1806 was significant in that there was no violence surrounding the harvest. It is likely that the peace brokered in the previous year plus Aboriginal losses combined to bring about his result.
Sunday, 19th January, 1806
‘Last week a native informed Tarlington, a settler, that the skeleton of a white man, with a musket and tin kettle laying beside him, had been seen under the first ridge of the mountains. The settler accompanied the native, and found the skeleton, &c. as described; the bones of which being very long, leads to a more than probable conjecture, that the remains those of James Hughes, who absconded from Castle Hill the 15th of February, 1803, in company with 15 others, most of whom had recently arrived in the Hercules, on the ridiculous pretext of finding a road to China, but in reality to commit the most unheard of depredations: the consequences of which were, that the whole except Hughes were shortly apprehended, and 13 capitally convicted before a Criminal Court, of whom two were executed, and 11 pardoned. Hughes was an able active man; well known in Ireland during the rebellion that existed in that country for his abominable depravities; and it is hoped his miserable end will warn the thoughtless, inexperienced, and depraved against an inclination to exchange the comfort and security derived from honest labour; to depart from which can only lead to the most fatal consequences!’216
15th March, 1806
‘King to Earl Camden
Referring to my recent communications respecting the behaviour of the natives, I have the pleasure to inform your Lordship that about these settlements we continue on the most amicable footing since their last misconduct, nor is there a doubt that the banishment of two of the principals to Norfolk Island, as stated in a former letter,217 has had a great effect, and occasions the present good understanding that prevails between them and the white men. But I am sorry to observe that a small private Colonial vessel laden with sealskins, was stranded in Twofold Bay, near the south part of this coast. The natives in great numbers surrounded the few men belonging to the vessel, commencing their attack by setting the grass on the surrounding ground on fire, and throwing spears, which, according to report, rendered it necessary to fire on them, when some of the natives were killed. However much the white men may be justified on the principle of self-defence, yet I have cause to think the natives have suffered some wrong from the worthless characters who are passing and repassing the different places on the coast, nor would they escape the punishment such conduct deserves if it could be proved.
I have, &c.,
PHILIP GIDLEY KING.’218
27th July, 1806
The following despatch is one of the most significant so far examined. For the first time the apparent connection between the corn harvest and violence on the frontier had been broken. While many of the Aboriginal leaders had been killed, this occurrence must be seen as a Aboriginal commitment to honour the peace that had been brokered in the previous year.
‘King to Castlereagh
21. In continuation of My report respecting the peaceable demeanor of the Natives of this Country, I am gratified in assuring Your Lordship of their general good Conduct, which will induce me to recall the two who were sent from hence to Norfolk Island where they have behaved very quiet and orderly. It is singular that altho' this is a Year of uncommon Scarcity, Yet none of the Natives' accustomed purloinment of Indian Corn /has happened this Year.’219
March, 1806 : Flood
A flood peak of 14.47 metres was recorded at Windsor.
Sunday, 27 July, 1806
John Pilot Rickerby’s funeral is of particular interest, not only for his burial in the Green Hills burial ground, (immediately to the north of the South Creek/Wianamatta Creek Bridge and accessible to the public) but for the large number of settlers who attended.
‘On Sunday last died John Pilot Rickerby, a native boy 5 years of age, who was rescued from a barbarous death soon after his birth by Mr. Rickerby of Hawkesbury. On the 11th of August 1805, he received Christian baptism and was interred on Wednesday last at the burial ground on the Green Hills. The funeral presented a solemn spectacle and was attended by most of the surrounding settlers, whose children amounting to nearly 50 in number, all clothed in white, followed the procession.’220
A flood peak of 14.32 metres was recorded at Windsor.
In 1806 there were seven grants in the Hawkesbury totalling 345½ acres. Five grants totalling 215½ acres were made in January and two totalling 130 acres in August.
1807: An Overview
The Sydney Gazette was suspended by the NSW Corps from 30th August, 1807 to 15th May 1808.
25th of May, 1807: Margaret Catchpole to Mrs Cobold
Margaret at this time had a close connection with the Pitt family who lived at Richmond.
‘The Natives are not so wicked as they wear, they are Gitten verey sivell But will not wok very little thay say the whit man worket and the were Black man patter. The word patter is to eat. They are Great Craturs to fit a monkest them selves with speers.’221 Given the scale of his land grants along the Hawkesbury Governor King’s parting thoughts to the incoming Governor Bligh should be read with some scepticism.
‘Much has been said about the propriety of their being compelled to work as slaves, but as I have ever considered them to be the real Proprieters of the Soil, I have never suffered any restraint whatever on these lines, or suffered any injury to be done to their persons or property – and I should apprehend the best mode of punishment that could be inflicted on them would be expatriating them to some other settlements where they might be made to labour as in the case of the two sent to Norfolk in 1804.’222 In 1807 there were no land grants on the Hawkesbury.