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NORTH-WEST NATIVES. ----- YEAR'S WORK AMONGST THEM THE NATIVE MISSIONS. THE SETTLEMENT SCHEME. "GAOLING OF NATIVES A FAILURE." The fact that the annual report of the Aborigines Department for the year end ing June 30 last was only ready for presen tation to the Colonial Secretary recently is accounted for by reason of the immense territory which the Department has to cover, and the voluminous subsidiary re ports and accounts and statistics which have to be marshalled into well-ordered form be fore they can be embodied under one cover for Parliament and the controlhng Minister. The report as a whole, although belated, is of profound interest, as showing what is being done to make the lot of the aborigine brighter, and his life more useful. Of main interest is the report of the Chief Inspector (Mr. Gale). Financial This report sets out that additional to the £10,000 provided by Section 5 of the Aborigines Act, 1905, and yearly placed at the disposal of the Department for the wel fare of the aborigines, further sums to the extent of £25,71. 15s. 7d. were available, making in all a total amount trom all sources for the twelve months ended June 30, 1912, of £35,713 15s. 7d. The total ex penditure incurred by the Government for all services for the financial year 1911-12 in connection with aborigines was £35,713 15s. 7d., being £10,224 lls. 8d. less than that ex pended for the twelve months ended June 30, 1911. The report continues:-"For this period, however, it must be remembered that £21,447 8s. 3d. was expended on the purchase, preliminary improvements, and upkeep of Moola-Bulla station, as against £6,646 Os. 7d. for salaries, improvements, and upkeep on that station for bthe twelve months ended June 30, 1912. The expenditure during this period, apart from any capital expenditure in connection with Moolas-ulla station, is the largest expendi ture ever incurred in Western Australia in any twelve months for the general mainten ance and welfare of the original occupants of the territory." In the appendices are found the balance-sheet as on June 30, 1912, and profit and loss account for the twelve months ended that date, of the Moola-Bulla station. Mr. Gale adds: "After providing interest on loan moneys invested and 5 per cent. depreciation on buildings, windmills, tanks, fencing, 'stock yards, etc., and 15 percent. depreciation or plant, tools, etc., a profit is dis closed on two years' working of £368 8s. d., wiping out the loss on the first year's operations of £742 16s. 6d. As the figures only include one sale of cattle (the second sale was not brought to ac count until July, 1912, and could not be in cluded in the flgures,,the position may be considered, from a financial standpoint, saisfactory. Dealing with the aborigines e-penditure generally, the principal in creases as compared with those of the previ ous year are as follows:-Salaries, general, £716. This amount is more than covered by the additional expenditure, incurred un der the head of Travelling Protectors and Assistants, of £720. The expedition under the charge of Mr. G. S. Olivey, collecting fit suojects for the Lock Hospitals, and giving relief en route to the minor cases of disease in the Ashburton, Roebourne, and Pilbarra districts, is responsible for this increase. The item 'Relief to Natives,' generally, shows an increase of £1,437. The expenditure incurred in provisions and the establishment and maintenance of the Violet Valley Relief Station in the East Kimberley and La Grange Bay Relief Station in the Broome district, is responsible for the additional expenditure of £1,793. The Lock Hospitals, including the maintenance and upkeep of s.s. Venus, show an increase of £1,361. 'Grants to Missions' show an in crease of £425, but this includes the sum of £61 1s., grants to the Convent of St. John of God, Broome, and Lambadina Mission, which hitherto have not been. included un der this head. Under the head of 'General and Incidental Expenditure' is shown an in crease of £136. The increased cost of 'pro visions, generally, is due to the severe drought which existed for some time in the various parts of the State, more especially in the Mt. Margaret and East Murchison districts. where large numbers of natives have been driven into civilisation in a starv ing condition, and had to be fed, owing to the complete lack of water, and native game ia their tribal districts. Many .of these na tives had never before seen a white face, which shows the severity of the conditions existing. Excluding the money expended on the maintenance, improvements, and upkeep of Moola-Bulla Station. £29,067 was directly expended on the welfare of the aborigines for the twelve months, showing an increased expenditure of £4,57~ on the sum expended during the previous year." Mr. Gale refers as follows to the Moola-Bulla Native Settlement. "I am pleased to report that this native settlement scheme has passed its experimen tal stage, and I am satisfied that it has proved the success that I and many others anticipated, when recommending its adop tion by the late Government. From a finan cial standpoint, notwithstanding that the initial expenses in getting the station in working order have been very heavy, the balance-sheet discloses a sound pdsition. The station was taken over in August, 1910 and 11,357 head of cattle and 283 horses were delivered, and on June 30, 1911, there were 11,666 cattle on the station. After deducting 655 fat cattle sold and 431 killed for indigent natives and station use, and also allowing a 5 ner rent ,.,-,ta,. i,, ;
mortality, the total number of cattle on the run on June 30, 1912, was 12,819. As the stock were badly in need of fresh blood, 50 young bulls were bought from the Gogo Station, West Kimberley. These, in a few years' time, should make a considerable im provement to the herd. On June 30. 1911, there were 328 horses on the run. Dur'ng the year 85 foals were branded, and four head purchased, 42 were sold. and five deaths were recorded, leaving a total of 370 at the end of the year under review. Two blood stallions have been sent to the station, Gurkah, a chestnut colt by Goya (imp.) from Mira, by Malvolio, and a four-year-old colt, Mithras, by Malster from Grandove, by Grand Flaneur. Two draught ptallions were also sent up-a bay colt. Comet, rising 3 years, by Prince Albert II. out of a Stan ley mare, and a bay colt, Prince of Fashion, so that in a few years' time there should ee a marked improvement in the stock. A large scope of the country belonging to the settlement is in every way Suitable for Breeding Horses, and, compared to other parts of the district we have but few losses from the dreaded Kimberley disease, which is fatal to so many horses every year. The Nicholson Plains are, roughly speaking, 40 miles by 20, and nearly every acre is heavily grassed with many varieties, among which the Mitchell and Flinders predominate. An analysis of some hay from these grasses, brought down by the Commissioner of Tropical Agricul ture, gave returns almost equal to wheaten hay, and as this country is full of lime stone it is some of the best horse breeding country in the State. Substantial improve ments have been made during the year, con sisting of buildings at the homestead, fenc ing, branding and tailing yards, well sink ing, etc. Moola-Bulla was established with the main object of trying to put a stop to depredations by the natives among the herds of the pastoralists, for which so many aborigines were sent to gaol and kept there for certain periods at a very large expense to the State. The result has, up to date, been In Every Way a Success, and, compared with the past, the natives coming within its influence have committed but few offences in the above direction. Our manager reports that neighbouring set tlers may lose an odd beast when natives are passing through their herds en route to the settlement, and he gives a direct -denial to the statement that has gained ground that the natives are causing serious trouble among the Moola-Bulla cattle. Roughly speaking, there are 500 or 600 un employed natives belonging to the ohe tribe claiming the native settlement as part of their country, and it is encouraging to note, by the manager's report, that nearly all of these natives have some time or another visited the station. Some trouble was ex perienced at first in keeping them a sufil cient length of time to make them realise that the settlement was their home, but th:s trouble is gradually disappearing, and their 'walk-abouts' are now less fremqent than when they made their first visits. During the year a total of 327 head of cattle were killed for the bush natives-one beast per day killed for every hundred in camp. As many natives as the station can find employ ment for are engaged in stock work under the supervision of the overseer, and their women-folk find employment in domestic an.: other duties about the homestead. The year's work has in every way been satis factory. and the result has been a complete contradiction to those who adversely criticis ed the settlement scheme when first adopted by the Government. "Acting under instructions, Travelling Pro
tector Isdell selected Violet Valley, some 12 miles distant from Turkey Creek police sta tion, as the most suitable site to start A Native Feeding Depot, and, with the approval of the Government, the work of erecting a paddock to hold drafts of killers from the Moola-Bulla.hcsds was started, and the depot is now frmnly established. A large number of unemploy ed natives make this their home whnaseer they feel so inclined. Over 200 have at times been camped there, and wre repuiar ly fed with beef. Not only are they being supplied with thd necessaries of life, but those suffering from common ailments have all been medically treated, with beneficia results. There is every reason to bt-eve that the establishment of ";is depot has been the success that was antic:pat.d. l ar less depredations among the heris of 'he surrounding settlers have been committed during the past year than pr'vio'iily. Dealing with Cattle Killing by Natives in East and West Kimberley, I1r. Gale states:-"I regret to report that notwithstanding the establishment of ,docia Bulla native settlement, t nd feeding depot? in other localities, this offence still- con tinues. Under the provisions of the Abori gines Act Amendment Act, 1911, no nal:se can be convicted of cattle kill:ng by; the admission of his own guilt, and it requires far more evidence since the Act came into operation than it did in t=:c past In put a native in gaol for cattle killing. In con sequence of this it is reprtedl that nn:uers cannot, or will not, affor I the time and trouble of prosecuting and gathering suffici ent information -o oo.sia. convictulos and I am afraid that the iuni-rl,?ion is hi:ely to gain ground in the minds of the abori gines that they Cr' prarcticlly sale .lscnm punishment for killing cattle whenever they feel ýo inclined I am r. t tor one m.,ment saying,, or think-ng that the Gotin 'n;:, rt scheme of native settlements ii in any sense a failure-far from it-as it. has been proved that those natives coming within their in fluence do not commit the same amount of depredations as in the past. The Kimberley division embraces a very large scope of un occupied country, where natives are living in their wild state. These people are the biggest offenders, and cattle owners who are on the fringe .of such country suffer the most, and depredations are committed in many cases with impunity. This constant killing of stock without punishment must eventually lead to future trouble. Taking them as a whole, the aborigines of our State are Like a Lot of Irresponsible Children, and should be treated as such, and the sooner they are taught that they must obey our laws, the better it it will be for them selves and those who are developing the cat tle industry of our far North. The gaoling of natives has, at great cost to the country, been proved a failure so far as it being a deterrent to crime, and moneys uselessly spent in the past should find their way to other channels in the hope of trying to solve what has always been-and still con tinues-a difficult problem. The following figures, received from the Comptroller-Gene ral of Prisons, for the last six years re presents the actual cost of transport after conviction, feeding. and supervising native prisoners while in gaol for cattle killing, but does not include the cost of arresting and escorting prisoners and witnesses to and from the nearest Court :--1907, £6,841; 1908, £8,516; 1909, £9,128; 1910, £8,550; 1911, £2,600; 1912, £380. The Aborigines Act Amendment Act came into force on Febru ary 16, 1911. During the year ending June, 1910, 218 native prisoners convicted of cat tle killing were discharged; the following year 118 were released, and up to June 30, 1912, 39 more finished their sentences, leav ing only 3 natives in gaol on that date. It is obvious by these figures that the amended Act has been the means of a very large sav ing to the country, as the total expenditure incurred during the year under review in the above direction was only £380 as compared with £8,550 for th`e year be fore the Act came into operation. At the same time it must be remembered that the releasing of these prisoners means that hundreds of able-bodied natives are turned loose into the bush to hunt for their liv ing, and after having been used to regular feeding on a very liberal ration allowance it is only reasonable to suppose that if they cannot get supplies for -the asking they will help themselves to meat from the herds of the pastoralists. It has been clearly proved that where we have estab lished feeding depots depredations have practically ceased among the surrounding herds, and I feel sure that if the system was extended still better results would ob tain. With the present Moola-Bulla herd. two more feeding depots could be supplied with killers, in addition to Violet Valley, without touching breeders and marketable bullocks, and I have no hesitation in com mending the suggestion of extending our operations in this direction to the Govern ment's favourable consideration. Having once established these depots where unem ployed natives could get all the meat they required for the asking, the question of punishing those who killed for themselves would have to be seriously considered. De predators are- generally led by a few bolder than themselves, arid the possible solution of the trouble appears to me in the break ing up of these gangs of cattle killers by arresting the ringleaders and deporting them, their wives, and families, out of the district. The necessary power to do this is contained in the Aborigines Act 190i and the Amended Act of 1911 iesions. "The total number of full-bloods and half-castes receiving education at aboriginal institutions subsidised by the Government was 320, being a slight increase over the figures of last year:-New Norcia, 41; Beagle Bay, 131; Swan Native and Half caste, 32; Salvation ArmyGirls' Home, 14; Sunday Island. 61; Australian Aborigints' Mission,12; Ellensbrook Home, 5; Lambad ina, 24. The total expenditure incurred during the year in subdising these insti tutions was £2,749 9s. 6d. In my last re port I mentined that, with the assis
of the Government, the Beagle Bay Mis sion was experimenting with the sisal hemp plant. I am pleased to say that a fairly good start has been made, and although the suckers brought down from Port Dar win suffered extensively before reaching their destination sohe thousands of them were planted out and are, from reports, thriving splendidly. This is very encourag aging, and should be an incentive for fur ther efforts in the direction of eventually establishing an industry which will give regular employment to all the inmates of the Beagle Bay Mission. The other missions are doing good work in training the girls to become useful domestic servants, and the boys, after leaving school, find employ ment in our agricultural areas. Efforts have been made by the department to en courage some industry that would give light employment to the inmates of the several missions. Cabbage-tree palm leaf from New South Wales has been at the disposal of managers, with a view to teach ing hat-making. All the necessary instruc tions in this direction have been supplied by the department, but, with the exception of the Australian Aborigines Mission So ciety, nothing has been attempted. This is somewhat discouraging, but I hope for bet ter results in the future. Owing to the successful result from an experiment tried a few years ago to grow rubber trees on Sunday Island, Mr. Hadley, the superinten dent, is now turning his attention to rub ber planting on a larger scale, and, judg ing by the rate of growth of the first trees, there appears every reason to anti cipate success in his undertaking. Lock Hospitals. "During the year 52 native patients suf feringfrom venereal disease in its various forms were admitted into the Dorre and Ber nier Island hospitals. I am pleased to re part that durmg the same period 120 natives were discharged by the Superintendent Medical Officer as having been cured, and were sent back to their respective homes, leaving a total of 57 patients on the islands at the end of the year under review. Since the hospitals have been ready to receive patients a total of 405 have been under treatment, of which number 245 have been discharged, and 103 deaths have occurred. Although the death rate appears very heavy it must always be remembered that a large proportion of the cases were practically hqe less before reaching the hospitals. During the year a total expenditure of £5,883 3s. 81. was incurred in the staffing, mainten ance, and general upkeep of the hospitals. Mr. Olivey, who was an officer of this De partment some years ago, was in the early part of the year appointed Travelling Pro tector to take charge of an expedition to collect aboriginal patients, fit subjects fbr the Lock Hospitals, throughout that por tion of our State between the Ashburton and the Pilbarra districts. According to advices received from various quarters, it was anticipated that a large number would be collected, but it is gratifying to report that after travelling over 4.296 miles of country, and visiting all stations en route, only 1i9 natives were discovered suffering from disease, which would necessitate their segregation on the islands. Of this number 44 were cured itnder Mr. Olivey's treatment and sent back to their homes, 18 were de tained by the District Medical Officer of Marble Bar, and 74 were sent to the Lock Hospitals. Much yet remains to be done in the direction of endeavouring to clean other portions of our State not yet examined. With the inception of the Lock Hospital scheme for our aborigines. the Government embarked on an undertaking of a costly character, but, nevertheless, the necessary
large expenditure incurred has been fully justified by the results obtained. . Stamping Out Leprosy. "During the year an expedition was sent out to collect aborigines, fit subjects for our Lock Hospitals, and it was also thought desirable to examine all the natives for signs of leprosy. Dr. Moloney, who was the first medical man to diagnose this disease amongst natives at Mardie Station, in the Roebourne district, was appointed to join the expedition and investigate. Starting from Carnarvon, he examined all the natives possible between there and Roebourne, and it was not until he came to the locality where the outbreak first occurred that he found any natives with any suspicion of the disease. It is gratifying to note this, prov ing that there has been no spread of leprosy to other districts. One case was discovered on Karratha Station, and sent to Bedout 'B land, and subsequent bacteriological ex amination of specimens confirmed Dr. 2Io loney's diagnosis. Stations to the east and south-east of Roebourne were also visited, and the natives examined, but were found free of the disease. Apparently, leprosy is confined to an area which Mardie, Karratha, and Chirrata stations embrace. Periodi cal examination of these stations will be made by a medical man, with a view to segregating suspects, and there is a hope that the disease will before long be st:rped out On June 30, 1911, two lepers were re ceiving treatment at the lazaret island, two were admitted during the year, and one death occurred, leaving three natives only suffering from leprosy at the end of the year under review. During my visit to Roe bourno I made an inspection of the island and patients. Every care is given to these unfortunates to make their life as comfort able as possible. A store house and shelter shed have been erected, a regular boat ser vice under the supervision of the Water Po lice constable is maintained, and a plenti ful supply of rations, wood, and water is provided. Indigent Natives. "During the year 2,546 natives have been receiving rations; many are on the perman ent relief list, others only receiving help when required. The above figures show an increase of 607 natives relieved compared with the number of indigents appearing in the register f?: the previous 12 months. This increase is accounted for by large numbers of natives being driven into settlements from the interior owing to the continuous dry seasons. In all cases where reports re ceived warranted relief has been given; bulk supplies of flour, tea and sugar have been scnt for distribution, and my thanks are due to those who have undertaken the work of relief and kept a p- oper check on rations received, and forwarded returns to this office without looking for any remune ration for services rendered. As soon as the drought breaks most of these natives will return to their own country, where bush food is plentiful during ordinary good sea sons. During my journey down the coast from Broome, I made special inquiries into the relieving station at La Grange Bay where for years past the Department has been paying a per capita grant for relieving indigent natives, and, on my return, recom mended an alteration of the system, in con sequence of which -a Departmental relieving station has been formed, and a paid officer appointed to distribute rations, which are forwarded from Broome in bulk. Not only is this system a saving to the Government, but it is more satisfactory in every way.,Re lief on the same system at Lombadina under the supervision of Father Nicholas Emo, still continues:The total cost of rations dis tributed to those in want during the year, supplying them with blankets, clothing, and medical attention when required, was £11,122 5s. 7d., an increase of £1,437 13s. 9d. over the preceding year. In all 2,992 blan kets, 1,092 dresses, 938 shirts (men's); 919 undershirts (women's), and 858 dungaree trousers have been distributed among the old and infirm, and other deserving cases. ' Deaths . "Ninety-five deaths have been officially re ported during the year, being a decrease of 62 on the number reported during the pre vious 12 months. "During the year I made a lengthy jour ney throughout that portion of our State westward and southward of Broome, finish ing up at Roebourne. I visited as many places as I could, covering altogether about 1,000 miles of country, and I am pleased to report that the general conditions exist ing between European Employers and Native Employees are satisfactory, and my observations con firm the police reports received in the same direction,. The thanks of the Department are due to the Commissioner of Police and his officers for the supervision of the gene ral welfare of the native race, and the en forcement of the provisions of the Aboriginal Acts throughout the State."