice the blacks had of eating grubs. Dr.Leichhardt says:—

"They seem to have tasted everything, from thehighest top of the bunya tree and the seaforthia and cabbage palm,to the grub which lies in the rotten tree of the bush, or feeds onthe lower stem or root of the Xanthorrhoea. By the bye, I tastedthis grub, and it tastes very well, particularly in chewing theskin, which contains much fat. It has a very nutty taste, which isimpaired, however, by that of the rotten wood upon which the animallives."

My father says he has often eaten this grub in days gone past,and, what is more, declares he liked it. Once, when a boy, he wasout in the scrub where Toowong is now, with a couple of natives,and the latter came across some grubs and took them to whereseveral sawyers were at work, to roast them. A man named Jack wasawfully disgusted, and said he felt ill at the mere thought ofeating such things! However, when the white boy took one, hefollowed suit after some persuasion, and liked the morsel so wellthat he ate more. In the end that man grew so fond of grubs that hewould give the blackfellows tobacco to find him some. Of course,there were different varieties—some more eatable thanothers.

The following is an extract from an interesting book printed inYokohama—"Recollections of a Rambling Life," by ThomasArcher, whose family and name are well-known in Queensland.

"Our way lay for several days through thetrackless bush; we were sometimes pretty hard up for food, and toDusky Bob belongs the honour of first initiating me into a properappreciation of the luscious and delicate tree grub, which he cutwith his tomahawk, out of the stems of the forest oaks as wewandered along. When roasted in the ashes these grubs make a dishfit for gods and men, and even when raw they are not to be sneezedat, if one is only hungry enough."

ANTS, ETC.—Father has never seen the blacks about here eatants of any kind or their larvae. March flies, however, were eaten(principally by children)—at least, not the flies themselves,but a little bag of honey they contained, and which was pulled out.Blacks were by no means dainty in their tastes! They also ate thecontents of wasp's nests, of the large, round, honeycomb kind, whenthe insects were nearly mature. A nest would be approached quietly,a burning torch of the tea-tree bark held beneath to dislodge theclinging wasps, and then it was pulled, and held over a fire tillhalf roasted, when the contents were knocked out and eaten.

NATIVE BEES.—There were two kinds of native honey. Onecalled "kabbai" was pure white and very sweet, and was found alwaysin small, dead, hollow trees. "Ku-ta" was dark honey, of a somewhatsour taste, and might be found in any kind of tree; it was muchmore plentiful than the other. My father gave the latter name tothe Government, for the hill near One-tree Hill, as in the old daysthat was a great place for native honey, and it has beenmispronounced and spelt "Coot-tha." Of course, when the Englishbees came their honey was taken too, and it was remarkable how,though they were used to their own harmless bees, the natives didnot seem to mind being stung, but would unconcernedly pull out thesting. They had then also the Englishman's tomahawks. These savedthem trouble, for their own took a long time to prepare.

In seeking for honey, if a dull day, tiny particles of dirt thebees dropped were looked for at the roots of trees. These particleswere very minute, and the aborigines would go on their kneeslooking for them, blowing leaves, etc., gently aside in theirsearch. If found, the tree would be ascended and the honey taken.On a bright summer's day the bees themselves were looked for; thenatives would shade their eyes with their hands, and gaze up thetree, and the bees, if there, were seen flying round the hole. If anest were found too late in the day to admit of its being robbed,the finder would put a cut in the tree with his tomahawk, or printa footmark in the soil at the base, or probably jut a stick wouldbe stuck up against the trunk. This showed the nest had beendiscovered, and no one else would touch it. The man would eithersend some one next day, or come himself.

To climb trees the natives used lengths of a scrub vine(Flagellaria indica) they called "yurol." A length was cut abouttwelve feet long, and after the outer bark was peeled off with theteeth it would become quite supple, and a loop was made at one end.When about to climb, this vine was put round the tree, the loop endwould be held in the left hand and the other in the right, thenwith his right foot placed against the trunk, and his body thrownbackwards, the native would commence to ascend by a succession ofsprings. At every spring the vine was jerked upwards, and so withwonderful rapidity the ascent was accomplished,.

This helper in the way of climbing was called "yurol," after thevine it was principally cut from, and each native was very carefulof his after finishing with it for the day; he would soak it inwater and so keep it supple and unlikely to break. On some treesnotches, or steps, were cut to assist the climbing, and when thiswas the case the unlooped end of the vine was twisted round theman's thigh, then round his calf, and from there it went to hisfoot, where he held it firmly with his big toe, so leaving hisright hand free to cut the steps in which to place his feet as hewent up. Sometimes a bees' nest was found half way up in the barrelof a hollow tree, and when the man came to this he would pause, andcutting rests for his feet, would proceed with his free hand to cutout the comb. Climbing without using his tomahawk, the man wouldgenerally carry it in his belt, but sometimes it was held by themuscles of the neck—head on one side.

With regard to honey, the aborigines had a disgusting practice,which I shall describe. They carried with them a piece of stuffresembling an old rag, which was really chewed bark fibre. Bark forthe purpose was generally cut from the stinging tree (Laporteasp.), which has since disappeared from these parts—the rootbark was used for making string. The natives called this tree"braggain," and, as was the custom, the chewed up pieces of fibrewent by the same name. To make the latter, bark cut in lengths waspounded till the rough outer surface came away, then beaten againtill it became soft, when the darkies chewed it into the semblanceof a rag. This rag a man always carried with him in his dilly whenhe climbed a tree for honey. Coming to the bees' nest, he would cutthe honeycomb out and let it fall to those below, who deftly caughtit. If after eating what they wanted there was some over, it wasput into a "pikki" ready to carry away. The man on the tree alsoate some, then, when all had been taken, he wiped out the hollowlimb with the "braggain," which soaked up all the remaining honey,and afterwards this rag was carefully placed back in his dillyready for future use. It would perhaps be wanted several timesagain, or they might not find another nest that day. When back incamp the "braggain" was soaked in water in a "pikki," then looselywrung out, and this made the water quite sweet. The rag would thenbe passed round to each in the hut, and, disgusting as it may seem,all took a suck or chew in turn till it had become dry. It wouldthen be put in the "pikki" again, and so on till the water was usedup. Each group possessing a "braggain" would do the same, but therewould be those who had none, and the fortunate ones would rememberthese, for at all times food was shared. White people blessed witha large supply of this world's goods have not always this savage(?) instinct "to share."

Another sweet concoction was made in summer time,, when thegrass tree and what we call honeysuckle were in bloom. Early in themorning, when the dew was on the grass,, and the air sweet withperfumes, the old men and women would go forth, each carrying a"pikki" full of water, while the younger people went to hunt.Wending their way, some to the ridges where the grass-trees grew,others to the low flats where the small honeysuckle would be found,they went from flower to flower despoiling them all of theirsweetness by dipping them up and down in the "pikki" of water tillthe latter became sweet. Then they turned them campwards, and,arriving there, would gather in groups to enjoythemselves—all, young and old alike, having their turn withthe rag. A drink might be taken from the "pikki," but this used theprecious fluid up too quickly. It was greatly relished, and wascalled "minti" after the small species of honeysuckle (Banksiaamula), whose flower was used in its manufacture. The flower of thelarger kind (Banksia latifolia) was also used, but not so much. Theblacks called this one "bambara," and the wood from it was thespecial wood used in the making of a "bugaram" or a"wobbalkan."

SNAKES.—A carpet snake was called "Kabul," hence the nameCaboolture, which meant to the Brisbane tribe "a place of carpetsnakes," for they were plentiful there in the old days. Thesesnakes were found in swamps or anywhere, often up on staghorn fernsin the scrub. The natives were at times helped in their search forgame by the cry of birds, as they gathered-round a snake, forinstance. Carpet snakes were caught by the neck, and Father hasseveral times seen a native catch and then feel a carpet snake and,if he were poor, let him go. Other snakes were hit on the head witha stick, and then on the back to break it.

A black snake was called "tumgu," brown snake "kuralbang,"death-adder "mulunkun," and so on. The natives were more frightenedgenerally of a death-adder than of any of the others, seeminglybecause of how it could jump, and they would not go near one. Oncewhen my father was a boy in Brisbane, while playing, near where theValley Union Hotel now stands, with a number of black boys,throwing small spears, etc., he almost sat down upon a death-adder.The boys saw it in time to prevent him, and made a great row,calling to him to "Look out." He was so near the reptile, however,that it was a wonder he escaped. He wished to kill it, but theblacks kept him back, saying it would "jump," and they themselvesdid the deed by throwing waddies at it.

Snakes, iguanas, and lizards were put on hot cinders and roastedwhole. The natives never attempted to clean any of their foodbeforehand, as we do. Roasted thus they were much more easilycleaned when half-cooked. Sometimes when opened a carpet snakewould contain as many as twenty-five or twenty-six eggs, and aniguana perhaps a dozen; these would be taken out and probablyroasted further. Fat, too, was greatly relished, and some would besaved for the body greasing spoken of.

IGUANAS AND LIZARDS.—The small kind of iguana was-called"barra," while the larger one was "gi-wer." They were found attimes in hollow logs; the natives would look for them there,feeling with a stick, then when an iguana was felt, his distance upthe log was measured and he was-cut out. If, when chased at anytime, an iguana ran up a tree before he was captured, a man wouldclimb up after him and either kill him there or send him down tothe death awaiting beneath. Dogs would help in the chase afterthese reptiles. When one was killed, the natives would never, byany chance, proceed to cook him till they smashed each leg with awaddy, and also beat along his neck and tail. Father's curiositywas raised to know why they should do this when the thing was dead,and he found it was a superstition with them—"He never canrun away again," they said. Iguanas' eggs were sought for, and werefound generally near ants' nests in soft soil, covered up in theearth; the blacks would find them by the tracks the creaturemade.

Large lizards of several kinds and their eggs were eaten in thesame way, and some of them were considered dainties. A large"water-lizard," which sat on a log in the water, and if anydisturbance came along jumped in, was called "magil" (moggill), andhere we have the meaning of the name Moggill Creek.

HEDGEHOGS ("KAGGARR").—The natives could tell when thesehad passed, by scratching marks they made, and would track themtill discovered. Dogs would help. They would be found on the edgeof swamps, or in scrubs, or ferny flats; often under a log, or in ahollow one, when they were cut out. They were roasted, and theprickles knocked off. Sometimes these prickles were kept forpiercing 'possum rugs sewn by the women and old men.

TORTOISES.—A tortoise was called "binkin," and "Binkinba,"was the native name for New Farm, which meant a place of the landtortoise. Father, as a boy, used to go there with the blacks tocatch tortoises in the swamps. Who, seeing New Farm now, wouldthink it possible? What we call Pinkenba the blacks knew as"Dumben." The native name for New Farm has been pronouncedincorrectly and given to the wrong place. The land tortoises werecaught in fresh waterholes with nets, or in swamps just with thehand. When caught they were roasted whole lying on their backs, andwhen cooked the shell uppermost was removed, while that of the backserved to catch the gravy, which was supped up with greatrelish.

TURTLES.—These were cooked in the same way, on their backsto save the juices, and the flesh was cut up and divided round.Great quantities of turtle were seen in the old times at Humpybong,and they were also plentiful in Bribie Passage.

There were no steamers or white men to disturb them, and thenatives had it all their own way. To catch a turtle they would goout on a calm day, three or four of them in a canoe, stealing-alongquietly and gently over the water, one man standing up in front onthe lookout. As soon as the turtle came to the surface near them,the man standing would dive into the water near where it hadappeared, and, if possible, catch and turn it over on its back, somaking it quite powerless. Another occupant of the boat wouldimmediately follow this man, taking with him a rope made for thepurpose, and he would take his turn under the water in holding theturtle while the first man came up to breathe. And so each man inthe boat would have a turn if the water were deep, and in the endthe turtle would be got to the surface, with rope attached to aflipper. It would then receive a blow on the head, and was towedashore, where a big fire was made ready to receive it, after itshead and flippers were removed. A turtle was called "bo-wai-ya."Its eggs were found in the sand.


KANGAROOS.—Kangaroos were caught in the forests with twoor three inch mesh nets, and these were made from fibre, in thesame way as those for dugong; but instead of being sewn up intohand nets they were just made in one long piece, standing some fourfeet high, and when used were stretched across a pocket, bounded bya creek, in the forest, the ends being tied to trees. In thispocket kangaroos were very likely feeding, and a number of natives,spreading out in the shape of a circle, would hunt them towards thenet by beating their waddies and making a great noise. A dozen ortwo blacks, ready near the net, and armed with spears and waddies,knocked the kangaroos down, or speared them as they becameentangled. Blacks' dogs were never much good in catchingkangaroos.

Sometimes a couple of men would lie hidden near where theyexpected these creatures to come for a drink, and spears were thenmade use of. At other times, kangaroos were driven into waterholes,and there speared. Again, they might be tracked, and sneaked up toin the extreme heat of the day, while they were resting in theshade of trees. Natives always hunted going against the wind, forotherwise their prey would get scent of them. To encouragekangaroos to come about, my father has known the blacks set fire tothe grass; the marsupials appreciated the young and tender shootscoming up after a bush fire.

An "old man," or large kangaroo, was always skinned for the sakeof his hide, which was taken off with the help of sharp stoneknives or shells. When off, the skin was stretched out, and peggedon the ground with small sharpened sticks, then wood ashes wererubbed into it, and it was left to dry in the sun. When cured thebare side was ornamented with a sort of scroll pattern done withpieces of sharp flint stones, then rubbed with charcoal, orcoloured red with "kutchi." Kangaroo rugs were used for lying on,not for coverings. Each skin was used singly, they were not sewntogether as 'possum skins were.

If kangaroo skins were not worth keeping, the animal was firstsinged in the fire till all hair was off, then roasted, and whennearly cooked opened and cleaned out, and large red-hot stones wereshoved into the inside to help the cooking. The carcass was kept onits back to preserve the gravy. An "old man" kangaroo was called"groman," while an ordinary one was "murri."

The aboriginals used to possess really wonderful trackingpowers. Some people have the idea that they could track by means ofa sense of smell, but that was not so; what really helped them wastheir marvellous eyesight. Father has been with them while theyfollowed a wounded kangaroo, which had previously got away with aspear in its body. They followed the track for nearly a quarter ofa mile, just walking along and pointing out to the white boy, asthey went, a spot of blood on a blade of grass here and there,which he could hardly see, and at other times a track in the grasswhich he could not see at all. They went on thus till they came toa large flat rock on the side of a ridge, and here they went downon their knees and commenced to blow on the rock. Father asked whatthey did that for? "We want see which way that fellow go 'cross."At last they called to him to look, and said, "That fellow been goover here." The white boy looked, and saw, when they blew on therock, tiny loosened particles of moss moving. Evidently as thekangaroo passed that way his feet displaced the minute leaves ofthe moss. They had not much further to go before they came to theanimal, lying dead with the spear through his body.

I have mentioned this habit of stooping and blowing with regardto the search for a bees' nest, and one can understand how thepractice has been mistaken for the "smelling" of scent. The onlyanimal found by the sense of smell was the scrub 'possum, which ismuch larger than the forest one, and also much darker in colour; ithas a very strong scent of its own. Without seeing these, Fatherhas been aware of their presence often, in the scrub, when gettingcedar.

WALLABY ("BUG-WAL"), KANGAROO RAT ("BARRUN"), PADDYMELON("KU-MANG"), AND BANDICOOT ("YAGGO-I").—These were allcaught, killed, and cooked in much the same way as the kangaroo.When first coming to North Pine, Father has seen about fifty blacksgo into the scrub on the river just below his home, and there catchover twenty paddymelons in their nets at one trial. Pockets in thescrubs were blocked in the same way as those in the forests.

OPOSSUM.—The forest 'possum was called "ku-pi," and thescrub one "kappolla." As mentioned, the whereabouts of the latterwas often discovered by its scent. 'Possums were captured duringthe day, not by moonlight, as they are by white people. The blacksdisliked having their night's rest disturbed; indeed, they seemedalso rather afraid of the night. The only food they sought at nightwas fish—the old fishermen always took advantage of a goodtide then. As for 'possums and native bears, etc., what jollynights they must have had, when the blacks allowed them to skip andcaper about unmolested! But they made up for it, poor things, andpaid dearly for their fun when the day came, and they were draggedforth unmercifully to their death.

Sometimes the whereabouts of an opossum, or any animal whichslept in a hollow limb, was found by means of the birds whichclustered round the hole proclaiming loudly their find to theworld. At other times the blacks would look for fresh claw marks onthe base of tree trunks. How they did so, their white friend oftenwondered, but they seemed to be able to tell whether the claw markswere those of a cat, a bear, an opossum, a squirrel, or what.Climbing the tree to where the 'possum was, if by putting theirhand down the hollow limb they could reach him, they did so, anddragging him quickly forth, would give him a blow on the head andsend him flying to the ground. If, however, the 'possum was beyondtheir reach, they would perhaps feel with a stick for hiswhereabouts, and then cut him out or, by hammering away on the wallof his retreat, they frightened him up to where he was easily gotat.

'Possum skins were greatly prized as coverings when the nightswere cold. They were sewn together, and so made nice rugs. Theywere sewn with string, which was really kangaroo-tail sinew. Thissinew was kept on purpose for sewing, and when wanted was damped tomake it soft. The holes for the string were pierced either withhedgehog quills or sharp bones. It was only in the winter that thenatives troubled to preserve the skins, however, for in the summerthe hair came out.

These 'possum rugs the gins carried from place to place withthem. They were folded in half, and then hung round the neck, keptin place there by a string put through the fold. Over the rug adilly was ways hung, containing fish, birds, or food of any kind,also bones of the dead, etc. This dilly had a long string handlewhich passed over the shoulders, and so helped to keep the rugfirm, in fact when there was a little picanniny to carry, thestring through the fold was done away with, the dilly handle beingall that was required. The child was put in between the rug and thewoman's back, and the dilly, with its contents, hanging below theinfant, though on the outside of the rug, prevented him slippingdown. The furry side of the rug was next the child, who only showedhis little black head, and when a mother wished to get him out fromthis snug retreat, she reached over, and taking hold of a littlearm, hauled him by it over her shoulder. This was done no matterhow young the child, and the treatment seemed to have no illeffects. When children were older, but still too young to walk,they were carried on the shoulders—one leg on each side ofthe neck. Men sometimes took their share in carrying the childrenso, and this was how they carried sick people.

NATIVE BEARS.—These were caught as 'possums were. As foodthey were much appreciated. The Turrbal tribe called them"dumbripi," and the Bribie tribe "kul-la." The latter nameevidently accounts for the "koala" of the white man.

SQUIRRELS.—The large black flying squirrel was called"panko," and the small grey one "chibur." Squirrels, the momentthey heard any noise, would run out of their hiding place, and flydown in a slanting direction to the butt of another tree, up whichthey would scamper—they did not wait to be pulled out. Fathersays it was great sport chasing squirrels. Often, as a boy, he wenthunting with the blacks on what is now Bowen Terrace. He has seenthem there get two or three 'possums out of one large turpentinetree, and sometimes a large flying squirrel, and then there wouldbe the "sugar-bags."

The flying squirrel was always the best fun. When a nativeclimbed up the tree, the squirrel would hear him coming, and,running out of his hole, would fly down to the base of anothertree. If the blacks on the ground did not succeed in knocking himdown before he got beyond their reach they would climb the secondtree, and then afterwards perhaps a third, and so on, till in theend the poor thing was captured. Boys always think that sort ofthing fun, and my father, as a boy, was no exception. He says thatmany a happy day has he spent with his dark companions hunting onBowen Terrace, Teneriffe, Bowen Hills, Spring Hill, Red Hill, andall round where the hospital now stands. What changes can takeplace in a lifetime! It must surely seem strange to look back on atime when one hunted where now houses crowd and trams run, and tothink of the fish and crabs one caught in the quiet creeks andrivers which railways now span. Breakfast Creek, near where theEnoggera Railway crosses (Barrambin) was a great place forfish.

At a certain time of the year the small flying squirrel("chibur") had a habit of biting the bark of the trunk of a tree:one would see a tree all marked so. The natives called one of theGlass House Mountains "Chirburkakan." "Kak-an" meant "biting,"hence the mountain was called after a "biting squirrel."

NATIVE CAT AND DOG.—Native cats were caught and eaten.Dingoes, however, so far as my father's experience went, were noteaten: but the natives would capture the pups for taming. Often,all round a hollow log, tracks would be seen where the youngstershad come out to play, and so the natives knew where to look. Anative dog was called "mirri," and native cat "mibur."

FLYING FOX.—Flying foxes were caught always in theday-time at their camping place in the scrub. Two or three blackswould climb trees the foxes were sleeping on, carrying with themabout a dozen small waddies made for the purpose. Standing onbranches the natives would frighten the foxes, and then as theyflew hurl the waddies at them, knocking great numbers easily, forthese creatures will not fly far away in the daytime from treesthey are camping on, but circle round and round. Men and womenstanding beneath the trees picked the foxes up as they fell, andall the time the creatures made a frightful row, so that one couldhardly hear oneself speak.

A flying fox was singed on the fire, then rubbed all over tillfree from hair, when it was roasted, and when nearly done a nativeput his thumb in between the neck and breast-bone, and pullingthese apart, took away the waste parts. After that the fox was putagain on the fire to cook further. A flying fox was called"gramman." St. Helena was a great camping place for them in thosedays, and the blacks from Wynnum used to go across in their canoesto catch them there, watching for calm weather both to go andreturn. If the return was not delayed, they would bring back foxescooked ready for the companions left behind, but they went preparedwith fishing nets, etc., as the wind might keep them there sometime.


EMUS.—The blacks used their nets to catch emus at times.They knew where these birds came for water, and would set netsaccordingly to entangle them, and, if successful, would despatchthem with weapons. At other times the natives would lie hidden, andspear the birds as they went by. Emu feathers were much valued; thegins wore them in their hair on occasions. Eggs were found andeaten. An emu was called "ngurrun."

SCRUB TURKEYS.—These were hunted, and their nests weresought. The latter sometimes contained a great number ofeggs—several birds evidently laid in the same place. The eggswere just laid on the ground, and covered over with a multitude ofleaves and small sticks, and left to come out on their own account.They were never sat upon. These nests or heaps were easilydiscovered, as they were quite big, sometimes two feet high. Ascrub turkey was called "war-gun."

SWANS.—The Turrbal or Brisbane tribe (not the natives ofthe Maroochy River) called a black swan "marutchi" (Maroochy).Swans were caught in the moulting season, they could not fly then;the blacks went after them in their canoes. Gins kept the smallfeathers for ornamenting their hair, and the men always kept thedown, carrying it in dillies. This down was used to dress up thebody for fights or corroborees. Bribie Passage and South Passagewere favourite resorts of the swan. The natives caught their youngand found their eggs.

DUCKS ("NGAU-U").—Nets were put across one end of a largelagoon which ducks frequented. The natives hid themselves, and whenthe ducks came, frightened them up, and then threw two or threeboomerangs in among them. The ducks, thinking these were hawks,would shoot downwards, and get stuck in the net. The aboriginesused two kinds of boomerangs. One, when thrown, would return to thesender's feet, the other did not return. The latter was used infighting, while the former was chiefly a plaything. It was,however, the one which returned which was used in this way tofrighten birds.

In large swamps, in summer time, the natives would go into awaterhole and, standing there with the water up to their necks,they held a little bush in front of them which hid their heads. Theducks, thinking this was just an ordinary bush, swam gaily near andnearer as they fed, and were suddenly grabbed by the legs andpulled under. Ducks were very plentiful then, and sometimes severalwere caught this way. At other times they took fright and were off.The eggs of a duck were much appreciated, and ducklings were oftencaught.

Birds were generally singed and rubbed free of feathers, thencooked in the usual way on ashes, but sometimes a duck would berolled in a big ball of mud—feathers and all—then putright under the ashes. When cooked the mud and feathers would allcome off together, and the inside, too, would readily come away,leaving the duck nice and clean. No other bird was cooked in thisway. Duck's feathers were kept for the women's hair, as were allsmall feathers.

PARROTS ("PILLIN"), co*ckATOOS ("KAI-YAR").—Towardssundown, from the low-lands, the parrots flew in flocks up thegorges of the mountains to roost for the night, after their feed ofthe day. The natives set nets across the trees where they knew theywould pass, and as the flocks flew along boomerangs were thrown inamong them, and the parrots, thinking, like the ducks, that thesewere hawks, dived down, and were caught in the netts. Great numberswere captured this way. Parrots were also sneaked upon when sittingon nests, and the young birds were likewise caught and eaten. Ifany bird's nest (on the ground or on a tree) were discovered, itwas watched for the sake of the bird that came to it. Manydifferent kinds were caught so. co*ckatoos were greatly valued fortheir yellow top-knots, which were called "billa-billa," and wereworn by men as described. They built their nests in hollowlimbs.

QUAIL {"DU-WIR").—The natives went out in four or fivelots in different directions, and as these birds were frightened upthey threw little waddies at them. The different lots worked intoeach other's hands. New Farm and Eagle Farm were great places forquail; my father has hunted there for them.

PLANTS.—Animals, birds, and fish were all roasted on hotcinders, and so were certain roots and tubers of plants. Thenatives got the root of a fern (Blechnum serrulatum) which grew inthe swamps in great quantities. It was mostly the gins who dug thisup and put it in their dillies to carry to camp; great loads therewould be at times, for the root was highly esteemed. It was called"bangwal," and was first roasted, then scraped and cut up finelywith sharp stones on a log, when it was ready to eat. "Bangwal" wasgenerally eaten with fish or flesh, as we use bread, though alsoeaten separately. In a camp, my father says, one would hear thechop-chop continually all over the place, as this food wasprepared. It was very much used.

The root of a fresh water rush (Typha augustifoha) was alsoeaten. This was something like arrowroot, and was called "yimbun."The outer skin was taken off, and then the roots were chewed rawuntil nothing was left but fibre, which was thrown away.

A large leaved plant, which grew on the edge of the scrubs(Alocasia macrorrhiza), was also sought for its roots. It is wellknown as "cunjevoi," but the Brisbane blacks called it "bundal."This plant is poisonous, but the blacks prepared the roots bysoaking them a long time, and then they were pounded up and madeinto cakes, and so roasted on the cinders.

The wild yam (Dioscorea transversa) was found on the edge of thescrubs. This is a small vine, with a root like a sweet potato. Thegins would have to dig three feet some-times for this root("tarm"), which was very nice roasted.

Different kinds of flowering ground orchids were dug up and thetuberous roots eaten, but these were very small.

The cabbage-tree palm (Livistonia Australis) and common palm(Archontophoenix Cunninghamii): Young shoots coming out at the topwere just pulled and eaten raw as a vegetable. The cabbage-tree wascalled "binkar," and the common palm "pikki." Of late years thelatter name has grown to "pikkibean."

A large bean (Canavalia Obtusifolia) ("Yugam") which grew in thescrub on vines was pulled before it was ripe while soft, and thebeans taken from the pods 'and soaked in water These were thenpounded up and made into cakes, and roasted. If not prepared sothey were poisonous. The natives declared that the soaking androasting took all badness away. For soaking beans, roots, or nuts,netted billies were used. This prevented them getting lost, and yetallowed the water to get at them. After white people came theblacks soaked corn in the same way to soften it.

The Moreton Bay chestnut (Castanospermum Australe), or "mai,"was also poisonous. The nuts were cracked and soaked, then pounded,and made into cakes, and roasted. The blacks called the white man'sbread "mai" after this, when they first got into the habit of usingit.

The nut of the zamia (Cycas media) was another poisonous form offood used. It was cracked, then soaked, and afterwardsroasted.

Several nuts and different kinds of berries were just eaten raw.The "bon-yi" I have already spoken of.

The fruit of the geebung (Persoonia), or "dulandella," as theBrisbane tribe called it, was eaten raw, and greatly relished. Thenatives got dillies full of these in the right season. Theyswallowed the pulp and the stone, which they squeezed from the skinwith their fingers. It is a small green fruit.

Two kinds of wild fig were also just eaten raw. The larger kindwas "ngoa-nga," and the smaller "nyuta."

A white, green-spotted berry, which grew on a small green bush(Myrtus tenuifolia) on sandy islands was very sweet. The nativescalled it "midyin." Another berry ("dubbul") grew on sandy beaches.Wild strawberries and raspberries were also found.

Dog-wood or "denna" (Jacksonia scoparia) gum was much eaten, anddifferent kinds of blossoms were sucked for the honey.

The Pandanus, or bread fruit ("winnam"), was chewed at the endand sucked.

MEALS.—The aborigines had no stated times formeals—they ate whenever they had food, and were hungry.Generally, however, there was a feast in the evening after theday's hunting. In the morning all would start out in differentdirections for the day, and if travelling, they arranged where tomeet for the night, or supposing they were stationary, they allturned up at the same place again. About the middle of the day,while hunting thus, they might rest at some creek or waterhole tocook food, and very likely have a swim. Very happy they were,always laughing and joking, and extra merry after a good meal, whenthey danced and sang. Father says it was a great sight seeing themcome into camp in the evening, a little before sunset. They wouldcome in from all directions, laden with all sorts ofthings—kangaroos, 'possums, snakes, honey, eggs, birds, fish,crabs, different kinds of roots and fruit, etc. They startedcooking these, and as the sun bid his farewell there arose thatweird cry for the dead already mentioned. The gins would have woodall ready gathered for the fire, and also a supply of water.

WATER.—When water ("tabbil") was scarce, to get some theblacks dug small wells in swamps. This water would be muddy, and toclear it a lot of fern leaves were put in the hole: this they saidmade the sediment sink to the bottom. Also, in carrying water in a"pikki" from place to place, fern leaves or grass were always putin with it; as well as clearing the water they said this preventedit spilling. To obtain water the blacks also tapped the tea-tree;they got a little that way, but it had an unpleasant taste.

FIRE.—The natives obtained fire ("darlo") by friction. Todo so, they used the dead (stick-like) flower stems of the grasstree in this way: One thick stick was taken, and the surface splitoff on one side, this was then placed on the ground with the flatside uppermost, and in the centre of the stick a tiny hole wasmade. All round this hole, on the ground, were placed pieces of drygrass and leaves, also rotten powdered sapwood. Now another stickwas got, somewhat thinner than the other, and the native sat downon a log beside the first, and placing the point of the second intothe hole, he held the first with both feet firmly to the ground,while with his hands he rolled the second round and round veryrapidly, pressing it down all the time in the hole. This continualrubbing and rolling gradually wore through the hole, and in the endthe friction caused sparks, which falling on the dry leaves andsapwood, were carefully blown into a blaze.

My father has tried to obtain fire in this way, but nevermanaged it, being unable to roll the stick properly. It was only onrare occasions that the natives needed to do this, for they tookcare always to carry lighted fire sticks with them wherever theywent. These were principally of ironbark, as that wood kept lightedlongest. Walking along, these sticks were held in front carefullyfrom the wind, and a fire was set going wherever a halt was called.Even crossing to an island in a canoe, the natives did not forgettheir fire sticks. Two or three were always kept burning on someclay at one end of the canoe.

SIGNS, ETC.—When travelling from one place to another theblacks, if they wished to let their friends know of their approach,would set bushfires going. For the same purpose, as they passedalong, they pulled up a brunch of grass, and twisting it roundanother bunch would bend the whole in the direction in which theywent, thus giving their friends the idea in which way to follow. Inthe scrub a twig would be broken or bent here and there. However,after the advent of the whites, they were careful not to makedistinct tracks, for fear of being followed by the police. Intravelling from one place to another they generally took the sametrack, and this was always the shortest way—they neverjourneyed in a roundabout fashion.

When a young man and woman ran away together, so that theirtracks might not be followed, they would walk along the beach intothe sea, then travelling in the water for some little distance,they at length walked out backwards, so leaving a misleading trackbehind them.

Often the natives would signal across the water with their handsfrom one point to another—for instance, they were in thehabit of doing this from Kangaroo Point to North Brisbane. Signsthey called "mirrimbul," and they could understand one anotherthus. They were in the habit of signalling from the two points ofMoreton and Stradbroke Islands—in those early times SouthPassage was very much narrower than it is now. Father remembers itso, and says the natives used to cross there in their canoes. Theold natives said that long ago there was no passage at all, but thetwo islands were one, and this is possible, even probable.


CANOES.—The aborigines made their canoes from bark in thefollowing fashion:—Bark for the purpose was, if possible, gotfrom the bastard mahogany, a tree the blacks called "bulurtchu,"which grows on low ground near a swamp. But if one of these treeswas not procurable, then a stringy bark or "diura" was sought. Thebark from the former was preferable, because it would not split,while that of the latter could not be depended upon.

The first thing to do was to climb the tree to the heightrequired, which was done in the usual way with a vine. Then all therough outer scaly bark was picked off with a small pointed stick,those below cleaning the bark within their reach, while the man onthe tree did the rest; then the bark was cut right round the treeat the bottom, and also at the top, as far up as they thought ifwould strip off easily. Spring-time was chosen, when the sap wasup, because, of course, bark would not come off otherwise—andthe natives knew this. Sometimes they would get but a short length,and sometimes a long one—perhaps twenty feet.

When the bark was cut right through in these circles, the man onthe tree cut downwards in a straight line, so dividing the bark,which they wished to peel off in one whole piece. Then a stickabout four feet long, flattened at the end, was used to job inbetween the bark and the tree, and thus it was loosened all round,and would peel off quite easily. When off, a piece of vine was tiedround each end to prevent it flattening out, and in the hollow dryleaves and small sticks were put and set fire to. While the firewas burning the bark was rolled about, and so it got equally heatedall over. This, the blacks said, made it more pliable. When thefire had burnt out, but while the bark was still hot, it wasloosened free of the vines tying it, and then both ends were bentup and tied in a bunch with string made for the purpose from"yurol" (Flagellaria indica). Through each of these folded up endsa wooden skewer was run, and more string bound round kept allfirm.

That part finished, to strengthen the sides, lengths of wattle(Acacia) or "nannam" vine (Malaisia tortuosa) were stretched alongthe top of the inside, and these were bound into place with more"yurol" string laced through holes made with a sharp-pointed stick.If the canoe was a small one, a piece of cane ("yurol") twistedlike a rope was placed across the centre—the ends fixed tothe sides: this prevented the canoe shrinking in with the heat ofthe sun. If a large one, then there were two of thesecrosspieces—one at either end.

As a freshly-made canoe got dry, it grew very strong and stiff.A large one would carry nine or ten people, while the smaller onesheld about five. A canoe was called "kundul" after the bark it wasmade from. All bark went by that name, with the exception of thatof the tea-tree, which was called "ngudur." In a small canoe ablackfellow stood up in the middle and propelled the boat along bypaddling first on one side and then on the other with a long roundstick, nine feet or so in length. In a large canoe two people hadto do the same—one at either end, and it was surprising howquickly they could go along, also how well they could steer theircourse with these poles. Both ends of a canoe were the same, andfor fresh or salt water they were made in the same way. Thestrongest and largest ones were used for catching turtle, and thesmaller ones for crossing short distances. People in the boat notpaddling always sat low down in the bottom out of the way.

As I have already mentioned, blacks in a canoe always carried alighted fire stick resting on some dirt or clay in the bottom. Alsothey had a shell they called "niugam" (Melo diadema), to bail outwith if any leak should start, and a ball of whitish clay to puttyup the hole. (See Dr. Roth's Bulletin, No. 7, page 14.)

Supposing they had no canoe and yet wished to cross a creek orriver in travelling, the aborigines made small rafts with dead, drysticks bound together with bark string. These rafts were coveredwith sheets of tea-tree bark, young children and other belongingsplaced on them, and then the men and women going into the water,swam alongside, pushing the raft. Before swimming in any largeriver, the blacks always threw in a stick which would float, tosee, they said, if there were any sharks about—the sharkwould come to the stick, and in swimming any distance they alwaysused as a help a small log, about four or five feet long, whichwould float. On this log they rested the left hand, and so pushedit along, while the other hand was used in swimming; it wassupposed they did not get so fatigued then. A dilly would becarried on the head.

HUTS.—Huts were of two kinds, one a good deal larger thanthe other, and less easily made. They were all generally called"ngudur" after the tea-tree bark which covered them. To make thesmaller or usual kind, the men obtained a long, thin sapling whichwould bend and crack in the middle without breaking through. Bothends of this were stuck into the ground, and then a forked stickwas placed to support it on one side, and against the other anumber of sticks were slanted and tied if necessary to keep them inplace. Their ends were also stuck in the ground. Next sheets oftea-tree bark were fixed against this stick-wall, and a sheet bentover on top surmounted the lot. All round the hut where the barkstood, a drain was dug, and the earth thrown up against the basekept the bark in position. Extra supports were placed over all, ifwind were blowing. As already stated, the doorway had nothing to dowith the direction in which the wind came, but pointed to whencethe occupants had come. When it was windy, breakwinds of busheswere always used, and these protected the fire at the entrance aswell as the people inside. These huts would hold about four or fivepeople.

Huts were never made very high; a man could not stand upright inthem. However, the second land were much wider, and held about tenpeople. This time the foundation was formed of four long saplingsbent over (not cracked) in the shape of hoops—with both endsstuck firmly in the ground. These hoops were crossed one over theother at equal distances; and so the openings in between were allalike, and were filled up with sticks stuck in the ground at oneend and tied to the hoops at the top, with the exception of one,which was left for a doorway. Then the whole was covered with bark,kept in place by heavy sticks leant against it. As in the formerkind, a large sheet was put on the very top, and this hung over thedoorway, and left only a tiny opening. A small fire was kept goingin the centre of these huts (not at the entrance), and they wereconsidered warmer than the others. One mostly saw them on thecoastline, the inland tribes always used the others.

Tea-tree bark was often carried by women in travelling, if thetravellers knew that they would be unable to get any for their hutsat their journey's end. Sometimes other bark was used in place ofthe tea-tree, for instance that of the "diura" or stringy bark, andso in that way a hut was sometimes called "diura." Tea-tree was notso easily got inland as on the coast. Now and again grass wouldhave to be resorted to, and, if the weather was fine, just abreakwind of bushes would be used for the night.

Huts were moved on to fresh ground every now and then, even ifthe owners were not travelling. Fleas got troublesome otherwise.The same materials, foundation and all, were used in this caseagain and again.

Boomerangs.—A boomerang was called "braggan," and, as Ihave said, there were two kinds—one used as a toy, and theother for fighting. They were made from the root or spur of a scrubtree. The spur grew in a half-circle, so all that had to be donewas to cut this off at both ends, thin it down with a stonetomahawk, and afterwards scrape it with a shell to make it smooth.One side was made more rounded than the other. The toy boomerangwould circle round, and return to the sender's feet when thrown,and this was the one which was sent in among birds to frightenthem. The fighting one was heavier, rounder at both sides, and hadless of a bend than the other. As well as for fighting, it was usedto kill kangaroo and big game. When thrown it would go in astraight course first, then gradually swerve to the right or left.The owner would know by practice just in which way his boomerangwould travel, and he could make it go to the left or to the rightas he liked. Boomerangs were thrown on to the ground as well as upin the air, and when they struck the earth they always turned offin another direction. The fighting one was never thrown as high asthe other. Blackfellows often practised throwing these weapons atyoung tree saplings—seeing if they could hit them. Father,when fifteen or sixteen years of age, could throw a boomerang withany native—or a spear or waddy. All these instruments hecould make, and the natives greatly valued any so made, and wouldshow them to other tribes at the time of a corroboree. Sometimesthey would give one or two away as a rarity to a great chief ofanother tribe, explaining who had made them. Boomerangs werenotched at the end, held as a handle.

SPEARS.—One kind of spear, called "kannai," was made fromsaplings which grew on the edge of the scrub. These saplings werecut when from six to nine feet long, and they were scraped with ashell free from bark. Then another shell—a fresh-watermussel—or, in the case of coast tribes, a yugari (Donax), wasused as a spokeshave. A small hole was made in the centre of theshell, and it was held in the palm of the hand, and so with thisthe sapling was sharpened into a point. (Referred to in Dr. Roth'sBulletin, No. 7, page 21, Fig. 109.)

The point was then held in the fire to harden. Afterwards grassand leaves were put on a fire to cause smoke, and the spear wasblackened therein all over. Finally, however, about a foot awayfrom the tip the point was scraped white again, and when thrownthis white would gleam and show up against the black; a spear wasmore easily dodged on that account. This spear was used forfighting and for killing game. Sometimes, instead of sharpening thepoint, three or four prongs of wood were fastened there, and thenthe weapon was used for spearing iish. The prongs were made aboutseven inches long.

Another spear, the "pi-lar," was made from the ironbark whichgrows on flats—the "tandur" (Eucalyptus crebra). This spearwas about ten feet long. A tree would be picked which was straightin the grain, and the required length cut out. A man climbing thetree would cut up as far as he wanted, then across and down again,making the cut about an inch and a-half deep, and the piece to becut out an inch and a-half wide. This would then be split out, andthe spear made from it by first thinning down with a stonetomahawk, then scraping with a shell, and so on, just as the otherwas done. This spear, however, was left all black. It was used atclose quarters, as it was too long and heavy to throw far.Sometimes these spears were notched almost through at the point,and then thrown at a special enemy with the hope that they wouldhit and break off, leaving the end stuck in the wound. Again, thesharp barb from the butt of a stingaree's tail might be used forthe point of a spear. It was fastened on with bees' wax and string.Spears were thrown with the hand only; no wommera was used.

If a spear was not the correct shape when being made, it couldbe straightened by heat and then bent properly over the head. TheIpswich, or "Warpai" tribe, made spears from rosewood ("bunuro"),and these were sometimes exchanged for others; the Brisbane tribevalued them greatly. Before a fight, quantities of spears were madeready.

WADDIES.—Scrub saplings were used to make waddies, or elsethe ironbark mentioned for spear-making ("tan-dur") was utilised.They were of several kinds, and were always made black. One, the"tabri" (the one of general use), used for both fighting andhunting, was about two feet long, and though pointed at both ends,the same end was always used as a handle, which, to prevent theweapon slipping, was notched. The "tabri" was not of the samethickness all through, but tapered from three-quarters of an inchat the handle end, before the point, to two and a-half inches atthe other. The points were short.

The "mur," used for fighting only, was about the same length. Ittapered slightly from the handle, and at the end there was just alarge knob. Sometimes these knobs were carved, and the handles werenotched. Waddies were also slightly ornamented at times with whiteclay and red "kutchi."

Lastly, a waddy made from a root, grown somewhat in the shape ofa pick with one downward point, was called "bakkan," and a man hithis enemy on the back of the neck or head with this. These weremade flat like a boomerang, not round like other waddies.

YAM-STICKS.—These were called "kalgur," and were women'sweapons. However, the "gentler sex" used them as well for diggingfor yams and other roots. They were about six feet long, and weremuch like a spear, only a good deal thicker. One end tapered, andthe other was very sharp.

SHIELDS.—There were two kinds of shields, but both werecalled "kuntan," after the timber they were madefrom—corkwood or "Bat-tree" (Erythrine sp.). This tree growsgenerally on the edge of scrubs, but is also found on a ridge neara swamp. A tree would be from four to six feet long in the barrelbefore the first branch. One was picked which was about thirteen orfourteen inches through, and cut down, then cut into lengthssixteen or seventeen inches long. These lengths were split up androughly shaped with stone tomahawks. Then the wood was left to dry.In about a week's time or more it would be quite light and dry, andsoft to work, and the handle was made, which was just a solid pieceof wood hollowed out in the centre of the shield. First two holeswere marked out with charcoal on either side of the piece to beleft for a handle; then these lines were cut in with a sharp pieceof flint stone, and afterwards the holes were hollowed out in thisway: A sharp stick was used to job within the marked lines till thewood became quite soft and pulpy, then live coals were placed thereand blown upon till they burnt the soft wood. The hole was pickedout again, more coals used, and so on till both sides werehollowed, and met under the handle, and the excavation was wideenough to allow three fingers to pass through and hold the handle.The handle of a shield was always held so—by the first threefingers of the left hand. To smooth down the rough edges, a shellor sharp flint stone was used.

The shield used to fend off spears in a large fight werebroader, and not so round and heavy as the ones for a closehand-to-hand fight with waddies. The latter were about six or seveninches thick, to stand the blows from the waddies. "Kunmarin" wasthe name for a shield further north up the coast.

All shields were covered with a coating of native bees' wax.This wax was always carried, and when wanted it was held to thefire till quite soft, and in the case of shields was rubbed allover on the outside till it stuck. When firm and hard, white clayand red paint were put on over the wax, in the case of shields forspears, but the heavier ones had nothing beyond the wax. The claywas just wet with the mouth, and rubbed on the shield at both endsabout six inches towards the middle; then the centre was rubbedwith red "kutchi," and fine hues of white clay were drawn over thisagain, making a sort of pattern. The under surface of shields (thehandle side) was sometimes whitened with clay.

TOMAHAWKS.—It was not every man who had a stone tomahawkto leave behind him; they were hard to make, and, therefore, werenot plentiful. When hunting, the men went in groups with one oftheir number owning a tomahawk, which was useful onoccasion—for instance, if a bees' nest were found. Atomahawk, or "waggarr," was made from a hard stone or boulder,generally found in freshwater rivers. The piece was chipped outfirst with another stone, then a point was ground down gradually atany odd moments while in camp. This took a long time to do, and nonative had the patience to keep at it till finished, so a tomahawkwas a good while on the way. The grinding was done on a sandstoneor rock, wetted now and then. When finished a handle of wood wasaffixed, which was just a length of strong vine bent over in themiddle and there fixed firmly to the stone by means of bees' wax.The two ends of the handle were tied together with string. Besidestheir other uses, tomahawks, without handles, were sometimesutilised in place of stones, to break up the bones of animals justeaten; the natives were especially fond of marrow as food.

KNIVES.—Stone knives were made from reddish-coloured flintstone. There was no grinding for knives, but they were simply splitfrom the stone, so one can understand how they often did not splitto taste, but were perhaps blunt and no good. Sometimes a man wouldbe lucky and get one at the first trial, but at other times hemight split ever so many first. Only fighting men carried theseknives, which were used in fights or for cutting up animals; womenused sharp shells. A knife or "tang-ur" was always ornamented atthe butt end with opossum fur stuck on with bees' wax or "mappi"("moppi"). Sometimes the fur was bound round with string and thensmeared with the wax.

VESSELS.—The natives made various vessels in which tocarry water and honey. One called the "niugam" was made from thebark covering of excrescences that sometimes appear on gum trees.When the sap was up in the spring time a native would climb to oneof these knobs, and cut all round with a stone tomahawk, then witha sharp stick he would loosen the bark, which, after being beatengently all over, would peel off easily. A handle of string was allthat was required, and this vessel was used for holding honey."Niugam" was also the name (as stated) for the large sea shell Melodiadema, and in later years for the white man's pots.

Another vessel called a "pikki," was fashioned from the sheathof the palm flower (Archontophoenix Cunninghamii). This palm theblacks originally called "pikki," but of late years it has beenknown as "pikkibean." Both ends were tied up, and had a smallskewer run through them, then a long stick passing down the centrelengthwise formed a handle. The skewers and handle were kept inplace by string.

From the "Bat-tree" (Erythrine sp.)—or, as the nativescalled it, "kuntan"—another vessel was made, and it also wascalled "pikki." If the tree felled was a large one, the section cutout was split down the centre with a wooden wedge (see Dr. Roth'sBulletin, No. 7, page 18), and two vessels were thus made fromthis, whereas if the tree was smaller, a length was perhaps justthick enough for one vessel without the splitting. These lengthswere about eighteen inches long, and they were first cut with astone tomahawk, then with a hard shell, into shape. Both ends wererounded off into a point. The wood was then put aside to dry, andafterwards the hollow of the vessel was made with the help of asharp stick and hot cinders, as in the case of the holes in ashield. When finished the vessel curved downwards somewhat in thecentre, and so the ends stuck up, and through these latter a holewas made for the string handle.

These vessels were sometimes really splendid, and were veryuseful for honey or water. The outside was rubbed smooth with astone, then cut or carved, and afterwards bees' wax was put on overall. Timber from the stinging-tree or "braggain" (Laportea sp.) wasused as well as that of the "Bat-tree" for these vessels, its innerwood being nice and soft, and easily picked out. For the samereason (on account of its softness) this latter timber was of nouse for shields, etc.

Yet another vessel was made from tea-tree bark, and was used bynatives on the coast for carrying cobra. A sheet of bark was taken,the ends folded up, and tied so, with a skewer run through them,then a long stick was put length-wise down the middle and formed ahandle—in fact, this "pikki" was made in the same way as theone from the sheath of the palm flower.

DILLY BAGS.—Unlike a number of words that we white peoplehave picked up believing them to be aboriginal, "dilli" is thegenuine name for the baskets or bags the blacks used. This namebelonged to the Turrbal tribe; others were different, as, forinstance, the Stradbroke Island people called a dilly "kulai."

One dilli was made from the small rush found in fresh-waterswamps. These rushes grow about three feet high, and when pulled upthe bottom end is white, then there is a red length, and the top isgreen. To prepare them for the dillies, the natives drew thelengths through hot ahes till quite soft, then they twisted them upon their thighs into round string. A loop of string the size of thedilli wanted, was got ready, then a gin sat down, and put her legsthrough the loop to hold it firm, while she worked the dilli on theloop.

Very pretty dillies were made from these coloured rushes, which,however, were not always found on the mainland, though they grewplentifully on the islands. The Stradbroke and Moreton Island ginswere especially clever at dilli making. Rush ones were very nicefor fish, etc.

The inland woman made dillies from a coarse, strong grass (whichthey called "dilli ") found in the forests. (Xerotes longifolia.)It is broad and tough, and grows in bunches here and there. Thegins pulled this up, split it with their thumb nails to a certainthickness, then softened it with hot ashes, but did not twist it.These dillies were made with the help of a loop held on the bigtoe.

Other dillies were made from bark-string, such as that of the"ngoa-nga" (Moreton Bay fig-tree), the "braggain" (Laportea sp.),the "nannam" vine (Malaisia tortuosa), and the "cotton bush" or"talwalpin" (Hibiscus tiliaceus), found on the beach at Wynnum orelsewhere. It was the root-bark of the two former which was used.When wanted for string, bark was generally soaked in water duringpreparation, and afterwards the outer part was peeled away, and theinner rolled into string.

Dillies were made in all sizes. Large bark-string ones were usedfor soaking certain roots and nuts in water. In travelling thewomen carried the large dillies, which contained sometimes food,sometimes bones of deceased relatives, and other belongings. A manalways owned a small dilli, which he carried under his left arm,with the handle slung over his shoulder. This contained a piece ofwhite clay, red paint, a lump of fat, a honey-rag, and a hair comb.The latter was a small bone from a kangaroo's leg, like a skewer;it was sharpened at one end by rubbing on sandstone, and was usedto comb out a man's hair. If the man was a "tur-wan," he alsocarried his crystal, or "kundri," in the dilli.

Some dillies the blacks made in the same pattern as theirfishing nets, and then two small round pieces of wood tied togetherwere used as a netting needle. All nets were made so.

STRING.—Besides string that could be used for basket work,the natives made some from wattle ("kagarkal") bark. This did notneed soaking, and was just the inner bark of the stem or branches.It was no good for dilli-making, but was used for binding up thedead, for tying on fishing net handles, and for fixing up huts,etc. Then there was other string, such as the kangaroo-tail sinew,used by women for sewing opossum rugs, and the human and opossumhair twine. The two latter were made from hair twisted and rolledon the thighs, and was splendid string, the human hair beingspecially valued for great men's belts.


GAMES.—As a boy my father has often joined in with thegames of the blacks. One of them, called "Murun Murun," was playeda great deal in the early days of Brisbane on the road to and fromcamp. As they came along their pathway into Brisbane the nativesplayed this; then again as they returned in the evening. It wascarried out so:—The men and boys picked sides, and eachplayer had a small waddie, made for the purpose, which he hit onthe ground to make it bounce. The object was to see who could makethe instrument bounce furthest—there was a knack about it.The menfolk were very fond of this game; women never played withwaddies or spears.

Another game was "Purru Purru." It was played with a ball madefrom kangaroo skin stuffed with grass, and sewn up. "Purru" meantball. As in the first game, sides were picked, but the women joinedin. The ball was thrown up in the air, and caught here and there,each side trying to keep it to themselves or to catch it from theopposite one.

"Murri Murri" was yet another game, and boys generally playedit, though sometimes men joined in. The players picked a clearspace, and stood in two lines, each holding a couple of small,sharp spears in their hands. In the open space between the lines aman stood. In his hand he held a piece of bark (generally gum), cutinto a circular shape and some eighteen inches across. This, whenthe game started, he would throw on the ground, causing it to bowlalong like a hoop about eight or nine yards from both lots of boys.As it passed they all threw their spears at it, trying to see whowas best at hitting it. "Murri" was the native name for kangaroo,and this was really playing at spearing one of those animals.

The toy boomerang has been already mentioned—the nativesspent hours with it.

Another instrument ("Birbun-Birbun") made from two lengths ofwood tied together in the middle crosswise, was thrown and returnedin the same manner. The lengths were about one and a-half incheswide, and eighteen inches long (or they were smaller), and one sideof both was more rounded than the other. In throwing, one end ofthe cross was held. Often sides were taken for this and forboomerang throwing, to see who was cleverest at getting the return.This game is met with at present in the Cairns and Cardwelldistricts (Dr. Roth's Bulletin, No. 4).

Yet another toy (which does not appear to have been hithertodrawn attention to or described) played with like the boomerang,was just a small piece of bark, obtained from the top branches ofthe fig-leaf box. The bark was taken six or seven inches long, andan inch and a-half wide, then was rounded at both ends, and putinto hot ashes. While hot it was bent into almost a half-circle,and kept so till, when cold and hard, it had taken on that shape.The bark mentioned is the only kind suitable for these toys, andthey could only be made at one time in the year, when the sap wasup, and allowed the bark to peel off easily. Father as a boy hasmade numbers of them, and, of course, has often thrown them and hadlots of fun in the game. For sides could be taken for this also.These toys were thrown with the first finger and thumb, and circledand returned as a boomerang.

It may not be generally known that skipping with a vine was anamusem*nt with the Brisbane blacks before ever they saw the whiteman's skipping-rope used. But so it was, and the vine was circledround and round just as we do a rope, and also, like us, either oneperson or two could skip at a time. Men or women went in for theamusem*nt, and it was a great thing to skip on the hard sea beachwhen near the water. Whatever kind of vine was handiest at the timewas used—either those of the scrub or a creeper which grew onthe seashore. And the blacks skipped away, keeping things going fora long time, amidst great interest and amusem*nt from theonlookers. Some natives were splendid skippers, notably "GovernorBanjo" of whom I will speak later. It seemed almost impossible totrip this man out, and my father says one could notice how his eyeswatched every movement of the hands of those who turned thevine—for, of course, they did their best to get him off hisguard. An extra-determined attempt at this caused roars of laughteralways, for Banjo was sure to be ready.

Another amusem*nt which seems European, yet which was common tothe blacks in their primitive state, is that known to us as "cat'scradle." An aboriginal held the string on his hands, while anothertook it off, and so on till they worked it into all sorts of shapesand forms. To the natives these shapes could be made to represent aturtle, a kangaroo, or, indeed, almost any animal or thing. Theywere very clever at it. The amusem*nt was called "Warm Warm," andwith the white man's appearance, his fences got the same name,because of the resemblance of posts and rails to the shape of thestring when held in one way across the hands.

In hot weather the natives had lots of fun in the water, andwould stay there for hours. It was remarkable that they alwaysjumped in feet foremost, and the women all had a peculiar habit ofbending up both legs and holding with their hands to each anklebefore they "plopped" in. Many games were played in the water."Mamtchi," or "black swan," caused great fun. One man (the swan)would jump in, and when he had gone some thirty yards from thebank, several watchers would give chase. When they got withincatching distance he would dive under, and they followed. If thebird were caught, he was held and tapped lightly on the head, andso died, and was taken ashore. However, he often escaped, becausethe captors laughed so much that they could not hold him, at theantics he went on with. He would cry out like a swan, and clap hisarms up and down frantically as though they were wings.

Father says it was great fun to watch this game, and when onebird was disposed of another was ready, and so on, for perhapshours. He himself played the swan sometimes, but, being a whiteone, was easily seen among the dark forms, and so was capturedquickly.

In something the same sort of way turtle-hunting was played at.Shallow water (about eight or nine feet deep) in creek or river,with a white sandy bottom, was chosen for this sport, so that theplayers could see down through it. Three or four people gettinginto a canoe would paddle about, and presently a man who had in themeantime quietly slipped into the water, would come up blowing as aturtle does not far from the boat. Immediately he popped downagain, but the boat gave chase in his direction, one man standingup ready to jump in on the next appearance, which would not be longin coming. The "turtle" would hardly show himself this second timewhen he would be gone again, but the man on the alert would jump inand dive after the prey, and then another would help bring him tothe surface, and lift him into the boat, when he was taken ashore.During all the time laughing and joking went on, indeed the blacksin those days were as "happy as princes."

Often when playing in the water the blacks would dive down, andstay under to see who had the best wind, and could remain longestbeneath the surface, or they would try their swimming powers in arace. And they were fond of getting hold of white stones or bonesin order to dive for these. Throwing them in some yards apart,where the water was about ten feet deep, the object was to see whocould find the most and bring them to the surface again. Father hasspent hours thus in diving with the blacks; indeed, splendid asthey must have been in the water, I hardly think their whitecompanion was behind hand at all, judging from his after years.

Aboriginal children learnt to swim at a very early age. Small"kiddies" (really babies) were thrown into the water, and theyseemed to take to it at once; swimming came naturally to themevidently. Their elders stood round bent on rescue if necessary,and they laughed heartily at the way the child, to prevent himselfsinking, would paddle with his hands and feet. My father's brotherstaught him to swim in this same way by throwing him into thewater.

As I have mentioned before, the blacks were very clever as"mimics." They would amuse each other in that way for long hourstogether. Generally it would be when they were all lying lazily inthe shade after a good meal or swim that some lively members wouldstart with their antics. They perhaps imitated two fighters, or aman hunting, or a bird, or a kangaroo, etc.; indeed, everythingthey could think of; and they never failed to cause a laugh. Atthose times, too, they sometimes played with balls of mud in thisway: Mud was rolled up into balls, and then two men, apparentlysolely to amuse the others, got hold of these, and dancing, withtheir bodies half-stooped all the time, they pelted each other.First one man in the dance turned and held out his cheek for a mudball, then, receiving it, he threw one back, and held out the othercheek, and so on till they both would be smothered all over withmud. Though their faces were grave they must have enjoyed the fun(fun with a question after it), and the onlookers, of course, wereconvulsed with laughter.

Often the young boys had sham fights, with the men joining them.Sides were taken as in the real thing, and everything was carriedout after the same style, but the weapons were harmless enough.Tambil meant "blunt"—hence the name of the sport, "TambilTambil." The spears used were fashioned from small oak saplingsabout five feet long and half-an-inch thick, or from strong reeds(Gahnia aspera) growing in the swamps or waterholes. All of them,however, were chewed in the mouth at one end into a sort of brush,so that when they hit they did not hurt. The shields were made froma piece of gum bark about eighteen inches long and seven or eightinches wide; two small holes were made in the centre on the underside, and a piece of split wattle branch was bent and put throughthese holes to form a handle. Sham fights taught the boys how tomanage when their turn came to take part in a real one.

My father has fought with the little darkies many a time in a"Tambil Tambil." Once during one held in the hollow below Beerwahon Gregory Terrace, a boy throwing a small sharp spear, which heshould not have used in play, hit the white boy with it on thecheek immediately below his left eye. Though the wound was not asevere one and soon healed, a slight scar remains to this day. Atthe time the little blackfellow got such a scare at what he haddone that he cleared out, and did not show himself again for twoyears. Afterwards, however, when they were both men, my father hada good deal to do with him; his name was "Dulu-marni"(creek-caught), and he was one of the twenty-five to be mentionedlater, who bore P as a brand.

As well as the boys, girls were taught to fight and use the"kalgur," so that they could protect themselves later on. Theblacks had their way of teaching children even as we have. And theyseemed to derive fun from the task. For instance, it was a sourceof amusem*nt showing the lads how to climb. They picked a leaningtree first, and would instruct the youngster how to hold an end ofthe climbing vine with his big toe, etc. And then they had games inwhich they practised throwing spears or waddies at small saplings,seeing who was best at it. All this helped the boys to learn.

Aboriginal children delighted in imitating their elders in everyway, and played much as white children do. And they weremischievous, of course. One rather cruel habit they had was tocatch a March fly, and sticking a piece of grass through its body,watch with delight how it flew off with its burden. If the Marchflies were as plentiful and as troublesome as mosquitoes areto-day, one could not wonder at the delight even multiplied onethousandfold. But, alas! one could not treat mosquitoes so.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (10)

Kitty or "Bournbobian" (Moreton Island).


The blacks were quick at running, and girls and boys wouldsometimes run races together. They also had splendid walkingpowers, and would travel long distances in a day without tiring.Big journeys were seldom necessary, however, except in the case ofmessengers from one tribe to another. These latter, my father hasknown to walk from Brisbane to Caboolture in a day. Of course, theblacks nowadays lack energy, but in those times it was verydifferent. They had no sicknesses to speak of, some few died ofconsumption, but with the exception of smallpox there was nothingmuch else.

Pock marks, as mentioned already, were very bad on some of theold blacks. Headaches they had, but no toothache before the whites'arrival, their teeth being beautifully strong and fit to tearanything almost. In those days, too, the blacks were very good atbearing pain, some of their wounds being frightful. They liked theheat better than they did the cold, and never got sunstroke. Coldweather was rather disliked, but fire sticks were always carried,and then where they rested nice warm humpies were made. Some of theblacks were very strong, and they must have had tremendous power inthe neck, for a great weight was always carried on the head, and,though perhaps miles were traversed, it did not seem to affectthem. In the infant days of Brisbane Father has seen a blackfellowmany a time carry a two hundred pound bag of flour on his head somedistance, from a boat ashore, etc. And a native often bent or brokesticks across his head in the same way as a white man will use hisknee. It was noticeable that the knee was seldom or never used forthis purpose, but it was done either on the head or with the helpof the foot.

By putting an ear to the ground the native could hear sounds along way off, and he had good smelling powers. Many odours in thescrubs were recognised immediately. For instance, a native walkingalong would all at once loudly sniff the air, crying at the sametime "kappolla! kappolla!" his name for the scrub opossum, whichhas a strong odour. However, as far as my father's experience went,it is all nonsense that the natives could smell a track, as somedeclare; they tracked by means of their keen eyesight, as I havealready explained; and the fires of those advancing, but yet a longway off, were not smelt, but men, climbing tall trees, would lookout for any sign of smoke; hence their knowledge of theapproach.

The blacks had fertile imaginations, and in telling stories or"yarns" they stretched a great deal to make themselves look big.They always kept promises amongst themselves, and never stole fromone another, though it was counted no harm to take from strangersif they could. However, there were good and bad among them just asthere are with white people; though they certainly outshone us inthe way they shared with one another. No native would ever beallowed to starve in those days. Old, helpless people wereespecially well looked after. If any one was sick, too, a greatthing was a change of food. For instance, the inland blacks mightgo to the coast for a fish diet, and vice versa—this beingapart from the dugong cure so believed in. Then in the bon-yiseason the feasts of nuts were thought much of as a change. Thesenuts were evidently fattening, for my father says the blacks alwaysreturned from a feast extra fat and sleek-looking.

The aborigines did not look on each other as greedy when theyate a lot, but would laugh and joke over that sort of thing. Fatherremembers well an incident when he was a boy, in connection with ablackfellow especially noted for his eating powers. His big brotherJohn thought he would try this man, just to see how far he could orwould go. So he provided him with a loaf of bread and a leg ofmutton.

Generally the blacks ate so much, then put anything over into adilli for future use, but this man did not stop till it was allgone! After that he was dubbed "Greedy Mickey" always.

Weeping with the blacks was a sign of joy as well as sorrow.When visitors came into a camp they sat down and both sides wouldlook at one another, then before a word was said, a crying matchstarted as a sort of welcome. They were noisy creatures sometimes,and the singing and beating of hands indulged in under certaincirc*mstances could be heard a long way off.

The aborigines, as a whole, were cowards in many ways; forinstance, they were afraid of the dark. Also some men were verycruel in the way they beat the women-folk in their power. Childrenwere well-treated, though. In a fight both men and women were braveenough, and would not give in readily.

Each tribe had its own boundary, which was well known, and nonewent to hunt, etc., on another's property without an invitation,unless they knew they would be welcome, and sent special messengersto announce their arrival The Turrbal or Brisbane tribe owned thecountry as far north as North Pine, south to the Logan, and inlandto Moggill Creek. This tribe all spoke the same language, but, ofcourse, was divided up into different lots, who belonged some toNorth Pine, some to Brisbane, and so on. These lots had their ownlittle boundaries. Though the land belonged to the whole tribe, thehead men often spoke of it as theirs. The tribe in general ownedthe animals and birds on the ground, also roots and nests, butcertain men and women owned different fruit or flower-trees andshrubs. For instance, a man could own a bon-yi (Araucaria Bidwilli)tree, and a woman a minti (Banksia amula), dulandella (PersooniaSp.), midyim (Myrtus tenuifolia), or dakkabin (Xanthorrhoea aborea)tree. Then a man sometimes owned a portion of the river which was agood fishing spot, and no one else could fish there without hispermission. In this way a part of the North Pine River, near thepresent railway bridge, was owned by "Dalaipi," the head man of theNorth Pine tribe. To primitive man it is clear that "property" wasnot "robbery."

When an aboriginal died his personal belongings, such as netsand weapons, were divided amongst his sons; and a woman's dilliesand yam-sticks were given to her daughters. The eldest children hadthe first choice, but if there were no children, the otherrelatives got the belongings. Sometimes a man's sons would be tooyoung to get his tomahawk or knife, etc.; then perhaps his brothersgot them. His wife, if alive, generally divided thesebelongings.

I have spoken of the belief the blacks had that the night-hawkhad some connection with the origin of all the women, while a smallbat held similar relationship to all the men. These hawks and batsmight perhaps correspond with the so-called sex-totems in otherparts of Australia. Besides this, there were intimate relationshipsbetween the family and certain animals—possibly on linessimilar to those followed in the "clan-totems" described from otherdistricts. For instance, one old North Pine blackfellow is stillalive, and his family, he says, was connected with the carpetsnake. This man is of interest, as being the last of histribe—the old Brisbane or Turrbal tribe, of which North Pineformed a part. He is of the same age as my father. The latter methim first in Brisbane when they were both children, and they usedto play and fight together. The white boy saw the other—atBarrambin (Bowen Hills)—put through the "Kurbingai" ceremonyand so made a "kippa," but he does not know if he ever went throughthe greater or "bul" ceremony. Afterwards when the black boy grewto manhood, he was taken into the mounted black police, with whomhe remained a long time. He has been all over the North ofQueensland in that capacity.

This solitary member of a once numerous tribe is now at Dunwich,supposed to be dying. "Sam" they call him there, but his own realname is "Putingga." The meaning of the latter is lost now—hedoes not even remember it himself. His name as a "kippa," or youngman, was "Yeridmou," which meant the mouth of a native bees' nest,with the bees continually going in and out. Sam is greatly rejoicednowadays if he sees my father, and he feels himself a mostimportant personage because he knew him so long ago. Asked once atDunwich what his age was, he replied, "Ask Mr. Petrie." Thequestioner, who related the incident afterwards, did not personallyknow Father then, who was, indeed, miles away.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (11)

Sam, or "Putingga" (Only living member ofBrisbane tribe.).

The writer saw "Putingga" at Dunwich once, and he was greatlyindignant, or rather his tone of voice seemed to say he was,because she could not pronounce some of his words in the real wayas Father did. Many aboriginal words are simple enough, but othersare dreadful, and no one on earth, according to those Dunwichblacks, is like Mr. Petrie. They laughed at his daughter and wantedto know why she could not talk like him—no one else can, theysay. The admiration they expressed, and their joy at seeing him,was really amusing. Being his daughter, the writer came in for ashare of attention, and was simply laden with bouquets of wildflowers when she left them. There were two old gins there, the lastof the Moreton Island or Chunchiburri tribe—blind Kitty("Bournbobian") and Juno ("Junnumbin")—who had not seen theirwhite friend for some fifty years, and they knew him immediately;blind Kitty by the voice. They wailed and cried round him in quitea pathetic manner. The blacks had excellent memories, as this willshow.


It may surprise some people to learn that the aborigines hadtheir "fairy tales" just as we have, and these they used to repeatone to the other, even as we do. The name they gave a tale was"mog-wi-dan." "Mogwi" meant ghost in the Turrbal language (thoughit was "makuran" further north), therefore I suppose the tales werereally "ghost yarns." Here are some of them, taken, however, oflate years from the blacks (and related as told); for my father didnot pay much attention to their stories in the oldtimes:—


Once upon a time there lived happily together on an island threeyoung aborigines, a brother and two sisters. This island was notvery far from the mainland, and the three often used to gaze acrossat the long stretch of land, and think of journeying forth fromtheir island home to see what it was like over there. They feltsure they would find lots of nice things to eat. So one day, bymeans of a canoe, they really did cross over, and began withoutloss of time to seek for possums, native bears, and so forth. Inthis search round about they at length espied a hollow limb, whichlooked uncommonly like a place where a nest would be, and so, goinginto the scrub near by, they cut a vine for climbing. Coming backto the tree, the young fellow climbed up, while his sisters waitedbeneath. When he had cut open the limb, he found to his joy aco*ckatoo's nest with young birds in it, and these latter heproceeded to throw down one by one to his sisters, the fall to theground killing the poor little things.

Now it so chanced that as the young blackfellow picked up thelast little bird from the nest, a feather detached itself from itstail, and floating away on the air at length settled fair on thechest of an old man asleep in a hut some distance away. This oldman was really a sort of ghost who owned the place, and the featherdisturbed his rest, and woke him up. Divining at once what washappening, he arose, and, getting hold of a spear and a tomahawk,sallied forth to the tree, where he arrived before the young fellowhad started to climb down. Seeing the birds dead, the old man wasvery angry, and said, "What business you take my birds? Who toldyou to come here?" And he commanded the tree to spread out and out,and grow tall and taller, so that the young fellow could not getdown, and, taking the dead birds, he put them in a big round dilly,and carried them to his hut.

Although the old man did not wait, the tree did his bidding,becoming immediately very wide and tall, and the young fellow triedhis best to get down, but could not. So at last he started to singand sing to the other trees all round about to come to him, whichthey did, and one falling right across where he stood, he was ableto get to the ground that way. Somehow, though, in coming down hegot hurt, and the gins had to make a fire to get hot ashes in orderto cover him up in these. He lay covered up so for abouthalf-an-hour, at the end of which time he was all right again.

Of course these three felt very indignant at the old man'sbehaviour, and they thirsted for revenge. So calling all the birdsof the air to them, they sought their assistance. These birds wentin front, while the three cut their way through the thick vinescrub to the old man's hut, and ever as they went, to drown thenoise of the cutting, the birds sang loudly, the wonga pigeonespecially making a tremendous row with his waugh! waugh! waugh!When they had got nearly to the hut, the old man, who had beentrying to make up for his disturbed sleep, heard the noise of thebirds, and called crossly to them, "Here, what do you make such anoise for? I want to sleep!" But even as he spoke he was dozing,and presently went off right, suspecting nothing, and when theblacks reached the doorway, looking in, they saw him quite soundlysleeping. So the three clutched their weapons tightly, the man hisspear, and the women their yam-sticks, and advancing into the hut,they all together viciously jobbed down at the old man, and lo andbehold he was dead! His body was dragged forth then and burned, andafter the hut was robbed of the young co*ckatoos and all objectsworthy of value, it also was burnt, and the three blacks foundtheir way back to the canoe, and departed home to their island,laden with the spoil.


On Bribie Island once two young gins were wandering round, andended by losing themselves. When they found that they were reallylost, they were somewhere about the middle of the island, at aplace where lots of grass trees grew. This place is still to beseen. Wasting no time in idly crying over "spilt milk" thesegins—two sisters—began to look round for suitablecamping ground, and coming to some salt water lagoons, they builttheir hut on a dry part near by. Then leaving everything snug, theywent to see if there were any fish in the lagoons that they couldspear. They looked and looked, but could find nothing except onegreat big round peculiar fish, which was the shape of the moon. Sowith their yam-sticks they speared this fish, and capturing itcarried it to the camp, where they made a big fire, and got plentyof nice red-hot ashes. Opening out these ashes they put in thefish, and then covered it up like a damper, and left it there tocook, while they both went off to seek some "bangwal" to eat withit.

Returning, to their dismay, this pair found the fish hadgone—the heat had brought it back to life again! There wereits tracks plainly showing—the gins could see the ashes ithad dropped all along as it went. So they followed these tracks,and presently espied the fish against a big bloodwoodtree—half way up the trunk. One of the gins, therefore, wentback for the yam-sticks they had left behind in their hurry, whilethe other stayed to watch, and on the former's return, they bothtried to spear the fish, and pelted sticks at it, and did theirvery best, but to no purpose; it kept going gradually up and up.This made the gins feel very disgusted, and sad, too, because theyhad lost their feed, and one said to the other, "Sister, one of usshould have stopped and watched that fish, then it would not havegot away." The thought of the meal they had lost was too much forthem, and after a little they broke down and wailed and sobbed withthe pain of it! However, they waited for the rest of the day,looking now and then helplessly at the tree.

Towards dusk, what was the gins' astonishment on looking up oncemore, to see the fish actually travelling westwards in the sky.They stood and gazed open-mouthed some few minutes, then giving upall idea of ever again capturing such a strange fish as that, theyleft, and went back to the camp.

Next morning these sisters went out on to the main beach togather yugaries there. The elder sister, by the way, had a littleson with her—just a baby—and this child they left onthe beach when the yugaries were gathered, covered with a 'possumrug, while they went to get more "bangwal," meaning not to be longaway. However, during their absence the tide came up, and the childwas washed over by the waves and covered with sand, and on thewomen's return they only found him by one little foot sticking oup.Of course, they were in a great way at this, and, digging thelittle dead thing out, they carefully buried him beyond the water'sreach. Then, feeling restless, they travelled on and away along themain beach till they came opposite to Caloundra, where they swamthe channel. Here on the mainland they found some fine caves, andcamped in one of these for the night—this very same cave isstill in existence.

Next day, travelling on again, the gins camped in another cave,and so they journeyed along the beach, till at length they came toMooloolah Heads. Again they swam and so got to the Maroochy beach,and when they had come opposite the island "Mudjimba"—somepeople call it "Old Woman's Island"—they saw a great long"bon-yi" log (gigantic it must have been) stretching away fromwhere they stood to the island. Thinking at once that it would benice to find what the island was like, the gins crossed over onthis log, when, lo and behold, the moment they stepped ashore itvanished and was gone. They knew that they were stuck there then,and said one to the other, "How do you like this place? We hadbetter make up our minds to live here, because we can't swimashore." Her sister answered, "What will we get to eat?" "Oh,whatever we can find, "winnam" (breadfruit), and fish and crabs."Looking up she saw the moon. "Oh, look, look, sister, there's thefish we killed!" This made the other feel sad, and every nightthrough the long, long time that followed, whenever there was amoon, these two thought it their fish, and sometimes they laughedand said it looked funny seeing only half a fish! And they arethere on that island yet; and always in the middle of the day smokecan be seen rising from their fires, though they themselves areinvisible.


A little mouse or "kuril" (kureel) had a big round humpy, and init she sat day by day making dillies. She was left all alone therefor a long time, for her friends and relations had all gone off toa "bon-yi" feast. Now, it so happened that there was a young fellowamong her acquaintances who liked her very much, and as hetravelled along with all the others he began to miss his littlefriend. At first he had thought that she was somewhere among thecrowd, but finding this was not so, he at length turned back all byhimself to seek her. He was armed with a tomahawk, a spear andshield, and waddy, and was able to get 'possums and honey, etc., onthe journey back. The way was long, and it took him some littletime, but he came bravely laden with all sorts of dainties for hislady love.

Imagine the latter sitting in her hut, weaving dillies. She hadmade quite a number, when all at once everything seemed to gowrong. The string kept breaking, and breaking, and breaking, andshe simply could not do a stitch correctly. She began to feelflustered, and wondered what on earth was the matter, and yet allthe time she knew quite well that "some one" was coming near andnearer. At length, about four or five o'clock in the afternoon, theyoung man arrived, and found his little girl sitting with loweredhead over her work. His shadow fell and darkened the doorway, and,looking up, she saw him there, and, silly child, she fainted! "Whatis the matter?" he asked. But she did not answer for a long time,and then, "What you come for?" "I come for you." "What for?" And hereplied, "To marry you. Your father and mother promised you to melong ago. I suppose you hungry?" "Yes," she murmured; and he gaveher some food, tenderly, let us hope. Then the young fellow said,"We better travel to-morrow and join the rest of them." So nextmorning she went off with him, leaving all her dillies andbelongings. They were about a week travelling until they came totheir friends, by whom they were welcomed, and the young girl wassatisfied to learn from her people that it was even as hersweetheart had said—they had been chosen for each other whenquite young.


A married couple once were left all alone to camp bythem-selves, the rest of the tribe having gone travelling to afight. Now these two used to go out every day seeking food, andthey were especially in the habit of going to the scrub for grubsin the dead trees there. One night the man lay dreaming, and as hedreamt he fancied they were again in the scrub, and while in themiddle of getting out a grub his tomahawk slipped and cut his wifevery badly on the chest. Waking in the morning, he informed hiswife he had had a bad dream, and when she asked what it was, toldher, and added she had better stay at home that day. But no, shesaid she would go, and, getting her own way, she went. While in thescrub she kept running to pick up the grubs which fell from therotten wood as he chopped, and, thinking of his dream, he warnedher: "Keep away, keep away, the tomahawk may slip and cut you."However, she foolishly persisted in coming near, and at last whatthe man feared really happened—the tomahawk slipped and cuther a frightful gash across the chest. So he bound her up verycarefully, and, carrying her home, put her to bed. Three days andnights he nursed her, and she was so iU that he thought she wasgoing to die, and began to think he had better let her people know.He suggested this to her, and she said, "Yes, you go and bringthem—I be all right here." So, as he had a good way to go,the husband made a nice, snug hut before leaving, and filled itwith all sorts of things—food, wood, and water, all ready toher hand.

The poor thing was not to be left in peace, however, for whenthe husband was gone, and she all alone, the old woman, half-devilsort of ghost of the place, thinking she smelt something, camealong and called from the outside of the hut, "Barbang!" Now"Barbang" meant "grandmother," and so the woman inside answered,"If you are my grandmother, come in." The old woman went in, andsaid she, "What is the matter with you?" The other showed herwound. "I'll suck it and make it better," said the hag. So shesucked and sucked, and began to tear and bite at the flesh as well,and the sick woman lying bearing this, knew then who it was she hadto deal with, and if she wasn't careful she would be eaten upaltogether. Politely she thanked her visitor, saying she felteasier, and asked where the old woman was camped. "Oh, not far. Ihave a little daughter there." "Well, you go and bring her, andcome and stop with me and keep me company. Don't be long." At thisthe old woman went off, thinking she'd come back provided withweapons, and, sneaking in, would "do the deed." The moment she hadgone, however, the sick woman got up, the thoughts of what mighthappen giving her strength; and, getting a hollow log, placed itwhere she had been lying on the floor, and, covering it up with'possum rugs, made it look like herself. Then she told the log tomoan and moan as if in pain, and, hurriedly leaving the hut, wentto try and follow her husband.

By and bye the old hag turned up again. As she drew near the hutshe heard the moans of pain, and her mouth watered, and she smackedher lips, thinking, "My word, I'll have a good feed!" The logcalled out, "Come along, grandmother. Why have you been so long?"And the grandmother came along, and entering the hut, quickly wentup to the heap of rugs, and plunging downwards with her yam-stick,stooped, and started to bite and worry with her teeth. She foundher mistake then, and set up an awful cry of rage and disgust,moaning at the good feed she'd lost. "Oh, how stupid of me to goaway; why didn't I wait and watch her?" And she was so wild andbloodthirsty, that, after she had looked for tracks and couldn'tfind them—for the sick woman had jumped along in the grass onpurpose—she went home, and killed and ate her own daughter.Whether the wounded one eventually reached her husband, or failedby the way, history omits to tell us.


A big spider had her nest in the ground, with itsneatly-finished trap door. She had a number of children, this oldspider, and sometimes would shut them all safely in, while sheherself sat outside singing in the sunshine. At other times sheallowed them out hunting, and then the youngsters would roam allround about everywhere, enjoying themselves mightily and cominghome laden with 'possums and other food, when they would have agood feast, and afterwards be ordered to bed and shut up for thenight.

Now, there were some strange men who wanted to get hold of thesespiders, and the old woman knowing this laid her plans accordingly.When she thought they were coming, she got all her brood inside andshut the door. It was such a dear, neat little door that one couldhardly see it when shut up. Then the mother set to, and made firesall round about in a circle, so that the strangers coming wouldthink they (the spiders), were sitting round these fires. Theclever old thing sang then to herself, so happy was she that herchildren were safe, and climbing up and up by means of a web, shesat overhead, and when the strange men came, pricked her body andsent down blood on to them, and they were thus poisoned and died.Even so did this clever old spider get rid of her enemies.


A mother and father once had occasion to go a long way off, andleave behind them till their return their two children—ayoung girl and her little brother. These two, during their parents'absence, went into the scrub to look for yam roots; the sister dugfor them, while the boy, who was only a little chap, played on alog and danced and sang. He sang so merrily that the sister becameafraid, and asked him to "sing softly," for fear a strangeblackfellow would come along and, killing him, take her away. Hepromised, "All right, sister; don't you be afraid." And he sangvery gently and softly for quite a long time, till forgetting, hissong got the better of him again, and he sang loudly once more.

A second time the sister remonstrated, and again the boy wasquietened, only, however, to forget, as before. This time his songdid attract a strange man, who came and caught hold of the girl'sarm and started dragging her away. The poor little boy saidpitifully to him, "Oh, don't drag her like that!" But the man tookno notice of the child, and went on dragging. So, as he wasstooping down to do this, the little fellow went behind and struckwith all his might at the back of the man's neck with a "bakkan"(instrument sharp-pointed like a pick), and killed him. "You see,"said the boy, who was jubilant then, "I'm not frightened ofblackfellows; I can fight them!" And his sister answered, "Oh, buttwo or three may come, and then you will be killed." So the boysaid he would be quiet, and he was for some time, but in the endforgot again.

In the meantime the spirit of the dead man went and told hismates that there was a girl and little boy in the scrub, the girldigging for yams, and the boy singing and playing on a log, and thelittle chap must be an awful little thing, for he had killed him.So two or three went together, and took a dog with them, and comingto the scrub, started to "sule" the animal on to the boy. The poorlittle chap got frightened, and begged, "Oh, don't send on the dog!Don't! Don't!" But fancy showing mercy to a venomous little thingwho had killed their mate! The child was hunted and killed, and thesister was carried off.


A very long time ago a carpet snake and a black snake startedout in a canoe, in time of flood, from the mouth of the Pine River.Marvellous as it may seem, their canoe was just a shell of theMoreton Bay chestnut ("mai")—probably a gigantic one! Theblack snake was ill, so the carpet snake had to do all the work inmanaging the boat, also he kept a sharp lookout on a native dog whoswam and swam after them trying to catch them. The way was long,and the current was strong, and they were tossed this way and that,but ever just behind came the dog, swimming and swimming all thetime, though he couldn't manage to catch up. What a queer sight itmust have been, if only some one could have seen it! The two snakesin their tiny canoe; and the dog paddling close behind,despairingly, frantically, as though for very life, in the strongdeep water. At length the current took them to Moreton Island,where they landed, the snakes first, who left the canoe and went upon to dry land; then the dog, who was so greatly exhausted with hisswimming, that he just lay down on the beach and expired.

Snakes are not supposed to be able to smile, but these two did,when, on coming back to seek their canoe, they saw the carcass ofthe dog! However, their boat was washed away, and they hadtherefore no means of getting home again. Where they had landed waswhat is now known as an end of Moreton Island, near South Passage.In those days there was no passage, but one long island, so thesnakes bethought them to travel along this island, and see whatthey could do that way. Coming at last, after a weary time,opposite Southport, they swam across to the mainland, so determinedwere they to get back again to their own home, that they journeyedfrom there overland to the Pine River.


Once upon a time, a black swan ("marutchi") and a fish-hawk("bugawan"), who were cousins, were playing together on the beach,when their companions all went off without their knowledge,travelling to get "bon-yi" nuts, etc. The hawk was painted red witha white neck, and the swan black with a red nose. When these twofound they had missed the others, they knew it was no use goingafter them that night, but it would be better to wait till themorning. So when morning came, "What shall we do? I can't fly,"said the swan. (It was moulting season.) And the hawk replied,"Well, it's not easy for me to walk." "Never mind," said the swan,"You will just have to walk and keep me company." So they walked,following in the track of their friends all the way.

For a long long time they went on and on—it must have beenfor a couple of months—and every night they camped wheretheir friends had camped, without seeming to come nearer to them.At last they came to a mob of strangers fighting with their ownpeople, so pausing before showing themselves, they painted and "didup," even as blackfellows do, and then went forward amongst thefighters. They were armed with boomerangs, spears, and shields, andthey fell to and fiercely fought the strangers. Before their adventthe enemy were getting the better of it, but no sooner did thesetwo appear on the scene, than the tide turned, and instead of theirfriends gradually losing ground, the enemy were beaten further andfurther back on all sides to their mountains and ridges, andrivers, and scrubs. It was all quite the work of these two newcomers—this victory—and their friends thought them justwonderful, and ever afterwards looked upon them as "great men."


One of those birds with a long beak, which sits and watches forfish—in fact a bittern—once set a dugong net at "Dumba"(part of Stradbroke Island). Next morning, to his delight, when hewent to look at the net, he found he had been successful, and hadcaught a dugong. So he set to work, and fastened it to hiscanoe.

Now he had a lot of companions, this bittern, and he knew verywell that they would all look forward keenly to a feast, thereforehe made up his mind to have some fun with them first. So he gotthem all to get into their canoes, and leading the way, set off,towing the dugong behind him. They kept along the shore for a long,long way, and at length came to Russell Island, and landing theremade a camp. Of course, every one looked forward to seeing thedugong cooked. But no, it was left in the water, and next morningthey all were obliged to follow the owner in another journey toanother landing place. This time it was Coochimudlo. Seeing thatthe dugong was still left in the water they all asked where it wasto be cooked? "Oh," was the reply, "I don't know yet, we will gofurther on." So on and on they went from Coochimudlo to PeelIsland, and from there to Green Island, then afterwards to St.Helena, and at each place they camped, and were disappointed againand again, for the dugong remained in the water. However, at St.Helena, the owner, looking all round him, said, "Well, chaps, MudIsland is the last island—we will cut up the dugong there,and have a feed." They were all exceedingly glad to hear this, forthey were hungry, and had had about enough of travelling about insuch an absurd fashion. So landing at Mud Island, the dugong wasrolled up on shore, and a big fire was made, and he was roasted andcut up, and divided out to all—young and old—who hadfollowed.

Whilst the enjoyment of eating was in full swing, what shouldhappen but that the old woman ghost of the island should sniff theair, and she said to herself, "There must be something nice near athand, I'll go and see." So arriving on the scene, she greeted themall with, "Hullo, my grandchildren, I'm living here, and am hungry,give me some food." They gave her something, and the old thing,making a pretence of going off for a dilly, went really to layplans for the capture of all the flesh. But they suspected this, sothe moment her back was turned, hastily got into their canoes, andmade off with it all. Coming back, she found they had gone, and'looking seawards, saw them in their canoes. In her rage, she ranright out into the water, and hitting at the waves made them riseup and capsize the lot. Each separate piece of flesh then turnedinto a dugong, and the water round about was filled with them, alsowith the bodies of those who had waited so long for their feast.Some of the latter were drowned and some escaped, and so endeth thestory of the bittern and his joke.

* * * * *

In some of these "fairy tales" mention is made of burial in theground. Now, as I have before stated, the Turrbal tribe, when theydid not eat their dead, always placed them up on trees. It wasdifferent, however, with the island tribes, who dug graves in theground, most probably because the sandy soil was easily managed,whereas to the others it would mean a hard piece of work always.Graves were not made in the shape we make them, but always round. Abody was not allowed to touch the sand, but first sheets oftea-tree bark were put in the hole, and the corpse, wrapped in morebark, placed on these. Then sticks were stuck in the earth roundabout the body, and these supported a sort of bark roof over it, onto which the sand was then shoved in. Some islanders had the ideathat to mourn by the graveside of a relative cured their ills.Tales were, of course, repeated from one tribe to another.


Three brothers once lived on Peel Island who all admired andwished. to marry the same young girl—a daughter of a greatchief. So they went in turn to her, taking an offering of food, tosee if she would have them. But she evidently was saucy, and wouldhave nothing to do with the first two who went, and the remainingbrother was sick and thin, and anything but nice to look upon. Whenhis turn came to go, his brothers kicked him and jeered at him,saying, "She won't have you!" However, he went for healing to thegraveside of their mother, who had lately died, and when he cameaway he was quite well and strong and nice-looking, and, presentinghimself before the young girl, she married him. So that hisbrothers should not know this, he hid her under the water, and dayby day took food to her there.

At last the brothers began to notice something, and they morethan once suspected the truth—that he had married the younggirl. So, by-and-bye, they offered to help him build a hut for her,and to this he agreed. When the hut was finished they used to coaxtheir brother out with them day by day, and did all in their powerto cause him to meet his death. Of course, they tried to hide thisintention, but he saw through it all very well, and told his wife,saying that if a little bird came into her hut at any time, anddropped from its beak a drop of blood, she would know that he hadbeen killed.

One day the three went fishing, and somehow the married man gothis hands caught fast in a shell, and leaving him there alone toperish, the brothers went home, thinking, of course, that now oneof them could marry the young girl. In the meantime, though, thelittle bird had gone to the hut, and so, knowing what had happened,the wife killed herself before anyone could turn up. Finding thisstate of affairs, the brothers went off to where they had left thepoor unfortunate, thinking that if he were, still alive possiblythe wife's life might be restored. But he was gone—had turnedinto a fish and drifted seawards.

And so the poor young wife's married life ended thus early, andshe turned into "winnam" (breadfruit) flowers. And the husband didnot remain a fish, but became a rainbow, and always after this, tothe end of time, the pair of them were able to gaze one upon theother to their heart's content, which must have been verysatisfying.


An old man who lived with his tribe on a little island possesseda dog which he was exceedingly fond of. One day this dog, wanderinground, perceived a kangaroo over on another island, and swimmingacross began to chase it. Of course, the kangaroo made off, and thedog followed. Now, the old man missed his dog, and picking out histracks, got into a canoe and crossed over after him. And this iswhat he saw:—His dog was chasing a kangaroo, and every nowand then the animal would tire and he down to rest, and the dog,being tired as well, also laid down, and the two would look at oneanother. The old man thought that in these intervals he could catchup to the pair, but whenever the kangaroo saw the man approach, hemade off again, and the dog followed, in spite of many calls andentreaties from his master.

This sort of thing went on till many, many miles had beentraversed, and the old man often stood stock still and scratchedhis head, wondering what had come to his dog. He did not blame hisfavourite, however, but all the time heaped curses upon thekangaroo, saying it was certainly his fault. At length the kangarooand dog both got into the water, one after the other, and startedto swim to yet another island. Landing, they were both so exhaustedthat they died. The old man could not see this, however. When hesaw them swimming he stood helplessly watching and crying, and atlength turned back again, and seeking his canoe, went home to hisisland, wailing all the way, for had he not but one dog, and thatone surely lost to him now?

Time passed, and one day some strange men from the distantisland, visiting friends, told the old man that they had seen thedead bodies of the dog and the kangaroo.


The following is not a "fairy tale," for the aborigines reallythought and declared it was true:—A young fellow from"Wiji-wiji-pi" (Swan Bay) was once travelling along the outsidebeach of Stradbroke Island when he came to a hut and a campfire.Now, he wanted a fire stick, so took just one from the fire, andwent on again. There happened to be an old woman in the hut whoowned the fire, and she saw him do this, and was so angry that shefollowed in the blackfellow's tracks, right along the beach, on andon till they came to Point Lookout, and then round to Amity. Hereon the beach at Amity there were canoes, and the young fellow,seeing this, hastily launched one and got into it, and pulledacross to Moreton Island. The old woman did likewise, and then onand on again they went, as formerly on the outside beach, till atlast they came to "Gunemba" (Cape Moreton), where a large number ofblacks were camped.

In from the beach kippas were going through with their ceremony,and the young fellow ran in amongst these, thinking to hidehimself. But the old woman was too smart for that, and she followedand picked him out from amongst the lot, and, shoving him into ahuge dilly, so carried him back again away round to the canoes.Laying him down on the beach, she went to launch a canoe, and whileher back was turned the prisoner contrived to get loosenedsomewhat, and taking a couple of bone skewers (used for combinghair) from his back hair, he was ready with these to poke thewoman's eyes out as she stooped to lift him up again. After that,of course, she was helpless, and so the young fellow got free ofthe bag, and lifting and carrying his enemy, placed her in thelaunched canoe, and left her to drift away. She drifted out to thehigh bank in South Passage, and stuck there.

This old woman's bones, washed by the water, gradually heaped upand up on the bank, and formed what we now know as the Bar there.Wonderful, no doubt, this may seem to us, but to the aborigines itwas all quite true!

* * * * *

Sometimes short tales formed themes for the substance of acorroboree, though these latter were generally founded on fact. As,for instance, the following:—A young fellow went forth tofight with all his tribe, leaving his wife and child at home.Meeting the enemy, he got speared, and was killed, and his comradesburied him where he fell. On their return to camp the wife was toldof what had happened, and putting her child on her back, she atonce went to seek the grave. Finding it, she placed the child onthe ground, and digging up the earth came to the body. Here shethen lay, singing to herself in a lamenting fashion, while thechild went in and out of the grave, up and down, playing all thetime while the mother mourned.

In the corroboree the wail this woman sang was repeated manytimes, and her action at the grave described.

* * * * *

A water-lizard or "magil" (moggill) was lying on a log in thewater, and he was extremely comfortable, warming himself in thesun. A blackfellow came along and frightened the lizard, who slidoff into the water, then as he swam away turned round and said,"You shouldn't disturb me; I was comfortable in the sun."

With regard to reptiles, animals, or birds, etc., the nativeswere wonderfully quick and accurate in noticing every little detailand peculiarity of habit, much more so than many white people. Forinstance, they could tell just how a "magil" would lie on a log inthe water sunning himself, and they knew evidently that the warmsun was pleasant to him. They knew, also, just how he would slideoff into the water when any disturbance came along. Exactly how abird would sit watching for fish, almost the expression on its faceas it pointed its beak (if it is allowable to speak of "facialexpression" with regard to a bird), seemed to come to theminstinctively. This gift of observing detail was natural to them,and they possessed it all unconsciously. It must have been veryuseful to them in those old days. White people with this samegift—people who see things with "seeing eyes"—lovenature very, very much more than those who look and seenothing.

Of course, tales drawn from the imagination were recognised assuch. No blackfellow really thought that animals went to a "bon-yi"feast, or that birds would go hunting kangaroos, as in thefollowing:—A magpie was once out after kangaroo, and, seeingsome, he hunted them towards his son, the butcher-bird, calling outthat they were coming. The butcher-bird, who was in readiness,called his sweet note in reply, and then he killed two and carriedthem home to his mother, camped on the edge of the scrub. This sonthen took to his wings, and went off hunting again, going far, faraway from his parents, to whom he never came back.


I HAVE spoken of the way in which different aboriginal tribeswere related one to the other by marriage. When a man had a wifegiven him from a neighbouring tribe, he stayed with that tribe forsome time, hunting with them, etc., as though he were one ofthemselves, before he took his wife to his own people. When he didtake her to his own tribe, he introduced her to his friends, and ifhis mother or sisters were alive they would look after and be verykind to her. Subsequently his friends invited some of her friendsto live and hunt with them for awhile. This sort of thing was donefrom tribe to tribe. My father has known them all connected in thatway—the Ipswich and Brisbane, the Brisbane and the Pine, thePine and Bribie Island, and the Bribie Island and Maroochy blacks,etc.

Often in this way aborigines would stay for some time withtribes other than their own, just as white people travel to visittheir friends. So it was that Father encountered some of the veryold blackfellows of early times, hailing: from different parts, andhe had long yarns with them on various subjects. Once at a "bon-yi"feast on the Blackall he came across two or three men who belongedto the tribe the white man, "Duramboi," had lived with thosefourteen or fifteen years. These men said they were very sorry when"Duramboi" left them; they cried a lot, for they missed him verymuch. They all looked up to him. He was a great man to hunt forgame, was always lucky in spearing kangaroo, and was a good hand atspear and boomerang throwing. He could also climb splendidly, usinga vine as they did, and was so smart in capturing 'possums orhoney. Then he was a great fighter.

When Father was a boy of about eleven years old, he was sittingone day on his father's verandah on the Bight, listening to severalsquatters who were yarning there. Presently one of these latterjumped up in excitement, calling, "Here comes Petrie and his crew!"and sure enough a boat was in sight coming round Kangaroo Point.Off the squatters all ran down to the river bank, followed by theboy, and they went to the spot where the steamers now leave forHumpybong—there was no wharf then, of course.

This was the arrival of Andrew Petrie from his trip to Wide Bayin 1842, when he brought back with him Davis ("Duramboi") andBracefield ("Wandi"). When the boat got in close to shore,"Duramboi," who was in the bow, took hold of the boathook to fend,her off, and to hold her steady while the others got ashore. Alittle thing made an impression on the boy's mind. As "Duramboi"stood there, he licked the palm of his hand so that the boathookwould not slip, in exactly the same way as the natives licked theirhands preparatory to throwing a waddy or boomerang.

That same night of the landing, some of the squatters got"Duramboi" and "Wandi" to sing aboriginal songs, and tell themabout the blacks. The two men sat down tailor-fashion as thenatives do, and one had a couple of waddies and the other hadboomerangs, and with these they beat time to their song. Thesquatters kept them going for nearly half the night.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (12)


"That would have been the time," says my father, "if some onehad taken Davis in hand, to write the history of his life among theblacks; it could have been got easily from him then, before he gotback into 'white' ways. Afterwards he and 'Wandi' would say nothingabout their former life. It was a great pity some one did not doit, for such would have been worth reading. However, in those daysmen were more for fun and devilment than for writing peoples'lives.

"To show you how stubborn Davis was later on, I said to him sometime after his return, 'Davis, you ought to get some one to writeyour life among the blacks—you could make a lot ofmoney.'

"'I don't want to make money. I get enough now to keep me. Ifany one wants to know about the blacks, let them go and live withthem as I did. I'll tell you a thing that happened the other day. Aswell who lives in this town brought another swell with him to me,and said, "Mr. Davis, allow me to introduce Mr. So-and-so to you,from Sydney. He has come all the way to see you, and to get someinformation about the blacks." Do you know what I said to him? Isaid, "Do you see the door there? Well, the sooner you get out ofmy shop the better, and if you want any information about theblacks, take your clothes off and go and live with them as I did."And off they went with their tails between their legs, and I sawnothing more of them. No one will get anything from me about theblacks.'"

This was quite true, according to my father, and you might justas well have tried to pump the river dry as get anything from Davisin those days. He would never allow anyone to take his photo,(there were no snap-shots then), and I am informed that thewell-known printing of him by Mr. Oscar Friström, of Brisbane, waspainted not without a great deal of trouble, after the man haddied. I am indebted to that artist for my illustration, and to himbelongs the honour of bringing into existence, the original fromwhich all others have been taken.

Duramboi was a blacksmith by trade, and after Mr. Andrew Petrie.brought him back with "Wandi," the pair were not put with the otherprisoners, but each got a "ticket of leave." Therefore they werefree to work for others or for themselves, so long as they did notleave the country. "Wandi" was signed over to Dr. Simpson at Goodna(called Red Bank in those days), and he was killed some timeafterwards through a limb of a tree falling on him. Davis wasstarted with a black-smith's shop at Kangaroo Point, and he got onwell, and made money. After some time he married, and later boughta piece of ground on the north side in George Street, next toGray's boot shop, and there he put up a blacksmith's shop andstarted afresh. He prospered, and made a lot of money, so boughtproperty in Burnet Lane, where he and his wife went to live. Afterthis he built a small brick store alongside his smithy, and went infor selling crockery, giving up the other business.

So things went on till Mrs. Davis took ill and died. The old manlived in single blessedness for some time, then, as is the way ofman, although his married life had not been smooth, he "longed tobe married again," with the result that he wedded a widow with onedaughter, and this wife outlived him.

I have already spoken of the ornamental marks Davis had on hisbody. He had also spear and other marks gained through fighting."Tom" saw all of these—Davis showed them to him when he wasfirst brought back from the bush. "A few months after his return,though," Father says, "I don't think he would have shown his markseven to the King."

In the early days the Rev. W. Ridley came to Brisbane to learnwhat he could about the Queensland aborigines, and he sought out myfather, who was quite a lad at the time, to get information fromhim. He seemed very clever, and as fast as the boy could speak thelanguage he was able to write it down. He took a part of the Bibleand read out verse after verse, and the lad followed in the black'stongue. Afterwards reading out the aboriginal version for his youngcompanion's approval, it was almost as though a blackfellowspoke.

This was after the return of Davis to civilization, and Mr.Ridley wished an interview with this man of unusual experience, andasked Father to manage it for him. He was about to journey to theDawson River to see the blacks there, and wanted some words of thelanguage that Davis knew. So Father went to "Duramboi," and askedhim to come to Mr. Ridley, but the man flatly refused, saying, "Ifhe wants to know about the blacks let him take his clothes off, andgo among them and live with them, as I did." Father tried to coaxand get round him, but he would not move.

However, nothing daunted, the young fellow went again next day,and at last "Duramboi" gave in, and said he would go, "as yourfather and mother were so kind to me; but he (meaning Mr. Ridley)will do no good with the blacks." So the pair of them went to thereverend gentleman, and the latter started to read a verse of theBible to Davis, who, however, would not follow, but said he wouldgive names of animals and things like that, which he did, Mr.Ridley taking them down.

On Mr. Ridley's return from his trip he told Father that nearlyall the blacks he came across understood what he (Father) had toldhim, but on the contrary, he only met two who understood the wordsfrom Davis. This was because he had gone too far inland, for ofcourse Davis thoroughly knew the language and all else about thetribe he had lived with.

At this time there was very little communication between Sydneyand Moreton Bay—as Brisbane was then called. Only about oncea month or two a vessel would arrive with stores for thesettlement. Some few days after Mr. Ridley's return from theDawson, and on the night before a boat was to leave for Sydney,that gentleman, accompanied by a Rev. Mr. Hausmann, turned up at mygrandfather's house at about eight o'clock, with the object ofgetting Father to go with them out to a blacks' camp. Mr. Ridleysaid he had heard there was a great gathering of natives at"Buyuba," or as the whites called it, "Three Miles Scrub" (nowknown as Enoggera Crossing), and as he was obliged to leave forSydney next morning he would like to talk to the blacks that night.Father said it was too late to look up a horse to accompany them(they both had horses), and his father (Andrew Petrie) thought sotoo. However, Mr. Ridley in the end persuaded the Scotchman toallow his son to go. "He is a young lad, and it is only three milesto walk, it won't hurt him," he said. So off they went, the boytramping alongside as they rode.

When the scrub on the creek at the crossing was reached it wasvery dark, and they could see nothing, though the blacks were heardtalking in the distance. The road ran through the scrub, and whenthe two riders got about half-way through they dismounted, and theboy thought to himself, "At last they are going to give me a spellon horseback." But no, down on their knees they went, and hewatched them as they prayed. When they had finished, they warnedthe boy not to call out, as that would frighten the blacks and makethem run away, but "Tom" thought he knew one better, and said thebest way would be for him to cooey, as they would know who it wasthen, otherwise none would remain to be interviewed—theywould all make off, thinking some one was after them. Hiscompanions agreed to this, and they both mounted again.

It tickles one's sense of humour to imagine the feeling of halfamusem*nt and disgust with which the boy saw them do this. No doubthis young legs had not been idle all day, and he would like to haverested them. Boys, I am sure, often think their elders do notconsider their feelings sufficiently, though this boy did notcomplain of the incident. Still, they have feelings, of course, andone would not lose by remembering it; rather the opposite, for aright-minded boy would never take advantage of kindlyconsideration. Most likely "Tom" would have refused if he had beenasked to ride more than just a little way. However, no doubt, Mr.Ridley's mind was much preoccupied, and he did not, of course,think of such a thing as a youngster's tired legs.

When this party of three had got through to the other side ofthe scrub. Father cooeyed (at that time he could cooey as well asany blackfellow), and the natives knew his call and answered, andsome of them came forward to meet their visitors. Arriving at thecamp, the boy told them what his white friends had come for, andthey all clustered round, men and women, and, squatting down,prepared to listen. Mr. Ridley brought out his notebook, and,opening it, proceeded to read out something of what Father hadpreviously given him; then he talked to them for abouthalf-an-hour, and sang a hymn he had made from the aboriginalwords. During all this the blacks looked at one another, and theknowing ones pointed at the white boy, and made signs as though tosay, "We know who told him all this." At length they began to tire,being kept at it too long, and one by one got up and walked awaytill at last almost all had gone off to their different huts. Sothe white men bade them good-night, and returned to Brisbane, andthe boy was not sorry when the end of his walk came, as it waslate. "I was glad to get to my bed," he tells me.

Next day some of the young blackfellows turned up at thePetries' home, and they said to Father they knew who had told thatman all his rubbish, and picking up a piece of paper startedmimicking Mr. Ridley. Then they asked,

"Where that fellow stop?" "Oh, he has gone away in a big ship toSydney." "When he come back?" and so on. That night at Enoggera,there were some two hundred blacks in camp, and Mr. Ridley and Mr.Hausmann seemed pleased they had seen so many all together, andwere able to speak to them.

Another gentleman, long since dead, whom my father remembersmeeting when a boy, was the explorer, Leichhardt. He also visitedmy grandfather Petrie, and got "Tom" one day to accompany himthrough the bush and help collect plants and seeds.

Here I may mention an incident already spoken of by Mr. Knightin his work, "In the Early Days." In 1849, when Father was a boy ofabout seventeen, a man named Humby was brickmaking in York'sHollow, just about where the show-ring of the Exhibition now is.One night, between ten and eleven o'clock, this man came to thePetries' house in a great state of fear, and said that a black boyemployed by Grandfather had told him that the blacks had run abullock into the swamp at a place the natives called "Barrambin"(where Mr. P. M. Campbell's house now stands), and that they hadhamstrung it and intended to roast and eat it. Father's eldestbrother, John, who was a young man then (some dozen years olderthan "Tom"), came and woke him up and told him Humby's story.Father said he didn't believe a word of it, the blacks wouldn'ttouch anything belonging to the Petries. "Never mind," said John,"you must come and see if it is the case. Humby has gone to informthe police, and we must get out there before they arrive."

So they went off, accompanied by two men in Grandfather'semployment—John Brydon and William Ballentine—andreaching the camp at Bowen Hills, Father, who was the only one whocould speak the native's tongue, told the blacks the story of thebullock. They said it was all lies, that the black boy had inventedthe story out of revenge because an old gin had beaten him. Findingthe boy, who turned out to be one of his playmates called "Wamgul,"Father asked whatever made him tell such a story. The boy owned tohis fault, saying that the gin had beaten him so soundly that hedeclared he would go and tell Humby, the brickmaker, a story abouta bullock being killed, and then she would get punished along withthe rest. Hearing that this was how it stood, John Petrie asked hisyoung brother to get two natives to accompany them to the swampthat the bullock was supposed to have been driven into, but hardlyhad they got down the hill on the way there, when bang! bang!sounded behind them at the camp they had just quitted. Turning,they all started to run back again up the hill, meeting as they ranthe poor darkies rushing frantically pell-mell down to jump intothe creek, bullets whistling overhead. John Petrie called out "stopfiring," and then he sought Lieutenant Cameron, who was in charge,and explained to him that it wa.—all stories about thebullock. So the lieutenant called his men together and gave theorder, "Right about face, quick march!" and off they went toBrisbane.

It seems that when Humby went for the police, Chief ConstableFitzpatrick was in bed, and did not think it worth while gettingup, so he got a man under him to tell Dr. Ballow (a magistrate)about the affair. The latter in his turn was not sure how he shouldact, so he asked Lieutenant Cameron of the military, to take itover. The lieutenant divided his men into two, and it was the halfwho were not under his immediate supervision who so thoughtlesslyand cruelly fired on the blacks.

The next day Grandfather sent his son out to the camp to see ifanything serious had happened. On the way the boy met a number ofnatives coming in, three of them wounded—one had been shot onthe thigh, another on the arm, and the third had a flesh wound onhis forehead, where a ball had grazed. They all said to Father,"What for the diamonds (soldiers) shoot us? We did nothing." Theirfriend ex-plained how it had all happened, and they were quitesatisfied, and told him to go to camp and he would find "Wamgul"lying there wounded, unable to rise; and also if he went to theswamp, he would see for himself that no bullock had been there."Tom" went, and found "Wamgul" in great pain, and then going to theswamp, he saw that the natives were quite correct. So when he gothome again, he told his father and his brother John, of the woundedmen and the boy, and that there were no traces of the bullock."Wamgul" was then brought into the hospital, and it was not verylong before he recovered. About three years afterwards this boyjoined the black police, and was sent up country. He remained inthe force till his death.

An inquiry was held on this affair, and Father was sent for tointerpret for the blacks. Only two soldiers were found guilty, asbullets were missing from their pouches, while the others hadtheirs full. These two were sentenced to six months' imprisonment,and Chief Constable Fitzpatrick lost his billet throughappreciating his bed somewhat too highly.


IN about 1846, when my father was a young boy of fourteen orfifteen years, he was sent with a fetter to Wivenhoe Station, onthe Brisbane River, just after the murder by the blacks of Mr. Uhrthere. A blackfellow accompanied him, to show him the road to thestation. After leaving Brisbane, the first night was spent atMoggill Creek, and the next day the two, after travelling a goodmany miles, came to a large scrub on the river, where a number ofblacks were making a great noise hunting paddymelons. The black mancooeyed, and the others hearing him, came to the travellers, andfinding where they were going, and who Father was, they were verynice, and invited the pair to stay with them that night, which theydid. The white boy lay half the night listening to the blacksexchanging news with the visitor, laughing and joking away quitehappily.

Next day they resumed their journey, and on reaching the stationFather delivered the letter, and was taken inside and refreshed.They stayed the night there, and the following day the boy wasgiven another letter to take back to Brisbane for Richard Jones,who lived where Sir Samuel Griffith now lives at New Farm, and who,if my father remembers correctly, was a relative of the murderedMr. Uhr. On the return journey another night was spent with theblacks, who welcomed them heartily, and sped them on their way toBrisbane, where they arrived safely.

On yet another occasion "Tom" was trusted with a letter, butthis time he went alone, and his destination was Whiteside Station.The letter carried the news that old Captain Griffin had arrived inBrisbane, and needed horses to take him out to the station, wherehis wife and grown-up family were already settled. It was late inthe afternoon when the boy started, and darkness overtook him erethe scrub at the present Cash's Crossing was reached. He proceededto go through the scrub, however, but it was so dark, that givingthe horse his head, he retraced his steps back to the edge again,lest he should lose himself, and decided to wait till moonrise.

This is the one memory my father has of feeling a little afraidin the bush. He lay down with his horse's bridle fixed firmly tohis arm, and in that position slept off and on for some hours,being aroused every now and then by a pull at his arm, as the horsestarted at some noise. It must have been rather an uncanny feelinglying there alone in the darkness—alone, and yet not alone,if one counts the innumerable 'possums and other creatures withtheir weird noises.

Poor old Captain Griffin met his death through, one hot day,quenching his thirst from what he thought was a cask containingwater. However, the fluid proved to be a wash for sheep withfootrot. His widow was a lady, who, years before her death, had herown coffin prepared ready. It reposed somewhere up in the loftawaiting its day of usefulness. My father has seen it many a time.It is said that she showed the curiosity to visitors.

Another time the blacks had attacked two shepherds at the UpperNorth Pine at, Whiteside Station, and killing one, left the otherfor dead. The latter had his nose broken and his face otherwisedisfigured with a waddie, but he lived. Word was sent to Brisbaneabout this murder, with the request that some one would be sent outto try and catch the murderers. Therefore about a dozen soldierswere told off for the duty, and instructed to go to the station andsee what they could do. My father was sent for, and asked if hewould accompany the red-coats, as they did not know their waythrough the bush.

Very early one morning the party started, and when they had gotabout half way the soldiers began to tire. It. was a very hot day,and their heavy red coats and muskets made them grow damp and feeluncomfortably warm. So down they sat for a rest, saying prayers onbehalf of the blacks, and some flung off their coats to get cool,and others turned to Father and said, "How far have we got to goyet?" and when he told them they growled again.

After half-an-hour's rest they wearily continued their way, butevery little while paused and asked again how far it was, blessingthe road and the "black devils" until at length, when almost insight of the station, they sat down again, declaring they would notmove a foot further! "The station is just over the ridge, there,"said Father, but they only swore and said they didn't care; they'dstay where they were. After a little, however, five or sixvolunteered to go with their young guide, and when they reached thestation the stockman was sent to bring the others.

Next day the soldiers were taken to where the murder had beencommitted, in order to catch the blacks, but it was of no use, asthe latter by then were all down in Bribie Island, and the soldiersmight just as well have tried to fly as catch them. Father returnedto Brisbane without the "diamonds" for company this time, who,though they stayed a few days longer, did not accomplish theirobject. Some years after the murder of this shepherd, the nativestold my father why they had killed him. Once, they said, they wentto his hut and looked in. No one was about, but they saw someflour, and feeling hungry went off with some, and made a damper ofit. When cooked they commenced to eat, but found it "barn"(bitter); then some got sick, and three of the number "very muchjump about," and died. The rest of the damper was thrown away, andthe blacks swore that they would have revenge for their friends.They also said that while they were hunting for 'possums andsugarbags on this run, two or three of them were shot, and a whiteman riding, came unexpectedly upon one poor fellow, and caught andtied him to a tree and flogged him with a stockwhip, telling him onhis release that if he caught him again on the ground he wouldshoot him.

Can one wonder that the blacks committed murder? Fatherremembers a yarn he had about fifty years ago with several very oldblackfellows at one of the "bon-yi" feasts he attended. These mentold him that a great many blacks and gins and pickaninies werepoisoned at Kilcoy Station—they were there at the time. Thewhite fellows gave them a lot of flour, and it was taken to campand made into dampers and eaten. Shortly after some of those whohad eaten of it took fits, and ran to the water, and died there;others died on the way, and some got very sick, but recovered. Theold men showed how each poor poisoned wretch had jumped aboutbefore he died.

Another time in the early days, during my father's boyhood, aMr. Hill, a contractor in Brisbane, asked Mr. Petrie, senior, if hewould allow "Tom," his son, to go with him to the Logan River, ashe wished to take possession of a raft of cedar timber he hadbought there. He said he would be very grateful for the lad'scompany, as he knew then he would be all right should theyencounter any natives. My grand-father demurred at first, butafterwards gave in, and Father had just to go and be content. Mr.Hill also wanted a black-fellow, so the boy picked one of the nameof "Wonggin-pi" ("Wonggin" is the tail part of a kippa's headdress.) He had no trouble in getting this blackfellow—a dozenwished to go when they heard of the trip, and that Father wasgoing.

Mr. Hill procured a boat about the size of a ferry boat, and gota sail for it, then put on board a three-gallon keg of water, alsoa kettle and rations to last about a fortnight. The party startedin the early morning from Petrie's Bight—a crew offour—Mr. Hill, his man (Old Tom), "Wonggin-pi," (theblackfellow), and last, though not least, my father. They had anice gentle breeze from the north-east, and got along first rate,reaching Coochimudlo that night, where on the mainland they foundtwo men and two or three blacks with the raft waiting to deliver itto Mr. Hill. It was high water at the time, so the latter couldnot, of course, measure the timber, but in the morning the raft washigh and dry, so it was then measured and taken over, and the menwere given an order for their money in Brisbane. The raft was notvery large, and the timber was all hand-sawn in to square flitches,the bottom tier being held fast by chains, and a number of logs layon top. The party made fast the raft to the bank, and stayed wherethey were that day, taking a look round about. It was a time ofdrought, and everything looked wretched and dry, and they had veryhard work finding water—almost all the waterholes were empty.However, they got enough to fill their keg and kettle.

Mr. Hill now decided to leave the raft where it was, go to wherethe sawyers were cutting the timber in the scrub up the Logan orAlbert River (it is not remembered which), and pick it up on theirreturn. So they made a start, the men and blacks who had broughtthe raft accompanying them in their own boat. Arriving at theplace, the sawyers showed Mr. Hill all the fine timber round about,and the party stayed there in the scrub a few days.

On the return journey, when the river had been traversed down toits mouth, they came across a bank of fine oysters, about twohundred yards from a small island. Thinking it would be nice totake some with them, they decided to fill a couple of bags, and inorder to do so stuck a stick in the mud to tie the boat to, andintending to be but a short time away, left the sail up. Fillingone bag, they carried it to the boat, and telling the darkie to getin and bail out, went to fill the second. Suddenly, while in themidst of this, a strong gust of wind blew up, and away went theboat, darkie and all. The tide was fast coming in on the bank, andthe boat was fast drifting away, with the blackfellow helplesslyputting an oar out first on one side, then on the other, which, ofcourse, pulled the boat round, and every moment things gotworse.

In the meantime Father was calling with all his might to theblackfellow to pull the sail down, and at last the distractedfellow heard and did so, but after that again he paddled with oneoar as formerly, and, of course, went on drifting further andfurther away. He did not seem to hear, though the boy called hisloudest to use both oars, and at last was so far away that Fatherthought he would never get back. By this time the water was up tothe waists of the three on the bank, and it was rising quickly, andsmall sharks were swimming round them—they could not know butwhat at any moment a large one might appear!

Under these agreeable circ*mstances Father was for swimming tothe island, but it turned out Old Tom and Mr. Hill could not swim,and they said to him, "For God's sake do not leave us." Fatherthought he could swim with one at a time, if they would just leanwith their hands on his back, but before he started to carry outthis proposal he had another look towards the boat, and discoveredthat at last the blackfellow was pulling with both oars, and comingin the right direction. So they waited. Nearer and nearer came theboat, till she reached the three, not a bit too soon, for the waterwas up to their armpits.

"We were thankful to get into the boat," my father says, "andthe poor old darkie was regularly fa*gged out. We put up the sail,and started on our journey again, but had not gone far when astrong north-east wind sprang up, and the sea got very nasty, so weran for shelter to a small island, and pulled the boat up on thebeach to save her being knocked about, and also to be certain thatshe would not be blown away from us again. Well, we were stuckthere four days! At the end of the second we had no rations orwater left—nothing but oysters, and the more we ate of thesethe dryer we got. Poor Old Tom kept saying he would not care ifonly there was a bit of tobacco to chew.

"On the fourth day the sea grew calm, so we launched the boat,and started once more on our way to the raft. It was a very hotday, so we decided to land on the mainland, and look for water.When we got ashore the darkie and I went off with the keg, hopingto fill it, and we also carried a tomahawk and a sharp stick. Wetravelled miles, but every hole we came to was dry, and though wedug in the swamps with the stick and tomahawk, and scraped theearth out carefully with our hands—no water. At last we gaveup, and returned to the boat quite tired out, reporting our want ofsuccess. Old Tom said, 'Oh, if only I could get some tobacco, Iwould not care about water;' but Mr. Hill looked 'down on hisluck,' and said nothing. I think, though, he would have given hisraft of timber willingly if he could have got a drink, and thedarkie was in a great way; he kept rinsing his mouth with the saltwater. My mouth also was in a bad state—it was frightfullydry. The only thing we could do was to eat oysters, and the more wedid that the more we wanted water. It was so hot that we rigged upthe sail of the boat for a shelter, and when night came on all laydown in a heap under it, and tried to go to sleep; but none could.The thirst seemed to affect the blackfellow most.

"About eight o'clock it commenced to thunder, and the lightningcame. We saw that a storm threatened, so prepared by putting ourpint pots and kettle under the points of the sail to catch thewater. Old Tom had his boots off, so the darkie, unseen by theowner, took one of them, and placed it also under the sail. Then atlast the rain came down, and the pint pots got full, and didn't weall have a good drink!

"The boot also got full, and the darkie, putting it up to hismouth, soon emptied it, and put it back again for more! The raindidn't last long, but we managed to get enough to drink, and tofill the kettle.

"We started again then on our journey, and reached the raft,which we found all right; so two got on to it, and with long polespushed it along; while those in the boat towed it. We kept close tothe shore, so that we could touch the bottom, and we took it inturns on the raft and in the boat, and worked with the tide. We gotalong all right till we came to the bay on the south side ofCleveland Point, when oiir water came to an end again, and the tidewas on the turn, so we had to drop anchor and wait. The tidewouldn't suit till late in the afternoon, so the darkie and Istarted off again in search of water, leaving the others to watchthe raft.

"When we got out of the boat we sank up to our knees in mud,first one leg, and then the other, and had to struggle on so withrests in between, for it was hard work, till we reached firm land.Then we trudged along, and, as before, every hole we came to wasdry. At last in following a gully we came to one with water, which,however, didn't look extra clean; but as soon as the darkie saw ithe dropped the keg, and, running to it, down he lay flat, andputting his mouth to the water drank till I began to think he wouldnever stop. Then my turn came; and, afterwards, getting a supply,we carried it back to the boat. When in sight of the latter, thedarkie started jumping about in delight, and called out that we hadplenty water. Old Tom, when he'd taken his drink, said if only hehad a piece of tobacco to chew he wouldn't call the Queen hiscousin!

"After eating some oysters, I went with the blackfellow on to abank covered by a few feet of water, and there we tried with aboathook to spear some stingarees and small shovel-nosed sharkswhich swam about in plenty. They, however, were too quick for us,so we had to give up all idea of that sort of meal and return tothe boat.

"We now made a start for Brisbane, the darkie and myself on theraft, and the others in the boat, and we got round Cleveland Point,and went along towards Wynnum. It was getting late in the eveningthen, and we on the raft felt fa*gged out, so just lay down and wentoff to sleep. Waking some time in the night, we at first thought wehad lost the boat, but afterwards found it had swung round and comein close to the raft, and the two occupants, who were also wornout, were fast asleep. As far as we could see, we were some-wherebetween St. Helena and Wynnum, and the flood-tide seemed to betaking us towards the Brisbane River; so we thought we would alsoget into the boat, lie down with the others, and let the boat andraft go where they liked. It was not long before we were asleepagain, and when all woke in the morning we were high and dry on amud bank in the Boat Passage. As luck had it, the tide had taken usin the right direction.

"About nine o'clock the Custom House boat came in sight, comingto look for us—they thought we had all been drowned or killedby the blacks. They could not get nearer than one hundred yardsbecause of the low tide, but Old Tom did not wait—he jumpedout into the mud, and though he sank nearly to his waist, went onleg by leg till at length he reached them. The first thing he askedfor was 'tobacco'—not something to eat, though he must havebeen very hungry—and when he got a fig he put half in hismouth and chewed away with great gusto. As soon as the tide rosethey brought the rest of us food, which we 'tucked' into, and soonfelt all right again. The blackfellow commenced to mimic Old Tomgoing through the mud for his tobacco, and he lay down and rolledabout laughing at the way the old man had chewed it up. He had nolaugh in him while he was hungry!"

When the tide was high enough the raft was floated, and theCustom House boat took it in hand as far as Lytton, and eventuallythe party of four arrived in Brisbane, after what my father nowterms a mad trip. "It was madness," he says, "to venture out insuch a small boat so badly pre-pared. We thought also we would onlybe away a fortnight."


Because my father knew the blacks so well, he was often asked toaccompany people on different expeditions into the bush. On hisreturn from the Turon diggings in 1851, a merchant of Brisbane cameto him, and said that gold had been found at Delaney's Creek, or,as the blacks called it, "Nuram Nuram"—"wart" (spelt "NeurumNeurum" on the map), and would he go with him and have a look atthe place, for though it had been left it might be some good. Theboy agreed, so the merchant procured a pair of horses, a mule tocarry the rations and blankets, and a gun and ammunition. When allwas ready they started from the town, leading the pack mule, andthe first night got as far as the Upper Caboolture, to the olddeserted station where Mr. Gregor and Mrs. Shannon had beenmurdered, and camped in an old hut there. This hut was not far fromthe graves of the murdered. Next morning the merchant did not feelwell, so they rested where they were for the day. Father strollinground and examining the graves.

The evening of the day following Durundur was reached, and afterhobbling the horses Father went to a blacks' camp near by in orderto get a couple of natives to show them a short cut across theranges to Neurum Neurum Creek. He succeeded in persuading two toaccompany them—one an old fellow called "Dai-alin," and theother a young man, and they were to meet next morning. "Dai-alin"was somewhat lame—had one leg shorter than the other.

When morning came they started off, with the natives leading,and travelled several miles without interruption. Then climbing upthe spur of a mountain, and going down the other side, they cameinto a very thick scrub, where about one hundred blacks werehunting for paddymelons, making a great row. The two blacks whowere with the white men sang out to the others, who immediatelyclustered round and asked questions. Some of the young fellows grewvery bold, and the merchant suggested to Father to get the gunready, for by this time he was very much afraid; but the boy saidto leave it to him, it would be all right, and he commenced to talkto and chaff them in their own tongue. Soon they were all laughing,and made no objection when the party started to push on, which theydid with a will, reaching their destination that night, and campingthere on the bank of a creek.

Next morning after breakfast Father started to prospect forgold. There was an old cradle or two there on the bank, and acouple of crowbars, which had been left by those working some timebefore, and the holes that had been sunk were all filled in by aflood. He tried several places in the creek and got the colour, butno more, so, as it was getting late in the afternoon, decided towait till next day.

Hanging about over this sort of thing evidently did not suit theblacks' taste, for next morning the young fellow bolted, and theold man wished to go too, and take the rations with him. Themerchant, at this, thinking there was mischief brewing, said, "Wemust get out of this," and their horses being handy, theyaccordingly packed the mule, Father meanwhile making old "Dai-alin"hold the creature, telling him that if he offered to run away hewould shoot him; but, on the other hand, if he piloted them safelyover the mountain to Mount Brisbane Station, he would give himflour, tea, sugar, and other good things. So off they went again,but hadn't gone far when natives appeared on every side, and asthey didn't look at all friendly Father called to them in their owntongue that he would fire if they came any nearer.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (13)

Jackie (Burpengary Creek)

There were a lot of wild young fellows in the mob, and these setfire to the grass all round about, but did nothing else, so theparty got through all right, losing sight of their black friendseventually, to the merchant's great relief.

Keeping on till they got over the mountain with "Dia-alin" stillin front, they at length came in sight of Mount Brisbane Station.Here Father told the black man he could go, and on receiving thetobacco and other promised things, the darkie did so, quite pleasedwith his possessions. His white companions went on to the station,where they stayed the night, and next day made through the bush ina direct line for Brisbane, where they arrived quite safe andsound, none the worse for their little adventure. In those days myfather could find his way anywhere through the bush to where hewished to go, so long as the sun was shining, and he knew in whatdirection the place lay, or if he had been once before. One couldnever lose him in the bush, but, of course, over the mountains theblacks had tracks cut, and it saved time to be shown these.

Years before this, in fact, during the time of the convicts,there was a poor harmless half-cripple aboriginal, called "BumbleDick," who belonged to the Brisbane tribe, and who hung about thesettlement. He'd had half his foot burnt off when a child. This"Bumble Dick" went once to some sawyers working at Petrie's Bight,and told them that if they would lend him a gun, he would get them"plenty ducks." So they lent an old musket and powder and shot, andoff Dick started, quite pleased with himself, taking his wife withhim. He went to the Serpentine Swamp near Nudgee, for in those daysthere were lots of ducks there, and was delighted when he saw someswimming out from among the reeds. He started to load his gun,putting in plenty of powder and shot. Then catching sight of moreducks, and thinking that the more he put in his gun the more duckshe would shoot, he used up nearly all the powder and shot, then heput the gun up to his shoulder and pulled the trigger.

The gun went off—yes, but instead of killing a single birdit burst, and knocked poor Dick down with a cut on his forehead,also smashed up his left hand. The thumb and the last two fingerswere blown right off, and the remaining ones came off at the secondjoint. It was lucky for "Bumble Dick" that his wife was with him,for he was stunned for some time. When he came to, his wife wascrying over him, and she put dirt on his hand and tied it up; thenthey started back to the camp at Brisbane, taking with them thebroken gun.

Next day Dick's wife returned the gun to the owners, and toldthem of what had happened to poor Dick, saying "Bael gettem duck."Two days after that, again, Father went out to see "BumbleDick."

"I found poor Dick sitting in his hut in a fearful state, thecut in his forehead full of wood ashes, and ashes on his smashed-uphand,, which smelt unpleasantly. The poor fellow was in pain. Isaid to him, 'What for you put so much powder and shot in gun?' Hereplied that the more he put in the more ducks he expected to kill,and he did not think the gun would break. 'How many ducks did youshoot?' 'Bael me know; me shot self, no go see how many ducks. Baelmore me takem gun, that fellow very saucy.'

"Dick was a long time recovering, but eventually he got allright again. If you said to him, 'Dick, you takem gun, and shoot mesome ducks,' he would reply, 'Bael; that fellow too much saucy.'You could not get poor Dick to take hold of a gun ever again;indeed, he would hardly look at one. And no wonder. Even now I cansee the terrible state his hand was in, and just how his fingerswere torn off."

This misadventure of "Bumble Dick's" reminds my father of one ofhis own, when he was a very small boy. When the Petries first cameto Brisbane they lived, as I have said, in a building on the siteof the present Post and Telegraph Office until their own house onPetrie's Bight should be built. This building had formerly beenused as a factory for the women prisoners, until they were moved toEagle Farm. It was a large building, and was surrounded by a wallabout sixteen or eighteen feet high, and some couple of feet thick.One large gate in this wall faced what is now Queen Street. Alongthe river bank, from Creek Street to past where Messrs. ThomasBrown and Son's warehouse is now, stretched the Petries' garden,and here they had growing peach trees, figs, mulberries, and lotsof different fruits and vegetables, The blacks used to come andsteal the sweet potatoes, so my grandfather Petrie had a hole cutin this side of the wall so that a watch could be kept. The blacksused to swim from Kangaroo Point over to the gardens. In swimming,as before stated, a native used a small log as a help, and carriedhis dilly on his head.

It was generally on a Sunday, when no one was working in thegarden, that the blacks came across for the potatoes. One Sundaysix of them were busy at their little game when they were seenthrough the hole in the wall, and Grandfather and two of hissons—John and Walter—went quietly down to try and catchthem red-handed. However, the blacks, seeing them approach, madeoff, and, taking to the water, started to swim to Kangaroo Point.In the meantime the pilot boat hove in sight, coming round KangarooPoint on its way from Amity Point station, and she gave chase,sticking all the time to one blackfellow. The man in the bow of theboat stood up with the boat-hook in his hand, ready to hook thedarkie. Whenever they got near him the blackfellow dived down underthe water like a duck, and then came up again in quite a differentplace to what was expected. The boat would have to be turned then,and a fresh start made; and so this went on till the swimmer wasalmost across the river and fairly beaten, when the man with theboat-hook succeeded in hooking him and then dragging theunfortunate wretch into the boat. He was tied with a rope and takento the lockup. Next day he was tried and sentenced to aflogging.

My father used to get into scrapes in this garden as well as theblacks. His father's gardener, old Ned, a one-time prisoner (thenatives called him "Dikkalabin"), was "an awful man to swear, and across old man. Many a time he used to hunt me," says Father, "andswear at me, when he would catch me taking fruit or watermelons. Healways kept a horse-pistol loaded with slugs, with which to shootthe blacks when he caught them stealing."

One day Father watched Ned going to the far end of the garden,and then stole into his hut, and, taking his pistol, went to have ashot at some birds on a peach tree. There were a great number ofbirds, and so the boy made sure of getting some. He held the pistolclose up to his face, in order to look along the barrel, and thenpulled the trigger. The pistol did not burst, like "Bumble Dick's"gun, but it kicked frightfully, and the result was a cut lip, abruised forehead, and a blackened eye for the boy. He was alsoknocked down, and when he saw the blood thought he was going todie, so started crying. Old Ned, hearing the report and the crying,ran up to the lad, cursing and swearing, and saying, "You will dienow." Then he took the boy to his mother, who washed the wounds andput raw beef to the black eye, then put her son up in the kitchenloft. If his father had seen him in that state, the boy would havebeen severely punished, for my grandfather was a strict pldgentleman. Many a "hammering" Father got for smoking as a boy;which, however, failed to cure the habit. In this case theyoungster was kept out of the way for several days until his woundswere better. When his father did at length come across his smallson, he gave him a good talking to, saying he had a great mind tothrash him for using the pistol, and "Tom" promised he would not doit again.

In these days, fierce fights often took place among theaboriginals in the vicinity of Brisbane, and the white boy, who washere and there and everywhere among the blacks, of course,witnessed them. Once there was a great gathering from all parts ofthe country, the different tribes rolling up to witness a grand newcorroboree that the Ipswich tribe had brought. After the corroboreea fearful fight came off, some Northern tribes—the Bribie,Mooloolah, Maroochy, Noosa, Durundur, Kilcoy, and Barambahblacks—ranging themselves against the Brisbane, Ipswich,Rosewood, Wivenhoe, Logan, and Stradbroke Island tribes. Altogetherthere were some seven hundred blacks, and they were camped in thiswise: The Brisbane, Stradbroke Island, and all from the Logan up toBrisbane had their camp at Green Hills (overlooking Roma StreetStation, where the Reception House is now), the Ipswich, Rosewood,and Wivenhoe tribes were on Petrie Terrace, where the barracks are,and the Northern tribes camped on the site of the present NormanbyHotel.

Previous to the corroboree, kippas had gone through theirceremony out at the Samford ring, and these young men were nowtaken to where the women were all dancing and singing on the flatin front of the present Roma Street Station. They were made to walkin pairs, six men, all decorated and painted up for the occasion,preceding them, and six more bringing up the rear. They startedwith a war whoop from the top of the hill, where the road turns togo up Red Hill, down to where the gins were dancing and singing,and waving about their yam-sticks with bunches of bushes tied tothe ends. These gins, seeing the boys approach, were delighted toknow that they were safe after having been "swallowed by the kundrimen," and sticking their yam-sticks in the ground awaited theirarrival.

Always in these ceremonies the same sort of thing was gonethrough, and as they have been already described, we will leavethem to come to where the old warriors were fighting. The Brisbaneside chased the others as far as Red Hill, and then, two of theNorthern blacks being wounded, one with a spear through the calf ofthe leg, and the other with a similar weapon through his thigh, ahalt was called. This was done by the friends of the woundedyelling "tor," which meant hit or wounded. A halt in theproceedings was always brought about so. The Brisbane tribe thenretreated, and were chased back as f ar cis the road that now leadsto Milton on the river bank, when three of their side gotwounded—one with, a boomerang in the chest, another with awaddie on the head, and yet another man got a spear through hisfoot. The man with the wound in the head was very bad, the waddiecut the skin right through to the skull; and yet next day he waswalking about again.

After these happenings both sides decided on a rest for a while,and so they squatted down about one hundred yards apart. Aninterval passed, and then two men from one side got up and rushedin a threatening manner across to the others, who retaliated, andso things went on in the usual way of a fight. As the spears andwaddies flew here and there the white boy was amazed to see howthey were dodged. Looking on, he felt it was impossible for a manto escape being hit, and yet most of the weapons passed betweenlegs or over heads, or were turned aside on a shield. When sometime had been spent in a general sort of fight, an Ipswichblackfellow challenged a Bribie Island black to fight with knivesand waddies, accusing him of being the cause of the death of afriend, and calling him all sorts of names, also uttering dreadfulthreats. The two met, and started viciously hitting at one another,till the Ipswich black split the other's shield; then weapons werethrown aside, and a hand-to-hand fight with stone knives ensued.The cuts were frightful, and Father was relieved when at length thepair were separated by those looking on. It was found that theIpswich black had less wounds than the other, so the former had tostand and allow his enemy's friends to cut him to make things moreequal. This, as I have already stated, was always done. It was theaboriginal's idea of justice.

A big fight always lasted several days, and time was allowed inbetween for the search for food. So in this case, when things hadgone thus far, the different tribes separated, hunting all roundabout. Some, such as the Ipswich, Mount Brisbane, and Wivenhoetribes, hunted in the scrub which used to stand near where theToowong Railway Station is now. The blacks called that part"Baneraba" (Bunaraba); Toowong was their name for the bend orpocket of the river on the left hand side travelling from Brisbane,just before crossing Indooroopilly Bridge. The Logan, Stradbroke,and some Moreton Island blacks went over to what we call West End.There used to be a large scrub there on the bend of the river inthe early days, and the blacks called the place "Kurilpa"(Kureelpa), which meant "a place for rats." Some crossed the riverin canoes, and others swam across. Then some Northern tribes huntedat "Buyuba" (Enoggera Crossing), and others at the Hamilton scrub.The Brisbane tribe themselves kept to Bowen Hills, Spring Hill, NewFarm, etc.

When Father went out to the blacks next day to see how the fightwas progressing he found every one in the midst of a great feast ofall sorts of animals. After they were satisfied, however, theypainted and decorated themselves again, and then much the same sortof thing went on. Women fought as well as men, and on this secondday Father noticed two gins of the same tribe—one a younggirl of eighteen years, and the other over thirty—who seemedto have a quarrel to settle. They fought about a young man. Onesaid he belonged to her, and the other said no, he belonged to her;and the jealous pair fought and squabbled very savagely, using notonly their tongues, but also their hands and weapons. The youngerone seemed to be getting the better of it, when the other suddenlymade a prod with her yam-stick, and sticking the sharp point intoher enemy's body, killed her immediately.

The dead girl's brother at this ran and felled the conqueror tothe ground by a blow on the head with a waddie. The blow was sosevere that the skull bone showed out, and the woman lay as onedead. Her body was carried to her hut then, as was also that of theother gin, and a great wailing and crying and hacking of fleshbegan. Amidst all this noise of the mourning it was hardly possibleto hear oneself speak, and the white boy, growing a littlefrightened, went home.

Next day, when Father again went to see how things were, hefound to his astonishment the wounded gin sitting up; he hadexpected to find her dead. The wound on her forehead was filled inwith fine charcoal. The body of the dead gin had been skinned andeaten.

A good many were wounded before this fight ended, the Brisbaneside getting the better of it eventually. Afterwards, when all thetribes journeyed homewards in different directions, they took withthem their wounded, carrying them on their shoulders, a leg oneither side of the neck.

My father has been present at numbers of aboriginal fights, andhe says "it takes a lot to kill a blackfellow." One thing surprisedhim greatly. During a big fight at "Dumben" (now called Pinkenba),a blackfellow, in stooping down to pick up a weapon, got struckwith a spear, which went in just above the collar-bone, and aftergoing right down through the body came to light again. It seemedimpossible that the man should live. And yet he did recover,although he fell away to a mere skeleton first.

Another big "tulan," or fight, Father remembers at York's Hollow(the Exhibition). He and his brother Walter were standing lookingon, when a fighting boomerang thrown from the crowd circled round,and travelling in the direction of the brothers, struck WalterPetrie on the cheek, causing a deep flesh wound. The gins andblacks of the Brisbane tribe commenced to cry about this, and saidthat the weapon had come from the Bribie blacks' side, and thatthey were no good, but wild fellows. The brothers went home, andthe cut was sewn up. It did not take long to heal afterwards.

At that fight there must have been about eight hundred blacksgathered from all parts, and there were about twenty wounded. Onevery fine blackfellow lost his life. His name was "Tunbur"(maggot). In the fight he got hit on the ankle with a waddie, andnext day died from lockjaw. They carried the remains, and crossedthe creek where the Enoggera railway bridge is now, and further onmade a fire and skinned the body and ate it. My father knew"Tunbur" well; he was one of the blacks who accompanied grandfatherPetrie on his trip in search of a sample of "bon-yi" wood.

"Tunbur" was a splendidly-made blackfellow; he stood over sixfeet in height, and was very strong. When Father heard he had beenkilled he rode out to the camp at Bowen Hills to see him, but foundonly a few old gins and men, who said the others had gone acrossthe creek to eat "Tunbur." So, as "Tom" was curious to see thisperformance, he rode on to the Enoggera crossing, but was againdisappointed, as it was all over, and only a couple of old womenleft to clean the bones and put them safely in a dilly. The remainsof the fire were still to be seen, and some little distance furthera small mound of newly-dug earth with three sticks placed round,nicely tied with grass This the gins said was where the waste partswere buried. Another stick about a yard away was stuck in theground and also tied with grass rope, and a bunch of grasssurmounted the top, which pointed south. The ground was nicelycleared round this stick, and a footmark printed there, alsopointing south. This told any strange blacks who should chance tocome along in which direction the friends of the dead had gone, anda dozen trees notched all round about with little notches markedthe place where a body had been eaten.


A number of white people were murdered by the aborigines when myfather was a boy, and some of the incidents I have already told youof. He knew all the black murderers of those early days well, andhad many a yarn with them. One of them was well-known as "MillbongJemmy." Now this man's native name was really"Yilbung"—pronounced in English, "Yilbong." He first put inan appearance at the missionary station at Nundah. (Nundah means"chain of waterholes.") Jemmy was taken in hand with some others tobe converted. He got on very well for a good while; could say theLord's Prayer, and the missionaries thought him a model. He hadonly one eye, this "Millbong Jemmy," having had the other burntwhen a child, but he used it well, and always kept it open and onthe lookout. His name—"Yilbung"—meant "one-eye."

One night, having noticed where the missionaries kept the flourand tea and sugar. Jemmy made arrangements with some of his matesto be ready at a certain time to help him carry some of theserations. When the missionaries were all asleep, he helped himselfto a good supply, and also to the loan of one of their nightgowns,then made off to the bush to his mates, not waiting to saygood-bye. In the morning when the missionaries got up, they foundthat their rations had disappeared, also Jemmy and the nightgown.There was a great to do about this, and going into town themissionaries reported they had been robbed by the blacks.

"Millbong Jemmy" made his way down to Amity Point on StradbrokeIsland, and got the blacks there to mark his body, so that he wouldbe taken for one of them. The Stradbroke people had differentmarkings to all other tribes. Theirs were larger and more raised,and were cut in with sharp shells across the body from one side tothe other, about one inch apart, and reaching right down to belowthe waist.

Jemmy stayed still his cuts were healed, then he left Stradbrokeand came back to Brisbane, thinking the whites would not know himagain. However, it was not long before he got himself intomischief. One day he stuck up old Marten, the miller, at the oldwindmill, and took a bag of corn meal. He robbed the mill severaltimes after this, and they failed to catch him always, so apoliceman was told off to hide in the place, and watch for Jemmywhen he came for his bag of meal or corn. He wasn't particularwhich it was, but always took the first he came to.

For a day or two the policeman watched, but no Jemmy came, tillat last one mizzling sort of day he appeared. Marten, the miller,called to him, "Come on. Jemmy, here is a bag you can have." Inwent the darkie, thinking all was right, but as soon as he got holdof the bag, the constable pounced on him, and Marten helped to tryand get him down. They hit him on the head, but Jemmy picked up anold rusty knife and stabbed the constable in the chest. As luckwould have it, however, the latter had on a thick pea-jacket, andthe knife only bent and did no harm. Then the constable beat theblackfellow on the shins with a baton, and that soon brought Jemmyto his knees on the ground, and they were able to put on a tightpair of handcuffs, and tie him up with a rope.

Word was sent for the soldiers to come, and ten or twelvemarched up to the Windmill. Father, boy-like, seeing the redcoatsmarching, followed them to see what was on. Arriving at theWindmill, the soldiers were all formed up in line at each side ofthe doorway, and "Millbong Jemmy" was brought out well tied up andhandcuffed—a constable on either side, holding him. To myfather it seems as though it were but yesterday when he saw thesoldiers and the constables march off with their prisoner from theWindmill—the present Observatory—and wend their waydown the hill. Jemmy was lodged in the cells that used to standwhere the Town Hall is now, and next day he was tried and condemnedto twenty-five or fifty lashes. After the lashes he was to exist onbread and water for twenty-four hours.

The old archway where the prisoners were always flogged stood alittle further up Queen Street than that part which Messrs. Chapmanand Co. now occupy. "Millbong Jemmy" was tied to the trianglesthere, and Gilegan, the flogger, punished him, but was only able tomake brown marks on his dark skin. During the flogging it is saidJemmy called to his mother and friends to save him. Afterwards, hewas taken back to the cells to do his twenty-four hours, and wasthen set free, and given a shirt and pair of trousers, marked withthe Government brand—broad arrow. His wrists were much cutwith the tight handcuffs.

"Millbong Jemmy" after his release took a stroll up to thesoldiers' barracks—where now the present Treasury Buildingsstands. He walked in and looked about him with his one eye. Thesoldiers or "diamonds" chaffed him, saying, "Hello, Jemmy, you goodfellow now, no more steal?" And Jemmy was emphatic in hisagreement. All the same, he kept his weather eye open, and, seeinga little box with tobacco in it, watched his opportunity, and whenthe soldiers' backs were turned, helped himself to a pound, thencleared out and made his way to the Petries' garden on the bank ofthe river. There he came across the old gardener, Ned, and gave himthe tobacco in exchange for a dilly of sweet potatoes.

The next my father heard of "Millbong Jemmy" was that he hadbeen stealing at Eagle Farm, then again at"Yawa-gara"—Breakfast Creek. Later, sawyers working in thescrub near the present Toowong Railwaystation—"Baner-aba"—spoke of his thieving, and otherGovernment sawyers at Canoe Creek (Oxley) made the same complaint.He was a notorious thief. He was the only blackfellow my fatherknew who was not afraid to travel at night, and all alone, andwould be heard of one day at one place, and then perhaps again thenext day twenty miles away. He was blamed for the murder of Mr.Gregor and Mrs. Shannon, the sawyers at North Pine, and severalother murders. Father often met "Millbong Jemmy" in the bush atBowen Hills, and had a yarn with him, and gave him a piece oftobacco. To the white boy he seemed kindly enough. He never wouldown that he had killed anyone, but admitted he had often stolen,saying he did not see any harm in taking flour when hungry, andthat as the white men had taken away his country, he thought theyshould give something for it.

About this time Davie Petty, who owned a cutter, was in thehabit of using it for going down the Bay for oyster shells formaking lime, and also for carrying firewood with which to burn theshells. One day he and his man were getting wood just at the mouthof Norman Creek, when the blacks came upon them, and the white men,thinking it better to be off, ran to the cutter. The man got onboard first, and Mr. Petty handed him the tools, then thegun—muzzle foremost. As the latter was pulled down the co*ckcaught in Petty's shirt cuff, and the weapon went off, shooting theman through the body. The owner of the cutter then got her out intothe stream, and, dropping anchor, put the wounded man into the boatand pulled up to the wharf at the Colonial Stores.

This all happened about four or five o'clock in the afternoon.Father remembers seeing them put the man on an old door and carryhim so to the hospital, the poor fellow saying, "Little did Ithink, when loading my gun, that it was to shoot myself." The whiteboy followed the procession, and in the hospital got up on to thewindow-sill and watched the doctor as he dressed the wound and tookout the slugs. All the time he heard the poor man repeat again andagain, "Little did I think, when loading my gun, that it was toshoot myself." When the doctor had finished, and was putting insome stitches, the man expired.

"Millbong Jemmy" was blamed for being one of those whofrightened David Petty and his man. Eventually ten pounds a headwas offered for the capture of some of these aboriginal murderers.A short time after the above event (1846), Jemmy made his way tothe scrub at "Tugulawa" (Bulimba), to where some sawyers were atwork. One of these sawyers afterwards told my father thefollowing:—Seeing Jemmy coming, and knowing that a reward wasoffered for his capture, they called to him, "Come on, Jemmy, andhave a pot of tea and something to eat," and as soon as he wasfairly seated and eating, they suddenly caught hold of him, andtried to tie him. But he struggled and fought manfully, almostgetting free, and managed to pick up his waddy and strike one ofthem. Then they got him to the ground, and one of them seizing agun shot him through the head. After that he was bound and put onthe bullock dray and taken to the settlement, dying, however, onthe road up. Before his arrival word spread of his capture, andthat he was being brought in, and Father and a number of othersstarted off down to the Government wharf (Colonial Stores) to seethe much-talked of Jemmy. They waited till the dray appeared on thebank of the river at South Brisbane, and saw the driver back up asclose as possible, then take the body by the leg, and pulling itoff, let it fall like a log to the ground. A boat's crew of MoretonIsland blacks were waiting at the old ferry to put the body in aboat and bring it across to the north side, and these men did notseem by their long and solemn faces to relish their job. The bodywas taken to the hospital—the site of the present SupremeCourt.

The last my father heard of "Millbong Jemmy," the "great thiefand murderer," as he was called, was that his head had been cut offand boiled free of flesh, so that a cast could be taken of it.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (14)

Ferry in 1850

There is a place on the Caboolture River known as the "DeadMan's Pocket." It got its name this way. Three natives oftwenty-five (to be referred to later on), who all in after yearspossessed my father's brand on their arm, were responsible for thedeath at this place of one white man, and at the same time theattempted murder of another. The survivor, who was left for dead,was one Peter Glyn, an old prisoner, and Father saw this manafterwards when he had come out of hospital, The story he told ranthus: A party of white men left Brisbane in a boat to go to theCaboolture River to look for cedar timber. At the mouth of theriver they picked up three Bribie Island blacks, thinking theywould be of use in guiding them to the timber that grew in thescrubs. Leaving the others, two of the white men went off with thenatives, while the rest stayed to take care of the boat. A bigstrong blackfellow—Dr. Ballow, the whites calledhim—walked first through the scrub, and, following him, camePeter Glyn, then two more natives, then the other white man, PeterGrant. Both the men carried guns, the first one having adouble-barrelled one.

Travelling along in this fashion for some distance through thelonely scrub, Peter Grant perhaps turned over in his mind all thetales he had heard of the blacks, for he grew afraid. Calling outto Glyn, he warned him to beware of the natives—they intendedto hit him. Glyn turned round and answered: "If you are frightened,it is no use you coming. You had better return to the boat, and Iwill go alone." However, they continued as they were for some time.Then once again Grant's feelings got the better of him, and hecalled out as before. Turning suddenly in response, Glyn's gunstruck the black in front as he turned, and the weapon went off,the charge of shot grazing along the fellow's back, causing a fleshwound. Maddened by this, the blackfellow tried to wrest the gunfrom Glyn, who sang out to Grant to shoot the beggar, and he wouldthen quickly do for the other two. However, Grant seemed unable tomove, and stood still like a statute while his life was taken, andall the time Glyn's hands were beaten unmercifully in order toloosen his hold on the gun. They continued to hit him on the handsand the head till he lost consciousness.

Coming to himself, Glyn saw Grant lying dead beside him, with alog across his body, and he tried to rise and walk. But his handswere so much bruised and swollen that the poor wretch could not usethem, even to fix his trousers, which had fallen down somewhat andacted as a regular hobble to his legs. So there was nothing leftfor him but to crawl as best he might, and it seemed to him that hewent this way many miles, his misery increasing with the hours. Forthe unfortunate could not even cast off the clothing which hobbledhim. He was in this wretched state when found. He lived throughthis only to meet a not very noble death in the end, some yearsafterwards. Through being somewhat the worse for drink, he fellfrom a fishing boat into the river (near Messrs. Thomas Brown andSons' present warehouse), and was drowned.

About a week or two after this murder. Father went to BribieIsland to look for a boat which had been washed away by a flood. Hestarted from Petrie's Bight, accompanied by his young brotherGeorge, two blackfellows, and a half-caste boy, called Neddy. AtBribie Island no blacks were to be seen, but fresh tracks appearedeverywhere. Father sent off one of the old men accompanying him tofollow the tracks, and tell all he came across not to be afraid,that friends were there. In a very short space about thirty turnedup, some with fishing nets, and they were just delighted when theysaw Father. Going into the water they got their nets full, and thenthe shining treasures were emptied out at his feet. So the visitorsall had a good meal of nice fresh fish.

On telling the natives what he had come for. Father was informedthat there was a boat lying on the outside beach, and that in themorning they would go with him, and bring her round into thepassage. Then nothing would please them but that they must movetheir camp to near that of the visitors. In the morning threevolunteers were ready to render assistance, and Father did not knowtill some time afterwards that they were the very men concerned inthe Caboolture murder. And he was without firearms! When they gotround the beach to where the boat lay high and dry, it was found tobe the one sought for, not much damaged; only a few planks split inthe bottom. As luck happened, there was not much of a sea that day,so the three blacks after launching the boat walked in the waterbeside her, keeping clear of the surf, and pulling her ashore toget rid of the water now and again, as she leaked a lot. And so ontill smooth water was reached in the passage.

When the boat was hauled up on to the beach and turned upsidedown, the damaged bottom was examined, and the blacks suggested awhitish clay as a remedy for the cracks—they used it fortheir canoes. So Father went across with some natives to themainland (Toorbul Point) to obtain some, leaving his brother andthe others on the island with the blacks. They were all right onhis return, and the clay was a success. When dug from the ground itwas soft and pliable, but after the blacks had worked at it withtheir hands, it became quite hard, and could only be removed fromthe boat in the end with a hammer and chisel.

That night a regular gale blew from the south-east, and therewas no hope of returning to Brisbane. It kept up, and at the end ofthree days the Petrie brothers' supply of rations, which wasgradually diminishing, ran out, and they had nothing left. Theblacks, finding this, were very good; they brought plenty of crabs,oysters, fish, and a fern root they used to eat ("bangwal"), alsothe small fruit we call "geebung." (The correct native name for thelatter is "dulandella.") Thinking of everything, the kind-heartedcreatures even offered tobacco!

After living for ten days on this sort of diet, the youngerPetrie, and also the half-caste, grew quite sick of the food, andcould not eat much; in fact, they did not feel at all right.. Myfather, however, enjoyed things thoroughly. He thought, though,that under the circ*mstances it would be better to send his brotheracross to the mainland, and let him walk to Brisbane with Neddy andtwo or three blacks. They could then also give the informationthere that Father was all right. So with some extra blackfellows tobring back the boat, the party started off, but had not gone farwhen another boat hove in sight sailing down to the island. Seeingthis the party returned, and Father had the boat hauled ap on tothe beach, and then he and his brother and Neddy hid behind it,leaving no one to be seen but the blacks. He watched from behindand saw the boat come sailing along, and when it got to withinfifty yards of the shore, the sail was pulled down, and a man inthe bow of the boat stood up with a fig of tobacco in his lefthand. This he held up, trying to induce the natives to swim out forit. Father noticed he kept his right hand in his coat pocket, and,seeing this, and that the party were afraid to land, showed himselfwith the others.

There were but two occupants in the boat, these being mygrandfather's men sent to look for the lost ones. When they landedthey said there was a report in circulation that the little bandhad all been murdered by the blacks on Bribie Island, and, "if wehad not seen you when we came along, we intended shooting somenatives in revenge." They meant to coax out men into the water fortobacco, and then shoot them with their loaded revolvers.

That night for tea there was meat and bread, etc., and soeverybody brisked up, and things were lively. The blacks were gotto show off some of their games, and they were very merry too. Nextday the wind changed, and the return to Brisbane was prepared for.Father asked the three blacks who had helped with the boat tojourney with them to his home at Petrie's Bight, and he would getthe black-smith there to make a tomahawk each for them. Theyagreed, and the whole party started off, with the recovered boat intow. The wind was fair, and they landed before dark at BreakfastCreek. The three natives were told to come in the morning for theirpresents, which they did, and while standing near the blacksmith'sshop waiting, a Mr. Williams appeared in the yard. As soon as theblacks saw him they took to their heels, and ran as fast as theycould into the bush. This Mr. Williams was one of the party whowent to Caboolture for cedar timber, and he recognised the threenatives as those who had accompanied his companions into the scrub,murder-ing one of them.

The next day Father went out to the aboriginal camp at BowenHills, and took with him the presents he had promised the threenatives. Arrived there these three came up to him, and when he hadpresented each with a tomahawk, he asked why they had run off theday before? "Because," they answered, "the man who came into theyard was one who was in the boat at Caboolture when we killed themen there, and we thought he might catch us." They then told how ithad all happened. They said they had no thoughts whatever ofmurder, until the white man got frightened and the gun went off,then, thinking they would be shot if nothing were done, they didnot hesitate to act promptly.

Another aboriginal murderer, known of as "Dundalli"—thenative name for the wonga-wonga pigeon—hailed from BribieIsland. Like "Millbong Jemmy," he was said to have had a hand inthe murder of Mr. Gregor and Mrs. Shannon, and the sawyers at NorthPine; also Gray, on Bribie Island, and others. Father rememberswhen he was captured. A brickmaker named Massie engaged this man,and the darkie was cutting down a tree for him when surprised. Thescene was somewhere in the present Wickham Street, Valley, betweenthe site of the Byrnes statue and the Brunswick Street corner. Thepolice had hidden near by, and a black-fellow (Wumbungur) of theBrisbane tribe was sent on to catch "Dundalli." The pair had astruggle, then the police appeared on the scene, and after a greatdeal of trouble secured him.

"Dundalli" was tried and sentenced to death, and the day he washanged (5th January, 1855), my father was there in the crowd. Thehanging took place where now the Post Office stands, and theWindmill (Observatory) Hill was simply lined with blacks, somecoming from Bribie ("Ngunda" tribe), and others of the Brisbanetribe. When "Dundalli" got up on to the gallows he looked allround, and, seeing Father, appealed to him in his own tongue. Thenhe noticed the blacks up on the hill at the Windmill, and called tothem (still in his own tongue), telling them that "Wumbungur" wasthe cause of his being taken, and so they must kill him. The capwas put over his head then, and the bolt was drawn, but owing toGreen, the executioner, misjudging the length of rope according tothe drop, the unfortunate man's feet came down upon the coffinbeneath. Then as he bounded up into the air the coffin was takenaway, and the executioner, catching him by the legs, bent and tiedthem upwards, and so hung to him till he died. It was indeed ahorrible sight, and one that Father devoutly hoped he would neversee again.

"Dundalli" had a brother, "Ommuli" (which meant the breast), whowas also a great murderer, and was connected with his brother insome of the same misdeeds. He was one of those for whom a rewardwas offered. A man called Isam, a native of the Isle of France,undertook to catch him. This man was a prisoner in the early times,but had got a ticket-of-leave. He lived with the blacks at AmityPoint ("Pul-an," the natives called Amity), and he had a boat, andused to catch fish and salt them for sale. He also caught turtleand dugong. Once a week he left his home at Amity and went toBrisbane to sell whatever he had, returning with rations.

One night this man, with four or five of the Amity Point blacksand two or three constables, started off to where the natives had acamp—a little above the present Wickham Terrace PresbyterianChurch—in quest of "Ommuli." At that time, of course, it wasall wild bush round about. Isam took with him half-a-pint of rumand a tinpot to treat "Ommuli" to a drink, and one of the nativeshad a rope with a noose at the end. Coming near to the camp, theconstables and most of the blacks waited hidden while Isam and twoothers went forward. They found "Ommuli" in his hut, and Isam satdown alongside him and commenced to talk to him, and brought outthe rum, while all the time the native with the rope hidden in hisshirt stood ready watching. Seeing his opportunity at last as thepair talked away together, this man threw the rope over theunsuspecting blackfellow's head, and then, getting it down over hisarm, drew it tight, and with the assistance of the blacks, whorushed out at this moment from their hiding place, dragged "Ommuli"along the ground.

An awful row began then; the blacks of the camp threw spears andwaddies at the others with their victim, and a constable gotspeared through the arm. Still Isam and the Amity blacks would notgive up "Ommuli," and they dragged him right down the hill, passingover the ground where the church is now, and on to cross over thecreek that used to run up Creek Street. Pausing on the site of thepresent Gresham Hotel, they had a look at their victim, and foundthat his arm had come free of the noose, and the rope was tightround his neck. Of course, it goes without saying—the man wasdead. So they took the body to the hospital, and that was the lastof the unfortunate "Ommuli."


Most people speak and think of the aborigines as a lazy, dirty,useless, unreliable lot. But, as I have tried to show, it is unfairto pass judgment upon them because of what they appear to be now.They were not always so, and the white man is accountable for theirdeterioration. He taught them to drink and to smoke, and to feelthat it was not worth calling up sufficient energy to make a canoe,a vessel for water, or even a hut to sleep in. As the natives gotmore and more into the ways of the white man, they would often liehuddled up in the rain, rather than trouble to make a hut to coverthem. And so they went down and down, travelling on the path whichled to laziness, disease, and degradation. Poor souls They did notteach their children to do as they had done, and the children neverreally knew what the old life had been. How different a native wasin those old times! He was full of manly vigour and energy, hislife was a joy to him, and the search for his food one longpastime. It is useless to think that we can ever blot out theinjury we have done by mission schools and unnatural teaching.

To show that there were besides murderers really worthycharacters among the aborigines, it may interest some readers tohear of "Dalaipi," a fine old blackfellow my father knew. When thelatter was a small boy he used to play with this man's son—alittle chap called "Dal-ngang"—and "Dal-aipi" himself wasthen nearly sixty years of age. Later, when Father had been marriedsome months, and had decided, upon the advice of Mr. Tiffin, theGovernment Architect, to take up land for cattle, he sought out"Dalaipi," and he asked him if he knew of any country suitable forwhat he wanted. This old blackfellow was the head man of the NorthPine tribe, and often came into Brisbane. He replied that there wasplenty good "tar" (ground) at "Mandin" (fishing net)—theNorth Pine River railway bridge crossing. When Father agreed to goand look at it, "Dalaipi" was greatly pleased at the idea of himsettling there, and said, "You take my son, "Dal-ngang," with you,he will show you over my country, for he can ride, and any you pickon I will give you. I would go, but cannot ride—would tumbleoff. When you make up your mind to settle, I will go with you, andprotect you and your cattle, or any one belonging to you."

So my father, a young man of about twenty-eight, journeyed forthwith "Dal-ngang" to look at the place which was really to becomehis future home, though he did not know it. There he was to livefor the rest of his lifetime, and form the now well-knownhomestead, "Murrumba." This name, by the way, is the blackfellows'word for "good."

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (15)


The two horsem*n—the black man and the white—campedfor the first night just where the latter's milking-shed nowstands, and Father was greatly taken with the country, which, inthose days, looked so nice and green and open, and was covered withbeautiful kangaroo grass, a couple of feet high. The young fellowthought to himself what a pity it was he could not take it up; heknew it to be a portion of the Whiteside run. "Dal-ngang" said tohim, "You take this fellow ground, belong to my father?" and he wasnot at all reconciled to the fact when told that it alreadybelonged to Mrs. Griffen (Captain Griffen's widow).

After looking at North Pine, Father and "Dal-ngang" went on tothe mouth of the Pine River, and then round to Humpybong andDeception Bay. From there they went to Caboolture, and always asthey travelled they examined the country for miles round about. Atthe end of four days they found themselves on the "Old NorthernRoad," home-ward bound, my father with his mind made up to obtain amap of the country, so that he could see which portions were stillopen to choose from. However, arriving at the North Pine uppercrossing (Sideling Creek), they met a bullock dray loaded withcedar, making down the river towards the salt water, whence thetimber was to be rafted to Brisbane, and who should be ridingalongside the team that his man was driving but John Griffen, witha horse pistol on either side of the pommel of the saddle, and acarbine hanging at his side. As soon as he saw Father he called tohim, "Hullo, Petrie, where the devil are you going?" "I am lookingfor a nice piece of country on which to put some cattle. Can youput me on to anything?" "Yes, go down towards the mouth of thePine." "But that belongs to your mother." "The old lady will beonly too pleased to give it to you. We can't keep a beast downthere, for the blacks, they run them into the swamps and spearthem, then have great feasts. If any of us go down in thatdirection, we have always to be on our guard—that is thereason I am armed like this (touching his weapons). You never knowwhen those black wretches may appear and tackle you. You had bettergo back to the station, Petrie, and see mother. I know you will getthe land all right."

My father, after some conversation, turned and went to Mrs.Griffen's station, where the old lady met him heartily, and askedhim in for the night. When he told her what he had come for, shesaid she would be only too pleased to let him have that portion ofher run; it was of no use to them; it was unsafe for any one to godown there, and they could do nothing with the cattle on account ofthe blacks. "Yes, you can have it certainly, but," she added,"would it be wise for a young man like you to settle in such aplace—would it be safe?" Fancy "Tom Petrie" being afraid ofthe natives! "Mrs. Griffen," he answered, if you are willing that Ishould take over the land, I shall not be afraid to settle there,as I can speak to the blacks in their own tongue, and know theirways, and will be all right." "Very well," she said, "I will go totown with you to-morrow, and make arrangements that you get theland."

So it came about that the lawyer transferred ten sections overto my father, and the latter had ten square miles in his name. Hisboundary was from Sideling Creek down the coast right round toHumpybong.

And now to return to "Dalaipi." When everything had been finallysettled, my father started from Brisbane in a boat to go to NorthPine with rations, taking with him "Dalaipi," "Dal-ngang," and fourother blacks. When they got to the mouth of Brisbane River, a fairwind was blowing towards St. Helena, and the natives suggested thatthe party should run across to the island and camp there for thenight—they looked forward to a feast of dugong. To this myfather agreed. At that time St. Helena was nearly all scrub, andsome white men were living there who caught dugong and boiled themdown for the oil for Dr. Hobbs. As luck had it, when the boatlanded a large creature had just been caught, so the darkies had agreat feast, and Father also enjoyed some of the meat. Next day, ontheir departure, the men of the island gave them a quantity offlesh, so the blacks were in great glee, as dugong was a favoureddish, and this meant a supply for several days. The wind, againfavourable, took the party to the Pine, up which they travelled asfar as Yebri Creek, and camped there.

Next day my father looked about for a suitable place in which tobuild a humpy, and picked upon almost the spot where his barnstands now near the N.C. Railway line. With the help of the blackshe cleared a couple of acres and then, teaching them to split slabsand posts and rails, he got a hut and stockyard built.

Whenever he had occasion after this to go for a few days toBrisbane, he found on his return that everything was all right,just as already related. The man who took charge of the humpy was"Dalaipi," and the two young blacks mentioned, who watched thecattle, were lads of about seventeen, one being "Dal-ngang," andthe other, "Dippari," a brother of "Dick Ben." ("Dick Ben" was oneof those concerned in the murder of Mr. Gregor and Mrs.Shannon).

These two young fellows were very useful; their master taughtthem to do all sorts of things about his place, and they werebright and quick at learning, and could do their work as well asany white man. Later on, when he had a house built to which hiswife could come, these boys took turn about in travelling toBrisbane with a pack-horse every week, taking in little freshthings from the country to Mr. Petrie, senior, and returning withsupplies for the station. And nothing ever went wrong.

"'Dalaipi' was," my father says, "a faithful and good old blackto me. He was a great old fisherman, and used to keep us suppliedwith fish, crabs, and oysters, and in the season when turkey eggswere found in the scrub on the Pine brought these as an offering.He was the only blackfellow I knew who neither smoked nordrank."

"Dalaipi" was not an extra tall blackfellow, but was good andvery reverent looking, and carried himself with an air as though hewere some one of importance, as, indeed he was, for his word waslaw among the tribe, and he was looked up to by every one. He andhis son, "Dal-ngang," were very gentle and courteous, and neverseemed to join in with a rough joke. "Dalaipi's" wife also was atall splendid-looking woman, with the carriage of a queen. She itwas who used to follow my mother on her walks abroad for fear harmshould come to the white lady. When the latter had gone far enough,or with her child had approached some sacred burial place, the ginwould quicken her pace and say, "Come back now, missus," in abeseeching sort of voice, which my mother is afraid she did notalways pay heed to.

My father has had many a yarn with poor old "Dalaipi" on thesubject of the murders committed by the blacks, and this man toldhis white friend much the same as the murderers did themselves."Before the whitefellow came," "Dalaipi" said, "we wore no dress,but knew no shame, and were all free and happy; there was plenty toeat, and it was a pleasure to hunt for food. Then when the whiteman came among us, we were hunted from our ground, shot, poisoned,and had our daughters, sisters, and wives taken from us. Could youblame us if we killed the white man? If we had done likewise tothem, would they not have murdered us?"

"But," my father said, "the blackfellows killed poor whites whonever did them any harm."

"That is nothing. If a man of one tribe killed someone of asecond tribe, the first person in the former that the others cameacross was killed for revenge. That is our law. And, besides, lookwhat a lot of blacks, who did no harm, were shot by the nativepolice! And what a number were poisoned at Kilcoy! Another thingthe white man did was to teach us to drink, smoke, swear, andsteal."

"They did not teach you to steal."

"Yes, they did. They stole our ground where we used to get food,and when we got hungry and took a bit of flour or killed a bullockto eat, they shot us or poisoned us. All they give us now for ourland is a blanket once a year."

"But, 'Dalaipi,' did not the white men settle the missionariesat Nundah to make you better, and teach you not to kill, steal, ortell lies? Did they not show you how to work for them, and so earna living?"

"Yes, the missionaries were settled at Nundah, and what did welearn from them? The young blacks got to know too much of thewhites' ways and habits—too much of what was right and wrong.Before any white people came here, we never stole anything from oneanother, but divided everything we had, and were always happy."

"But what about when you beat the poor gins and often killedthem for a mere trifle? And sometimes you sneak upon anunsuspecting blackfellow in another tribe, and kill him."

"It is our law that a gin should be killed when she steps overanything belonging to us—or for other things. And if a mandies, or gets killed by fighting with one of his own tribe, wedon't blame the man who seemed to kill him, but find out the realmurderer by chopping the dead man's bones together, which alwayscrack at the right name. You have seen that done many a time, andyou know."

"Yes, that's all right, 'Dalaipi.'"

"The missionary and white-fellow tell us that if a black-fellowkill a white man they catch him and kill him by putting a roperound his neck; and if a white man kill another white fellow, theydo just the same. That is your law. Well, the blackfellow isdifferent. We do not blame the man we see killing the other, but goby the cracking of the dead man's bones. And when we get a chancewe do not put a rope round the murderer's neck, but kill him with awaddy, a spear, or a tomahawk. That is the difference, and we donot see any harm in killing that way. It was our law before thewhite fellow came among us to teach us all sorts of things. Why didnot the white man stop in his own country, and not come here tohunt us about like a lot of kangaroo? If they had kept to their ownland, we would not have killed them."

"No, that is true, 'Dalaipi'; but you see the white man likes togo and find new country, and bring bullocks and horses, and growpotatoes and corn; then you get plenty to eat."

"No fear, they won't give us anything; they are too greedy. Theyput corn and potatoes in our ground that they took from us at EagleFarm a long time ago, to tempt us when we were hungry. There wereseveral shot there stealing corn. You mind 'Dalantchin,' who waslame in one leg? Well, he was shot in the hip with a ball whiletaking corn; that was what made him lame."

"Well, you know that was not right. He was stealing it."

"I don't see that. The white fellow stole the ground, and Idon't see any harm in taking a few cobs of corn or a dilly-full ofpotatoes when one is hungry. We should not be shot like birds forit."

"'Dalaipi,' you see it one way, and the whites another, that'scertain."

"You say the white fellow don't tell lies. I know plenty whodid. They would get the blacks to bring them fish, young parrots,and all sorts of things; then, in place of giving them what waspromised, they took the things, and, with 'Be off, you blackdevil!' gave them a hit on the side of the head. What do you callthat but stealing? That is the way a good many whites were killed.Let us see a white man to-day and speak to him, and then eventhough we do not see him again for a long, long time, we know him,and remember what he did."

"Now, 'Dalaipi,' I see I cannot make you see the right from thewrong. Tell me how it is you never drink grog nor smoke?"

"When the blackfellow took to drinking rum—that you callit—they would go mad, and beat one another with waddies, andcut themselves with knives; sometimes they would kill their friendsin a quarrel. I knew if I took it I would go mad, too, so I wouldnever touch it. They used to try me to take it, but I never would.I tried the tobacco, but it made me very sick, and I never wouldtry it again."

"'Dalaipi,' how is it that the blacks never tried to killme?"

"Because your mother and all your people were kind to us, andwould always give us something to eat, and you were a small littleboy growing up with the black boys, who used to go about yourfather's house. In those early days we were not allowed to go nearthe 'croppies' (the native name for prisoners), but could alwayssee you. You learned our tongue, our ways and secrets, and younever broke our laws nor ill-treated us, but were always kind. Wewould do anything for you, and looked on you as one of ourselves.If all the whites were like you there would not have been so manykilled."

In spite of conversations like this "Dalaipi" was not a man ofmany words. He would never speak much unless questioned. HisEnglish was broken, of course. He and his never became aggressive,nor troublesome in the way of asking for tobacco, etc., as somedid.

As I have said, "Dalaipi" was the head man of the North Pinetribe, which numbered about two hundred, and he was supposed to ownthe kippa ring there. He was looked on as the great rain-maker forhis part of the country. At one time it was rather dry, and thewaterholes were getting low, so my father said to him, "You makethe rain come and fill the holes again, 'Dalaipi.'" He answered,"Byamby me makeim come." About two days after this it got verycloudy, and "Dalaipi" turned up and said, "Me go now and makeimrain come up." So taking his tomahawk with him, he went down to theriver just above where the ballast pit is now, where there was apoint of rock and a deep hole. Here the end of the rainbow with itsspirit "taggan" was supposed to go down into the water. "Dalaipi"jumped in with his tomahawk, and went under, coming up again with asmall cut on his head, which was bleeding. On his way back to thehouse his master met him, and asked how he had come by the cut."Oh, I been feeling about for 'taggan,' and hit my head longa'mudlo' (stone)."

That day a shower fell, which soon cleared off, however, so myfather asked, "How is it you didn't make more rain, 'Dalaipi'? thatnot enough." The old fellow replied, "Oh, I only cuttem 'taggan'half through; byamby me go down and make plenty more come." Soafter this his master did not tease him again.

At that time during summer thousands of flying foxes camped inthe scrub on the Pine, and the blacks used to catch great numbers,almost living entirely on them now and then. Always in winter theydisappeared, so one day my father asked "Dalaipi" where the foxeswent in winter. "They go down," he said, "under the water, in thathole where the 'taggan' stops, where me makeim rain. They stopthere till the hot weather comes back, then they come up again andgo longa 'kabban' (scrub)." He firmly believed this, and so did allthe others.

Poor old "Dalaipi" wished once to go for a change to "Tugulawa"(Bulimba) to be with some of his friends for a week or so. He cameto his master and said, "You let me go, me not be long away; I beentelling the other blackfellows to mind you till I come back." Butthe poor old man never came back, he took a cold and died there.When the news reached the Pine of his death, there was greatlamenting, and cutting of heads. He was well known all over thecountry. When my father went, as a boy, to the "bon-yi" feast (onthe Blackall) with the blacks, he was introduced as belonging to"Dalaipi's" tribe. On another occasion he went with Mr. Pettigrewto Maryborough, to look round the country and notice the timber.(Mr. Pettigrew wished to start a sawmill, and he knew if my fatheraccompanied him he would be saved trouble with the blacks.) Twoyoung blacks they took with them, "Dal-ngang and "Kerwalli"(meaning "spilt"); the latter was afterwards known as old KingSandy, and he died at Wynnum in 1900.

In those days Maryborough consisted of only a few houses. Mr.Pettigrew and his companion walking along a road there, came insight of two gins coming towards them, and my father remarked,"When they get within speaking distance I will have a bit of fun."So he called to them, "Yin, wanna yan man?" (Where are you going?).They jumped at this in great excitement, saying one to the otherthat here was a white man who could speak their tongue, so Fatherhad a yarn with them. That night he, with Mr. Pettigrew, slept onboard the steamer, and next morning the wharf was black withnatives come to see the white man who could talk to them. Again hewas introduced as belonging to "Dalaipi's" tribe, by the two blacksaccompanying them, and "Dal-ngang" being "Dalaipi's" son was alsomade much of. The whole crowd volunteered to go with the white menand show them timber, but only one man and his wife were taken.

The party went up the Susan River, and to Eraser Island, and TinCan Bay, and they saw plenty of timber. Mr. Pettigrew afterwardsstarted a sawmill at Maryborough.

My father says he was never afraid that the blacks would do himharm, but, in those early days, felt he would far sooner trust themthan most of the whites. "Duramboi," the man who lived so long withthe blacks, said, when he heard my father was going out to settlein the bush, "You are a foolish young man to go; as soon as you getsome rations out the blacks will kill you for them. I know theirways, as I ought—having lived with them so long." "Oh well,"was the answer, "if that happens, I won't be the first white manthey've killed." Small comfort, one would think. He adds now,though, "In place of killing me they were very kind, and I am aliveyet."

* * * * *

In the year 1824, before Brisbane town had been founded, and inthe days when Humpybong was Queensland's penal settlement, a partyof men journeyed up the then unnamed and obscure North Pine River,and entering Yebri Creek (below the homestead, "Murrumba"), landed,and proceeded to make a camp. Having come from the only part ofQueensland inhabited by white men—the penal settlement atHumpybong—they were, most probably, soldiers in charge of agang of prisoners, and were evidently in search of timber.

On the south side of Yebri Creek, near a portion of it my fatherhas since had spanned by a bridge, and in what is now known as his"Lower Paddock"—which latter is bounded on one side by theNorth Coast Railway line—lay at that time a limb blown from abloodwood tree. This limb must have been dead and dry, and so havelain on the ground some time, for the prisoners started to cut itup for firewood, some with a crosscut saw, and one with an axe.Hardly had they begun operations, however, when natives who hadnoticed their approach, and who probably looked upon everything inthe vicinity as their especial property, stole upon the intruders,and succeeded in making off with an axe. Instead of waiting toreason out the case, the white men fired upon the blacks, shootingone unfortunate dead; then made off to the boat, and started downthe creek on their return to Humpybong.

"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."The natives, determining upon revenge, watched their opportunity,and, subsequently, killed two of the prisoners at Humpybong.

Almost forty-five years ago, when my father first settled atNorth Pine, it was the honest old "Dalaipi" who showed his youngmaster this fallen limb with its markings (a chip taken out by anaxe, also a cut from a saw some two inches deep), and he it wasalso who related the story of its strong link with the past. Tenyears ago, my father showed the limb to Mr. William Pettigrew,whose name is well known in Brisbane, and whose knowledge of timbermakes interesting some remarks he writes in a late communication rethat bloodwood limb.

The marks of the axe and the crosscut saw were quite distinctwhen Mr. Pettigrew saw the limb and heard the story, and he nowsends along a copy of some notes jotted down at thetime:—"29th December, 1893.—T. Petrie has a fence upthirty years. Posts of this (bloodwood) sound. Another fence uptwenty-five years, sound. Rails, iron bark, replaced twice. Hadbeen eaten by white ants.

"A branch of a tree lying at Petrie's was cut into in 1824 or'25 by a party in a boat, when a black stole an axe, and was shotdead; whites cleared out."

Mr. Pettigrew adds that he saw the tree (standing) from whichthe branch had fallen, and he further remarks that the limb wasevidently lying on the ground at the time the scars were made."That limb," he says, "had lain on the ground for sixty-eight years(in 1893). What would be the age of the tree at 1824 or '25, whenthe limb was blown off? People in West Australia have been boastingof some of their durable timbers, but I think the bloodwood willbeat any they have got."

At the present time (October, 1904), this interesting blood-woodlimb is still in existence, and its wood is perfectly sound. Somefew years ago, however, bush fires charred and dis-figured thesurface of it, and there are now no distinguishing marks, save itsunaltered position, it being too heavy to move. The parent treealso lies prone near by, having been burnt down, probably at thetime the limb was disfigured. The tree, when the branch was blownfrom it, must have been a good size judging from the limb, which isno baby one. And, as I have said, the branch, when the prisonersstarted to cut into it, was then dead wood, so who knows whatlength of time prior to 1824 it lay on the ground?

The fences Mr. Pettigrew mentions are yet in existence, theposts still being sound. Some few of the latter have recently beentaken up, and are as solid as the day they were put in, nearlyforty-five years ago.

The Brisbane blacks called the bloodwood tree, or Eucalyptuscorymbosa, "buna." And the tree mentioned grew on claysubsoil—my father has a dam not far from where it stood.

In concluding this subject, I may say that the word "Yebri" wasthe natives' name for a portion of the creek under discussion, andmeant "put, or lay it down." My father gave this name to theauthorities, and it has been generally accepted. With regard to theword "Humpybong," we are told that that was the name given to thedeserted place at Redcliffe by the blacks. They called it "UmpiBong," meaning "dead houses." Now "bong" was their word for dead,but "ngudur" (after tea tree bark) stood generally for a hut orhouse on the coast, hence, I am led to believe, as humpy is ofAustralian origin, that it is one of those words coined by theAustralian white man and adopted by the blacks.


In 1862 my father started from the North Pine River in a ship'slongboat with about ten blacks (a few having their wives withthem), to go to Mooloolah and Maroochy, to look for cedar timber.Calling at Bribie Island on their way, more blacks were picked up,four being murderers of white men. One of these was "Billy Dingy,"of whom I have spoken, and the other three were the natives who hadattacked the two men at Caboolture, killing one and leaving theother for dead.

Crossing to the mainland, some of the party walked along thebeach, while the rest of the natives occupied the boat with myfather; they thus journeyed to Mooloolah. Arriving there, theycamped for the night, and next morning made for Buderim Mountain,and, having climbed it, the blacks informed Father that he was thefirst white man who had ever set foot on the mountain. He had agood look round through the scrub, escorted by the blacks, and sawforests of fine timber, then had the satisfaction of being thefirst to cut a cedar tree there. However, he saw that it would notbe possible to get timber from the locality to the water withoutthe assistance of a bullock team, as the Mooloolah River is somedistance from the mountain, so he decided to leave it till a moreconvenient time. The party then started back to the boat at theriver's mouth, and remained there all night, leaving next day forMaroochy. Maroochy Bar is a difficult one at times to cross, butthey got in all right, shipping a little water. After landing andrefreshing them-selves, they went up the river for some miles,turning at last up a creek on the left, which is now known asPetrie's Creek, as my father was the first white visitor there.

Continuing on their way some distance, they came upon a largegathering of blacks, and this was the gathering I have spokenabout, when some natives from the interior were so amazed at thesight of a boat. Among the blacks (twenty-five) who accompanied myfather to cut cedar was a man from the Pine called "Wanangga,"which meant in English "Left it." He was also called Jimmy. He wasa specially faithful black, and was Father's right-hand man ineverything. He had great talks with the natives assembled, tellingthem all sorts of wonderful things about the white man, whom, hesaid, was a "turrwan." In his dealings with the blacks, my fatherwas always looked up to as a "turrwan," or great man. As I havestated, he first got the honour when a boy. So "Wanangga" only toldthese strangers of what he himself believed. He spoke of the whiteman's power of killing, etc., and declared that he had taken many astone from a blackfellow's body, and so made the sick one well.They believed everything, did these simple-minded people, and hewas allowed to sleep in peace that night in the boat with"Wanangga," while the rest of the party camped ashore. Next morninghe was interested in the corroborees, etc., which, by the way, werevery different to what one sees nowadays, when the blacks performfor the amusem*nt of onlookers, for they will do anything now justto please the white man.

When my father went off that day with his party of blacks to cutcedar, he left "Wanangga" to keep an eye on the boat, and to cooksome salt beef and make a damper, so that all would be ready on hisreturn. This blackfellow always did the cooking. A damper, I maymention for the information of those who have not lived in thebush, is made from flour mixed with water and a little salt, intothe shape of a round cake, which is then put into hot ashes, wellcovered up, and left till cooked. If made properly it is quiteeatable, even nice, but it is difficult for inexperienced people tomake it properly. My father used to bake very good ones for us whenwe were children, just to show what he had often to eat in thoseearly times. Nowadays soda is used, and simplifies matters.

Going into the scrub, where there were lots of cedar trees, myfather had some cut down near the bank of the creek, so that theycould easily be rolled into the water. Then, returning early in theevening to camp, he found that the strange blacks there were aboutto move off two or three miles down the creek to hold anothercorroboree. They wanted his men to accompany them, and these latterwished to do so, too, asking if all hands could not just go andtake the boat. Father replied that they could go, but he and"Wanangga" would remain where they were with the boat, as it wastoo far to come back to work in the morning. This the men declaredwould not be safe—it would not do; the strange blacks wouldbe sure to kill the two camping alone, and they did not want that.He answered they would be all right, he was not afraid to stay with"Wanangga," and he told them to go, and come back in the morning.Still they said they did not like it, and they persisted in theirobjections, though evidently wishing to go themselves.

At last in desperation my father got up, and said he would showhe wasn't afraid, and off he went into camp among them all, wherehe picked up a waddie and shield, and declared in the blacks'language that he would fight everyone of them, one at a time ifonly they came to him face to face, and not behind his back. Theylooked at him, and some laughed, and one man remarked, "I would notlike a hit from him, he has got too big arm." After that no morewas said, and "Wanangga" and his master had their way, the restreturning again in the morning quite ready for their work.

These twenty-five blacks, with their white leader, moved furtherup the creek that day, and made a permanent camp, where they stayedabout a fortnight cutting cedar. The blacks made their huts in ahalf-circle round the front of Father's, so that they might be aprotection to him. On Sundays they would hunt or rested, and yarnedaway the time, as they weren't required to work.

One Sunday the blacks got talking of getting branded as thecedar logs were, with a (P), so that it would be known to whom theybelonged. Their white friend heard the remarks passed—onethought it would be too sore to be branded like a bullock, andanother reckoned it best to get the (P) cut on their arms, and inthe end this idea was carried. So going up to their master theysaid to him, "We want you to cut a mark like that on the logs, onour arms; so that when we go to Brisbane, every one will know webelong to you." Father said no, that he would just mark the brand,and they could do the cutting themselves; but this did not pleasethem, and he had perforce to fall in with their suggestions.

He started to draw the brand on the arm on one fellow with asmall sharp-pointed stick like a pencil, and this left a white markon the dark skin. They then gave him a prepared piece of glass, andhe commenced to cut with this, but as the blood came, he feltturned, and his hand shook. However, they asked him to cut deeper,so after one was finished, he didn't care any more, but went aheadand did the whole twenty-five of them. They were delighted, and asproud as possible; and went off and got some of the outerbark-chips from a bloodwood sapling, which they burned in the fire,and then rubbing the burnt part up in their hands, it became a finepowder called "kurrun," which they rubbed into the brand. (This ishow charcoal was prepared for wounds.) In a week their arms werehealed, and the brand had risen up showing a splendid (P).

The last of these twenty-five blacks (King Sandy) died at Wynnum("Winnam," meaning bread-fruit) in May, 1900. A little before hisdeath the writer got him to show her his arm, and the mark wasstill there, and he proud of it even then.

Father frequently visited the locality again in quest of cedartimber. Mr. Pettigrew's steamer conveyed the timber to Brisbane.The blacks worked splendidly. They did all the work in making theroadway and getting the logs into the water. Sometimes whilerolling a log along they would just roar with laughter. As myfather chaffed them now and again, they were quite happy at work,and worked like tigers. He says they could never be persuaded to doany good by bouncing, but were almost like a lot ofchildren—they needed to be coaxed and considered. They wouldget very hot at times, and then a jump into the river refreshedthem, and on they went again.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (16)

King Sandy or "Ker-Walli" (Toorbal Point orNingi Ningi tribe)

One night my father remembers having a laugh. He was restingwhile the blacks were "jabbering" away among themselves, when hebegan to feel mischievous, so flicked an oak cone into their midst.There was silence instantly, and they listened intently. Of course,the white man "laid low" until their suspicions were quietened,then repeated his trick. They were positive this time something waswrong, and jumped up, catching hold of him and wakening him as theythought, saying there were strange blacks—enemies—athand. After that some of them sat up all night watching, for theyare very suspicious in that way. In the morning, he told them whathe had done, and they good-naturedly burst out laughing.

In travelling to and fro Father always left some of the nativesat Bribie Island on the homeward trip, till he returned to pickthem up again, for they were afraid to go to Brisbane or the Pinebecause of having been connected with several murder. The blacks hetook right on, he always allowed to go to Brisbane for a day ortwo, giving each some few shillings to spend there, and also a suitof clothes. They used td make more coins by exhibiting theirbrands—some one would give them a penny, and others perhaps asixpence—and so they went back to their master quitedelighted and proud of themselves. To please the natives left onthe island he took back presents to them.

As an instance of how the blacks disliked being disturbed atnight, my father tells me that when up on Petrie's Creek, gettingcedar timber with his twenty-five natives, one day he told themthat that night he would call them when the tide was full, in orderto move a raft which had got stuck on a bank. When the time came itwas very cold; he called, but in vain; they were all deafapparently, and lay still like logs. So after a time he gave uptrying to make deaf creatures hear, and, saying he would go offalone and do it himself, got hold of a fire stick, and off hewalked. He hadn't gone far, however, when, looking back, he sawdark forms coming, all armed with firesticks. When they found hereally would go alone, they went to his help, putting aside theirdislike of the dark and the cold. They were awfully good to myfather always, and stuck like leeches to him.

On another occasion, while still on Petrie's Creek, having beenthere for some time, he had run out of provisions, and the blacks,thinking he would suffer through living just on fish and what theycould bring him, urged him to leave and get some of his own food.However, he had a raft he wished to get down the river first, andnothing they said moved him. Seeing he was determined to do as hesaid, they turned to and worked their hardest, working, too, withthat generous and ungrudging spirit one does not always comeacross.

On yet another occasion, when about to return to the Pine, themouth of the Maroochy River was reached, but the sea was so roughand the breakers were running so high that it was impossible tocross the bar; so the party were forced to wait over a week tillthe sea went down. Meanwhile they lived on fish and oysters, as therations had run out, but that was no hardship to my father. Heenjoyed his meals as much as any of them. The natives alwayscarried three or four hand-nets for catching fish, as well as theirweapons.

After the sea had abated somewhat, my father, who had waitedlong enough, started to cross the bar, but the first breaker struckthe boat, and turned her broadside on, half-filling her with water,and breaking the rudder. However, they managed to right her beforethe next breaker struck, and getting back to smooth water, retiredto the shore to bail out and fix up. While in danger some of theblacks called out for their mother, and some began spitting at thewaves, for it was a superstition of theirs that to spit on waveswhen the water was rough would still the sea.

Father rigged up a steer oar, and again they started, thenatives calling out to turn back, when the breakers faced them, buttheir leader said to stick to it, and they would get through allright, and he kept the boat's head straight to the waves. Then, asa breaker struck, the native at the bow oar was thrown nearly ontop of the white man, who sang out to him to take the stroke oar,and all hands to pull with all their might.

When all danger was passed and smooth water gained, the blackssimply yelled with laughter, mimicking each other in the frightenedway they had called out, also my father how he stood with the steeroar in his hand, and the spray dashing up in his face. In writingof corroborees, I mentioned that the blacks once composed one aboutmy father, and this was the incident then alluded to.

After bailing out the water the party put up the sail, and witha fair wind steered for Caloundra Heads, which they reached safely,and crossed that bar all right, camping for the night in BribiePassage. Father says they had a grand supper of oysters, crabs, andfish, which made up for everything, for he had nothing to do buteat while they roasted and brought the food to him. Next day theyleft for home.

A few days after this return from Maroochy and Mooloolah, myfather's faithful blackfellow, Jimmy ("Wanangga"), complained ofhis throat being very bad. He had spoken of it some time before,and his master had doctored him, thinking though, that there wasnothing more serious than a cold. However, this day the man calledhis master into the outside kitchen, where he always slept beforethe fire, evidently having something on his mind he wished to speakof. Father went to him. "Well, Jimmy," he said, "what is thematter?"

"I want you to get another blackfellow to go with you and lookafter you, as I won't be able to do so any more. My throat isworse, and I shall die in three days." (This all in his owntongue.)

"Nonsense, Jimmy," was the reply, "does not my medicine do yourthroat good?"

"No, master," answered the poor soul. "You ask me several timesif I could not get you a blackfellow's skin; well, when I die inthree days, you get the blacks to skin me, and you keep my skin; ifyou don't want it, don't let them eat me, but make a hole and buryme; then when my sister comes, show her my grave, and she can getmy bones to carry about."

Father said he would do as was requested. "But," he said, "youare not going to die yet, you will be all right before we startagain."

However, the third day in the evening Jimmy asked if he could goto the camp; he would like to sleep there, he said, with hiscompanions that night. Father answered, of course he could, neverdreaming that the poor fellow's death was really near, andexpecting to see him again in the morning. The camp was some threehundred yards from the Petries' garden, and when the master visitedit the first thing next morning he was greatly surprised to findthat "Wanangga" had died two hours earlier. There the others wereall crying over his body, so Father got them to dig a grave in aquiet place, and "Wanangga" was laid to rest. His body was rolledup in tea-tree bark, tied round with wattle bark string, the feetbeing left exposed, and so, crying all the time, they carried himto the grave. There they put a sheet of bark in the bottom of thehole, and another on top of the body—to keep the earth off,they said—and the grave was filled in.

As I have shown, the natives about here never buried their deadin the ground, but if not eaten would place them up on trees. Sothis burial of "Wanangga" was unusual. The other blacks wished toeat him, as he was in good order, but my father would not hear ofthis; he told them the poor fellow had wished to be buried, andburied he must be. So there he lay, till his sister came to dig uphis bones.

Often, my father says, a blackfellow died in this fashion; theidea would possess him that he was "doomed," and then nothing couldsave him—he made no effort, but would just sulk and die.

"Wanangga" was a faithful blackfellow, and a very useful one; hecould split and fence as well as any white man, and could turn hishand to almost anything. He was the especial one who always stuckto my father when no white man would go near him, being all soafraid of the blacks.

So poor Jimmy was missed when they journeyed back to Maroochy,but his name was never mentioned among the others. It was"dimmanggali"—that is, "sacred to the dead." The blacks neverever refer to the dead, in their wild state. You could hardly doanything worse, in the old days, than mention a dead man'sname—they would be more likely to kill you for that than foranything. If, as on rare occasions (for they had a great variety tochoose from), another person bore the same name as the dead man, itwas changed at once to "dimmanggali." In later years, when thewhite people's names began to be used, a blackfellow called "Tom"died, and so my father was dubbed "dimmanggali."

About four months after Jimmy's death his sister came to inquirewhere his resting place was. She had three or four old gins withher, and they opened up the grave and took out the bones,separating them from each other. Then, making a great fire, theyburnt everything with the exception of those bones which werealways kept and cleaned. These they put into a dillybag and carriedto within fifty yards of where the other blacks were camped,waiting, and sitting down on the ground, the others all gatheredround in a circle, and the ceremony already described took place.The sister then put the bones carefully back into the dilly, andthey all started off to the camp, crying as they went along. Theysaid to their white friend, "You see now who caused his death, andyou shoot him when you come across him." For months the sistercarried these bones about wherever she went, and they were criedover every night and morning. In the end she put them in a hollowtree, hanging out of sight in the dilly on a forked stick, andthere they were left for good. My father never heard whether theparticular blackfellow who was blamed for killing "Wanangga" wasdone to death or not, but he knew of many cases where anunfortunate was murdered when he probably knew nothing whatever ofthe death he was blamed for.

Any one walking below the "Murrumba" orchard even now could, ifthey cared to be sentimental, drop a tear of sympathy on the exactspot where "Wanangga's" body once lay. However, the hole isgradually filling up. As a child the writer used to wonder why ablackfellow had just a big, open hole for a grave, not realisingthat it had been opened up for the sake of the bones.


Two old blackfellows, great friends and both characters in theirway ("Puram" and "Karal"), who belonged to the country up round theMaroochy River, my father knew very well. "Puram" was consideredthe great rain-maker for that part of the country he came from (theMaroochy district). He had but one eye, having lost the other byrolling into the fire when a baby, and he also had lost half a footthrough a tiger-shark, while fishing. In spite of his deformity, hewas very active, and my father has often seen him climb a "bon-yi"tree with a vine, going up it as well as any of the others. "Puram"often accompanied my father on his trips for cedar to Petrie'sCreek, though not one of the "brand brigade."

At one time, when my father had gone to the Pine to settle, and"Puram" was there, it seemed setting in for wet weather, so the oldman, of course, proceeded to bring the rain. He commenced byspitting up into the air, and making signs; then he pulled the"kundri" stone from his mouth, chanting words which had thismeaning, "Come down, rain, and make the 'bon-yi' trees grow, sothat we shall get plenty nuts, and make the yams to grow big, thatwe may eat them." It did happen to rain for about four days afterthis; in fact, too much came, so Father asked "Puram" to make itstop. "Oh, byamby," he said. So the cunning old chap waited till hesaw a break in the sky, then started throwing fire sticks up intothe air, to dry up the rain, he said, and then making a great rowin his throat, he showed his "kundri" stone to the others, whostood round, with admiration on their faces. Then the old chapwalked up to his master, and said, "Now, you see, me bin makimaltogether dry with fire—no more come." It cleared up, andfine weather came, and the others really relieved that it was all"Puram's" doing. They thought he could bring rain, or send it awayas he liked. And he himself evidently believed in his ownpowers.

There was a cattle station at Nindery Mountain, on the MaroochyRiver, and some time after my father gave up going to that districtfor cedar the blacks told him that poor old "Puram" had been shotby one of the station hands there. It seemed that he and anotherblackfellow were in a canoe on the Maroochy River harmlesslygetting cobra—"kambo" the blacks there called it—when ashot was fired, and "Puram" fell dead. The other blackfellow gotaway, and told the tale.

"Puram's" mate, "Karal," seemed to be a good age even when myfather remembers him first. He was half silly, and very comical inhis ways. He could not speak a word of English properly, andtherefore caused many a bit of fun and a good laugh. Father was thefirst to take him into Brisbane. This was on the journey fromBribie to Brisbane after the trip there in search of a lost boat,and after the murder at Caboolture at Dead Man's Pocket. My fatherremembers his father standing at the back door when he came up with"Karal," and introduced him as coming from Nindery. Grandfather,who was blind at that time, felt the blackfellow all over with hisstick, and then said, "I christen you Governor Banjur, of Nindery.""Banjur" was a class name of the Turrbal tribe. It meant a manabove a working man—a great man, in fact, though not so greatas "Turrwan." This name fell into "Banjo," and so the man was knowntill his death.

Governor Banjo used to stay with the Petries, sometimes sleepingin the kitchen before the fire. They got him a brass plate made,with "Governor Banjo of Nindery" cut into it, and this he wore hunground his neck by a chain, and mighty proud he was of it, too.

My father and his brothers and sister used to try and teachBanjo to say fresh words, but he never could get his tongue roundthem. Many a laugh these young people had over this, for he was agood-natured sort of a fellow, and always made the requiredattempt. One day "Tom" got hold of a Jack-in-the-box, and taking itto Banjo said, "Here, Governor, you open this fellow." The poorsoul took the box, and touching the spring the lid, of course, flewopen, and a little soldier jumped up. Banjo dropped the box like ahot potato, and with a yell ran off into the bush without evenwaiting to look round, so scared was he. They did not see him againtill next day, when he came up to Father shaking his fist at himand then, putting his hands together, said, "My word, JackNittery—hanker—policemen"—meaning that myfather's big brother, John, would get a policeman to handcuff "Tom"for frightening him. Then he held up his brass plate as much as tosay he was too big a man to be insulted, and walked off with agreat air. He carried himself in a very upright manner, this oldblackfellow, and walked along very smartly.

Another time Father gave his sister a little red toy man to putin the cupboard beside the plate Banjo used for his dinner. Thepoor chap, opening the cupboard door, saw the red man, and made offas hard as ever he could go, in a great fright. They got him tocome back again, however, afterwards. "My word!" was a greatexpression with Banjo, and "hanker" he always used for handcuffs.The latter had gained a firm hold on his mind, because one day thesoldiers had pounced upon him in mistake for another blackfellow,and handcuffing him, led him off to the lock-up. Passing thePetries' house on the Bight, the poor old man cried out forhelp—"Jack Nittery, come on—poor fellow GovernorBanjo!" "Jack Nittery" (Petrie) did come on, and got him off,explaining he was just a harmless old creature—it was amistake.

Banjo never forgot the handcuffs, and whenever anyone displeasedhim he always threatened—"policeman—hanker." But thoughhe seemed to be in a great "scot" for a few minutes, it was allover immediately, a more harmless creature one could find nowhere.He was also most kind-hearted, and had very often to be watchedwhen given his meals, for he would just take a mouthful, and thencarry the rest out to the other blacks and gins about the place. Healways kept very thin, and probably this was the reason, for nomatter if he went hungry himself, he would give food to others hethought wanted it.

In spite of his simple nature Banjo was a grand worker. He oftenaccompanied my father, when the latter went as a boy to the scrubsto find the different timbers, and cut roads to the river, as anoutlet for it. There used to be a very dense scrub at Toowong justwhere the road turns to go up to the cemetery, and also all alongthe river to Milton. A lot of pines and yellow-wood timber grewthere. Banjo and two or three other blacks were useful in findingout this timber, and helping to cut the roads, and afterwards mencame with bullock teams to do the rest.

My father, as a young fellow, went to several goldfieldsdiscovered at the time, which caused excitement. On his return fromBendigo, he showed the blacks pieces of quartz stone containingspecks of gold, and asked them to have a look about the BlackallRanges when there next, and tell him if they found anythingsimilar. This was long before the finding of Gympie. One day oldGovernor, who had been away at the Blackall, came in greatexcitement, and said, "My word! me bin find big fellow stone, longayinnell (creek or gully)—plenty sit down." So Father said notto tell any one; that if it was all right he would give him moneyand plenty tobacco. The old fellow seemed pleased, and the two gothorses and some rations and started out without telling anyonewhere they were going. Poor old Governor had never been on a horsein his life before, and it was some trouble to get him on, but atlast he got fixed up, and off the pair went, quite pleased withthemselves.

"I gave Governor a switch with which to make his old horse keepup with mine," Father says, "and when he would be a little behind,I would call to him, 'Now, hit your horse, and make him keep up.'So Governor would give the horse a hit on the flank, and when theanimal commenced to trot he would let go the reins and hold on tothe mane like 'grim death,' bumping up and down about a foot fromthe saddle, calling all the time for me to stop the horse, that hewould sooner walk the whole way. Whenever the animal got up to itscompanion it stopped of its own accord, but it was not so easy forme to stop laughing; sometimes I would nearly tumble off my horseat the picture the old man made, and then he would jerk out to me,'My word—Brisbane—policeman—hanker—MeseNittery.' Meaning that when he got back to Brisbane, he would tellMr. Petrie to get a policeman to put handcuffs on me for laughingat him. Then I would make it all right with the old chap."

Banjo, the first night they camped, felt very much bruised, andthe next morning was very stiff, but after the second day he got onbetter. He used to put each stirrup-iron in between his big andsecond toes, and hold it so in the same way the natives held a vinewhen climbing.

In this fashion the two at length came to a little dry creek offthe South branch of the Maroochy, and here Banjo had nicely coveredup with bushes a fine reef of quartz full of iron pyrites,something the colour of gold.

"You see, the old man did not invent anything; if it had beengold I would have been all right," says Father.

When the travellers returned to Brisbane the blacks, who werejust as fond of getting fun from Banjo as anyone else, asked theold man how he managed to get on to the horse and how he rode it.Governor, to show them, got a long stick, and with a switch in hisright hand, held an end of the stick with the other, and then witha jump threw his right leg over and made off, galloping along, upand down, beating the imaginary horse, the blacks and gins rollingon the ground with laughter. As he galloped back to them he wouldstop and say, "My word. Governor no gamin."

The natives used to get Banjo to do all sorts of queer things toamuse them, and they used to enjoy seeing him try and read a bookor newspaper. More often than not he held whatever it was upsidedown, and then would quote with quite a grave face, "Itishin,Governor, plour, 'bacco, tea, sugar, planket, shirt, waiscoin,trouser, pipperoun (half-a-crown). Chook here (look here). My word,no gammon Governor."

At times Governor Banjo's good nature was taken advantage of byan outsider, but generally it was all pure fun, for no one, ofcourse, cared to really hurt the poor old man. He was a source ofamusem*nt to all. The head of the Petrie family would quietly laughto himself when he heard his only daughter at her tricks withBanjo; and his employees, during the dinner hour, had many a bit offun with him. The Petrie household at this time boasted a littlepet monkey, and this creature once or twice got up on to Banjo'shead, and the poor man was in an agony of fear lest his face shouldbe torn. There he stood as still as a mouse, while the monkey ranits hands over his hair. Poor Banjo! He dare not make a movementlest something dreadful should happen.

This monkey evidently interested Governor Banjo. One day he tooka strange fancy. Going to Miss Petrie he made her understand thathe wished to be tied up as the monkey was. So she, nothing loath,when a piece of fun was in view, entered into the spirit of thething, and tying a rope round Banjo's waist, fastened him to theleg of a kitchen table. There she placed a jar of water at hisside, and just as he went down on all fours to creep about thefloor, mightily pleased and proud of himself, a man coming alongwith a message looked in at the doorway to deliver it. He got quitea start, so quickly did Banjo jump round and open his mouth, as hehad seen Miss Monkey do. The man's surprise changed to mirth then,and—"Well, Miss Petrie," he said, when he could speak, "Inever have met any one like you for tricks. I wonder whatever youwill be thinking of next!"

Some years after all this, when both my father and his sisterwere married, and Grandfather was dead. Governor Banjo, as activeas ever, divided his time outstaying at each place in turn. He wasa good hand at chopping wood, and made himself useful to Mrs.Robert Ferguson (Miss Petrie), John Petrie at the old place, and"Tom" out at North Pine. With the latter he took "Dalaipi's" place,when that good old man had died. Although old. Banjo was veryactive in his movements, and it was wonderful how quickly he couldclimb a tree with a vine. He always went to the "bon-yi" feasts,and on his return would generally present Father with a dilly ofnuts.

Poor old Banjo! Surely he was missed when he died. Methinksthere must have been a big gap in the world of fun. He lent himselfso readily to anything at all that was proposed. He would patientlybe dressed up and decorated in the most ridiculous fashion, andthen his proud, grave face was the irresistible point. One wet dayMrs. Ferguson says she remembers well. She thought she would dressup Banjo, and send him on a message. So she got the old chap tocome along, and she whitewashed his face, put white cotton gloveson his hands, white socks and old slippers on his feet, a tall hatdecorated fantastically on his head, and so on, till Banjo wasindeed a sight to behold. Then she gave him a note, which hecarefully put into his waistcoat pocket, and sent him off with anold umbrella torn right down at every rib. This he held over hishead, just as though it were a protection, and proudly he walkedaway, with the air of one who thought he looked quite grand andnice. As he went, the road was wet, and the old slippers stuck fastin the mud, so Banjo just kicked his feet free and went on again inhis one-time white socks.

Arriving at his destination Governor Banjo was met with shoutsof laughter, which, however, did not lessen his pride. He soughtout Mrs. Ferguson's brother, and daintily putting his thumb andforefinger into his waistcoat pocket, drew forth the note, which hepresented in great style, and with quite a serious face. One canimagine the fun and laughter he caused. When he got back to hismistress he was sopping wet, but still carried the skeletonumbrella, held upright above his head.

At another time Mrs. Ferguson was watering her flowers, when allat once she wondered where Banjo was. Holding the hose in her hand,she went on round towards the back to some fruit trees there, whenshe espied Banjo curled up asleep in an outhouse. The sight was tootempting, and Banjo was awakened by a spurt of water suddenlydrenching his face. Up he got and made towards his tormentor, who,in spite of her laughter, still kept the water playing on his faceright between the eyes. "I can almost see the poor old creaturenow," she says, "with his little monkey face, and the little bit ofshort hair which the water made stand on end." When Banjo couldcollect his wits sufficiently to get away, he ran to the Rev. JamesLove's house near by, calling loudly, "Marsa, Marsa, comeon—Missus cranky!" And then he bethought him of the handcuffsand "Jack Nittery." Going to the latter he gasped out, "My word.Bom's (Bob's) missus cranky," and to emphasize the fact, put up hisfingers, and pointing like a hose, made a noise as of water pouringagainst his face. Of course, no one knew what he meant, but theyguessed it was only some fun. That night, when back again at Mrs.Ferguson's, he had regained his usual good temper, and evidentlyfelt towards his mistress as though she was all that was good.

Governor Banjo, being a man of importance, had two wives, oneabout his own age and the other quite a young thing. He also had ason of some seventeen years. He was very kind to them all, andwould go without food himself at any time to satisfy them. The sonwas in the end taken into the mounted black police, and sent upcountry, and poor old Banjo was in a great way at this. He oftentalked of his boy to my father, and wanted to know when he wouldcome back. Soon after this his "old woman" died, and then the youngwife ran away, so the poor old soul was left alone. He evidentlyliked his old wife best, and wasn't at all pleased when anyonelaughed, and called her "a greedy old thing." The young wife seemedto make him jealous. When he had no one left he stayed at NorthPine for a long time, and used often to tell his master lots ofyarns about himself.

Once, Banjo said, he and another blackfellow were nearlypoisoned at Nindery cattle station, on the Maroochy. A white fellowthere gave them a bit of flour which they took down the river, andmade into a damper, then cooked and ate it. Before eating much,however, fits came on, and knowing at once what was wrong, they ranto the river and drank a lot of salt water, which made them verysick, but cured them. "My word!" said Banjo, "that fellow saucy, heno good—byamby me hanker—policeman—lock up." "Icould not but burst out laughing," says my father, "at the poor oldman when he showed me the way he and his mate jumped when in thefit, and the way they were sick—although, no doubt, it wasvery wrong of me. But I could not help it, he went on in such acomical way."

Banjo used to take it into his head to go off to Maroochy for achange, then come back again, and afterwards, perhaps, go toBrisbane, and so on. It is the black's nature to roam about. Intheir native state they would never stay in one place for more thana few months at a time. They said if they did the game would becomescarce, also the yams and roots, and there would be no honey; sothey moved, if only a few miles, and these things would all growagain by the time they came back. In the end old Governor took illand died at Maroochy. When dying he asked his nephew to be sure andtake his brass plate and give it to his friend at North Pine forhim. The nephew did so, but my father, of course, told him to kerpand wear it himself.


Nowadays it is a common enough sight to see natives marshalledtogether and taking part in a procession, but when the late Duke ofEdinburgh (then Prince Alfred) came to visit Brisbane in 1868 sucha thing had never been seen before in Queensland. Father, who hadthen been living at North Pine for some nine years, went in toBrisbane to see the Duke's arrival, and Mr. Tiffin, the GovernmentArchitect, coming to him the evening before the great event, askedif he could manage somehow to gather a number of blacks together asa sort of novel welcome to the Duke. It wanted then but an hour tosundown, so there was not much time; but, as luck would have it, anative passed on his way to camp soon afterwards, and my fatherspeaking to him, asked if he would tell the rest of the blacks tocome in early and bring their spears, waddies, shields, boomerangs,etc., also some "kutchi" and white clay, with which to decoratethemselves.

In the morning the natives turned up—about sixty ofthem—and it was a piece of work to get them all painted andfixed up to represent the different tribes. When that was done, "Itold them," says Father, "what to do and how to march and followme, and I had just got them ready when the procession came in sightnear the Post Office, coming along Queen Street. So I hurried thedarkies off in a trot to meet it. I had already told off oneblackfellow to go to the arch near the Post Office, telling himthat a man there would show him how to get up, and which way tostand and hold his boomerang, and I impressed upon him that he muststand steady and make no movement until the whole procession hadpassed through under the arch.

"As I hurried my regiment along through the crowd, in order toreach the landing place near the Gardens in time, the ladies criedout about their dresses, saying they would be spoilt and dirtiedwith the paint of the darkies; but my followers took no notice ofthis, rushing on excitedly after me. We arrived just in time toallow me to place them properly. Two I put on the arch erectedthere—one on each side—each with a boomerang in hishand, held as though ready to throw; and the others I placed oneither side of the landing-stage. They looked very well, with theirweapons and shields poised warlike fashion, and some had parrot'sfeathers up and down in strips on their bodies, and others hadswansdown; some were painted, one exact half white, and the otherblack; others the same but red and white; some were all black withwhite spots, and others had white stripes, etc. As the Duke steppedashore I saw him look first to one side at the blacks, and then tothe other, as he walked through them, then up at the archway, andhe was gone. The darkies asked which was the Duke, and when I toldthem the man in plain clothes they were surprised, and said he wasthe same as another white man. They thought the one with the co*ckedhat and the bright things on his shoulders and glittering buttonswas the Duke.

"After this I pushed my men through the crowd, and, getting tothe front, marched them alongside the first division. As we wentalong I got them to give a regular war whoop every now and then,and it was amusing to see how the people on the sideways and thebalconies gave a jump every time at the sound. Then I got them tosing their war song. As we passed under the arch in Queen Street,the darkie there stood still as a statue. He told me afterwardsthat he was afraid to look down on the crowd lest he should tumbleamongst them.

"When we arrived at the entrance gate to Government House, Istationed my regiment thirty on each side, standing at ease. TheDukes's carriage and the rest passed through, and when all was overand the vehicles and societies had turned back to parade down thestreets again, I kept my lot behind, then marched down George andQueen Streets, the blacks giving their war cry and song as theywent. The people were pleased at this, and those on the balconieskept throwing down oranges and biscuits, which the darkies caughtin great glee.

"For their part in the proceedings that day the blacks were eachgiven half-a-crown, and then they had to end up with three cheersfor the Queen. They enjoyed it all so much that they said to me intheir own tongue that they would like to march every day, andwanted to know if they'd come again to-morrow. I said no, that wasall I wanted with them just then, so off they went merrily to spendtheir half-crowns, not waiting even to wash off their paint. Anevery-day march would have been all very well for them, but poorme—I got nothing for my trouble."

My father deserves some recognition for all he has done for hiscountry gratuitously. For instance, he has opened up lots of roads.The present one from Brisbane to Humpy-bong was marked by him rightfrom Bald Hills to the sea. When he came first to North Pine therewere no roads, of course, but just a timber track from Bald Hillsto Brisbane. For his own convenience, he therefore marked a roadfrom the Pine to reach this, which is the present one in use toBald Hills. At one time he had two or three tracks cut through thescrub at South Pine.

Before his arrival anyone travelling from the direction of"Murrumba" had to go up to Sideling Creek to get on to the OldNorthern Road to Brisbane. Then the first picnic party who everwent to Humpybong—Sir James Garrick and some othergentlemen—came to him and got him to pilot them through thebush to the coast. Later on he marked a tree line when the fatherof the late Hon. T. J. Byrnes inquired about land for cattle.Father took him down to the Lagoons on the way to Humpybong, andthere the Irishman afterwards took up country and settled. He alsotook him to Humpybong, and showed him the old brick kiln made inthe time of the convicts' settlement there. The bricks were good,and Patrick Byrnes made use of some of them for his chimney—achimney round which afterwards the future Premier played. Stilllater again my father marked the present road to Humpybong, when itwas made shorter by the bridge across Hayes's Inlet.

In those days a company started growing cotton at Caboolture.They came to Father and asked if he could find them a shorter wayto their plantation than the track which went away round bySideling Creek. So he marked the present road to Morayfield. Thenfrom there he marked the road for Captain Whish to his property.Also he showed Captain Townsend the land that gentleman took up onthe Caboolture, and marked his road, which is the presentCaboolture road crossing the bridge.

The road to Narangba was marked by him, also the one from SouthPine to Cash's Crossing, and from the lagoons on the old NorthernRoad to Terror's Creek on the Upper Pine. The latter has since beenaltered.

When Davis (or "Duramboi") was asked to mark a road to Gympie,he sought my father's assistance for the first part of the way,saying he would know where he was all right when he got to theGlass House Mountains, as he had been there before when living withthe blacks. So Father took him to the other side of Caboolture andput him and party on his ("Tom" Petrie's) marked tree line toPetrie's Creek, on the Maroochy River. Then when the line to Gympiewas marked, he went with Cobb and Co. to help them pick outstopping places for the changing of horses. The road was justfrightful at that time; we in these days could not recognize it forthe same.

When quite a youngster, my father marked a road for thesquatters from Cleveland Point to the Eight Mile Plains, so thatthey could bring their wool down to the store at Cleveland.

Also when a boy he piloted the first picnic party through thebush to where Sandgate is now, though he did not mark the road tothat place.

Surveyors have often come for a talk with my father, and theyalways used his marked lines. When the present railway line toGympie was being surveyed, he went with the surveyors to show themthe different ways to Caboolture. And he accompanied his friend,Mr. George Phillips, C.E., to Gympie, traversing the differenttrial lines. Also he showed the surveyors the proposed line toHumpybong.

In 1877, during the Douglas Ministry, the first reserve foraborigines was formed. Deciding that there should be such areserve, the late Hon. J. Douglas and several Ministers of theCrown journeyed by steamer to Bribie Island, in order to pick asuitable spot there. They were accompanied by my father, who,because of his intimate knowledge of the blacks, was asked by theGovernment to supervise the workings of the reserve, and encouragethe natives to settle there. Arriving in Bribie Passage, anchor wasdropped opposite the White Patch, and the whole party went ashore,including several blackfellows who had been brought down in thesteamer. These and others who were on the island were got together,and the Premier spoke and explained what the Government meant to dofor them, saying that my father would overlook everything. Thelatter gentleman interpreted what the Premier said, and the darkieswere very pleased at the idea, cheering the party when they wereleaving, and waving to the steamer till it was out of sight.

The blacks on this reserve were supplied, under my father'smanagement, with a boat, a fishing net, harpoons for dugong, andother necessaries, and they had to work in exchange for theirrations, catching fish and curing them, and making dugong, shark,and stingaree oils. These and sometimes a turtle, were all sold inBrisbane in exchange for the rations, which afterwards were doledout to the blacks by an old man, who, with his wife, was engaged tofive on the island. Father went about once a month to see that allwas well. When he first mustered the blacks there were about fifty,some of these being very old women.

In winter time the blacks caught great hauls of sea mullet, andat other times there were other fish, etc., and everything wentwell, and the settlement bid fair to become self-supporting, whenin 1879 the McIlwraith Government did away with the whole thing. Myfather asked what was to become of the old men and women? "Oh, letthem go and work like anyone else," was the reply. "What is tohappen to the boat and fishing net?" "Oh, let them have those." Sothe news had to be told to the blacks, who were all very miserableabout it, and the old gins cried and asked how they were going toget anything to eat. Their friend told them to cheer up, that hewas sure the others would not see them want. "No, but they willtake us back to Brisbane, and when there they will get drunk, andbeat us. We would like to stay here, where we are happy—thereis no drinking of grog here, nor fighting." "I cannot help it,"Father had to tell them; "I have got orders from the Government tobreak up the settlement, and so it has to be."

Several gentlemen in Brisbane at that time, among them a Churchof England Bishop, were very much interested in favour of thissettlement for blacks, and they were much against the ending of theconcern. However, it had to be. It was a pity, as it was quite truewhat the gins had said, and many deaths occurred in drunken fights.Numbers of those blacks might have been alive to-day. My fatherasked the Government, during the life of the settlement, forauthority to keep blacks from the city, where they could get drink,but this was not granted. His powers for good were limited, as hehad no fixed salary, and no free passes. Some of the Brisbane tribewould not go to the island, as they could get drink in Brisbane,making the excuse that they would not be happy away from theirnative part.

During the time of this settlement a Scotch priest named FatherMcNab came to North Pine to my father, and stayed a few days,getting information about the blacks' ways and language, saying hewished to go to Bribie Island, and see what he could do in the wayof teaching religion there. So during my father's presence at theisland he arrived one day with a man, and they pitched their tentnear by the blacks' camp. Next morning, gathering the nativestogether, he talked to them, and showed them pictures, explainingwhat they meant. The listeners appeared attentive at first, but itsoon became apparent that the work was useless. One morning (thepriest told my father afterwards), while he was holding prayers, ablack named "Prince Willie" came to join in with his pipe in hismouth. The priest remonstrated, telling Willie it was wicked tosmoke at prayers. "Father McNab," said the man, "I smoke when Ilike." And so things went on for a good while, till the priest,finding he could do no good, gave up the attempt altogether.

In the meantime, though, during one of his visits to the island,while the priest was absent in Brisbane, my father came upon"Prince Willie" with all the blacks and gins gathered round him,acting Father McNab's part. There he was with an old book, fromwhich he pretended to read, jabbering away like a parrot, and hehad water at his side in which he dipped his hand, and thensprinkled the blacks he was about to name. He made these lattercross themselves, and then others he married with a ring. The whiteman had to laugh till his sides were sore at the way the absurdfellow went on, although he felt he should not, and there were therest of the blacks simply rolling on the ground with laughter. Anative's sense of humour is very keen. "I tried to be serious,"Father says, "and told them that it was very wrong of them to mocka minister, as his wish was to make them better; but one might justas well have tried to make a stone speak as try to convert thoseblacks."

During the years of my father's management at Bribie Island,there were only two or three deaths there. One, he remembers, wasthat of a very old gin, and another that of Abraham, the coxswainof the fishing boat. The latter took dropsy, and his legs swelledto a great size. The poor fellow, when Father was leaving theisland one day, asked him to bring back a watermelon the next time;he fancied it would make him better. But when the next time came hewas dead. His people skinned him, but said they did not eat him.Their friend had his doubts about the latter fact. They skinned himbecause he was the son of one of the great men of the island, andthey wished to give his relatives the skin. They came and said theywanted to go over to the north point of Humpybong, because someDurundur blacks were camped there, and the friends of the dead onewere among them. So my father took them over, and went to the campwith them.

On the way three of the Durundur blacks and some gins came tomeet the old woman who carried the skin, and when she showed thedilly they all commenced to wail and cry and cut their heads, themen with tomahawks and the women with their yam-sticks. Bloodflowed freely; the sight was a terrible one, and the sound of thecrying was awful. The other blacks then rushed and took the weaponsfrom these mourners, who gradually became quiet enough to talk overthe death, and the supposed cause of it. They blamed a blackfellowcalled Piper by the whites, and they swore they would kill this manat the first opportunity. Then the dilly was opened, and a smallone inside containing four pieces of skin was given to an old womanof the Durundur tribe, a relative of the deceased. Gathering uptheir belongings, then, they all went on to camp, crying again asthey went.

After this my father left these blacks, who, however, stayed onwhere they were awhile, and about a week later Piper himselfhappened to turn up. He came with a few Maroochy blacks, and campedalongside the Bribie lot. So it was arranged that one night a manof Bribie called "Dangalin" (or Pilot by the whites) should sneakup in the darkness to Piper and kill him This was tried, but as itturned out Piper was not asleep, and the blow missed its aim, andtherefore as Pilot retreated he in his turn was struck at, andreceived an awful tomahawk cut at the back of the knee. Father sawthis cut two days afterwards, and it seemed to him that the leg wasalmost severed—the man could not move then. However, herecovered in the end, though he was always lame. At the time Fathersaid to him, "How is it you made such a mess of things?" The replywas that the man was too quick, and the moment he struck he ranaway, and was not captured, though some chased. However, they wouldhave him yet.

Piper got back to Maroochy among his friends, and stayed there along time, until he thought the feeling against him had beenforgotten. He was the blackfellow who had murdered a botanist atMooloolah. On this account he had been an outlaw ("tallabilla" thenatives called it) for a good many years, then he was captured, andtried and acquitted; because of the long interval between the trialand murder the latter could not be brought home to him properly.Some time after the Bribie affair he came into Brisbane with anumber of others to attend a corroboree, and camped at Kedron Brookwith some Durundur blacks, thinking he would be safest with them.But one of these blacks, called Sambo, a friend of the deadAbraham, had been on the watch, and actually had been carryingabout poison for Piper, thinking he was too smart for anotherdeath. This poison was what the white men used for native dogs, anddoubtless had been got at some station. So Sambo obtained a littlerum, and mixing in the poison, offered Piper a drink. Theunsuspecting blackfellow had a good drink, then handed the bottleto another man, with the result that they both died. Sambo did notintend the second death, of course. An inquiry was held in Brisbaneon this poisoning affair, and my father interpreted for the blacks.However, Sambo could be found nowhere, and the matter had to drop.Such was the end of Piper, the murderer, and such was often the wayin which a blackfellow would be hunted to his death by his fellowblacks for a deed of which he was perfectly innocent, though he mayhave been guilty enough in other ways.



Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (17)

Andrew Petrie (Senior)

The following extract from the "Brisbane Courier," dated 22ndFebruary, 1872, may be of interest to some readers as anintroduction to what I have to say of my father's father—hisexplorations, discoveries, etc.:—

Death of Mr. Andrew Petrie, Sen.

"The death of the oldest free resident in our community andcolony is an event not to be allowed to happen without notice; andthe aged, revered, and useful citizen who has just left our worldfor a better was no ordinary man. The name of Andrew Petrie isindissolubly connected, not only with the early history ofBrisbane, but of the colony. Al-though for some years pastincapacitated by a painful malady from active interference in themore prominent duties of life, he never relaxed his interest in allthat was going on around him in the colony. For thirty-four yearsand more he had watched its growth and advancement from the ignobleposition of a mere outlying penal settlement of New South. Wales tothe dignified and important status of an independent province. From1837 to the time of his death, he watched its progress with asolicitude which never flagged, rejoicing in its prosperity, andsorrowing in its adversity. Though long deprived of bodily sight,his mental vision could, nearly to the very last, realise all thathad been effected in the way of advancement in the city, which hasgrown up on the comparative waste on which he first landed.

"Mr. Petrie was a native of Fifeshire, in Scotland, and was bornin June, 1798. In early youth he removed to Edinburgh, where he wasconnected with an eminent building firm, and served four years inan architect's establishment in that city. He embarked in businesson his own account, and was induced to emigrate to New South Walesin 1831, on the representations of Dr. Lang. Arriving in Sydney inthat year, in the ship Stirling Castle, he was employed insuperintending the erection of the doctor's well-known buildings inJamison Street, and subsequently entered into business for himself.While thus engaged his ability and probity brought him into notice,and at the solicitation of Mr. Commissary Laidley, he entered theservice of the Government as a clerk of works in the OrdnanceDepartment. Shortly afterwards the late Colonel Barney arrived inSydney with a detachment of the Royal Engineers, and to thisofficer the control of the department with which Mr. Petrie wasconnected was transferred, and the deceased gentleman retained hisposition. In the same capacity he was employed until his removal toBrisbane in 1837. The buildings which had then been erected in thecity, and were in course of construction, had been designed andsuperintended by a junior military officer, and were, naturallyenough, not models either of architectural skill or of substantialworkmanship. Mr. Petrie was accordingly sent up as a practicalsuperintendent or engineer of works, and he arrived with his family(Mr. John Petrie, the eldest, being then a mere boy) in August,1837, in the James Watt, the first steamer which everentered what are now 'Queensland waters.' His duties were to directand supervise the labours of the better class ofprisoners—mechanics and others—who were employed in anenclosure situated where St. John's School now stands. The windmillhad been erected, but the machinery could not be made to work,although the sapient military officer had the bush cut down allround to allow the wind to reach the sails, and Mr. Petrie's firstlabour was to take down the machinery and set it up again in aproper manner. On his arrival the only quarters available forhimself and family were to be found in the female factory (now thePolice office), which had been rendered vacant by the removal ofthe female prisoners to Eagle Farm. There Mr. Petrie resided untilthe house in which he lived and died was built, and as an instanceof his foresight, he insisted on its being erected in a line withthe court-house, 'as there might some day be a street running thatway.' The locality was then 'simply in the bush.'

"In 1838, while out on an excursion with Major Cotton, theCommandant, Mr. Petrie and his companions were lost for three days,and found their way back to the settlement at last by takingbearings from the hill on the south side of the river, now known asMount Petrie. In 1840, accompanied by his son John, two or threeconvicts, and two black boys, the deceased gentleman made anexploring trip into what is now known as the Bunya Bunya country,and the party were in extreme peril of their lives, but theysucceeded in bringing back to Brisbane some specimens of the fruit.He was, in fact, the first to discover the bunya bunya tree,although its botanical name, Araucaria Bidwilli, does not give himthe credit. In 1842, in company with Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, theHon. Mr. Wriothesley, and others, Mr. Petrie explored the MaryRiver, which had not before been entered by a boat; and it waswhile on this expedition that he discovered and brought back tocivilization the well-known 'Durham Boy,' who had been living in akind of semi, captivity with the blacks for fourteen years. Whileon one of these exploratory journeys, and once subsequently, Mr.Petrie ascended to the summit of the almost inaccessible Beerwah,the highest of the Glasshouse Mountains, from whence he tookbearings for the assistance of the surveyors who were thencommencing a trigonometrical survey. On the latter occasion, Mr.Petrie and his companions struck across the country to Kilcoy,which had then been formed as a station for about three days by SirEvan Mackenzie. On his way back to Brisbane, Mr. Petrie met andcamped with Mr. David Archer, who was out looking for country, onthe site of the present Durundur Station.

"Soon after the settlement was thrown open in 1842, theGovernor, Sir George Gipps, visited the settlement in company withColonel Barney, and the latter endeavoured to persuade Mr. Petrieto return to Sydney, as his office was abolished, but thatgentleman preferred remaining here, and trying his chances in whathe foresaw would be a flourishing colony. In 1848, while on a tripto the Downs, he suffered severely from an ophthalmic attack, thetreatment for which resulted in the loss of his eyesight; and inthe same year another calamity befell him in the loss of his son,Walter, who was drowned in the creek which crosses Queen Street.(Singularly enough, Mr. John Petrie lost a son of the same name, inthe same creek, some years afterwards.) Although thus deprived ofone of Nature's most valued senses, the de-ceased gentlemancontinued for years to assist in the superintendence of buildingsand other works, and many residents will remember, even of lateyears, his daily visits to works in progress.

"During the last few years, however, Mr. Petrie's activity ofmind had to succumb to infirmity of body, and he was seldom able toleave his own premises. Up to two years ago, blind as he was, herang the workman's bell with his own hands every morning, and wasmade acquainted with the details of the business of which he hadbeen the founder.

"Mr. Petrie was not a man to obtrude himself upon public notice,but although he never actively interfered in political and othermovements, he could express his views decidedly and vigorously inprivate. As a father, he was kind and indulgent; as an employer, hewas respected, though strict and watchful; and as a friend andcompanion, he was genial and hearty—nothing pleasing himbetter than 'a chat about old times.' Surrounded by all thesurviving members of his family, and by a goodly number ofgrandchildren, he passed peacefully away on the afternoon of 20thFebruary, on that last journey in search of final rest which allhumanity must one day undertake.

* * * * *

"The funeral of the late Mr. Andrew Petrie, which took placeyesterday afternoon, was one of the largest which has been seen inBrisbane for many years past. The greatest respect was shown forthe deceased by all classes in the community. The flags of all thevessels in the river were half-mast high, a number of mercantileestablishments were entirely closed, while others partiallyrelinquished business in the afternoon. The cortège moved from thelate residence of the deceased, at Petrie's Bight, at about fouro'clock, and the procession extended over half-a-mile in length.After the hearse came four mourning coaches, then nearly sixtyfollowers on foot, fifty-five carriages, and upwards of fiftyhorsem*n. Amongst those present were Sir James co*ckle, ChiefJustice, Sir Maurice O'Connell, the Hon. the Colonial Secretary,the Hon. the Colonial Treasurer, several members of theLegislature, the Mayor and aldermen, and many other gentlemenholding important positions in the colony. The funeral service wasread by the Rev. E. Griffith and the Rev. C. Ogg."

* * * * *

In portioning out and directing what work the better class ofprisoners had to do, my grandfather travelled about a good deal. Hewatched to see that the buildings put up were done correctly, andhe visited different places, such as Ipswich (Limestone then),Dunwich, Logan River, Amity Point (for the pilot station), etc. Hewent to Ipswich to see how the Government sheep and cattle underthe management of Mr. George Thorn were doing, also to inspect thelimekiln worked by the prisoners there. To take him about he had awhale boat manned by a crew of prisoners. "Tom" recollects well onetrip his father made to Limestone with this boat. On this occasion,as an outing for them. Grandfather took his wife and two or threekiddies—my father included. The child of those days hasmemories of how they carried a tent with them in the boat, and how,stopping when they came to the first batch of Government sawyers atwork on the river, he was carried ashore by one of the boat's crew;then afterwards the men fixed up the tent for his father. Next daythey went on again up the river to Limestone, where they stayed acouple of days at Mr. Thorn's house, while the head of theexpedition made his inspections. At that time Limestone (Ipswich)consisted of Mr. Thorn's house and the yards for the cattle andsheep, also the limekiln and the stockade for the prisoners. On thereturn journey to Brisbane Mr. Petrie called in at all the placeswhere men were at work on the river.

Not only on the Brisbane, but on the Albert and Logan Rivers,the Government prisoners worked sawing cedar. Then they burntmangrove trees for ash for soap-making at the mouth of theBrisbane. Mr. Petrie inspected these places with his whale-boat, ashe also now and then visited Dunwich to see that the prisonersthere were all right, and also that the cedar timber was loaded onthe vessels for Sydney. At other times he took a survey of the Bayand the soundings of the different parts of the water there.

On the return from one of these trips of inspection to Dunwich"Tom" remembers his father bringing a blackfellow back with him tothe hospital with a fearful wound. The man's name was "Parpunyi."He had been fighting with another blackfellow, who had becomepossessed of a razor. In the fight the razor made a fearful gashfrom the small of "Parpunyi's" back round to the flank, lettingsome of the inner parts out. Mr. Petrie heard of the event soonafter it happened, and he went and had the man's wound attended toand sewn up, and then took him in the boat to Brisbane, where inthe hospital he very soon recovered. It is wonderful how theblacks' flesh would heal so quickly.

Another time an incident of the same sort happened in QueenStreet, opposite where the Bank of New South Wales now stands. Twoblacks were fighting there, and as at Dunwich, one ofthem—"Murrki"—had a razor in his hand, and the otherman—"Kebi"—was wounded in much the same way as"Parpunyi." In this case, however, there was no hospital, but theman pushed the protruding parts in, and holding them so with bothhands, walked off to camp, which was near the present Roma StreetStation. There he had to lie on his back, and the blacks put veryfine charcoal and ashes in the wound, and that was all thedoctoring he got. He had to keep on his back for a long time, butin the end recovered all right, though the wound left a very largescar. My father who went to see the black several times during hisenforced quietude, says that a white man so doctored would not havelived. The man told the boy that the wound did not pain him muchthen.


We, in these days, can hardly imagine Brisbane without horses indrays and carts and traps of all sorts, but at first when my fatherwas a little chap there were none. One comical conveyance heremembers well. It was an old spring cart with a cover on it, drawnby a black and white poley bullock, yoked in shafts as a horsewould be, and driven by a prisoner called Tom Brooks. This turnoutbelonged to the Government, and was used to convey the prisoners'dirty clothes to the women convicts at Eagle Farm each week to bewashed. Two or three times when Mr. Petrie went out to inspectthese quarters at Eagle Farm he took his wife and children, makinga picnic of the trip. They all drove in this grand buggy drawn by"Tinker, the bullock." On these occasions old Tom Brooks, thedriver, would walk alongside and lead the bullock, but when cartingthe clothes he sat in the buggy and drove as though the animal werea horse. Sometimes "Tom's" brother John, being a bigger boy, wouldaccompany old Brooks, when he went with the clothes, and consideredit a great honour to drive "Tinker." On the picnic occasions, theparty always stopped on the road to boil the kettle (there were nobillies in those days), and to give "Tinker" a rest. The haltingplace was past Breakfast Creek, on the river bank where theice-works were afterwards built. There was a spring there, and itwas a nice place to rest. This road, which is the present HamiltonRoad, had formerly been made by the women prisoners. Looking at thecutting now it seems impossible to realise this. Of course it hasbeen extended since.

A Dr. Simpson had charge of these prisoners at Eagle Farm (aboutthe years 1840-41). In his cottage he had a little room off thekitchen containing a sofa, table, and some chairs. Here he was inthe habit of retiring for an after-dinner smoke and rest. On oneoccasion when young "Tom" had accompanied his father and mother toEagle Farm, he happened to go into the doctor's kitchen, and sawthere the man cook with a large Indian pipe. The youngster watchedthe man and saw him place the bowl on a little shelf on the side ofthe wall next the doctor's room, then noticed him put the stem,which was two or three feet long, through a little hole in thewall. This made the boy very inquisitive as to what would happennext, and he watched more intently. The cook then filled the bigpipe with tobacco and put a red hot coal on this, and "Tom,"dodging round the doorway, saw the doctor, from where he lay on thesofa in the next room, take hold of the stem, and putting the endin his mouth, calmly start to puff. This was intensely interestingof course, and "Tom" thought it very funny the way the doctorenjoyed his after-dinner smoke.

Dr. Simpson also smoked cigars at that time, and in after yearshe evidently gave up the long pipe, for he was known never to useanything but a cigar. Some notes re this gentleman kindly sentalong by a reliable correspondent, may be of interest:—

"When Dr. Simpson was a young man he was in the army inIreland—whether as a surgeon, or as a private or otherwise, Ido not remember. He studied as a doctor in Edinburgh, but was anEnglishman. He was employed by two ladies of the Royal Family ofRussia to travel with them from St. Petersburg through Europe toRome, etc., and back. He studied homeopathy, or rather that systemof curing diseases, under Hahnemann (a German), the originator ofthat system, and was remarkably successful in effecting cures. Hewas employed as doctor for the children by the duch*ess ofDevon-shire. He wrote the first book in the English language onhomeopathy, and the doctors were so offended at it that theypersecuted him out of the country. He informed the duch*ess ofDevonshire of his resolution, and she was sorry to lose hisservices, and told him if she could assist him in any way she woulddo it. He came to Sydney and then got permission from theGovernment to come to Brisbane, then a convict colony. Making it afree settlement was talked of, and officers, police magistrate, andcommissioner of Crown lands would be required. He then used theinfluence of the duch*ess of Devonshire, and that put him whereverhe wished. He took the Commissioner for Crown Lands, but had to actfor some time as police magistrate."

Dr. Simpson had the reputation of being very clever at curingillnesses in those early days of Brisbane. My father remembers himwell, also his friend, W. H. Wiseman. A writer in a South Brisbanepaper recently speaking of the convict days, says:—

"It is only just to say there were bright reliefs to this darkoutlining. 'Old hands' named with gratitude Dr. Simpson, themedical officer, afterwards a resident of Goodna, and the chaplainsof the penal times as their best friends. Commandant Cotton wasconsidered their best governor. Mr. Andrew Petrie, senior, foremanof works, had won all their hearts. They never tired praising thesegood men. Let the present time fully honour their memories aslights shining in a dark place."

The better class of prisoners were not hobbled as the chain gangwere, but they worked in a place called the lumber yard, whichstood where the Longreach Hotel is now. This was a walled enclosurecontaining different buildings where the prisoners worked at tradesof every description. They made their own clothes, caps, and boots,and kept the chain gang supplied with these also; then they madethe nails and iron bolts, etc., required for buildings; they tannedleather, and made all the soap and candles needed for thesettlement. Also there were blacksmiths, carpenters, cabinetmakers, coopers, wheelwrights, barbers, etc. The brick wallsurrounding this place was high, with one opening—a gatefacing Queen Street. Close to this gate on the outside there was asentry-box, where the soldier who kept the gate could retire if itcame on to rain. This soldier had to march up and down in front ofthe gate to prevent any escape, and after so many hours he wasrelieved by another man, and so on through the day till about sixo'clock, when half-a-dozen or eight red coats arrived with theirsergeant. Then the overseer (a head prisoner) would muster the men,and placing them in rows, would call out their names to see if anywere missing; after which they were all marched out of the gate anddown to the barracks which stood a few yards above Messrs. Chapman& Company's establishment. The overseer, or gaoler, thensearched each man before locking him up, in order to ascertain thathe had no tobacco or anything on his person.

"Tom" often went with his father to the lumber yard when a boy.He can remember events of those days better than he can happeningsof twelve months ago. The prisoners had a cook amongst them, whocooked each man's food for him. Twice a week tea, and sugar, andmeat, were doled out. Meat was divided in the following fashion: Itwas cut up into equal junks, as many small pieces as there weremen, and placed on a bench ready. Then one prisoner was blindfoldedand put in a corner, while another stood by the meat, the restwaiting in a row. The man near the meat touched a piece with hisfinger, calling "Who for this?" and the blindfolded prisonermade-answer with one of the waiting men's names, the owner of whichthen went forward and took his piece. So it went on till all wasfinished. This was done that there might be no grumbling about morebone in one piece than another, and all seemed satisfied with thearrangement.

Besides this tea and sugar and meat twice a week, the prisonersdaily were fed on rough corn meal porridge. This was served out inkids (small wooden tubs, like cheese vats, but shallow), which heldabout two quarts of the mixture, flavoured with salt, but, ofcourse, eaten without milk. The chain gang got nothing but thishominy three times a day. My father says some of them looked fatterand stronger than those with the extras.

Though Grandfather Petrie had nothing to do with how the chaingang were treated, his young son "Tom," as might be supposed, oftencame into contact with them. He has seen about three hundred ofthese men marched from the barracks down to where Messrs. Campbelland Sons' warehouse now stands. They worked from here towards theGovernment gardens, chipping corn and hilling it, and soldiers keptguard to see that no one ran away. As soon as the men arrived onthe ground, they all pulled off their shirts before starting towork. Father has heard them say this was in order to keep theseupper garments clean. They worked away with only their trousers andcaps and boots on, and their bodies were all tanned with the sun."You would see," says Father, "the poor fellows' backs marked withthe lash, some not quite healed from the last flogging." They hadeach so many yards to get through before time to "knock off" came.Some would finish beforehand, and these would be allowed to sitdown, and rest, but now-and-again one could not get through intime, and he was therefore flogged. A pine tree stood on the bankof the river, one hundred yards up from where the steam ferry nowlands its passengers, and to this tree these prisoners were tied tobe flogged.

Though my father has many a time seen men flogged in QueenStreet, he does not remember the scene at this pine tree. But oftenthe little chap sat and listened to the prisoners as they restedand told stories of how they had been treated in Logan's time. Theypointed out to the boy the tree where the floggings took place forunfinished work, or for an answer to an overseer. The overseerswere picked prisoners, and they were generally cruel men who wouldreport everything to the Commandant, in order to gain favour. Theyhad freedom to go about without a guard watching them, and theywere kept apart from the others, as they ran a risk of beingmurdered for their cruelty. Father has often heard the prisonerssay it was awful the way they were treated in Logan's time, andthey thought it a blessing when his end came, for they had thenbetter times. The blacks, they remarked, got the credit of themurder, but they themselves knew who did it, and it was all rightfor he deserved his death.

The chain gang was generally divided up into lots who worked atNew Farm, Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane, from Turbot Street alongthe river towards Roma Street Station, and from the present steamferry at Creek Street along the river to the Government gardens.Mostly the work they did was to hoe the ground and plant and hillcorn. Father has often seen the convicts cultivating the groundabout Brisbane, and it was all done by hoe—no plough. "I haveseen," he says, "the poor fellows march with chains on their legsto their work at New Farm and back again." On each cultivated partwhen the corn was in cob, a prisoner was put to keep away the crowsand the co*ckatoos. He was dubbed the "crow-minder," and he had whatwas called a clapper to make a noise to frighten these birds. Thisclapper was made of three pieces of board, two about seven incheslong and four inches wide, and the third some six inches longer,which was shaped like a butter pat with a handle. The two shorterpieces were fastened one on either side of the long one by a pieceof cord or string put through the holes made in the boards, andwhen this affair was held in the hand and shaken about it made agreat noise. The man was supposed to walk up and down through thecorn shaking this, for the benefit, or rather otherwise, of thecrows who came inquiring.

These "crow-minders" were prisoners under short sentence, andthey were not chained like the others. The man who watched the landrunning along the river from Creek Street was called "Andy," and hehad a hut built up in the fork of a gum tree on the bank of theriver, down a little way from the pine tree already mentioned. Thisgum tree had steps made of pieces of iron, driven in like sawyers'dogs, and it was called "the crow-minder's tree." "Andy" used toclimb up to his hut and watch that the blacks did not swim acrossfrom Kangaroo Point, or come in a canoe to steal the corn or sweetpotatoes. The blacks were very daring in those days. "Andy" had anold flint pistol which he fired off to give the alarm when thedarkies appeared. The hut was a protection from them, and when upin it he could keep any number off. The "crow-minder" at New Farmhad a similar tree and hut; it stood on the river bank near wherethe residence of Sir Samuel Griffith now stands.

Father has often gone about among the corn with "Andy" while theclapping was going on. The boy was told in those days that once, inLogan's time, when Kangaroo Point was under a crop of corn, theblacks were very troublesome; nothing seemed to prevent them fromstealing. So one was shot and skinned, then stuffed and put upamong the corn to frighten the rest. It turned out a good cure, thecorn wasn't troubled afterwards. Whether this was true or not, myfather does not know, but he was told it as a fact many a time.


"Andy" had an instrument he called a fiddle, made (in the shapeof a grater) from a piece of tin, with holes punched in it with theend of a file, and nailed on to a piece of flooring board. This heused to grate down cobs of corn for meal to cook and eat on thesly. If he were caught at this he would be flogged, he said. He hada small bag in which he carried this meal. In those days the creekwhich ran down Creek Street, existed of course, and a bridgespanning it opposite Messrs. Campbell and Sons' warehouse, enteredwith its northern end the Petrie's garden. Under this part of thebridge there was a nice flat bank, which always kept dry as thetide did not reach it, and here Andy used to cook his maize mealand the other eatables he got hold of. "Tom," with his brothersAndrew and Walter, used to take him tea and sugar and flour on thequiet, and one boy kept guard while the cooking was going on, sothat Andy would not be taken unawares and flogged. In thisout-of-the-way place the prisoner made round things which passed asdoughboys, and when the peaches were ripe the youngsters broughthim some from their father's garden, which he stewed and cooked up.(This garden, which I have before mentioned, often contained lotsof fruit. Mr. Knight speaks of it in his book as "a large area ofcultivation, with groves of luxuriant orange, lemon, lime, andguava trees.") The boys thought Andy's cooking far better than whatthey got at home, and when they watched him and then joined in theeating part, everything tasted most delightfully sweet anddelicious.

"Stolen waters are sweet," I suppose.

Many a time "Tom's" mother gave her boys tea and sugar, and meatand bread for the prisoners, unknown to anyone else. It was againstthe rules, of course. And through her intercession, the prisonersafterwards used to say, they were saved many a punishment.Grandfather himself, though kind, was strict, but yet during allhis reign, according to his son "Tom," he never had one manflogged. "He used to threaten them whenever he caught them doinganything wrong," my father says, "then after a little, would thinkno more about it. He always carried a walking stick, and when goinginto any of the workshops in the lumber yard never forgot to make anoise on the floor with this stick. The prisoners hearing, knew whowas coming, and had time to put anything aside and be on their bestbehaviour. They used to make little tubs and other things on thesly for the soldiers, and these were smuggled out by means of thesentry, and in exchange tobacco was smuggled in. The prisoners werenot allowed to smoke, so if they got hold of a pipe and tobacco,they hid them in their workshops, and waited a chance, or some ofthem preferred chewing the tobacco."

The plant known as the tobacco plant came up and grew like aweed on all the cultivated ground in those days. Whether the seedwas originally set or not, my father does not know. It grew in thePetries' garden, and old Ned the gardener used to make tobacco fromthe leaves. He proceeded in this way: After drying the plant well,he took all the big stalks from the leaves and boiled them in a potfor a certain time, with some water and black sugar (in those dayssugar was black and no mistake). When this mixture was cold hesoaked the leaves in it for a while, then taking them out, foldedthem into a square, flat cake, and wrapping a cloth (also wet inthe juice) around this cake, he put it between two flat, heavystones and left it to become pressed. The prisoners in the lumberyard also made tobacco in this way. Father says, "I have many atime taken the leaf to them on the sly from our garden, and haveseen them make the tobacco, sometimes pressing the cake in a viceinstead of between stones."

Sometimes the chain gang got hold of a piece of tobacco madelike this, but very seldom. They got it through the crow minder,who would bury a piece for them in the field where their work laywith the corn. He hid it in a certain place, and marked the spotthat it might be easily found-At night, when they were all shut uptogether, he would tell them about this, and next day when theywent to work they had no trouble in finding it. The bother was tosmoke it, for the only chance was the dinner hour, when theoverseers were away for an hour or so. There would very likely beonly one pipe among a dozen of them, so one man filled and lit theprecious object and had a few draws, then passed it on to anotherman, and so on till all had had a turn. It went from one to anothertill finished just as the blacks' "honeyrag" did in camp. Thesoldiers looked on and said nothing so long as the overseers wereaway. Father has often sat with the convicts while they indulged inthis sort of smoke, and seeing their enjoyment, was what first madehim learn the habit when quite a tiny chap. He used even to maketobacco in their way for his own use.

Captain Logan met his death in 1830, and my grandfather arrivedin Brisbane in 1837, so the latter's son, "Tom," did not witnessthe worst of the convicts' sufferings. However, the sights he sawwere bad enough. Many a time he has seen members of the chain gangflogged in Queen Street in the old archway at the prisoners'barracks. They got from fifty to two hundred lashes at a time. Theywere stripped naked, and tied to the triangle by hands and feet, sothat they could not move. Some were flogged for a very smalloffence, and on the backs of others were unhealed marks of aprevious flogging. The rest of the prisoners were arranged round inorder to get the benefit of the sight, and a doctor stood by incase the unfortunate fainted. Then the punishment began, and aseach stroke fell the chief constable counted aloud the number. Outof all those he has seen flogged. Father does not remember even oneman fainting, though sometimes the blood flew out at every lash.Some poor wretches cried aloud in their agony for mercy, or totheir mothers and friends to save them, others cursed and swore atthe flogger and all the officials, and others again remainedperfectly still and quiet. At times the lash went too far round theside of the victim's body, and as it hurt more then, he swore andcalled to the flogger to "hit fair on the back."

In Logan's time a man called "Old Bumble" was the flogger. Hewas an inhuman wretch from all accounts, and was hated by theprisoners. The man who succeeded him was Gilligan, the flogger, andmy father remembers this man once being flogged himself. Gilliganwas the Commandant's gardener, and lived apart from the otherprisoners in a little hut near his work, where he cooked his ownmeals of hominy, and the vegetables he was allowed from the garden.The Commandant's quarters were situated where the new Lands Officeis being built now, and his garden extended down along the riverbank. It was a nice one, well laid out and well kept, and containedvegetables of all sorts, also fruit trees and flowers galore.

Once Gilligan was caught doing something very wrong in the eyesof the law, and he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to onehundred lashes. The day for his punishment was fixed, but it wasfound difficult to get a prisoner to volunteer to flog him.However, at last a black man named Punch (from the Isle of France)came forward. Father remembers the incident well, and can almostnow see Gilligan brought forth from the cells and stripped and tiedto the triangles. Then a number of other prisoners were marched upand placed in line to look on, and the chief constable(Fitzpatrick) stood close by to count the strokes aloud, whileanother constable jotted them down with a pencil on a piece ofpaper. The doctor was also there. When the word was given. Punch,who was left-handed, was ready with his shirt off and the "cat" inhis left hand. He flourished it round his head and came down soseverely that blood showed the first time, and got worseafterwards, and Gilligan cried out for the mercy which was notshown. Indeed, the prisoners stood round grinning with delight tosee the man who had so often flogged them getting it himself. Punchhit nearly always on the same place, which grew raw, and hisunfortunate victim was covered with blood from shoulder to heel atthe finish.

Some five months after this, Punch got into trouble and wassentenced to fifty lashes. Now was Gilligan's revenge! Fatherremembers how Punch's black skin shone when he was stripped andtied up, and how Gilligan rolled up his sleeves and spat on hishandle of the "cat" so that it would not slip. But the hit he gaveonly made a brown mark on the man's dark skin, and even at the endvery little blood came; his skin was too thick for Gilligan. Thelatter's shirt was ringing wet with perspiration, and one could seehe tried his best to give it hard to Punch, who, however, stood alllike a brick, and made no sound nor movement, though his back waswell marked. The prisoners standing by understood, and they seemedto enjoy the "fun."

Some time after this. Punch ran away, and got into the bush, andthe poor fellow's body was found floating on the Bremer by JohnPetrie on his way to Limestone. It was supposed he took crampswhile swimming across the river.

In those days there was a prisoner among the others who madebaskets for the Government called "Bribie, the basket maker." Hewas not chained, and was allowed to go about in a boat to get canefrom the scrubs for his work. He only had a short sentence, and itwas not worth his while to run away. Indeed, if any of theseprisoners with liberty to go and come, attempted escape ormisbehaved, they were put back into the chain gang, and it wasknown too well what that meant. Some who worked in batches (likethe sawyers) had an overseer (also a prisoner) always with them,and he reported behaviour. It was from this man Bribie, my fatherthinks, that Bribie Island got its name. He cannot rememberdistinctly on this point, but has some vague recollection of aconnection between the man and the island-whether he was blownashore there, or what, he does not know. At the mouth of the creekwhich formerly ran up Creek Street, just where the steam ferrylanding is now, a place was built by the prisoners for the catchingof fish and crabs. Two beams were put side by side across from bankto bank at high water mark, and they were flat on top, so that onecould walk on them. Between these beams slabs were supported, whichextended down into the mud. They were close together, but in themiddle an opening was left about six feet wide, which was bound bytwo piles standing some nine feet above the beams. These piles werejoined across the top with a piece of timber, and this had a ringbolt in the centre for a block and tackle, by which a lightframe-work made of wood was worked up and down. To this frame workwas attached a large basket (Bribie's handiwork) made so that thefish and crabs which entered were caught, and it had a square hole(with a cover) on top by which they could be taken out.

When the water was high, and just on the turn, the basket waslowered, then when the tide had gone down, it was hoisted up levelwith the beams. Fish were plentiful in the river then, there beingnothing much to disturb them, and sometimes the basket contained agreat supply. Old shank bones, with a little meat attached, werethrown into the creek to encourage the fish to come in, and thebasket trap was only worked two or three times a week, so that thefish did not grow afraid, having several days of undisturbedcomings and goings. A prisoner had charge of the working of thistrap, and he took the fish caught to the Commandant, Mr. AndrewPetrie, and all the other officials in turn.

Just at the corner of Elizabeth and Albert Streets, where apublic house now stands, there used to be a large building erectedfor holding and thrashing the maize grown by the prisoners. Thisbarn was built with walls of tea-tree logs notched into oneanother, the roof was thatched with blady grass, and it had awooden floor. Bags were nailed all round the walls to prevent grainflying through the openings when the corn was thrashed. Thethrashing was done by six men at a time working in pairs, each manwith a flail, and they kept very good time, swinging theirinstruments round their heads and coming down one after the otheron the cobs—hit for hit. Other prisoners shovelled the cornup, and sifting it in sieves, put it into bags ready for cartage tothe windmill, where it was ground into meal. Alongside this barn ashort-sentence prisoner lived in a hut; he was a sort of clerk, andkept books which showed the quantity of grain coming and going.

The corn in cobs was taken from the fields to the barn in whatwas called a hand-cart. These carts were something after the styleof a small dray with low wheels, and a pole instead of shafts. Eachpole had two bars across, one at the end and another three feetfrom it, and four prisoners dragged the cart, two on either side ofthe pole holding to the bars. The bars reached about to the men'swaists, who as they walked, thus pulled the cart. Other twoprisoners helped by shoving, and a red-coat walked along behindwith a gun on his shoulder—the bayonet shining brightly inthe sun. Thus the poor fellows, chained as they were, had to dragthe empty carts down to the river bank where the corn grew, thenafter loading up they dragged them back to the barn. When full thecarts held nearly as much as a dray would, and generally four ofthem were kept busy—two going and two coming—when thecorn was ripe. As they passed, one would hear the click, click ofthe chains on the prisoners' legs. Sometimes these hand-carts wereutilised for carrying the grain from the barn to the windmill, butmostly bullock drays were used for that purpose.


The Windmill (the present Observatory, much altered, of course)is said to have been erected in 1829. It was built for the purposeof grinding the maize grown by the prisoners into meal, but therewas something very wrong with the machinery evidently, for the windwould not move the "fans" round in a decent fashion. For yearseverything thought of was tried to alter this defect; even theground round about was cleared of its heavy timber, so that thewind would have fair play, but all to no purpose. However, themaize was ground in spite of all, for the mill was turned into atreadmill, and by way of punishment the prisoners' legs had to dothe work the wind refused to perform.

Mr. Knight in his book says:

"The year 1837 marked two important events in the early historyof Brisbane—the arrival of the Petries, and of the firststeamer which ploughed the waters of Moreton Bay."

Mr. Andrew Petrie, who before his departure from Sydney wasattached to the Royal Engineers there, examined the windmill on hisarrival, at once discovered the fault of the machinery, and had itput to rights. So after that the mill could do its own work, butstill the "treads" were used as a punishment for the badly-behavedprisoners, and at these times the corn was ground by double power.It was no light punishment, as many a prisoner could tell to hiscost, especially a heavily-ironed man—poor wretch.

My father remembers a time in those days when the vessel whichcame from Sydney with supplies for the settlement was a long timeoverdue, and it was thought she must be wrecked. Tea and sugar andflour and a number of other things were scarce, on account of hernon-arrival. Here it may be mentioned that the tea then was allgreen tea, and very coarse, like bits of stick—indeed it waschristened "posts and rails." The sugar the prisoners called "coaltar," for it was almost black like tar. "I do not know," Fathersays, "what the people of to-day would say if they had to live onsuch stuff; they would think their last hour had come. But we alllived and kept in good health." One thing which was "grand,"according to him, however, was boiled pumpkin and sweet potatoes,mashed and mixed together, and then baked in the oven in the shapeof a sugar-loaf, alongside a piece of roast beef. Another idea wassweet potatoes mixed with cornmeal and made into cakes. Then theyused to roast the Indian corn in a pan and grind it to make coffee,sweetened with the "coal tar."

To return to the overdue vessel. In order to gain a good supplyof meal to make up for the other things. Grandfather Petrie got thebetter class of prisoners to volunteer to work the treadmill, as itwas calm weather (no wind to speak of), and the mill was slow inits work. The prisoners did not object, as it meant plenty to eatfor themselves as well as for the rest of the settlement. The boy"Tom" marched alongside with the convicts up to the mill, and whenthere he saw them go in turns to the wheel, so many on at a time.It was a very hot day, and the first lot took off their shirts, andthen went up some five steps to get on to the wheel, which was likea water-wheel, and was thirty or forty feet long, and the treadsbeing about nine inches wide. An iron bolt at one end held itsteady till the prisoners were on, then when that was withdrawn theweight of the men started it moving, and they simply had to step upor be hit on the shins; they had a rail to hold on by, of course. Ashaft ran through from the wheel into the windmill, where itconnected with the cogwheels there—the works were somethinglike those of a chaff-cutter. To look at the convict stepping onewould think they were going upstairs. They had to tread so manyminutes, and when one man got off at the far end, another one tookhis place at the starting point. The man just off would have a resttill his turn came round again. Some took to it so well that theycould just hold on with the left hand as they stepped, and with theright scribble on the boards drawings of ships, animals, andmen—others seemed to tire altogether. However, on thisoccasion it was not a punishment, and most of them were very jollyover it, chaffing one another, and calling, "Hullo, Bill, or Jack,what have you done to be put on the treadmill?" And so they went ontill plenty of meal was ground to keep things going, and a coupleof days later the expected vessel turned up. She had beenwind-bound in some bay on the coast.

Father also saw the unfortunate chained men on the treadmillworking out their punishment. You would hear the "click, click" oftheir irons as they kept step with the wheel, and those with theheavier irons seemed to have "a great job" to keep up. Some poorwretches only just managed to pull through till they got off at thefar end, then they sat down till their turn came to go on again.They all had to do so many hours, according to their sentence; anoverseer kept the time, and a couple of soldiers guarded them. Whenthey had put in their time they were marched back to barracks.

The leg irons for the chain gang were made in the lumber yard bya blacksmith prisoner there. A supply was kept always on hand, somelight and some heavy, and when a prisoner was sentenced to wearthem for a certain time he was taken to this blacksmith's shop tobe fitted up; then when his sentence had expired he was sent thereto have them taken off again. Father has many a time watched bothperformances. The rings which went round the man's ankle were madein two half circles the size of the leq, the ends flattened havingholes punched in them for rivets. One end was riveted loosely sothat it would act as a hinge, then the man standing near a smallanvil put out his foot, and the blacksmith fitted the iron on andriveted the other end. He then tightened the loose one. When bothlegs were fixed up, a piece of leather, made round, like the top ofa boot, was put in between the iron and the man's leg, so that theskin would not be so readily chafed. When the irons were taken off,the rivets were cut through with a cold-chisel.

The lighter irons had links about the size of a plough chain,the others being much heavier. The chains were some two feet longbetween the legs, and in the middle of each was a small ring with astring through it, which, being connected to the prisoner's belt,kept the irons from dragging on the ground during motion. Prisonerswearing chains had a peculiar way of walking, and you would see thepoor fellows just released after six months or so, going along asthough they still wore them. Heavily-chained men always draggedtheir feet along in a weary fashion—life to them could nothave been much joy. Ordinary trousers would not go over a man'sirons, so the chain gang all wore these garments opened right downthe outside seams, and buttoned there with big black buttons.

At that time "Tom" was the youngest son of the Petrie family,and there being of course no school to go to, his father used totake him two or three days in the week to the lumber yard to hisoffice, there to get lessons from his clerk. This clerk was aprisoner, and he was called, "Peg-leg Kelly," because he had awooden leg, but Grandfather himself said, he was a very goodscholar. He kept books for the lumber yard, and could tell fromthem what the prisoners made and everything that was done in theyard; also all the prisoners' names, why they were sent out, andthe length of their sentence, etc. Father says, "I have often heardmy father say that some of the poor fellows got fifteen or sixteenyears for stealing turnips, others were sentenced for life becausethey had stolen sheep, or for forgery. Nowadays, for the sameoffence or worse, they pay a fine or earn a few months in gaol,where they are kept like gentlemen with everything they want, andvery often the moment time is up something is done to get backagain. If they were treated as the prisoners in the early days,they would not be so anxious to get in again, but would turnhonest, even as the convicts did.

Those poor fellows when they once got free could be trusted withalmost anything.

Very little in the way of lessons my father says he learnt inthose days. So soon as his father left the office and went from thelumber yard to inspect the outside works, "Tom" was off out amongthe prisoners watching them as they made nails, and all the othervarious articles, without a thought to his lessons. "Poor Kelly,"he says, "would never tell on me. Although I used to get many athrashing from Father for not knowing my lessons, and Kelly gotmany a scolding for not getting me along better, he would never'split' on me. I used to take him now and again a bit of tobaccoand a little tea and sugar, or a piece of bread, all unknown toFather, and sometimes I gave the other prisoners some, so that Iwas a great favourite among them, and no matter what I did theynever let it out. I have often thought since that if I had takenpoor Father's advice, and stuck to my lessons, it would have beenbetter for me to-day. But I only thought of playing in those days,and though I had, of course, no opportunity to become what myfather was, the few poor chances which came in my way were passedunrecognised. Just at this time myself and brothers (John, Andrew,and Walter) were the only boys in the settlement, with the oneexception of the barrack sergeant's son. (Of course, later on therewere lots of youngsters.) This boy (Billy Jones) was not allowed inamong the prisoners, and we were really not supposed to be thereunless we went with our father. My brothers, like myself, were ingreat favour with the convicts, as they used also to bring food andtobacco to them. The prisoners would do anything for us."

A convict called "Joe Goosey," an odd job man, was much dislikedby the others, because he told tales about them. He could nevergrow any sign of whiskers, and for this reason and because he woresmall silver rings in his ears, he was jeered at, and called "TheLady." The convicts could not stand a "tell-tale" at any price, andpoor "Joe Goosey," a soft sort of a fellow, had anything but apleasant life among them.

But even he had no complaints to make of the Petrieyoungsters.

The building where the prisoners slept (the barracks) wasdivided up into wards for the different classes—the chaingang occupied one, and so on. The beds the poor fellows had to lieon were merely movable boards six feet long and two feet wide, andthese were supported by ledges one higher than the other, so as tocause a slant from the head downwards to the feet. Also at thehigher end a piece of timber rounded off and nailed there served asa pillow. Add to this a double blanket, and we have the one-timeconvict's "feather bed."

In the centre part of the barracks was a room used as a church,and here service was held every Sunday. (This room was afterwardsused as the Supreme Court.) The chain gang always clanked upstairsto the gallery, while the mechanics sat below. The barracks, as Ihave said, were situated a little above Messrs. Chapman and Co.'swarehouse, and further down (from the Bridge) on the right-handside, at the corner of Queen and Albert Streets, the stockyard oncestood, used by the prisoners for yoking up the working bullocks.Then, on the bank of the river, opposite the present Ice Works, theGovernment saw-pits stood, and at Roma Street Station, in thehollow +here, the convicts made the bricks.

When my father was nine or ten years old, he saw the firstexecution by hanging in Brisbane—that of two aboriginals, whowere found guilty of the murder of the surveyors, Staplyton andTuck. The execution took place at the Windmill, which was fixed upfor the occasion. After it was over a prisoner, taking young "Tom"by the hand, drew him along to have a look in the coffin. Stooping,he pulled the white cap from the face of the dead blackfellow,exposing the features. The eyes were staring, and the open mouthhad the tongue protruding from it. The horror of the ghastly sightso frightened the child that it set him crying, and he could notget over it nor forget it for long afterwards. As a man heremembers it still.

While talking of these days I may mention the story told of theplanting of prepared rice. This was done in Logan's time by Mr.Peter Spicer, the superintendent of convicts. My father has oftenheard his father laughing and telling the tale as a joke to theearly squatters. The land prepared for the rice was a swamp, whichextended from Bulimba to Newstead, and doubtless there are thosewho remember the drains on this land. After all the trouble,because the rice did not come up, the land was declared to beunsuitable for the growing of that crop!


It has, of course, been recorded how in 1838 Mr. Andrew Petriegot lost in the bush with the then new Commandant, Major Cotton.They went out on a visit of inspection to Limestone, accompanied byDr. Alexander (the medical officer to the 28th Regiment), anorderly, and a convict attendant. Travel-ling up by boat, theyreached Limestone (Ipswich) without event, and on the return tripMr. Petrie suggested to the Commandant that they should journeythrough the bush to Redbank to see the sheep station formed there.This was done, and on the way some new specimens of timber werediscovered by my grandfather, whose taste for exploring wastherefore aroused, and he again proposed a lengthening of the trip.This time it was to Oxley Creek, where convict sawyers were atwork. All went well until, after leaving the latter place, theparty got "bushed" in the thick forest, in an attempt to come outon the river, where they had instructed the boat to wait for them.The boat did wait, and waited till her occupants grew weary; thenwent on to the settlement to report the new turn events had taken,and search parties were sent out.

In the meantime the "lost sheep" wandered about for a couple ofdays and nights; then, on the third day, coming to a mountain, Mr.Petrie ascended it, hoping to be able to see then where they were.He was successful, and they managed after that to find their way tothe river, coming out near the present Lytton. Here my grandfather(he could not swim) proceeded to make a raft of dry logs to crossthe river; but, while in the midst of this, one of the searchparties with a black tracker came up, and immediately after a boatbelonging to the Government happened to pass, which took theexhausted party back to the settlement. A good deal of excitementwas caused over this event, for it was thought that the travellershad met with Logan's fate, guns being fired, and black trackersemployed, for so long, all without result.

The search party, which came up with the lost ones while theraft was being made, told them how the black man("Tal-lin-gal-lini") had followed their tracks. He seemed to knowGrandfather's from the others, and once, coming on a certain place,called, "Look here! Mr. Petrie been stand and shoot bird!" andproceeded to show the way that gentleman had fired off the gun,standing with it to his left shoulder. Mr. Petrie always held a gunso, but was nevertheless a good shot. He thought it wonderful howthe black man had noticed, for it was quite true; he had shot aswamp pheasant at the place described. "Tom" often heard his fatherspeak of this time afterwards, saying how strange it was that thetracker should know the position in which he stood, and declaringthat the swamp pheasant was very sweet, but hardly a mouthful amongthem all; they were tired and very hungry. The hill from which Mr.Petrie found his bearings as regards the Brisbane River wasafterwards called Mount Petrie, a name it still is known by. Withreference to this, some years ago, the "Brisbane Courier" containedthe following:—

"Mr. Thorn drew the attention of the Belmont Board atWednesday's meeting to the fact that there was a tree lying on thesummit of Mount Petrie, Mr. Prout's property, which bore a relic ofthe early days. The tree had a scarf cut out and in its place therewas carved the name 'A. Petrie 1838'. This was the father of Mr. T.Petrie, of North Pine, and the grandfather of the present memberfor Toombul. Mr. Thorn thought the relic ought to be in the Museum,and for this purpose moved that Mr. Prout be written to, askingpermission to cut and remove the portion of the tree referred to.Lees seconded the motion, which was unanimously agreed to."

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (18)

Andrew Petrie's tree on summit of MountPetrie

A trigonometrical station was built on Mount Petrie, and Mr.Andrew Petrie's tree was cut down to make room for the beacon. In1896, when the board sought the tree, it had just been burnt bybush fires. The writer is indebted to Mr. Lees for a rough sketchof the tree while standing.

In Mr. Andrew Petrie's explorations he found many new specimensof timber. Says Dr. Lang, on page 135 of his book,"Cooksland":—

"I shall enumerate a few of the more important species of thetimber of Moreton Bay, with notanda, illustrative of the qualities,localities, and uses, for which I am indebted in great measure toMr. Andrew Petrie, the able and intelligent superintendent ofGovernment works at Moreton Bay, while that part of the territorywas a penal settlement."

Dr. Lang speaks first of the Araucaria Cunninghami, or theMoreton Bay pine. He ends his description by saying: "There are twovarieties of this pine—that of the mountain, and that of theplains or alluvial flats on the banks of rivers. Of the former ofthese varieties, Mr. Petrie, who first observed its superiorqualities, states that it is little inferior to the Bunya Bunyapine. It is well adapted for masts and spars' and grows nearly aslarge as the bunya; no sap or knots to injure the spars."

Secondly, Dr. Lang speaks of the Araucaria Bidwilli, or theBunya Bunya pine, and he again quotes from his friend. Hewrites:—

"'This tree,' observes Mr. Petrie, 'grows to an immense heightand girth. I have measured some ordinary sized trees, one hundredand fifty feet high, and about four feet in diameter. They are asstraight and round as a gun barrel. The timber grows in a spiralform, and would answer admirably for ship's masts of any size. Thispine bears a great strain traversely, one of its superiorqualities; also there is no sap wood nor knots in the barrel, thelateral branches being never above two or three inches in diameter,and growing from the outer rind of the tree. Jhe fruit of this pineis a large cone or core, about nine by six inches, and covered withsmall cones, similar in appearance to a pineapple. It is thesesmall nuts that the blacks eat; they travel two or three hundredmiles to feed on the fruit. It is plentiful every three years. Thetimber grows in latitude twenty-five and twenty-six degrees, andabout sixty miles in longitude. It is not known at present to growanywhere else. It grows plentifully in this latitude. I was thefirst person who risked my life with others in procuring the firstplants of this tree, and Mr. Bidwill was some years after me.'"

Dr. Lang next writes of the red cedar, and tells how in theprisoners' time, the Government had it all cut down to giveemployment to the convicts, and large quantities went to waste.Then he quotes yet again from Mr. Petrie:

"'Iron Bark.—This tree grows plentifully in the forest,and is suitable for house or shipbuilding, and is a valuabletimber.

"'Blue Gum.—This is another valuable hardwood timber, andis well adapted for all kinds of carpentry work.

"'Box.—This timber is very suitable for all agriculturalimplements, and for many other purposes.

"'Rose or Violet Wood.—This is a valuable timber, and issuitable for gig shafts, etc., being similar to our lance-wood athome. The aborigines make their spears of this wood, and they knowthe art of straightening them when crooked.

"'Silk Oak.—This is a very beautiful tree, and the timberis well adapted for the sheathing of vessels, and many other usefulpurposes.

"'Forest Oak.—Known also by the name of beefwood; suitablefor tool handles, bullock yolks, etc. It is used principally forfirewood.

"'Tulip Wood.—This wood is suitable for fancy, cabinet,and turning work. It grows in the scrub. The tree appears like acluster of Gothic columns.

"'There are a great many other species of valuable timber inthis district,' observes Mr. Petrie, 'that I have not described,not having specimens to give you. Logwood and Fustic have beenprocured here. The timber trade will form one one of the principalbranches of commerce. I also send you a small sample of the nativegums. Gums could be procured in this district in considerablequantities.'"

It is interesting to compare the first opinions formed of thetimbers of Moreton Bay with those of the present day. Mr. Petriewas correct in his prophecy that "the timber trade will form one ofthe principal branches of commerce." We will now follow him in hisadventures whilst obtaining specimens of the Bunya Bunya pine. Theexact date of his discovery of the tree is not remembered, butseveral years after he gave a Mr. Bidwill specimens, and thatgentle-man forwarding them to England, got the credit of thediscovery, for the tree was named after him—AraucariaBidwilli.

During an excursion to Maroochy in those early years Mr. Petriesucceeded in procuring what has been spoken of as "the firstspecimens of Bunya pine seen by those in the settlement."

"From the plants he brought with him," says Mr. Knight, "whichwere obtained at considerable risk, owing to the unfriendlyattitude of the blacks, may be said to have sprung many of the finespecimens now to be seen about Brisbane and Sydney."

On this excursion he was accompanied by his son John (so wellknown afterwards in Brisbane), two convicts, and two native blacksas guides—"Tunbur" and "Dundawaian." They also had with thema pack bullock, which carried the rations and blankets. Mr. Petriegot specimens of different kinds of timber besides the Bunya, andyears afterwards, when his son "Tom," travelled with the blacks totheir feast of the Bunya season, they showed the young fellow wherehis father had been (between Dulong and Razor Back), and thedirection he took through the scrub.

On the return from this trip, Mr. Petrie camped at the foot ofBeerwah Mountain, for he was anxious to ascend it and takeobservations from the summit. (He always-carried his instrumentswith him.) He tried to get a black-fellow to climb also, but invain, for the man declared that should such a thing be done thespirit who lived at the top of the mountain would kill him. JohnPetrie, therefore, accompanied his father, and they carried withthem a bottle of water, reaching the top after great difficulty.Mr. Petrie took bearings for the assistance of the surveyors, whowere then commencing a trigonometrical survey, and after a goodlook round and a rest, he wrote his name, with date attached, on aslip of paper, and corking this up in the now empty bottle, placedit safely under a rock, and descended to the camp. (In after yearsJohn Petrie called his house on Gregory Terrace "Beerwah.")

The next person who climbed Beerwah was Mr. Burnett, theGovernment Surveyor (after whom the Burnett River was named), andhe also put his name in the bottle. Several others have been upsince. The story of the bottle was told my father by Grandfatheryears after the event, when the old gentleman was blind. The blackshad a strange idea about that same blindness—they declaredthat the spirit of the mountain had caused it in order that Mr.Petrie would be for ever afterwards unable to see his way upagain.

I have already quoted from a book written by Mr. T.Archer—"Recollections of a Rambling Life"—and now addthe following extract, which is of interest, here:—

"Before finally 'squatting' in this unpromising land, we madesome efforts to discover something better by making excursions intothe surrounding country. I set off on foot one day on one of thesesearch expeditions, accompanied by Jimmy, and a native of thecountry named 'Jimmy Beerwah,' who could speak a little 'dogEnglish,' or blackfellow slang, having been occasionally at theGerman Mission, near Brisbane. He led us ten or a dozen mileseastward through thickly-timbered and very poor country, when thereappeared ahead of us a huge isolated sugar-loaf mountain,presenting an apparently inaccessible wall of bare rock. When wereached the foot of it I sat down on a stone, thinking ouradventures for that day were over, but 'Jimmy Beerwah' continued toadvance, making use of some crevices and projections to haulhimself upwards, and beckoning to us to follow. Not to disgrace myNorwegian training as a cragsman, I did so, and the other Jimmybrought up the rear, and never have I forgotten the magnificentview that met our gaze when, after half-an-hour's scramble, wereached the top.

"Nearly the whole of the Moreton Bay district lay spread outbeneath us, and about a dozen miles to the eastward of us was 'thesea, the sea, the open sea,' glittering in the sunlight, withBriby's Island, Moreton Island, and Moreton Bay to the South, and ahundred miles of coast, stretching away to the north. For two yearsI had not beheld this, my favourite element, and was delighted tosee it once more; but Jimmy, who had never before seen a sheet ofwater bigger than Wingate's Lagoon, was transfixed withastonishment, and stood staring at it in mute admiration, though hewas far too proud to give vent to his feelings by indulging inundignified gestures like his more unsophisticated and barbarouscountrymen on their first introduction to a flock of sheep. I hadbegun the ascent of that mountain laying the flattering unction tomy soul that I was the first white man to accomplish the feat, butwhen about half way up, I began to notice indications of whiteshaving been before me, in sundry scratches on the rocks that couldhave been made only by the nailed soles of boots, and what was mydisgust, on attaining the pinnacle, to discover a cairn of stonescontaining a bottle in which was a scrap of paper with the names ofAndrew Petrie, and John Petrie (his son), and one or two otherswritten on it in pencil; this was a mortifying discovery, but onethat had to be borne with becoming resignation. The name of themountain was Beerwah, and it was the highest and most westerly of acluster of peaked hills, scattered irregularly between it and thesea, called the Glass House Mountains. Our guide, 'Jimmy Beerwah,'had probably that name bestowed on him by Mr. Petrie, theGovernment Engineer at Brisbane, for guiding him and his party tothe top of the mountain shortly before our arrival. 'JimmyBeerwah,' no doubt, tried to explain this to us, but our ignoranceof the Moreton Bay blacks' slang prevented us from understandinghim."

The writer came across Mr. Archer's book after describing MountBeerwah's ascent by Mr. Andrew Petrie. It will be seen that thelatter climbed with his son without the assistance of ablackfellow, but perchance "Jimmy Beerwah" was the black whor*fused to climb on that occasion.

This "Jimmy Beerwah" was, my father says, a regular messengerman among the blacks. He carried messages from tribe to tribe bymeans of the usual notched stick. A messenger could travel anywherewith safety, going unharmed even amongst hostile tribes.

Another time my grandfather journeyed from Brisbane to whereCaboolture is now, to obtain a block of timber from a Bunya pine.This time he had with him the same blackfellows, two or threeconvicts, and his son John. The first night they camped at NorthPine, where the "kippa" ring was then, and, of course, round aboutwas all wild forest—no roads to Caboolture, nor bush trackseven. Long afterwards, when my father went to live at the Pine, theaborigines showed him just where his father had camped—theysaid he had with him a bullock on which chains were put, "all sameas 'croppies' (prisoners), so that fellow not run away."

The "kippa" ring at the Pine owned the curious native name of"Nindur-ngineddo," which means a "leech sitting down." The largerring was made just where the present road is opposite theblacksmith's shop, and the roadway to the smaller one (where thetravellers camped) ran up behind the shop to the top of the ridge,where in the paddock behind "Murrumba" even yet a part of the ringand roadway can be seen.

When Mr. Petrie and his companions had reached the CabooltureRiver they had to go up it a little way in order to be able tocross with the pack-bullock—the pine they were in quest ofstood on the north bank. Arriving at the tree, they started to cutout a piece, and the blacks showed they did not like this at all,complaining that they had piloted the party to see the tree, not tocut it. I have previously mentioned that the aborigines would not(in the very early days) even cut notches in a bunya pine, and onthis occasion they almost cried in their distress, saying the treewould die of its wounds. Mr. Andrew Petrie had to assure them itwould not, and he promised supplies of tobacco. So the deed wasdone; and, after camping that night, the junk of wood was put onthe pack-bullock next morning, and eventually Brisbane was safelyreached. Mr. Petrie had the block of timber cut up, and some of itpolished to show the grain.

Doubtless there are farmers still on the Caboolture River whor*member seeing that old bunya tree with the piece cut from it. Itstood close to where the bridge now crosses the river.

Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, author of "Genesis of Queens-land,"refers to the Bunya pine. He says:—"The Bunnia-Bunnia(Araucaria Bidwilli), which expresses so much in aboriginaltraditions, claims a few remarks before passing on from WideBay.

"Andrew Petrie, who held the post of Foreman of Works, January,1836, under the Government, Brisbane, was the first whiteintelligent discoverer of this tree, sometimes, I think, in 1838.Under the guidance of some blacks, he had visited a spot on whichit grew, took a drawing of it, and brought in a sample of thetimber, the finding of which, and his opinion as to its value, heat once reported. It got the name of 'Pinus Petriana;' deservedly,I should have thought; but not, it seemed, in accordance with themanorial rights of red-tape."

Mr. Russell then speaks of meeting (shortly after returning fromWide Bay in 1842) a Mr. Bidwill, "an attaché to the BotanicalSociety in London," in search of Bunya plants to send to England.He sent three, two of which Mr. Russell afterwards saw growingthere. The latter adds:—

"Being reported in this fashion, it became known, deriguer, as the 'Araucaria Bidwilli' for all time; the trueworker's—Petrie's—solid claim was outbid by the lesstitle to fame. I can recollect cones of the Bunnia being sold atCovent Garden, London, for ten guineas each."

Yet another extract from Mr. Archer's book:—

"They (the blacks) were quiet and peaceable and not nearly sonumerous as at Durandur, except in the bunya season, when theymustered in large numbers from great distances; but then the bunyacones supplied them so amply with food that they were not temptedby hunger to supply themselves with animal food from our flocks. Ineed not describe to you the bunya tree, as you have all seen onegrowing in the Gracemere garden, where it thrives, though it is nota native of that district. The tree when in its native home isconfined to a comparatively small space of country, beginning aboutCunningham's Gap in the south and extending north-ward along theMain Range for about one hundred and fifty miles to the head of theCooyar Creek, there a spur branches off from the Main Rangeeastward toward the coast, separating the waters of the Brisbanefrom those of the Mary River, and approaching the coast between theGlass House Mountains and the Mooroochie River, its length beingabout another one hundred and fifty miles. Along this range and allits spurs the bunya flourishes, and supplies (or supplied) theblacks every third year with ample stores of food from its hugecones, larger than a man's head, and containing kernels as large asan almond. Its botanical name, the Araucaria Bidwilli, was given toit because Mr. Bidwill is supposed to be the first white man whobrought it into notice. But this is a mistake. The tree was firstdis-covered by Mr. Petrie, the Government Engineer, on hisexpedition mentioned above, when he ascended Mount Beerwah, andfound the Mooroochie River. He, however, was not a scientificbotanist, and only reported his discoveries in the colonies,whereas Mr. Bidwill sent the cone to England, and thus got thecredit of being the discoverer of the tree."

In Mr. Andrew Petrie's diary of his trip to Wide Bay in 1842 (tobe quoted later), speaking of that part of the world, hesays:—"In this scrub I found a species of pine, not knownbefore. It is similar to the New Zealand Cowrie pine, and bears acone. It forms a valuable timber, etc." This evidently is the pineAgathis Robusta, known to the early blacks as "Dundardum"(Dundardoom). The white man has mispronounced itso—"Dundathu."

An article on Brisbane by an unsigned writer, appearing in the"Town and Country Journal" some time since, speaks of Mr. AndrewPetrie's discoveries, then adds:—"He was, in fact, soindefatigable in developing the natural resources of the district,and labouring for its welfare, that any attempt to write the storyof Brisbane would be absolutely incomplete without reference to thepioneer Andrew Petrie and his descendants." With regard to his coaldiscoveries, Mr. J.J. Knight says:—"In several other ways didMr. Petrie demonstrate the capabilities of the district, not theleast important being the discovery of coal at Tivoli while on avisit to Redbank station. So impressed was he with the importanceof this find that he sent two sample casks to Sydney; it wastested, and pronounced highly satisfactory. At a later period, itmay be mentioned, a tunnel was run into the hill, and a plentifulsupply obtained for the penal establishment. It may also beremarked that Mr. Petrie found, though some time after thediscovery at Tivoli, the black diamond at Redbank and Moggill, andmines at these places were in subsequent years worked by theveteran John Williams. The value of such discoveries was not whollyapparent in those bygone days; it is now that the trade has grownto such dimensions, and forms so important a part in the commercialworth, that we can realise their importance to the full."


In 1842, Mr. Andrew Petrie discovered the Mary River. On thistrip he was accompanied by Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, the Hon. W.Wrottesley, (third son of Lord Wrottesley), and Mr. Joliffe. Fiveprisoners of the Crown formed the boat's crew, and two aboriginesbelonging to Brisbane made up the party. They left in an oldGovernment boat called a "gig," and were away about a month. Thetrip was a most eventful one, and I cannot do better than give anextract from an old diary which my grandfather kept in those days,and which reads as follows:—

"Wednesday, 4th May, 1842: Left Brisbane town at daybreak;pulled down to the first flat (Breakfast Creek); set sail; windfrom the south-west; made the north end of Bribie's Island Passageat dusk; could not distinguish the passage. Lay at anchor and sleptin the boat till daybreak.

"5th: Made sail for the River Marootchy Doro, or the Black SwanRiver; arrived there at two o'clock, but was afraid to enter, itbeing low water at the time, and a heavy surf on the bar. Made wayfor Madumbah Island, distant about two miles from the river, butcould not affect a landing, on account of the surf. Set sail forBracefield Cape, and arrived shortly after sunset in the bay orbight. There was a very heavy swell, which made it difficultlanding. Before leaving the boat we were surprised to see twenty orthirty aborigines running along the beach, coming to meet us. Imade signs to them to carry us ashore, and they immediately jumpedinto the water up to their arm-pits. I was the first who mountedtheir shoulders. They appeared bold and daring, and I immediatelysuspected that this must be the place where several shipwreckedseamen had been murdered by these black cannibals. Little did Ithink at the time that the one who carried me ashore was theprincipal murderer. The moment he put me off his shoulders he laidhold of my blanket, but I seized him and made him drop it. He thentook hold of a bag of biscuit, and would have taken it away had Inot taken strong measures to prevent him. There were no guns onshore, and those on board were not loaded, so I called for myrifle, and, loading it, kept them at bay, and at the same time madethem carry our luggage on shore. We then gave them a few biscuits,and ordered them off to their camp, retaining the murderer andanother, and kept regular watch all night, each of us taking anhour in turn. During supper I made enquiries after "Wandie" (thebush name of the runaway Bracefield), and was informed by thenatives that he was only a short way off.

"6th: Early this morning I despatched our two blacks and one ofthe strange ones with a letter to Bracefield. He could not read,but one of the blacks mentioned my name to him when he gave him theletter, and he started instantly to join us, accompanied by threeof his tribe—his adopted father and two of his friends. Abouteleven o'clock the black observed them coming about five miles off,and Mr. Joliffe and I, also Joseph Russell (one of our crew), andthe blackfellow went along the beach to meet them. Bracefield, whenwe met him, had the same appearance as the wild blacks; I couldonly recognise him (as a European) from having known him before.When I spoke to him he could not answer me for some time; his heartwas full, and tears flowed, and the language did not come readilyto him. His first expression was to thank me for being the means ofbringing him back to the society of white men again. He was anxiousto hear about the settlement, and to know whether anything would bedone to him; I assured him that no punishment would be inflicted onhim, but rather things would turn to his ad-vantage. On comingalong to our camp, Bracefield said to me, 'I suppose, sir, you arenot aware that the black you have got with you is the murderer ofseveral white men.' The moment the man observed us talking abouthim he darted off into the bush in an instant, just as I waslooking round at him. The men at the camp were very kind toBracefield, got him washed, gave him clothing, and something to eatand drink, and he felt himself a different being. After dinner Itook him up some adjoining hills, which I named after him and hisfriend, the blackfellow, who gave me the names of the differentmountains. This bay or inlet has a river in the bight, which formsseveral large lakes, or sheets of water. A few miles inland fromone of these lakes, Mrs. Frazer (wife of Captain Frazer, of theStirling Castle), was rescued from the blacks by Bracefield, andconveyed to the boats which were anchored at the same place wherewe encamped.

"7th: Set sail about eight a.m., wind south-east, for Wide Bay,taking Bracefield with us; landed about four o'clock; distancethirty miles; found it difficult to land owing to the heavy swellin the bight. After landing I found an excellent boat harbour; westayed there for the night.

"8th (Sunday): Went up on the Cape and Russell Hill to take somebearings, but the morning being so hazy nothing was satisfactory;after returning, about eleven o'clock, we set sail over the baywith a south-east wind; about three p.m. were in the passageleading into what is called Wide Bay. Landed for the purpose ofgetting a blackfellow that knew the river; Bracefield despatched ablack after him across Wrottesley Bay. He arrived about an hourbefore sundown. We sailed down the passage about six miles, andcamped on Frazer's Island.

"9th: Started at sunrise, taking the direction from the strangeblackfellow. A dense fog continued until eleven o'clock. We steerednorth-west, and the wind springing up from the north-east, wecontinued sailing and pulling about among the islands, looking outfor the river, but without success.

"10th: Started early; circumnavigated Gammon Island, and landednearly where we started from. Observing a blacks' lire on Frazer'sIsland, I proposed making for that point, intending to takebearings from the high land, from which I also thought I might seethe river. While engaged in taking bearings, I descried the riveraccordingly. It is called the Wide Bay River. While I was on thehill, the rest of the party procured some fresh water, and triedall they could to persuade one of the natives to accompany usacross to the river, but were not successful. They appeared afraidof us, more especially of Mr. Wrottesley's red shirt. We left theisland about three p.m., reached the mouth of the River Barney atsundown, and encamped on Joliffe's Head. This point of land is ofmarine formation, being calciferous ironstone strata, is peculiarlylaid up and inter-mixed; lies at about an angle of seventy degrees,forming a ridge of land covered with scrub, along the north side.In this scrub I found a species of pine not known before. It issimilar to the New Zealand Cowrie pine, and bears a cone. It formsa valuable timber. The blacks make their nets of the inner bark ofthis tree.

"11th: Ascended the river about twenty miles; next day, abouttwenty-five miles higher; and the following day, about fourmiles—about fifty in all, where we found the navigationstopped with rocks and shingly beds. After we landed, I despatchedBracefield and our black "Ullappah" (or "Alloppa"), to see if theycould find any natives, but they did not succeed, blacks wereafraid. I went in among the scrubs and procured some specimens oftimber. "Ullappah" speared a fine fresh water mullet, with flatmouth and red eyes, about two and a-half pounds weight. Shortlyafter, I took a stroll, but without my gun, and quite alone, notexpect-ing to meet with any blacks; I had not gone abovehalf-a-mile from the camp, when I heard the sound of natives, whoappeared to be numerous. I immediately returned to the camp, andsent off Bracefield and the black to them. They were absent aboutan hour and a-half, and reported on their return that they wereafraid to go near the blacks' camp—the darkies were sonumerous. Bracefield was sure there were some hundreds of them; heand the black were both very much frightened; he told me he wouldrequire two more men with firearms. Bracefield informed me the manwe were in quest of, Davis, or "Duramboi" (his bush name), was sureto be with the tribe, on which I offered to accompany him andassist him in procuring him. Bracefield said it; would be muchbetter for me to remain at the camp, as I should otherwise berunning a great risk, and proposed, that two of our party, Clarkand Russell, both prisoners of the Crown (convicts), should goalong with him, as if they succeeded in bringing him into our camp,something might be done for these men in the way of mitigatingtheir punishment. I assented, arranging with them to go to theirassistance if we should hear their guns fire, and they went offaccordingly about half-past four p.m., and about sundown returnedwith Davis. Bracefield behaved manfully in this transaction. Hedirected Russell and Clark to remain at a distance, while he andthe blackfellow should steal in upon the strange blacks. Soon afterthe two got in among them, the two white men were observed, and thestrange blacks, immediately snatching up their spears, were runningoff to murder them, when Davis and Bracefield prevented them, and,no doubt, saved the lives of the pair. By this time Bracefield hadbeen recognised by a great number of the Wide Bay blacks, who knewhim, and told him (as the reason of their murderous intentionstowards the two white men) that the white fellows had poisoned anumber of their tribe. But Bracefield explained to them that weknew nothing of it whatever, and that we were come to explore theriver and the country, and would not interfere with the blacks,provided that they did not meddle with the white men. If they did,there were a great many white men and firearms, and they would beshot immediately. I had written a note to Davis informing him thatnothing would be done to him if he came in to the settlement. Hehad, however, during this time darted off to Russell and Clark, andgave himself up to them without waiting for Bracefield and theblack, and when they appeared, he told Bracefield that he(Bracefield) had come to take him for the purpose of getting hisown sentence mitigated; in fact, insisted that he had, refusing tobelieve Bracefield's asseverations to the contrary, until thelatter got into a passion and sang a war song at him. With thatDavis bolted off towards us, our men being scarcely able to keeppace with him. I shall never forget his appearance when he arrivedat our camp—a white man in a state of nudity, and actually awild man of the woods, his eyes wild and unable to rest for amoment on any one object. He had quite the same manners andgestures that the wildest blacks have got. He could not speak his'mither's' tongue, as he called it. He could not even pronounceEnglish for some time, and when he did attempt it, all he could saywas a few words, and these often misapplied, breaking off abruptlyin the middle of a sentence with the black gibberish, which hespoke very fluently. During the whole of our conversation, his eyesand manner were completely wild, and he looked at us as if he hadnever seen a white man before. In fact, he told us he had nearlyforgotten all about the society of white men, and had hardlythought about his friends and relations for these fourteen yearspast; and had I or some one else not brought him from among thesesavages, he never would have left them. One of the first questionshe asked me was about the settlement at Moreton Bay, which I gavehim to understand was now a free settlement, and a very differentplace altogether from what it was when he left it fourteen yearsago. I only guessed at the period from some of the prisonersmentioning about the time he absconded, as he had no idea of ithimself, and could not tell what time he had been in the bush. Atthe same time I assured him that no punishment would be inflictedon him for absconding.

"I then told Davis it was my intention to proceed to Baphal(Bopple), an adjoining mountain, but he strongly advised me not toattempt this, for if we divided our party, the men that we left atthe boat would all be murdered before we returned, as there weresome hundreds of blacks at their camp who could surround the partyand kill them all. He told me we would require three or four men tokeep watch during the night, for in all probability they would thenattack us. At the same time he asked if I would allow him to goback and remain with the blacks for the night, and he would try andmake it all right with them; he pledged his word he would return tous by daybreak. I told him by all means to go, and we would waitfor him. He said the blacks were determined to attack us, as theywould have revenge for the poisoning of their friends at some ofthe stations to the South. Davis then bade us good night, and leftus. The greater number of our party, mostly all except myself,never thought he would come back, or, if he did, they thought itwould be heading the blacks against us. This made our party verytimid, and I therefore took what I thought the most prudent plan,which was to put everything in the boat and sleep on board, keepinga regular watch all night. The men and ourselves would have been somuch fatigued, and knowing some of our party would not prove firm,and were not accustomed to firearms, we concluded it must be thebest plan to camp in the boat. We were then in a position to defendourselves, although hundreds had attacked us. We kept watch allnight; some of us did not sleep much, we were all prepared forthem. At daybreak I ordered three musket shots to be fired atintervals, to let Davis know that we were still in the same place,waiting his coming. About sunrise he joined us, accompanied by ablack, who had possession of a watch belonging to a man, a shepherdof Mr. (now Sir Evan) M'Kenzie's, who was murdered by the blacks atKilcoy station some time before. I gave the blackfellow a tomahawkfor the watch, according to promise. He appeared very much afraidof us.

"Bracefield and the black, 'Ullappah' had accompanied Davis tothe native encampment, and when they reached it, seeing our blackso plump and fat, the Wide Bay natives asked Bracefield and Davisif the white men would take the part of the black, and attack themif they were to kill and eat him. They both gave them tounderstand, in reply, that there were a great many white men andarms at the boat, and that in that case they would come and shootthem all. At this time Davis was at a loss to know how the whitemen had got there. He imagined they came overland. The moment ourmen appeared before their camp they immediately said these were themen that killed their people to the southward, and instantly mannedtheir spears and waddies, and would have sallied forth on the whitemen had Davis not prevented them. By this time Bracefield hadstripped himself of the clothes we had given him, and he went inamong them, and was immediately recognised by a great many, whoinvited him to sup with them and remain for the night. Davis and hemade them believe that they would both return to them, and beforeleaving the camp Davis made them an oration, informing them that itwas not to molest them, but to explore the river and the country,and to search for him (Davis), that the white men had come, andthat they knew nothing of the poisoning of their friends. Theyintended no harm if they (the blacks) would not molest them, but ifthey did, they would all be shot by the whites. He also made themunderstand that their spears were nothing compared to our guns, andmade them believe that the guns were something terrible. This hadthe desired effect, for in the morning, at the first report of themusket we fired, not a murmur was heard, the mothers making theiryoung ones lie quiet lest we should hear them; at the second reportthe greater part of them took to the scrub; and on hearing thethird report, they nearly all fled in the greatest consternation.Thus terminated our manoeuvres with the natives.

"14th: Descended the river about twenty miles. During ourencampment we were all very much entertained with Davis'sdescription of the manner of life and customs of the blacks, alsohe gave the account of the manner the blacks murdered the two whitemen (Mr. M'Kenzie's shepherds). They took a very ingenious mode,and one of the men must have suffered an awful death according tothe description. Davis also described the way the blacks hunted thekangaroo and emu, which was very amusing. They make a play or gameof this sport among themselves. Happening in the course of theevening to ask him if he could climb the trees with the wild vine,he started up instantly, threw off his clothes, and, procuring avine, was at the top of one of the trees with it in a few minutes.His clothes were a great annoyance to him for some days.

"16th: Arrived at our former camp on Frazer's Island about 5p.m. Conversed with a native of the island who knew Davis andBracefield. We showed him how far our guns carried, which appearedto astonish him. There were six canoes with about twenty blacks,fishing out on a flat about three miles from us. Joliffe fired offa musket; they saw the ball hopping over the water towards them; Ibelieve it frightened them very much; after consulting a littlethey all took to their canoes, and made off from us. At this timeDavis was conversing with the blacks on shore.

"17th: On continuing our journey, we were met by a great manynatives, who were fishing at the mouth of the passage. I got Davisand Bracefield to inquire of them where the white men's bones wereburied (those of Captain Frazer and Brown, of the Stirling Castle);they pointed round the point about two miles. Mr. Wrottesley and Ilanded and went along the beach. While travelling along with themwe ascertained the bones were those of black men. When we arrivedat their camp we saw three miserable old gins; a blackfellow wentinto his humpy and brought out a dilly full of bones. We let himunderstand that it was the white fellow's bones we wanted; he toldDavis they were a long way off on the main beach—about tenmiles. We would have gone this far, but our time was up, and we hadto return. Wrottesley bought a dilly from the natives for a fishhook, then we left them, and proceeded across the bay to CapeBrown; landed about 5 o'clock, got into that commodious boatharbour, remained there for the night.

"The blacks are very numerous on Frazer Island; there is a nutthey find on it which they eat, and the fish are very plentiful.The formation and productions of the island are much the same asthose of Moreton Island; the timber is a great deal superior, andalso the soil; the cypress pine upon Frazer Island being quitesplendid. The island is sixty miles long, by ten or twelvewide.

"18th: It blew very fresh from the south-west; lulled towardsevening. About 4 o'clock p.m., ordered everything into the boat,and in a short time were out at sea. After rounding Cape Brownthere was a very heavy swell setting in from the southward, and itkept on increasing so much that we could not bear up to windward.Joliffe lost one of the guns overboard. Going nearly four pointsoff our course, we continued on till about 9 o'clock, when Iordered about-ship; we were only about eight miles from Cape Brown.It was no use hammering about all night, and the breeze stillincreasing, we landed at our old camp about 11 o'clock. Next dayset sail about 11 o'clock with a south-west wind. About three milesoff Cape Brown the wind got more southerly. Continued about thesame course and distance we did the night before. I thought itwould be better to return, and it was fortunate we did, as the windstill increasing, and a very heavy sea on, we never could havereached Bracefield Head. We landed again in Honeysuckle Camp about3 o'clock p.m.; ordered everything out of the boat to be cleanedand overhauled; hauled the boat up on the beach; the bilge waterwas smelling very badly. Mr. Russell and some of the boat's crewgot quite sick, so much so that the former threw up his breakfast,and some of his chat went with it. Only a few ejacul*tions escapedhis lips, a repetition of a beastly boat, a beastly sail, etc.,during all the night and following days.

"The Wide Bay River is navigable for a vessel drawing 9ft. ofwater for about forty miles up. The country on its banks is a goodsheep country, and the farther you proceed to the westward thebetter the land. The blacks informed me there is a river about tenmiles beyond the Wide Bay River, and another more to thenorth-westward, and a third larger than all the others stillfarther to the westward, and pointed a long way into the interiorto where the water came from. This last river we thought must bethe Boyne. They also informed us that there was a beautiful countryabout forty miles from the Bahpal Mountain, extending quite to theocean, and abounding in emus and kangaroos. According to theiraccount, this country is thinly wooded."


This whaleboat trip to Wide Bay, and Mr. Andrew Petrie'sdiscovery of the river there, was recently referred to by Sir HughNelson at a conference of the Royal Geographical Society, held atMary-borough. The river discovered was known as the Wide Bay Riverfor some years, but afterwards was christened the "Mary" in honourof Lady Fitzroy. Nowadays, following Mr. Andrew Petrie's diary, onefails to recognise all points of interest by the names given. Withregard to this, Mr. Knight, in his description of the trip,says:—"On the following day the party reached a place namedby Mr. Petrie Bracefield Cape, but during later years renamedNoosa. And it may here be remarked that it was little short ofcriminal to substitute the present names for those bestowed by thisband of explorers." It was near Noosa that Bracefield or Graham("Wandi" the blacks called him) was found, hence thename—Bracefield Cape. He was a convict who had deserted inLogan's time, and he it was who rescued Mrs. Frazer (wife ofCaptain Frazer, of the Stirling Castle) from theaboriginals. The wreck of the Stirling Castle (the boat, by theway, in which the Petries travelled from the old country some timepreviously) is ancient history now, and it will be remembered thatMrs. Frazer was obliged to live alone with the blacks until thetime when Bracefield took her down to within a few miles of thesettlement, and so was the means of her release.

Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, one of "this band of explorers,"refers to the naming of the different places. In one part hesays:—

"Of the coast of the mainland between Cape More ton and SandyCape little had hitherto been known. No survey of it had under anyclose examination from seawards been made; none whatever fromlandwards. Petrie being in the service of the Government, andacting under Sir George Gipps's instructions, considered himselfauthorised to name mountains, headlands, or any remarkable spot notyet distinguished on a chart, as he thought fit, with the view ofsending in his report, under which such designations would beprinted on the Government maps. The low bluff which formed thesouthern and most eastern point of the sandy bay in which we werehe called 'Bracefield's Head' (now Noosa Head), being mostsuggestive of the occurrence which had so much preoccupied us oflate. From a higher ground further back we could see severalnoteworthy eminences which we had remarked from the boat whenfollowing the coastline. Of these Bracefield told the native names,which were written down on the spot."

It seems matter for regret that any of these names should havebeen tampered with, or that a true discoverer should in any way beoverlooked. In those early times, however, many mistakes were madein different ways—of course, it could hardly be otherwise.With regard to Brisbane town, it may not be amiss to mention aninstance here. Governor Gipps, when the town was about to be laidout, was not pleased with the surveyor's plans—the roads weretoo wide, and too much land had been wasted in reserves for histaste; consequently "the whole design had to be altered," says Mr.Knight. "This, it appears, was a common trick of Governor Gipps's,"(still quoting Mr. Knight) "for in every other case where he hadanything to do with the laying out of a place he acted in exactlythe same manner. His argument in favour of narrow streets wasnovel, if unsound—namely, that the buildings on either sideof such thoroughfares would have the effect of keeping out the sun!Mr. Andrew Petrie actually came to loggerheads with the Governorover the foolish proposition, and to mark his condemnation of theopinion of others, his Excellency ordered the width of all streetsin Ipswich as well as in Brisbane to be reduced to sixty-six feet.Eventually the surveyors, after a good deal of trouble, wereallowed to make the principal thoroughfares about eighty feet.Looking at Governor Gipps's grabbing propensities, it is a matterfor wonder that the Queen's Park escaped being cut up into townlots."

But to hail back to Wide Bay and the trip undertaken in what Mr.Russell terms a "nondescript boat."

"Certainly," he says, "when in the water, with her full burden,her mid-ship's rowlock was but a measured five inches above thewater; for I tried the distance afterwards. But I found that wecould step two lug-sails and carry a bumpkin, stuck out for a bitof after canvas—that was a comfort."

Mr. Joliffe being a sailor, was bound (Mr. Russell says) tolaugh at the boat.

How these gentlemen came to join Mr. Petrie on this triphappened in this wise. Mr. Russell was on the lookout for a freshrun for sheep, and so also was Mr. Joliffe. Mr. Russell had justdetermined to purchase a small craft or yawl, and start out, andwas thinking over his plans, when Mr. Joliffe, bursting in uponhim, informed him that Mr. Petrie had heard of his intention.

"I've had a long yarn with Petrie about your going, and I willtell you what he says: You've heard of that Bunnia-Bunnia which theblacks here talk so much about; Petrie is the only white man whohas looked for and found it; he has a bit of its wood, you know;it's called Petrie's pine, and mighty proud of his discovery he is.Well, the Governor gave him orders before he left to go to theriver on which they say it grows most, and examine it thoroughlyand report. A proclamation has been issued that no settlers are toencroach on its quarters, and no white man is to cut down any ofit. Petrie says he must go at once; the place is on the banks of ariver, a little north of the river called the 'Morouchidor.' Petriesays that queer-looking oyster boat isn't fit for any sea; he wantsyou to join him; and his work, your own, mine, too, perhaps, may beknocked off by one trip." "What boat can we have, though?" "Why,there is a five-oared kind of mongrel whale-boat, which was builtby a prisoner here, in a fashion, which he will take. You know thatthere will be no more Commandants at Brisbane; he will take fiveticket men to pull, a mast to stick up, and a bit of a sail whenthe wind serves; the boat is new and sound, whatever she lookslike, the other thing's rotten." ("Genesis of Queensland.")

And so this party set out, and, in spite of many difficultiesand hardships, surmounted all drawbacks, and in due course arrivedsafely back at the settlement again with their interesting additionin the way of numbers.

Mr. Russell is amusing in some of his details of this trip. Onthe party's start out he begins to ask Mr. Petrie questionsconcerning the crew. When he finds that one man's name is Russell,like his own, he asks no more on that point. Later on, during thejourney up, he loses his hat overboard, and on this accountevidently gets a touch of the sun, for when the blacks carry theparty ashore his head is splitting, and intolerable pains creepthrough his limbs. Writing of it, he says:—"I suppose I wasin some sort tortured by sunstroke; that night was a horrible sealupon my recollections thereof. One of the men was trying to make mea head-covering out of some canvas; but why should my limbs tormentme? Well, no explanation of the cause could have cured me, and thusI miserably stared the stars out of countenance with the help ofthe dawning day. My friends were alarmed, but could do nothing. Ourtwo blacks were in such a 'funk' that they kept me wakeful companythroughout, though the whites watched in turn by pairs.

"With the sun's return came that of the natives. After muchgesticulation to the party, an old man squatted on his hams on thehot sand, and with a queer crone began to scoop out a hole with hishands alongside me. I took little heed, until it had assumed, underhis vigorous and odoriferous exertions almost the appearance of ashallow grave. As a man under his first 'flooring' by seasickness,so was I absolutely careless of what was going on around. Petrieand others gravely looking on, rifle in hand, reassured me on onehead, yet I could realise nothing. I believe I must have been fastbecoming unconscious. What happened I can tell, however, now. Whenall was ready, I learnt that two younger natives had lifted me intothe grave, divested of every rag on my back. Our own blacks hadassured Petrie that the old man could put me on my legs again; hewas too anxious about me to repel their proffered service, as longas there was no unreasonable means resorted to. Some large leavesof a water plant had been brought and placed over my head toprotect it, and that again was raised upon the roll of my ownclothes. Well, I remember the queer sensation of hot sand beingshovelled by their wooden implements—'eelamans'—overme, up to the very chin. After that I knew nothing till I came tothe sense of where I was. In fact, I seemed to wake up from apainful dream. I could move but my head. The leaves were liftedfrom my face, and the assemblage at first puzzled me. Arms had beenpacked in with the rest, and I was in a straight jacket of hotsand, pressed in a solid heap upon my carcass. But I felt no pain.The perspiration was still (for I was told it had been doing so forthe last quarter of an hour) running in tiny rivulets from my headover my face into my eyes and ears. I was in a vapour furnace!Quickly I was un-earthed, covered with blankets or anything thatcaught their eye, and fell fast asleep. When I woke—in aboutsix hours—I was well! Weak but terribly thirsty. I could havehugged the whole tribe in my gratitude—but they were allgone! I could see that the minds of my compagnons de voyagewere much relieved, especially that kind-hearted Scot, AndrewPetrie. Some efficient headgear had been manufactured for me in themeanwhile, to commemorate which the hummock at the point was named'Russell's Cap.'"

And so Mr. Russell goes on with the trip. He tells how theychristened what is now Double Island Point "Brown's Cape," becauseBracefield and the blacks assured them it was there that Brown, themate of the Stirling Castle, had been killed and disposed of.Further on he describes a mist into which they wereentrapped—"so dense that, except the water immediately aboutthe sides of the boat, nothing out of it could be distinguished."Getting free from this at last, they fell into other difficulties,christened an island "Gammon Island," because, after leaving it,and pulling and sailing about in and out all over the place, theylanded at exactly the same spot, much to Mr. Russell's disgust. Hesuggested the name as suitable to "his good Scotchfriend"—Mr. Petrie—"who jotted it down with the ghostof a smile."

In Mr. Petrie's diary he describes a point of land as "Joliffe'sHead." With regard to this, Mr. Russell says:—

"Joliffe's long, black beard had been an object of mirth, and, Imust add, admiration, all the jaunt through, especially to theblacks. This new river-head which we were leaving, and perhapsshould never see again, tufted with that thick, glossy patch ofdark pine brush, by some process associated itself with it, anddown on the rough outline, the base of a future report, went underour official friend's hand, 'Joliffe's Beard,' for its baptismalname. I wonder whether it is called so still? Maybe it bears somelater comer's."


The finding of the famous Duramboi and the story of his fourteenyears' adventures among the aborigines has already been enlargedupon in many works. He said he was welcomed by the blacks as one oftheir number returned from the dead. When the white men were firstseen by their dusky brethren they were all supposed to be ghosts orformer black men come to life again. All the different tribes had aname for "ghost;" for instance, with the Turrbal, or Brisbaneblacks, it was "mogwi;" with the Moreton Island tribe, "targan;"Noosa tribe, "maddar;" and with the Wide Bay natives, with whom"Duramboi" lived, the word was "makuran." I have already written ofthe landing of "Duramboi" and "Wandi" in Brisbane, and mentionedthe excitement of the early time squatters over the event. Thesesquatters came often to the old home on the Bight—Mr. AndrewPetrie's. That gentleman had a skillion put to his house, and herethey slept, and they were always very jolly and full of fun. Mr.John Campbell writing of these early visits of the squatters toBrisbane says, "There was no hotel in Brisbane then, but we, werekindly and eagerly invited by the officers residing there to stopat their houses—in fact, vieing with each other who shouldreceive us. For myself, I went to the late Mr. Andrew Petrie's, anda friendship then commenced between us which only ended with hislife."

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (19)

Andrew Petrie's house on Petrie's Bight

My father used often to swim across from Petrie's Bight toKangaroo Point with some of these squatters and two or threeblacks. They went for the purpose of fishing there with lines. Ifthey had good luck they would perhaps stay nearly all day. Oftenthey caught lots of bream and flathead, and the natives would thencarry these in dillies fixed to their heads back to the other side.One of the squatters was a Mr. Glover, and the blacks could not sayhis name, but called him "Blubber."

One day in swimming homewards "Tom" got into a shoal of blubbersand they stung him so frightfully that he could not swim. He calledfor assistance to the natives, and they only just came up in time,for he was sinking. Getting hold of the boy, they put him on theback of one fellow, and swam with him to the shore, thus saving hislife-Landing, the native who had carried the burden turned and saidto Mr. Glover, "My word! Mr. Blubber, your brother very saucyfellow!"

Some of these blackfellows were very comical in their doings andsayings. There was another one of the name of "Billy Bing" ("Bing"meant father), and the squatters used to have great fun with him.He had a very large mouth, and would burst out laughing at them,then suddenly shut his mouth like a snuff box, and pull a longface. The squatters would nearly be ill laughing at this man,especially one gentleman, who would say, "For God's sake, take himout of my sight!" This was Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, alreadyreferred to. Father remembers him well, and says, "He was a greatman to laugh." He evidently had a keen sense of humour, and attimes became quite powerless with laughter. He married a MissPinnock, niece of a Governor of Jamaica, and sister to Mr. P.Pinnock, of Brisbane, the late Sheriff. Strange that in after yearsMr. Andrew Petrie's granddaughter ("Tom's" first born) should marrythis same Mr. Russell's nephew, the present Major Pinnock. But toreturn. One day Mr. Russell said to Billy, "Here, Billy, come andhave a glass of grog." And when he came, "Now, Billy, hold theglass so, and say, 'Here's good health, gentlemen.'"

The squatters all stood round, and Billy, who could not say"health," took the glass, and this was his toast: "Gentlemen, hereyou go hell!" Of course, this caused roars of laughter, indeed someof the squatters were so overcome that they rolled about on thegrass. Always just the mere sight of Billy was enough to causeamusem*nt.

Mr. Andrew Petrie had a slaughter-house put up in those days, sothat he could have a sheep or bullock killed for meat—a lotof meat was used when the squatters were about. One day, my fatherremembers sitting in the killing-house talking to the butcher, andas he sat the youngster enjoyed a pipe he had got hold of, whensuddenly in the doorway appeared his father. Grandfather neversmoked himself, and he strongly disapproved of the habit in hisyoung son. Many a thrashing "Tom" got for this same habit, but,alas! it did not cure him. On this occasion he was caught andbeaten soundly. His screams brought the butcher's wife, who put ina good word for the boy, who thus made off, still, however, holdingfirmly to his short pipe. So soon as ever he got into the bush hestruck a light with his tinder-box, and had another smoke! In thosedays there were no matches, and every one carried flint and steeland tinder-box.

Feeling himself ill-used after this beating, "Tom" made up hismind to run away and go to the blacks. So next day he started outto Bowen Hills to their camp, and there, falling in with some ofhis black boy playmates, they all occupied themselves in making anew humpy. Before dark he joined in a good meal of fish and crabs,and then when it was time to turn in, repaired with two or threeblack-boys to the hut they had made. "Tom" had a suspicion thatsome one might come after him, so he kept his boots on in case ofan emergency. He remembers he had a new hat, and this he stuck upin the roof of the hut, so that it wouldn't get broken. Then he gotunder a 'possum rug.

He had been there about an hour when suddenly he heard a greatrow—barking of dogs, and a running about and shouting of theblacks. All at once he felt his leg grabbed, and he was hauled outby his brother. He managed to get his hat, and then, just as hisfather came up, got away and ran off as fast as his legs couldcarry him all the way home. Going upstairs to his room, he stoodthere ready to climb out on to the roof should his father come up.However, he heard the arrival and the inquiry if he had come home,and then some one said he had better be left alone, so the boyventured to go to bed. He was up betimes in the morning, and keptout of his father's way for a couple of days. My grandfather soongot over his anger though, and always forgave his son.

The squatters in those days nearly all had Government"ticket-of-leave" men signed to them for a certain length of time.If they had a quarrel with a man, there was no taking him to court,but off would go their coats, and after a round or two master andman would shake hands, good friends again. They were mostlywell-born, these squatters, and they were also gentlemen whoenjoyed a piece of fun and mischief. Their bullock drays used tocome down to Brisbane with wool, and these would be left on thesouth side, because, of course, there was no bridge or any otherway of getting across. Beside these drays the squatters often lefta cask of rum with the head knocked in, and a pannikin alongside,for any one who cared to help himself to a drink. They would swimtheir horses across behind the ferry boats.

The very first racecourse in Brisbane was started by thesquatters on the ground now occupied by the present Post Office,etc. I have before mentioned "The Old Woman's Factory." Thisbuilding was empty when the Petries arrived in Brisbane, and therethey lived till their own house on the Bight was built, andafterwards it was used as a gaol and court house. Well, the coursewas from the corner of the old wall surrounding this building (justwhere the Telegraph Office now stands), down as far as AlbertStreet, and it was about here that a three-railed fence and a ditchsome feet wide were jumped. Then the course continued round towardsthe Gardens, the same ditch and fence being jumped again lowerdown; then up round by the R.C. Cathedral, and back to the cornerof the wall. The ditch mentioned was cut as a drain to carry thewater (for the land was swampy) into a small creek that ran intothe river at the present Port Office wharf. The place all round wasfenced in in cultivation paddocks, where the prisoners worked.

My father remembers well one race run on this course. Fourhorses started. When the foremost reached the first fence hetripped on the top rail (no hurdles then, of course), throwing hisrider into the mud in the ditch. The young squatter got his niceleggings and all his fine jockey's rig-out in a beautiful mess. He,however, picked himself up, and catching his horse, mounted and wasoff again, although the others had jumped all right and were somedistance ahead. The next jump was taken successfully, and thesquatter overtook the three and passed them, winning eventuallywith a length to the good. There was great excitement and hurrahingat this. The horse's name was Harkaway, and he was a black animalwith white feet. "The horses in those days were horses," says myfather, "and could stand a three mile race with ease—theywere no weeds. Most of the squatters carried the regular jockey'sdress with them, and they were splendid riders."

When people commenced to settle a little and build, a man namedGreenyead built a house at South Brisbane, at Kurilpa (pronouncedin English, Kureelpa)—what we now call West End. This manobtained a license for a public house, and the squatters thenstarted a racecourse there. The next one was at Cooper's Plains,and the next at New Farm.

Father remembers all sorts of pranks the young squatters used toplay in those days. When they turned up at the old home on theBight they slept on stretchers in the addition to the house, andwhen one of the number was found fast asleep by the others, hewould be tied down and then quietly carried out into the bush onehundred yards away, and there left to the mercy of the mosquitoes.A watch would be kept till he called for help, then he was taken inagain. The victim was generally one who did not care to join in thefun. He would know, however, that it was no use getting into a"scot," and he therefore took it all as a joke.

It was not often in those days that a steamer came to "MoretonBay," as Brisbane was then called; so whenever one did come itcaused quite a stir and excitement. The steamers always anchored atSouth Brisbane just below the present bridge. On the arrival ofone, the squatters would go over to her at night and have some fun.Mr. Russell would sometimes borrow a dress and bonnet from "Tom's"mother, and, dressing up, he would then go off arm-in-arm withanother squatter, as man and wife, across to the steamer. Whenthere, they would hoist all sorts of things to the masthead inplace of the flag, and the skipper would laugh, too, and enjoy thefun. Generally the boat would be cleared of all "grog" before sheleft for Sydney again.

On the 15th May, 1847, the first vessel built in Moreton Bay waslaunched. She saw the light at Petrie's Bight, where the HowardSmith wharf is now, and was a two-masted vessel, with both endspointed—no square stem. The launching ceremony caused quitean excitement, and amongst those who witnessed it were the militaryand a party of ladies. To Miss Petrie (Andrew Petrie's onlydaughter), a tall, dark, handsome girl of some fourteen summers,fell the honour of christening the vessel, and it is not surprisingto know that her brother "Tom" (two years older, who was ineverything), was one of those on board at the time. Miss Petriestood on the shore with a bottle of champagne in her hand attachedto the bow of the boat by a string, and as the vessel slid into thewater she threw the bottle from her, christening the craft"Selina." In the meantime, however, the sailors, thinking howlovely a drink of champagne would be afterwards on the quiet, hadcontrived a trick, and the bottle did not break, but this wasnoticed, and a crowd gathering round Miss Petrie, got her to go outin a boat and finish her work. The Selina slid into the water withsuch an impetus that she would have gone right across to KangarooPoint had the anchor not been dropped to stop her. After she wasrigged and finished up she started out for the Pine River, andhaving got a cargo there of cedar logs, left for Sydney, herbuilder, a Mr. Cameron, being in charge. But the little vessel wasdoomed, in spite of the brightness of her birth, and the crew werenever heard of again, For a long time the whole thing remained amystery, then on the 20th October, 1848, she was found on the beachat Keppel Bay, water-logged, and with her mast cut out. The cargowas quite undisturbed, and it was thought that as the crew only hadenough provisions to take them to Sydney they had set out andperished at sea through starvation or otherwise. "Poor Mr.Cameron," my father says, "was a very nice man, and as far as I canremember, he had with him another shipwright and two sailors."

The following is a yarn my father remembers the squatterstelling one another; whether it was founded on fact or not hecannot say:—

A man was once driving a bullock-team either to or fromBrisbane, laden heavily with wool or provisions. The roads, ofcourse, were rough in those days, and, coming to a creek, thebullocks would not pull hard enough to get over it. So the manbegan to swear at them, using all the "swears" he knew. While hewas in the midst of this a parson rode up, and, said he to thebullock driver, "My good man, you should not use those words; it isvery wrong, and bad words won't make the bullocks pull any better."The driver threw down his whip. "You try and see if you can drivethem, sir," he said. So the parson dismounted, and the bullockdriver held his horse. Then began a series of pattings andcoaxings, and the bullocks doubtless were flattered at the prettynames they were called. They, however, swerved to this side and tothat, but they would not pull. The parson tried a long time; andonly at last when his patience must surely have given out, "Damnthe bullocks!" he said, and flinging aside the whip he had gentlystroked them with, mounted, and rode off. Always afterwards thisparticular bullock-driver felt he had absolute freedom to swear ashe liked.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (20)

Brisbane in 1858-9 from Windmill(Observatory)

One night the squatters got hold of a billy-goat, and, tying himto the bell rope of the Church of England in William Street,"planted" to see the fun. "Billy" commenced to ring the bellfuriously, then the police came along to see what was what, andnearly all the inhabitants of the place—there weren't somany—came running from all directions. As the goat movedabout, to try and get free, the bell would ring, and the policewere very active in running round the building to try and catch theparty who rang it. It was dark, and the squatters had used a goodlong rope, so the goat was some distance off. At last, however, apoliceman tripped over the rope and fell. He got hold of it then,and holding on, poor Billy came to him. As may be imagined, he wasdisgusted when he saw how he had been taken in, and there were thesquatters bursting with laughter, but jeering with the crowd, justas though they knew no more than any one else. The police asked ifany one could tell them who had tied the goat to the bell-rope, butno one knew, of course.

During the first election ever held in Brisbane the squattershad a cask of ale rolled out on to the side of George Street,opposite Gray's bootshop, and they had the head knocked in and apint-pot ready for the people to help themselves. There was a goodcrowd, and a piper playing his pipes for amusem*nt, and everyonewas jolly, helping themselves tO' the beer. Suddenly a squatter,going behind the piper, stuck a penknife in his pipes. Of coursethere was a sudden collapse, and a great to-do to know who had donethe deed, the poor old piper threatening instant death. There wasno more playing of the pipes that day. Later, when the people wereall helping themselves to a pot of beer from the cask a' verylittle man, named Shepherd, a tailor, not content with a potful,brought along a bucket in order to carry it away full. As he wasreaching in to fill this Mr. Russell caught him by the legs andtilted him head first into the cask. When rescued he was wringingwet with beer—in fact, was nearly drowned, and he went awaywith the empty bucket amid great cheering.

When people commenced to open little shops in Brisbane and putup signboards, the young squatters used to go at night and changethese boards from one shop to another. This had a comical effect inthe day time, and caused many a laugh. Often things like that weredone, but my father says he does not remember the squatters everdoing anything really wrong or unmanly. Indeed, he maintains atbottom they were very kind-hearted, Eind he wishes there were moreof their stamp nowadays. People on the whole, he thinks, werekinder and more honest then than they are now. Everybody knew everysoul in the small place, and a workman would leave his tools downalongside his work and come back to find them all right.

While on this subject. I may mention an incident which happenedlater on, and which changed the destiny of South Brisbane. A treewhich grew near the spot mentioned, was used as an anchorage forthe steamers—that is, they were tied to the trunk. AScotchman, who owned the land, one day for some reason or other,objected to his tree being made use of any longer, and he cut therope by which a Sydney steamer was tied. After that another placehad to be found, and the steamers went down the river to the northside of the stream, so spoiling the chance South Brisbane had offirst place. This tree was very large in the trunk, but some of thebranches were lopped to make room for the balcony of a stone hotelnear by.

Talking of squatters, there is a story told of one which may notbe out of place here, though the writer does not guarantee it hadits origin in those very early times, but understands it related tolater days. The story runs so:—In his travels once a squattercame at night to an inn which was full to overflowing, and couldnot therefore obtain' a bed. Finding he knew one of the gentlemenwho had a room there, and who had not yet turned up, he "tipped"the housemaid to lend him a lady's dress and shoes and otherarticles of wearing apparel. She wanted to know why he wished forthese, but, paying her handsomely for the loan, he soon satisfiedher that it was all right. Taking them to his friend's room, heplaced the articles about in prominent positions, then went to bed.His friend, coming in late, made for his room, and opening the doorheard a shrill, squeaking voice, which exclaimed in horror, "A manin the room! A man in the room!" Of course, the retreat was hurriedand precipitous, and the lady's laughter was smothered as shethought with delight of the joy of a well-earned bed. Next morningthe landlord got a fierce "dressing down" from a gentleman whowished to know how he dared put a lady in the room he had paid for.The landlord was profuse in his apologies, but declared he had doneno such thing. Then afterwards the story came out.

"I was extremely sorry to read of the death of Sir ArthurHodgson," Father said, when the news was cabled to Brisbane. "Hewas one of the good old sort. I knew him well. When he first cameto Moreton Bay he came along to our home on the Bight with theother squatters. Many a time, when a little chap, I had a ride onhis horse on the racecourse. He used to give me his horse to holdfor him, and I would then get on the animal and ride him about tillwanted. Sir Arthur was a real good-hearted gentleman, one of theright sort, full of fun. One doesn't meet too many of his kind inthese days."

Another of these early time squatters or men of "the good oldsort," was the late Sir Joshua Peter Bell—one of Queensland'sbest known men. He arrived in 1846, and was a big, fine-lookingman. He was a great friend of the blacks, his nature being suchthat they always placed the greatest confidence in him. His nameand that of Jimbour are strongly linked, and I am indebted to hisson, the Hon. J. T. Bell, our Minister for Lands, for theillustration of "Warraba," taken at that station. This black, as asmall boy, came to Jimbour with the first or second party ofEuropeans under the late Mr. Henry Dennis about 1843. He came fromthe Namoi, in New South Wales, and was an exceptionally finespecimen of an aboriginal. In manner, dignity of bearing, andintelhgence, he resembled a superior type of white man. He died in1891.

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (21)

"Warraba," Sir J. P. Bell's blackboy

Another well-known black on the northern end of Darling Downswas "Combo," who came over from the Big River, in New South Wales,sometime before 1850 with the late Mr. O'Grady Haly, of Taabinga,on the Burnett. The party travelled up from New South Wales, viaLogan and Nanango. "Combo," soon afterwards, went to work onJimbour, and remained there until his death in 1903. His gin was akeen, shrewd woman, Mary Ann by name, and of their children, twobecame well known athletes. The eldest, George, a short, thickblack, was the crack runner on Darling Downs somewhere about 1875or 1876, and defeated all local white runners at Ipswich. The otherson, "Sambo," better known as Charlie Samuels, a long, lean boy,after vanquishing all comers at Dalby and on Darling Downs, wastaken to Sydney by a Jimbour stockman, and there swept the board.This was at a time when pedestrianism and professional running wasat its height. "Sambo" or Samuels defeated the English champion,Harry Hutchens twice, and thus earned the title of champion of theworld. On the third occasion Hutchens defeated "Sambo," but thelatter does not hesitate to say that he allowed the white man towin—saying, "the poor fellow hadn't enough money."


"OLD co*ckY."

To write of the time of these early squatters, etc., and notmention the "Petrie's co*ckatoo" would indeed be an insult to thememory of that wonderful bird—a bird who lived for forty-fiveyears. During those years his fame spread far and wide; indeed,"Petrie's co*cky" was a household word everywhere. As he grew olderit was quite a recognised thing that his "life" would be worthrecording, and such was meant to be done. It never was, however,and therefore much with regard to "co*cky's" clever ways has beenlost.

People there are alive yet, of course, who remember "co*cky," andto them the tales I have to tell of him will seem no exaggeration;others there surely will be, though, who, like Thomas of old, willdoubt. To these I would say that there have been wonderful birdsbefore in the world's history, and if they will consider it, thisco*cky grew up in an exceptionally good school, living as he did inthose early days, and continually mixing with theprisoners—two or three hundred of them.

In a book written of the Australian pioneers by Mr. NehemiahHartley, mention is made of this bird as "the ancestral co*ckatoo,rival of 'Grip, the raven,' and who lived for forty-five years withthe Petries, and was only excelled by the seventy-year old 'sulphurcrest' who domiciled with the Sydney Wentworths, patriarchs therelike the Petries were here, a bird who lived till his bald chestmade him fain in the wintry July to singe his featherless bosom bythe hearth fire logs."

When the late John Petrie (the eldest son) was a boy, in factnot long after the arrival of the family in Brisbane, "co*cky," thena little fledgling, was presented to him by a prisoner namedSkinner—a man who was a sort of overseer over otherprisoners. The little bird thrived and flourished, and as he grewhe learned to speak most distinctly—one could never mistakewhat he said—indeed, people sometimes would hardly believethat the voice was that of a bird. He picked up almost anything inthe way of talking, and could also, of course, swear beautifully,as the prisoners did.

"co*cky" was a white co*ckatoo, and was a big, handsome, prettybird. He walked along proudly, and called himself "Jack'sco*cky"—sometimes "Jack's pretty co*cky." If caught at anymischief it was then "Jack's poor co*cky" he evidently thought hecould stave off punishment so.

An amusem*nt "co*cky" had was to sit on the fence and call allthe fowls round him. When they had gathered together he wouldcackle like a hen, then laugh as though jeering at them. He was agreat bird to laugh, and generally ended his mirth with an awfulscreech. He could also whistle well, and would whistle for thedogs, and call, "Here! here!" then bark and jeer at them. Cats alsohe teased. "Puss, puss! Poor puss, puss!" he would say in aninsinuating sort of fashion, then would pinch their tails and mew.If he saw a blackfellow it was, "Baal you yacca, baal you tobacco!"The natives used to sing and dance for "co*cky," and the bird wouldtry and mimic them, bobbing his yellow-crowned head up and down,and jumping in a sort of dance. Indeed, there was one blackfellows'song of which he knew a part. The darkies would be very amused, andlaugh at him, then "co*cky," too, would laugh, and say, "Baal youbudgery." Like most birds, "co*cky" was very fond of beingscratched, and he seemed as though he would keep a personscratching him all day if they were only willing. He would firstremark, "Scratch 'co*cky,'" then when that was done, turning his oldhead round, and directing with his claw, it was, "Just here," thenagain in another place, "Just here," and lastly he held up his wingwith the request to "Scratch 'co*cky's' blanket." His wing wasalways his blanket.

In, those days a gentleman owned a garden on Kangaroo Point,opposite Petrie's Bight. A Highlander worked this garden, and soldthe cabbages he grew there. When any one on the north side wishedto buy vegetables, they went down to the river's bank and called,"Boat ahoy—cabbage!" and the man would answer, "Ay, ay!" andpull over with a load. One day, John Petrie saw "co*cky" walkingalong extra proudly down towards the river, and he thought by thebird's strut as he put one foot out after the other, that somemischief was afloat—so watched. He saw "co*cky" climb up awattle tree which grew on the bank, and settling himself there,call, "Boat ahoy—cabbage!" The old man on the opposite sidemade answer, "Ay, ay," and after a little, arrived with cabbages inhis boat. Seeing no one, he turned about in a surprised sort offashion, and presently discovered "co*cky," who then began to laughand screech at him. The man fell into an awful rage at this, andswore at the bird, who, however, but laughed the more. In the end,John Petrie had to come forward from where he watched, to therescue, and buy a few cabbages for the sake of peace.

In the same way many a time "co*cky" would bring the ferrymenfrom Kangaroo Point across to the north side all for nothing. Thisis a well known fact. He would fly to a tree on the bank of theriver and call, "Over!" Father has seen the ferryman come acrossand go up the bank and look about to see who called, then findingno one, start to return, swearing to himself at being made a foolof. When he got a few boat lengths away from the shore, there wouldbe another "Over!" and the ferryman, this time seeing the bird,would swear still more, and threaten to wring his impudent neck ifhe caught him. "co*cky" however, was too smart. He seemed to knowwell when anyone was in a "scot," and would fly away home after hisjeer and laugh. He had a marvellous power with his voice. It issaid to be perfectly true that one day he almost backed a horse anddray into the river—someone coming up just saved it in time.He could say, "Whoa, back," etc., in the most natural mannerpossible.

"co*cky" had a very strong beak. People he didn't like had causeto think it a "terrible beak," for these he pecked viciously attimes. He could open oysters easily—would just break off theedge, then put in his beak and prize the shell open, afterwardseating the oyster. Also it was an easy matter for him to open thosewindows which shove upwards (worked on pulleys), unless they wereextra stiff. He would work his beak in under the bottom of thewindow, then shove up the lower sash far enough to get his head in.People inside generally helped him then. One wretchedly cold dayGrandfather Petrie happened to be in the sitting-room, when he saw"co*cky" come and try to open one of the windows there. It, however,happened to be stiff, so the bird gave up and went off round to abedroom window. Succeeding there, he shoved in his head, saying,"Poor 'co*cky'—it's devilish cold!" A son of the house was inthis room, and Grandfather, when he heard what the bird had said,laughed very heartily.

As I have said, there are a good many people still living whor*member "Old co*cky" and his ways. Those who know him best say hewas a strange bird, and seemed human in the way he understoodthings. My mother says the first time she saw him he ratherembarrassed her by asking "Who are you?" in a tone of voice asthough she had no business near him. If he came out with anyexpression he had learnt, it was sure to fit the occasion. One daya pilot from the Bay came to Andrew Petrie's house to talk oversome business. Dinner was just about to be served, and he was takenin to have a meal with the family. He was a great drunkard, thispilot, and happened to be rather unsteady that day, so Mr. Petrieremonstrated, and lectured him for his bad habit. "co*cky"generally, when there was a stranger in the room, perched himselfas though to listen on the back of a chair the newcomer sat on, sohere he was, of course, on the pilot's chair. He seemed to listento the lecture with his head on one side, then, as the pilotpromised to try and do better, "You ought to be ashamed ofyourself!" he said. "So I ought, 'co*cky,'" said the man, turninground. "Ashamed of yourself" was a great expression with "co*cky."On this occasion all the family sat round the table; the only twowho are now left—Mrs. Ferguson and my father—rememberthe circ*mstance well.

Round towards the back of the house, near the office door, ahalf-cask of pipeclay stood, and "co*cky" loved to get into thiscask and work away with his beak, imagining he was very busy, likethe workmen, digging and throwing up the earth as they did. Onemorning John Petrie put him down near this cask, saying, "Go on,'co*cky,' to your work." The bird jumped up on to the edge of thecask, then down to the pipeclay, on top of a rat which hadsheltered there. "co*cky" got an awful scare as the rat moved, andwas up on to the edge of the cask again instantly, then turning andlooking down on the rat, with his feathers ruffled and his topknotup, "What the devil are you doing there?" he said. One can imaginehow John Petrie stood and laughed, and laughed again, helpless,while the offending rat made his escape.

Years afterwards there was another small cask which "co*cky"played in—this time an empty one, except for some little bitsof sticks and rubbish which the bird loved to break up with hisbeak. The present Andrew Petrie (member for Toombul), grandson tothe old gentleman, tells this story. He, a boy at the time,discovered, with some other youngsters, a cat with kittens in thiscask, which was "co*cky's" special property. It was in the morningbefore the bird's usual time of working there. So the boys lookedfor some fun, and watched to see what would happen when "co*cky"came along. The bird climbed up the cask in the usual manner, and,gaining the top, he put his head over, preparatory to climbing in.The cat, of course, resented this, and spitting viciously, shethrew up her paw and hit "co*cky" on the side of the head, Thefrightened bird waited for no more, but climbed down againinstantly, muttering all the time, "Poor puss, puss! Poor puss,puss! Poor puss, puss!" The boys, of course, screamed withlaughter, and "co*cky" the moment he was safely on the groundexclaimed, "Baal budgery! Hip, hip, hurray!" One cannot describethe comical effect of a cheer from "co*cky"—he always threw uphis topknot when he came to "Hurray!" He kept away from this caskfor sometime afterwards—wouldn't go near it.

The Miss Petrie of those days had a king parrot who was a greatpet, and was very clever—he could call each of the three dogsof the household by their right names. This bird lived for aboutnine years, then took cramps. Finding him unable to stand one dayin his cage, his mistress took him out, saying, "PoorJoey—poor fellow!" and co*cky was walking about watching. MissPetrie doctored her bird, then put him on her bed on a piece offlannel. "co*cky" followed, and catching the counterpane in hisbeak, climbed up on to the bed, then lifting Joey's covering lookedat him, and said, "Poor Joey—poor fellow!" Then he climbeddown again and walked off.

"co*cky" picked up any word or expression he heard very quickly.He was always surprising people. On one occasion down by the sideof the road in front of the house, two men lounged idly talking."co*cky," noticing the pair, strutted down to them and inquired"What ship?" Then he commenced to talk, "Jack's 'co*cky—Jack'spoor, pretty co*ckatoo, me boy," he said. The men got him to makefriends, then bringing him up to the house told them there, "Thisbird wanted to know what ship we came in, and said he was "'Jack'spretty co*cky.'" "co*cky" listened to this with head on one side,then broke in with "Baal you yacca, baal you tobacco!"

"co*cky" could say all the names of the family. In the morningwhen Andrew Petrie walked along the veranda to call his son George,"co*cky," hearing the footfalls and the sound of the walking stick,never waited for the voice, but would be first incalling—"Jordy! Jordy!" rapping his beak on the floor inimitation of the sound of the stick. My grandfather had many alaugh at this.

A working man called Johnnie Bishop could imitate a drunken manvery well. He often used to come to "co*cky" and assume drunkennessfor the sake of hearing the bird string on a lot of swears at him,and say, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" Poor "co*cky," hewas often teased. The wild young squatters used to laugh at him,and he would chase them. When he chased anyone he always said,"Sule 'im," and then would bark like a dog. One day these squatterspoured gin and water down the poor bird's throat, and thisevidently made him tight, for he could not stand. Always afterwardshe would run from a glass even of water, and the squatterslaughingly declared "he was a teetotaller for ever!"

Whenever "co*cky" had done anything wrong, he always wanted to"kiss," one knew, so that he had been in mischief and was afraid ofbeing punished. He was a terrible bird for destroying furniture,and often narrowly escaped being killed for the damage he did inthat as in other ways. Once a large brick oven in the house wasrepaired. The workmen, when they had finished, went off, leavingeverything all right, but the mortar, of course, was wet. "co*cky,"when their backs were turned, set to work, and, using his powerfulbeak, gradually loosened the key bricks, causing the whole thing tofall in, and how the bird escaped is a marvel. All the work had tobe done over again. Another similar trick at another time, heplayed upon the Petrie's washerwoman. She had the clothes outdrying, and, when her back was turned, "co*cky," climbing along theline, pulled out every peg thereon, causing the clean clothes tofall to the ground. The washerwoman, who was a one-time convict,used some rather choice language when she saw what hadhappened.

"co*cky" had a perch up under the kitchen veranda, where it wasboarded in, and here he made a little hole, where he could put hishead out; was very busy making this hole; worked at it every nighttill finished. From here he could see the ferry and anyone passingto it. It was a great thing then for a person who wished to befunny to call "Hey!" then when the other looked round, "That slewedyou!" "co*cky" picked this up, and would do it beautifully topassers by. Some of them got quite angry with him. The moment hegot anyone to look, he would bob in his old head out of sight. Thepresent Andrew Petrie says he has often heard Dr. Hobbs say "co*cky""had" him many a time, by either a whistle or a call.

One day by some means or other, "co*cky" fell in the river, andwould have been drowned but for his wings. He was discoveredcalling, "Jack's poor 'co*cky'!" and at his rescue was terriblyexcited, repeatedly kissing and saying, "Kiss—poor'co*cky'—Jack's poor 'co*cky.'"

"co*cky" hated to see people barefooted. The sight of bare feetirritated and made him savage, and he would chase the owner. Healso hated the doctor with intense hatred, and "went" for him. Atone time my father's brother Andrew was ill in bed, and "co*cky"took it upon himself to sit alongside the sufferer, of whom he wasvery fond because of being fed by him. He would sometimes even getunder the blankets, and whenever any one went near the bed "co*cky"got very cross, and swore at and chased the intruder. Then when Dr.Hobbs came alngo he vented his rage on him. He would no sooner beput out at the door than he was round at the window, which ifclosed he prized open with his beak, and there he was in the roomagain and at the doctor. So he had to be shut up in a cage till thedoctor left. During his imprisonment he continually called, "Baalbudgery—Jack's pretty 'co*cky!'—kiss poor 'co*cky!'"

"co*cky" seemed to know when anyone was ill. All the time mygrandmother was laid aside before her death, he spent part of eachday at her bed head, watching to see that no one came near, and nowand then saying, "Poor fellow!" When she died he was present, andafterwards seemed quite dull for a day or two—it was almostas though he knew something. He went on in the same way yearsafterwards when the old gentleman died. They could not keep him outof the room, and when the coffin was brought in, he flew fiercelyat those who went to lift the body. The poor bird had to be shut upout of the way. He was found, however, afterwards, on the edge ofthe coffin, looking down into it, and was heard to remark, "Poorfellow!" before he got down and walked away.

Although "co*cky" was forty-five years old when he died, he mighthave lived even much longer but for an accident he had. One day heperched himself on a half-cask of pitch, and somehow fell into it.It was a hot day, and the pitch was soft, and in the struggle toget out the feathers on the bird's breast got stuck and pulled out.They never grew again. So in the summer he had to be put in a cageand covered with a net, as the mosquitoes tormented him very much,then in winter it was a piece of work to keep him warm. Theunfortunate bird fell into a habit of continually picking his barebreast, which made it bleed. Though he lived this way for years, atlast he looked so miserable that it was thought truer kindness toput an end to his misery, so a stranger was paid to do the deed.This, then, was the last of poor old "co*cky."

To the older members of the Petrie family yet living it is asort of sacrilege in a way, to laugh at or doubt any of the talestold of "co*cky." But yet they realise that it must be difficult forpeople who did not know him to understand how a bird could come tosuch perfection. My father will talk of him, then say, "But peoplewon't believe that—they will think it all bosh." And hisnephew, Andrew Petrie, says, "Never have I seen such a bird since.I have come across many a clever bird on steamers and elsewhere,but never one has been able to touch 'old co*cky.' He was trulymarvellous. He was a great bird to 'take off' people. Many a time,when I sang as a boy, 'co*cky' would mimic me, then laugh and jeer.Often the blacks brought in tiny young co*ckatoos for us, and co*ckywould go upstairs to where they were, and feed them just as aparent bird does, then he would make exactly the noise they did,and laugh over it. There was a little pet pig, too, he was veryfond of; he often carried food to it. Once these two were foundgetting drunk together! A cask of beer was leaking, and piggy wassucking up the liquid, while 'co*cky' caught the drops with hisbeak. Poor 'co*cky'—I used to be amused at the way he wouldclimb up father's chair, then pull his sleeve, and say, 'Jack!' Ifno notice were taken, he kept at it till he got the answer, 'Well,what is it?' 'Give "co*cky" a piece of bread.'"

Governor Cairns, when he came to Queensland, had heard so muchabout "co*cky" that he asked to be taken to see him. Poor "co*cky"was then very disreputable looking with his bare breast, and youngAndrew was rather ashamed to show him. However, he brought the birdforth and made him talk a little, saying to His Excellency that hewas "Jack's poor, pretty co*ckatoo, me boy." But his best days wereover then.


After the settlement was thrown open in 1842, Mr. AndrewPetrie's office was of course abolished, and Colonel Barney andothers, recognising that gentleman's ability, endeavoured topersuade him to return to Sydney, and continue under the Governmentthere. However, taking an interest in Queensland, he preferredremaining where he was to try his luck in what he foresaw wouldbecome a flourishing colony. Therefore, he started business on hisown account, contracting for Government and other buildings, andhere his engineering and architectural training stood him in goodstead.

In 1848, while on a trip to the Downs, Mr. Petrie caught sandyblight, which was prevalent at the time; his eyes got very bad, andthough everything was tried to cure them nothing seemed to work.Being an active man, he became impatient at the waste of timeconsequent, and though his wife begged him to wait awhile and rest,he insisted upon going to the doctors. Simple remedies and time, nodoubt, would have worked the cure—the doctors in those earlydays were not as skilful as they are now. My father, then a boy ofabout seventeen years, remembers leading his father to thehospital, which stood where the Supreme Court is now, and therethey went in to the doctors to see what could be suggested, mygrandfather saying, "Whatever you do don't cut anything." "Oh, no!"was the reply, but the boy saw one of them take up a small pair oftweezers, and catching hold of the skin or scum which had formedover the sight, he held it while the other cut through with anotherinstrument. Then caustic was put in the eyes, and the doctorsdeclared that though it would pain a little, everything would comeright, and Mr. Petrie would be able to see. All the way home,however, the poor gentleman was in great pain, and that whole nightthrough he walked his room in agony, and one of his eyes burst.Father could never forget that awful time afterwards, and to thisday he thinks his father's sight may have been saved underdifferent treatment.

Some time after, when the pain had gone from his eyes, mygrandfather was taken to Sydney to see if the doctors there coulddo any good; they told him that one eye was quitehopeless—the sight was gone altogether, but there might besome chance with the other. In the latter he always thought hecould see a little glimmering, but nothing further ever came ofit.

It is a pitiful thing when a strong active man loses hiseyesight. When Mr. Andrew Petrie realised that he would never seeagain, his agony and suffering must have been frightful, for hecould not become reconciled just at first. It was a sad, sad timefor his wife, who had to comfort him and witness his struggle,helpless to effect a cure. He was only fifty years of age at thetime, and had always been used to leading others, so that theeternal darkness facing him must naturally have been almost morethan he could bear. Could he have known, he was to live (a blindman) for twenty-four years—being nearly seventy-four at hisdeath. However, in time' it was wonderful how he managed, peoplemarvelled at his aptitude.

"He was always at work with his mind," my father says; "I haveseen him when tenders were called for erecting a building orbridge, etc., getting my brother John to explain the plans and readthe specifications to him; then he would take a slate and with theforefinger of the left hand on the top of the slate, he wroteacross, moving down his finger each time he finished a line untilboth sides were filled. He never crossed the lines, and would statethe quantity of timber required, the amount of nails, andeverything else needful; or if it was something to be built ofbrick or stone, he was scarcely out in a brick, etc. Indeed he wasvery seldom out in his reckoning."

Father goes on to say that his father always rang the work men'sbell at eight o'clock, then again at one and two and six. "He gaveall the men their orders for the day; he knew each by their step,and called them by their names. To one dray-man he would say totake so many loads of loam to the scene of action, and to anotherso much sand, lime, or bricks; and then the carpenters,blacksmiths, and sawyers got their orders. Going to the carpenters'shop he would feel the work being done all over, and knew at onceif it was correct—they could not deceive him. In the same wayhe went to the blacksmiths and stonemasons, and I have heard themen say they would sooner see any one coming into the shop toexamine their work than father. They said if anything was wrong ornot finished off properly he would find it out by feeling, for heknew where a joint should be, or a nail driven, and was neverimposed upon, but would have things done properly at all costs. Healways carried a walking stick, and at times would use it whendispleased, but in a moment or two his temper was gone, and askingfor a piece of board, he drew on it with chalk the shape of themoulding or anything that they were making, explaining how it wasto be done and all about it, telling them to be sure and workcorrectly."

Mr. Andrew Petrie was led every day to all the buildings andother works under construction; he was never satisfied till he wentthe rounds to see what was required for the next day. His son Johnafter a time had a pony broken in for him to save any walking, forhe had a sore leg. Before leaving the old country his thigh wasbroken; while riding a young horse from his work in Edinburgh, theanimal shied and ran him into a cab. The young fellow's leg gotcaught in the spokes of the wheel, and was broken, and also theshin and side of the leg above the ankle was very much skinned andbraised. The broken part (thigh) was set and recovered, but thebruise on the leg would heal up and then break out again, and yearsafterwards, when his sight was gone, it was very bad at times.

"One could almost see the bone of this leg," Father remarks,"but my father would never lay up with it; though you could seethat it pained him sometimes very much, he would never give in. Hehad a great spirit, as well as an active mind, and his memory wassplendid. He often gave us (his sons) little things to do andremember, and though we perhaps forgot all about them, he neverdid, and would afterwards ask had we done such-and-such a thing?When I told him I'd forgotten, he would say the wretched tobaccosmoke had taken all my brains away!

"A boy led the pony on which my father rode round to thedifferent works in progress, and you would see him taken to aladder leaning on a two-story building, up which he would climbjust as though he could see. Getting to the top and on to a plank,he would poke about with his stick on the sides and all along theplank, then all over the building, feeling with it the differentparts of the work; and all the men had to do was to tell him whatportion of the building he was on, and he seemed to know where eachpiece of timber should be fixed, and where every joint should be.It was wonderful to see him going over a building—he had agrand head, much better than any of us, his sons. His leg never gotwell, though it healed up somewhat before his death. He was veryindependent with regard to this leg, and dressed, washed, andbandaged it himself night and morning, seldom allowing any one elseto touch it."

In the same year in which Mr. Andrew Petrie lost his eyesight(1848) his son Walter was drowned in the one-time creek from whichCreek Street now takes its name. In those early days Mr. Petrie rana couple of punts, one of which was employed in carrying stone(used for buildings) from the hard stone quarry at Kangaroo Point,also sand and shells from the bay for lime-making; the otherjourneyed to Ipswich with flour, etc., for Walter Gray's store, andbrought back tallow and bales of wool. On one occasion the latterwas loaded and ready to start, but lay at anchor opposite KangarooPoint, waiting for the tide, which would not suit till eighto'clock; and Walter Petrie (a boy of twenty-two) intended makingthe trip in charge of the boat (as the head man was ill), and hadgone down the township before the hour of departure to visit somefriends and get some tobacco. When eight o'clock came round,however, there was no sign of the young fellow, and one of the crew(former prisoners) on board, wondering what he should do, wentashore at last to ask instructions. Mr. Petrie started off at thisto look for his son, saying to "Tom" to come along, and they wouldfind him. Father remembers well leading his blind father to anumber of different places, and at last they came to a friend whosaid the young fellow had been there some hours previously, leavingwith the intention of going to the boat.

That night no trace was found. Next morning Mrs. Petrie, withone of those unexplained insights into the unseen, said that herson would never be found alive, for he was drowned down in thecreek; and she pointed her hand as she spoke. Her remark was,however, made light of, the hearers little suspecting how true itwas, the boy being a splendid swimmer. In the meantime, a story hadbeen started, born quickly like a bubble, as empty tales are atthose times, that the young fellow had run away.

The boat waiting to start was sent off, and "Tom" took hisbrother's place. Whether it was because of his mother's remark hedoes not know, but all the time the boy had the same strangefeeling that Walter was drowned, and going up the river everythinghe saw floating gave him a turn. At that time R. J. Smith'sboiling-down works had opened on the Bremer, and after enteringthat river, the boat's party came upon a dead body floating alittle way ahead. "I thought it was him," says my father, "and Inearly dropped; but when we got up to it it was a dead sheep withthe wool all off floating in the water. Then when we got to IpswichI was told that my brother had been found drowned in the creek atBrisbane on the same day as I had seen the sheep."

Strange, but true, is the following, which illustrates stillfurther the strong feeling which Mrs. Petrie had with regard to herson's disappearance. In those days a small scrub grew on the northbank of the creek, just behind where the Commercial Bank is now, atthe corner of Queen and Creek Streets. Before any trace was foundof the missing lad two men were sent by Mr. Petrie to this scrubfor vines for binding up shingles (which were always bound so then,in bundles, the vines being twisted into the shape of hoops), andMrs. Petrie hearing the order (she had never been out of the houseall this time) called after them, "You will find my poor boy downthere in the creek," and then she persisted in watching the men,for from the doorway the creek could be seen. Her daughter stayedby her side, seeking to draw her away, but the poor lady was insuch a dazed condition, that she seemed unable to think of anythingbut her lost son. She watched as the men reached the creek, thennoticing them pause and draw back—"They have found him now,"she said. The men returned and asked for Mr. Petrie. "Why do youask that?" she said, "I know what has brought you. You have foundmy boy." All the time she was unable to weep, and they had to takeher away to another part of the house. Mr. Petrie himself haddiscredited the idea of drowning, saying Walter was too good aswimmer, and now the shock seemed to come to him twofold. Pitifulit must have been, to see the poor blind gentleman going to hiswife's side as he did when he heard the truth, and the body havingbeen in the water, he could not even have the comfort of feelinghis son for the last time—the bonny boy who was a favouritewith all.

It was found afterwards that the young fellow had gone to crossthe bridge (or rather apology for one) which spanned the creekopposite to where Campbells' warehouse is now, and the logs beingwet (for it had been raining), he slipped and fell. The bridge wasoriginally composed of three long logs put across the creek, thenslabs on top, and dirt covering all; but at this time the dirt hadfallen off, and also nearly all the slabs lay beneath in the mud.As the young fellow crossed to take the short cut to the boat,simply as such accidents happen, he slipped in the dark (though hemay have crossed safely a hundred other times), and falling headforemost on to the slabs (it was low tide), he was stunned and layunconscious. Indeed from the examination afterwards it was saidhis neck was broken. However, he lay there all alone in the dark,while they sought for him in other places, and the water which knewhim so well, and in which he had learnt to swim, rose slowly andlapped against the stalwart young form as though to rouse it. Then,gaining no answer, and growing bolder, the tide lifted and carriedthe lad up the creek to where he was afterwards found.

Of all Andrew Petrie's children, Walter was the only fair onewith blue eyes, and he was said to be exceedingly hand-some.Grandfather himself was fair, but my grandmother, who was aCuthbertson, was dark, and a very big woman. They thought it wisestnot to let her see her dead son, but she would not be comfortedotherwise, and the sight proved too much. "That is not my boy," sheinsisted, and then the mother lost consciousness.

It was a very peculiar coincidence, but nine years afterwards,at the end of 1857, the same creek, another Walter, a little son ofJohn Petrie, was drowned, the first Walter being twenty-two years,while the second was a baby of twenty-two months. The child'saccident also happened at a broken bridge, though it was further upthe stream—in fact, it stood in 'the present Queen Street,near where Shaw's ironmongery shop used to be, now occupied byRussell Wilkins. The boy wandered off from his nurse, and, she,being sent to seek him, came upon the little chap drowned in thecreek. The alarm was given, and the body was recovered quickly, butlife was extinct. In that part the water was only five or six feetdeep.

Walter Petrie, as I have said, was only twenty-two years of agewhen he met his death, and he was an exceptionally strong, youngfellow. His brother "Tom" says of him, "I have seen Walter take twotwo-hundred pound bags of flour, one under each arm, and walk by aplank on board the punt with them. Also many a time in my presencehas he taken a blacksmith's sledge hammer by the handle, and heldit out at arm's length." He was a splendid swimmer, learning theart with his brothers not many yards from where he fell, and hadthe water been high when he attempted to cross the logs, all wouldhave been well.

Before his death, Walter Petrie used, with his brother John, torow a great deal in the early boat races. The sport was verydifferent then to what it is now. The boats were heavy andungainly, and the races were consequently won by sheer strength.Boats after the style of a present-day ferry boat were used for oneoccupant, and both Walter and John won many of these single-handedraces. Then together they pulled in the whaleboat events with equalsuccess, their boat being called the Lucy Long. Whaleboats heldfive oarsmen always, and another man who stood up and used thesteer oar, holding it in his left hand, while with his right heassisted the stroke. Such races would look odd in these days, ofcourse, but my father says a whale boat race was well worthwatching. The men all kept good time, feathering their oars alike,and so on. The course taken was from the Colonial Stores (Queen'sWharf), down to the Garden Point, where a buoy was anchored, thenround the buoy and back to the point on South Brisbane above thepresent Commercial shed, then called Womsley Point after a sawyerwho used to cut timber there. Another buoy was anchored here, andthe course continued round it, then back home to the wharf. WhenJohn Petrie was pulling in these races he acted as stroke.

By way of variety, what was called a dinghy race was indulgedin. It was great fun. The dinghy only held one man, of course, andJohn Petrie was very often chosen because of his aptitude. He wasallowed so many yards start, and the idea was that the bow man inthe whaleboat following had to catch him within a certain length oftime (about twelve minutes). When the whaleboat got close to thedinghy the latter would spin round like a top, and the big boatlost ground in turning after it; and so they went on until, if thewhaleboat got too near, the pursued man jumped over-board and divedbeneath his opponent's boat. "Bow" followed after, diving also, butwhen John Petrie was in the race he was seldom caught before timewas up, as he was a grand swimmer and diver in those days, and veryfew could catch him in the water. Of course, there was no bridgeacross the river then.

Being a good deal younger, my father was out of these races, buthe witnessed them, nevertheless. Another exciting event heremembers in this connection was a race between two lots ofnatives. Each crew occupied a whale boat, and the prize was a bagof flour and some tea and sugar. It was a splendid race, and wellpulled, the winners, who were Amity Point blacks, beating theothers (Brisbane tribe) by a length. The successful crew were fine,big, strong men, and good pullers, having had more practice thantheir Brisbane brethren, as they mostly had belonged to to. Pilot'sboat's crew. That night in camp there was much feasting, the prizebeing greatly appreciated.


As an instance of the great changes which have taken place inBrisbane in even less than one lifetime, it is interesting tofollow my father's experiences of the way in which shells and coralfor lime-making were obtained when he was a boy. As alreadymentioned, a punt did the carting from the Bay, and as a protectionto them from the blacks, "Tom" was sent with the crew, for, beingso well known among the darkies, the lad was a safeguard to anyonein his company.

The shells used were obtained from the sandy point on theHumpybong side of the mouth of the Pine River, where they wereplentiful then in the required dry, dead state; and this, point theblacks called "Kulukan" (pelican), because at low water the bankthere was crowded with pelicans. Four men besides my father mannedthe boat, and they went with the ebb down the river, anchoring atthe mouth till the tide turned again and came up some two feet,thus enabling the party to surmount the difficulty of sandbanks.Planks were fixed along each side of the punt, so that the mencould walk from end to end, and each man had a long light pole withwhich to shove the boat along. They kept in as close to the shoreas was possible, and so with the help of the tide got slowly alongpast where Sandgate is now, onwards to the mouth of the Pine,Father steering.

Four baskets made by old Bribie, the basket-maker, also two orthree rakes to gather together the shells, formed part of thepunt's outward-going cargo, and two men would fill the basketswhilst the remaining pair carried them into the water, dipping themup and down to rid the shells of all sand. The punt was left dry onthe beach as the water receded, but the tide coming up again wouldfloat her when she was laden. Sometimes natives were present, andthey helped with the work, their payment being tobacco and flour.Almost always the homeward start was made at night, as it wascalmer then, and as the tide rose the men poled away along theshore till they got into the river, the tide carrying them there.The outgoing journey was commenced at night, too, generally.

Coral for the lime-making was obtained in much the same way fromKing Island or "Winnam" (breadfruit), as the blacks called it then.The punt was taken through the Boat Passage, and kept close to theland all the way, being poled along the shore as before in thenight hours, then over to the island. These punts held big loads,but later their place was taken by a cutter Mr. Petrie had builtfor the pur-pose, and for carrying oysters from the oyster banksfor the lime. Lime-burning was carried out at Petrie's Bight, andthere also the cutter was built.

When writing of the habits of the aborigines, I have men-tionedhow my father, as a youngster, used to spend hours day after day inthe water with the black boys, diving (as-amusem*nt) for whitebones and pebbles. This made him very dexterous, and so wheneverthere was a difficult water job in those days he was in greatrequest. The first thing he remembers tackling was a large steamboiler which had sunk in a punt during the night at the wharf whereThomas-Brown and Sons' warehouse is now. The punt lay on a slant,one end being some twenty feet beneath the water, and the other sixfeet, and my father had to try and see where a. chain could be gotunder the boiler to rise it. He went down the chain, which wasfastened to another large punt on the surface, and this is hisdescription of the experience:

"The water was very clear, and I could see as well as if out ofit. Coming to the lower end, after going along holding to theboiler, I let go to come up, and although I could see the fightabove, thought I would never reach the surface, and, when I didarrive there, was pretty well out of breath. After a rest, Istarted down again, taking with me a small line by which to pullthe chain under the boiler. I succeeded in getting the line under,and came back along the chain, making sure that I would get up thistime all right. The men in the punt above pulled on the line, andthen I went down again, and pushed the chain under, and they pulledagain, and were successful in getting it through. The chains werefastened to the punt above during low water, so, of course, as sherose with the tide, the punt beneath was lifted too."

Another water job was undertaken after a large flood whichcarried away what was then Harris's Wharf in the present ShortStreet, next to where Pettigrew's mill stood. The wharf was taken agood many yards into the river, and it had to be raised. So a puntwas put alongside with shear legs attached to hoist the logs, andFather went down time after time and put a chain round one by one,and he also prized them asunder with a crowbar. A man called TomCollins, a bricklayer, assisted by sitting astride a log in thewater, and he handed the crowbar and chain as they werewanted—thus saving a lot of swimming on the young fellow'spart. The man himself could not swim, but, says my father, "he wasa good worker, though very fond of his nip."

"At this time it was rather cold to be in the water every day,and the work went on for some two months, so they used to giveCollins a glass of grog each morning before work, and then againwhen he knocked off. One day, however, this little attention wasneglected, and as it happened to be extra cold, Collins informed methat he would make them give him his usual. So, crawling along thelog to the shore, he tumbled off into the mud, then picking himselfup and putting his tongue out at me, scrambled up the bank and intothe store. Up the stairs he went, shivering and shaking, the mudand water dripping from him, and when they saw him there—'Forglory's sake go down out of this; see what a mess you are making!'But the dirty, wet object only shivered and shook the more, andmaking his teeth chatter, he gasped, 'I can't go till you give me aglass of grog.' To get him out of their sight was all they thoughtof, so he triumphantly returned to me wagging his tongue, andcarefully fondling a bottle of gin under his arm. 'I'll be allright now,' he said, 'and will be able to hold the bar fine andsteady.'"

Collins, sitting there on the log in the water, dangling hislegs, must have cut rather a comical figure, and people who cameand paused to look on would call to ask what he was doing. "Oh, Iam holding a lamp under the water, so that the chap below can seeto prize some logs apart!" would be his reply. Poor Collins! hisfondness for a nip ended his days; for, many years after he satthere on the log, he was found one day quite dead on the bank ofthe Bremer River, his head in the water; and it was supposed that,being drunk, he lay down to try and get a drink, failing miserablyin the attempt to rise again.

If the water had been clear and warm during this work, thingswould have been much more pleasant, but Father says it was full offloating dead fish (after the flood), and to come up and strike onewith his face was anything but nice. At this time he wore a ringmade on the Bendigo diggings from pure gold he had found therehimself, and one day, while working in the water, a chain caughtthis ring and knocked it off his finger. He dived, but could notfind it, being unable to see in the muddy water, so a day or twoafterwards got a couple of blacks to come along and try. They werealso unsuccessful, though trying a long time, so the ring was givenup for lost. However, on the Saturday afternoon, when work wasdone, my father, feeling sad about the ring because of itsassociations, said to Collins, "I will try once more for that ring,the water is low, and I know just where it dropped." With that inhe jumped, and the first thing he felt when touching bottom was thering on a stone. The young fellow's delight can be imagined. Thisreads somewhat like romance, but 'tis all quite true, and one of myfather's daughters now wears the ring, he having had it cut to fither finger. To go further with its history, I may add the ring waslost a second time. For months it lay on a lawn, and when hope wasgiven up, it caught one day on the prongs of a rake a gardener waswielding.

Yet another piece of water-work will I mention. This time thescene was the Bremer River, and the first Roman Catholic Church wasbeing erected at Ipswich. A punt laden with shingles and freestonefor the building sank one night when only about twenty yards fromthe bank—having sprung a leak. Father was sent up with twonatives to do the diving, and he first of all went down to find outhow the punt lay, so that he could fix the position of the floatingpunt above. Then poles were put down to enable the divers to judgewhere to come up safely, the water being muddy, and they took it inturns to get the shingles up (with the help of shear legs). Thisdid not take much time, but the stones were more troublesome, theywere heavy—some of them my father could not move when onland, but beneath the water could lift an end, and so get the slingfixed. "One day," he says, "one of the darkies in coming up gotunder the floating punt, and you could hear him bump! bump! on thebottom. We thought it was a case with him, but he bumped all alongthe bottom of the punt till he got to the end, then came up. Wecaught him, and pulled him out, and he Wcis nearly done for, butsoon recovered. However, nothing would induce the poor fellow to gointo the water again, so the job had to be finished withouthim."


Mr. Andrew Petrie had several "old hands," who had served theirtime and were free, working for him, in different ways. One,"Cranky Tom," was quite a character, and would have served asmaterial for a Charles Dickens. He used to do odd jobs, such ascutting firewood, loading drays, etc., and the poor man was notquite in possession of his senses in all things. He would neversleep in a bed, but would "camp" beside the kitchen fire, or, if alimekiln were burning, there for a certainty would he be found,rolled up in a blanket, surrounded by dogs. When asked, "Tom, whatwere you sent out to this country for?" he invariably answered,"For pulling the tail out of a donkey, and beating him with thebloody end of it."

One day a dray loaded with timber entered the yard, and thedrayman called to "Cranky Tom" to chock the wheel. The stupid man,instead of getting a stone or stick, ran and used his foot as astop, but it quickly came out again, and its owner danced aboutcrying, "Oh, my country, what I've suffered for you!" The wheel hadgiven him a nasty squeeze, but did not go over the foot.

Another time, one Sunday morning, when Jimmy Porter, one of the'prentice boys, got up to light the fire, and put the kettle on, hewas surprised to find all the kitchen utensils gone, pots, pans,kettle, cups and saucers, plates,knives—everything—even the long iron rake for theashes! Before the family could breakfast, a messenger had to besent across for fresh things to the general store then kept atKangaroo Point by a man called Davidson. "Cranky Tom" was suspectedof having hidden the utensils, but he could not be found anywhereabout the place, so a policeman's help was sought. Father,boy-like, accompanied the "Bobby," and he remembered how they wentpast Petrie's Bight, and as far as to where the Union Hotel standsnow in the Valley, and there they came upon "Cranky Tom," sittingon the roadside laughing, and looking quite pleased with himself,his trousers all soiled with pot-black. The policeman said to him,"Well, Tom, how did you get all that black stuff on your trousers?""I don't know." "Why did you take all those things out from Mr.Petrie's kitchen, Tom?" "I done it for a change." "Where did youput them?" "I don't know," After some more—"Well, I will haveto take you to the lock-up," and the hand-cuffs were put on. Goingalong, the poor fellow began twisting the irons about on hiswrists, then suddenly exploding with laughter he said, "Oh, mycountry, they don't fit!" The Police Magistrate could get nothingfurther from Tom than "I done it for a change," so in the end hewas declared to be insane, and there being no asylum in Queensland,was sent to Sydney. The kitchen utensils' hiding place wasdiscovered in this wise: The ferryman crossing the river came upona couple of articles floating, so it was at once thought that thewhole lot had been thrown into the water, and an old blackfellow,"Bentobin," a head Brisbane man, was got to pick up "Cranky Tom's"tracks, which he did very soon, and some of the things wererecovered by him diving. They had been thrown in just where thesteamer from Humpybong now lands her passengers.

Another man who worked at the same time as "Cranky Tom" was"Deaf Mickey," a small man, who was also half silly, like Tom.Whenever he got his wages on the Saturday he would go to the store,and buy a week's supply of rations, then repair to the old windmill(as it was then called, being in disuse), and camp there till hisfare ran out. Every day between meals he walked some two hundredyards from the mill into the bush backwards and forwards speakingto himself, and "squaring up" to a gum tree, which stood at the endof his walk, putting up his fists as though to fight it, talkingall the time. He made quite a plain beaten track to the tree, and"go when you liked," says my-father, "you would see Mickey walkingup and down and fighting with the gum tree."

Mickey had a quart pot and pint for his tea, and also a bag tohold his rations. When the latter were finished he would go back tohis master and say, "Be the Lord I have been walking about thislong time looking for work and can't get any; please will you giveme a job?" Then he would work again for another week. He was not abad worker, but could never be depended on for more than afortnight at a time before he was off again to fight the trees. Itwas "as good as a play," my father says, to see Mickey and "CrankyTom" cross-cutting a log—many a time he watched the pair. Thelatter would call, "Mickey, pull the saw—you are not pullingit," and laugh at him. His companion would stare with not a smileon his face, then say, "I think you're cranky," and Tom wouldreply, "Oh, my country, I think you're gone in the head—youcan't hear." Father would sometimes watch the two unseen, andsometimes from pure "devilment" would egg them on to oneanother.

Once Mickey was sent to Moreton Island to work at a buildingthere. It was thought that being away from stores, he would keep onlonger. However, at the end of a fortnight he took it into his headto walk to Sydney, and disappeared for that purpose. No onetroubled over him, all feeling sure that he would turn up againwhen the rations he had taken were finished. It was said that in aweek's time he came back, having evidently walked about the island,and going to his former employer, said, "Be the Lord I have beenwalking all over the country looking for work, and can't find any;please will you give me a job?" He was put to work, but the managertook the first opportunity of sending him back to Brisbane, fearingsomething might happen the man when he took it into his head to gooff again. Poor Mickey's end was also the asylum. "I think," saysmy father, "that both 'Deaf Mickey' and 'Cranky Tom' had beenknocked silly in Logan's time with the punishment they got in thosedays. They both seemed harmless poor chaps." There is much which isindeed pathetic in this world, mixed side by side with thecomical.

Another of these "Old Hands" was a man called Daley, who wasfond of "going on the spree." One night the Petrie boys found thisman, very far gone, lying in the yard, so what did they do aftersome discussion but go to the carpenter's shop and get a coffin,and this they carried to Daley and put him in it. In the morningthe young jokers got up early to see the fun, and going to wherethey had left the coffin, found the man sitting up in his gruesomebed talking to himself. They heard him say before they burst outlaughing and roused his anger—"Oh, Henie, I wonder how longI've been buried." "Henie" was a favourite word with him, and theboys called him nothing else. Many a bit of fun they had with thisman. At another time they nearly frightened him out of his sensesby stuffing his old clothes with shavings, and hanging the figureto a beam in his doorway. Coming home half drunk, "Henie" thought,of course, some one had committed suicide, and he bolted. The boyshad made the figure most natural looking, with boots and hat andall complete.

Strange things happened in those days. Old Bob, a sawyer(one-time convict or "old hand"), lived at Kangaroo Point with hiswife—they had no children. The wife used to "go on the spree"now and then. One day she was the worse for drink near her home,and making a great noise, so two policemen secured her to take herto the lockup. A ferry punt was pulled across the river by a ropein those days, and the police got the woman into this punt to takeher to the north side. When about to land, the man who held Mrs.Bob let go to hold the rope, and the woman immediately jumped overinto the water. However, she was dragged back again, and lay downin the punt a wet heap, saying, "If you want to take me to thelockup, you will have to carry me, for devil the foot will I walk."The instruments of the law were compelled to take her at her word,and carry her ashore, then, finding her still obstinate, one ofthem went up to Mr. Andrew Petrie's for a wheelbarrow! Picture thescene!

The old woman was lifted into the barrow, then one man held herwhile the other wheeled, and there she sat blessing the police andcalling them all manner of nice names; and following up thisprocession, which wended its way up the road which is now QueenStreet, came boys and men, laughing and having great fun—myfather among them. Can one imagine such a procession now in QueenStreet? The policemen took turns to hold and to wheel, and so theywent on till they got about to where the Town Hall is now—tothe lockup, and then the three, the victim and the victimised,disappeared from the eyes of the crowd, Mrs. Bob being detainedsome twenty-four hours for being "jolly."

Some time after this event Bob made a bargain with Bill, anothersawyer. He handed over his wife to Bill in exchange for a horse anddray. So Bill had some one to cook and wash for him, while Bob hada horse and dray. Pre-historic times, surely! All went well forsome months, then Bill came to Bob, who was carting wood and waterfor sale, and told him he wanted his property back again. Bobrefused flatly, saying it was a fair bargain, and the end of it washe was summoned to court. My father remembers the case well. Thecourt was held in a room in the old Government building, a littleabove the old archway that stood then in Queen Street. After theevidence was taken on both sides, the Police Magistrate said thatBob had to give up the horse and dray, and take his wife back. "Yerworship," Bob said to him, "I don't think it's right that I shouldhave to give up the horse and dray, as it was a fair, honestbargain." The magistrate replied, "Man, you are not allowed to sellyour wife, and you must do as I say." So it was done. And, strangeto relate, the pair seemed to live very happily together for yearsafter this. A kinder and cleaner woman one could meet nowhere whenaway from drink, and no one who called at Bob's humpy was allowedto pass without a meal. She was a good cook and an excellentwasherwoman, and could do up shirts with any one. However, thecurse of drink on both sides told its tale, and when old age camethe couple had to repair to Dunwich, where they died some yearsback, taking their story with them.

Before leaving these days, I should like to mention a peculiarhabit the "old hands," sawyers, etc., had when boiling their tea inthe bush. There were no "billies" then, but quart pots were used,and invariably two little sticks were placed crosswise across thepot. This was done to draw the tea, they said, and the men sawnothing strange in the habit.


Milton graveyard (where Grandfather Petrie was buried) seems athing of the far past now, but there was a cemetery older still. Itwas on the opposite side of the street to where the coal shoots arenow at Roma Street Station. There the prisoners and soldiers wereburied. Before that again North Quay had been used, but notsufficiently to be called a cemetery. When the place at Roma streetwas disused four or five men were set to dig up, the graves, andthe bones were moved to Milton. One of these men (his companionsrelated afterwards), a little stout Irishman, coming to a coffinlid, raised it, and exposure to the air caused an old gray cap onthe skeleton to fall to pieces. Throwing up his hands, thefrightened Pat exclaimed, as he recovered himself, "My good soul,keep your cap on; I'm a poor man like yourself." This Pat, it wassaid, used to take the coffin boards home to his cottage in theValley, and with them he put up a fine skillion. The boards werecedar, and quite sound, although some had been underground for anumber of years. And so the big place we now call the Valley hadits beginning.


Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (22)

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (23)

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (24)

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (25)

Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (26)

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Plan of Brisbane Town in 1839


Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (29)

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