A note on Sources



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1805: An Overview


The drought continued into January 1805 but appeared to break in February. The fighting started slightly earlier than in 1804. This year it was obvious that there was an alliance between Aboriginal groups on the Sydney Plain that stretched from Pittwater to Burragorang Valley. While there was a co-ordinated series of attacks around Sydney, there was also a determined effort by at least one and possibly more Aboriginal groups to find an accommodation with the settlers.
In early April, Goguey, a Cowpasture man went to the Hawkesbury theoretically to take part in a ritual punishment, but more likely to plan a series of co-ordinated attacks. Goguey was no doubt alarmed by John MacArthur’s acquisition of the valuable Cow Pastures on his return from England. A fortnight later Branch Jack, a Aboriginal man from either the Colo or MacDonald Rivers, led a party that attacked two ex military settler farms on the Upper and Lower Half Moon Reaches, killing three settlers. At the end of April General orders were put in place distributing NSW Corps soldiers to the outlying farms, banning Aboriginal people from approaching farms and calling upon settlers to co-operate in repelling natives. An attack was made upon the Government farm at Seven Hills and two stockmen on MacArthur’s South Creek property near Cobbitty were killed. Aboriginal warriors from the Hawkesbury were almost certainly involved in this attack. An attempt to board the William and Mary at Pitt Water failed and two salt boilers thought killed by warriors were assisted back to Sydney by Aboriginal people.
In early May 1805 Reverend Marsden responded to a request for a peace conference at Prospect. It appears that the request came from the Bidjigal people who were the most exposed to settlement. His terms for peace were the surrender of the principals in the recent attacks. In a fairly classic example of blame shifting, five warriors, probably from Burragorang Valley and the Hawkesbury were identified as the principals in the killing of the stockmen and Tedbury, son of Pemulwuy, a Bidjigal man and a participant in the killings offered to be a guide in finding them. The Governor responded by issuing general orders protecting those Aboriginal people camped between Prospect and the George’s River. In the same week an attack was made by constables and settlers, guided by two Aboriginal men, on a Aboriginal camp probably located on the junction of Shaw’s Creek and the Nepean River. Yaragrwhy and at least seven or eight others were killed. In a related operation Charlie was killed at Obadieh Iken’s farm on the Nepean Hawkesbury at modern Yarramundy. An attack was made at Pitt Water on the colonial vessel Richmond and a soldier was drowned while crossing the Nepean, possibly in a follow up expedition to the attack at Shaw’s Creek.
In the second half of May Tedbury was captured north of Parramatta. One of the accused killers of MacArthur’s stockmen was shot by an Aboriginal guide at the Hawkesbury.
In June General Orders protecting Aboriginal people at Sydney and Parramatta were repeated. However, hostilities still continued at George’s River and the Hawkesbury. Attacks were made on William Stubbs’ farm on the Hawkesbury and the farms of Cuddy and Crumbey on South Creek. William Knight’s farm was plundered by Branch Jack and the farms of Henry Lamb and Abraham Yeouler were apparently burnt by an Aboriginal girl taken by the Lamb’s as an infant. She was later accused of attempting to burn the farm of Thomas Chaseland.
Between June and August it appears that a peace between most of the Aboriginal people on the Sydney Plain and the settlers was cobbled together. The paucity of historical records for these events is both frustrating and informative. In late June nine Aboriginal people were captured and taken into custody. Who they were or where they were captured is unrecorded. In early July two of this party assisted in the capture of Musquito and Bulldog who were the supposed instigators of the current troubles. Tedbury and Musquito only entered the pages of the Gazette on the 19th of May 1805. Governor King wrote to the Governor of Norfolk Island in August 1805 regarding the transfer of Bulldog and Musquito there. In 1811 David Mann published The Present Picture of NSW 1811 which mentioned Bulldog and others who appear in this work: “Yet there are many of the natives who feel no disinclination to mix with the inhabitants occasionally — to take their share in the labours and the reward of those who toil. Amongst these there are five in particular, to whom our countrymen have given the names of Bull Dog, Bidgy Bidgy, Bundell, Bloody Jack, and another whose name I cannot call to recollection, but who had a farm of four acres and upwards, planted with maize, at Hawkesbury, which he held by permission of Governor King,87 and the other four made themselves extremely useful on board colonial vessels employed in the fishing and sealing, for which they are in regular receipt of wages. They strive, by every means in their power, to make themselves appear like the sailors with whom they associate, by copying their customs, and imitating their manners; such as swearing, using a great quantity of tobacco, drinking grog, and other similar habits. These natives are the only ones, I believe, who are inclined to industrious behaviour, and they have most certainly rendered more essential services to the colony than any others of their countrymen, who, in general, content themselves with assisting to draw nets for fish, for the purpose of coming in for a share of the produce of others toil.88
There is also a description of a young man, “Toul-gra, called Bouldog, aged 14-15, who, in 1802, was Quite well built, very lively, excellent mimic.”89 Toul-gra may have been Bennelong’s nephew and a member of the Burramattagal people.90 If this is the same youth, his age is reason enough to suggest that Musquito and Bulldog may have been sacrificial pawns to secure the release of far more important people. In August Tedbury was released and peace descended upon most of the Sydney plain.
There is a possibility of a more sinister interpretation of the capture of Musquito. Samuel was at this time a minister, a magistrate and a Hawkesbury landholder. The following extract from Marsden's 1826 Report to Archdeacon Scott on the Aborigines in N.S.W. reveals that Marsden knew Musquito on the Hawkesbury, probably before 1800. It raises the possibility that Marsden may have suffered at the hands of Mosquito and deliberately sought his apprehension when the opportunity presented. “More than 20 years ago there was a Native named Musquito, living on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, where there were some European settlers. Musquito was a great savage, and committed several robberies and murders in that Settlement. He was apprehended, lodged in Gaol, and banished to Norfolk Island, and put into one of the working gangs. He remained there some years, cut off from his own people, and when that settlement was removed to Van Diemen's Land, Musquito accompanied the Settlers. Some time after his arrival he took to the woods, joined the Aborigines of that Island, was guilty of many robberies and murders, and was at length taken, tried and executed. From the years he had been cut from all communication with his own people, one would have supposed he would have made some progress in civilization and formed some habits of civil life; but he appears to have lived and died the same character he was when I knew him on the banks of the Hawkesbury, almost 30 years ago.”91
On the lower Hawkesbury the struggle continued for the rest of the year. In early August Woglomigh was killed and Branch Jack wounded in a failed attack upon the Hawkesbury at Mangrove Point. In December repeated attempts were made by “Branch natives “to fire the crops.



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