‘As may be imagined, the blackfellows caused us some anxiety at first. After we had been camped at Kiewa some time, we were visited by a few of these. They appeared shy for some time, and merely shouted to us from the opposite side of the river. After a time, a black and his wife, with two children, came to us. They claimed Kergunyah as their “pimple” (Bimble ) of land. We succeeded in pretty well domesticating them, and the man became quite useful, being clever at cutting bark and able to carry our milk.
I have seen him swim the Little River with a bushel of wheat in his hand, and without allowing it to get wet either.
Soon after establishing our dairy, large numbers made their appearance in search of the skimmed milk, which, having no pigs, we were obliged to throw away.
Later on, a tribe arrived from Omeo — fine, big fellows many of them — six feet and over. After satisfying their curiosity they left.
One incident, however, I shall not forget.
One Sunday our stock man in looking over the cattle missed one and looking about he saw a yam stick. Father took the hint, mounted his horse, took an old flint musket—which would seldom go off unless it was carried— and set off in pursuit of the miscreants with two blacks to track them for him. He came up with them near Wollalonga (sic). As soon as their camp fires were seen, my father’s stockman, getting frightened, begged him to return.
But father rode boldly into the camp, put the gun to his shoulder and pulled the trigger; but it missed fire. On seeing this one Aboriginal came straight for father, who knocked him down with the butt end of the gun and left him stunned where he fell, retiring himself after capturing two tomahawks.’
YACKANDANDAH IN 1838. SOME REMINISCENCES. BY MR. GEORGE KINCHINGTON.’
Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 16 Sept 1899, p.8.
From 1837 onward the convoy of sheep, horses and cattle into the North East Victoria was so large that not before too long, water quality and the local food supply – birds kangaroo, possum, wombat- Waveroo and Dhudhuroa people depended upon was compromised. These new beasts made an easy meal of the grassy plains and highlands: our old people had no other choice than to roam from homestead to homestead in the valleys asking for assistance or take advantage of what was now presented before them. In the recollection above, the yam stick indicates there was women present at this confrontation – yamming was women’s work- and with the women come children. In the account above, Kitchington indicates that killed two men as punishment for his financial loss.
Overlanders almost always justify their hand in such massacres as that it was acceptible to kill Aboriginals if their livestock was threatened – they insisted that they were Godless men, so to kill them was of little spiritual consequence.
In 1860 the Argus records that there are only 126 Aboriginal people remaining in Wangaratta, Yackandandah, Wahgunyah Beechworth, Albury and the Mitta Mitta.
These are the Frontier Wars.
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