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2 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

LOWER MURRUMBIDGEE.

[FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.]

MARCH 14.—DISTRESSING OCCURRENCE.—On the 15th ultimo, a Mr. Baylis, in charge of a mob of somo 200 horses, belonging to Mr. Cornish, a settler on the Macquarie, and acccompanied by two white men, n black, and a half-caste, camped for the night in a bend of the Lower Lachlan, near Bullagul Station. Some time after dark, several stockmen, who were totally unaware of any person being camped in the locality, passed the spot, singing as they rode along as persons often do in the bush. The noise they made frightened the horses, they at once rushed violently, took to the water and swam to the north side of the river. Mr. Baylis, although unable to swim, yet fearing to lose the horses, and wishing to set a good example to his men, jumped on his horse,     and at once rode into the water, and was quickly followed by his two white men. The night, however, being dark and the water deep, the whole three got unhorsed, the two latter swam to shore, Mr. Baylis, who wore a heavy overcoat, was by its means kept afloat for some time, and continually called on the blackfellow, in whom he had always placed great confidence, to come in and fetch him out, but black, half-caste, and white men stood on the bank, and, for some reason known to themselves, made no attempts to render any assistancc, whilst the poor man gradually sank to to rise no more. No sooner was Mr. Baylis dead, than one of the white men, the cart driver, broke open his box, took possession of his money and papers, and assumed the charge of the party. Before long he found an excuse for discharging the other white man, and then believing himself to be perfectly uncontrolled, he commenced, whilst continuing to travel onwards, to sell the horses for his own benefit. At one place he dis- posed of the pick of the mob for £14 a head, and at another sold six head for £14. The man who had been discharged made his way to the nearest J. P., and informed bim of what had occurred; information was at once forwarded to the police at Balranald, and the newly-fledged horse seller, being unable to show that he had any authority for dis- posing of the stock, waa apprehended, and the remainder of the horses were detained. Mr. Baylis was a very tall man, appa- rently about six feet two, and perhaps some eight and twenty years of age ; his body, after considerable trouble, was recovered, and buried near the site of the calamity.

ONE ANNUAL INCURSION.—It has become a notorious fact that at this season of the year this part of the country is annually visited by a large number of men, seeking, or pretending to be   seeking, for employment. Whence they come or whither they go remains a mystery. They pass right through this part of the colony from one end to the other, and, until a certain period has elapsed, are heard of no more. Many of them, no doubt, are in- dustrious men, striving to obtain work—others, again, are lazy fellows, who only desire to idle their time away; but the whole of   them, from appearance, seem to be totally unsuited to any work in the bush, and in fact feel apparently entirely out of their ele- ment in this part of the country. Very few of these men have any money, and many of them in England would be classed amongst the paupers. The settlers, who cannot very well refuse food to starving men, find rationing them to be a very severe tax, as very often the flour, &c., supplied weekly to these pedestrians is of larger amount than that consumed by the persons belonging to the station. Some settlers, driven to desperation, have at last only granted the walkabouts the use of a hut, with liberty to pur- chase their own rations; others, upon the principle of giving the   men enough to prevent them from starving, yet not sufficient  

to encourage them in leading a lazy, wandering life, grant them a pound of flour each ; and a third class of settlers give them a good supper, a good breakfast, and a place to sleep in. Of course these latter obtain a good name compared with the less liberal settlers, although it is a curious fact, and worthy of notice,

that these very men who are living on the settlers during half the year, usually take every opportunity of abusing them, and look on them as their natural enemies, because they are suffi- ciently well off to be lessees of Government land. An opinion appears to gain ground that it will be necessary before many years are passed, to levy rates for the support of the poor, or provide for their maintenance in some other way, as the labouring classes in Australia are so improvident that but few of them, out of their superabundant wages, lay by any provision for old age, or time of sickness, and, consequently, when unable to work any longer, must either lie down and die of starvation, or be provided for by public or private bounty.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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