2 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections
The Southern Australian.
ADELAIDE : TUESDAY, JULY 6, 1841.
THE MURRAY EXPEDITION.
THE following Report from Major O'Halloran, expressed to Adelaide from Lake Bonney, will be read by all classes with deep interest
The non-success of the expedition in cap- turing the blacks is in some degree compen- sated for by the fact, that the lives of twelve human beings, belonging to Mr. Langhorne's party have been saved, and that nearly eight hundred head of cattle have been preserved to the owners and to the colony,
The failure of the party having charge of the boats to bring them up to the Bend of the Murray in time, was owing to the violence of the current against them, the men having laboured night and day with a very praise worthy zeal for the accomplishment of this object, but having laboured in vain. We have authority, however, for stating that the boats are now at the Great Bend, and that the ex planation of the party as to the causes of the delay are most satisfactory.
We shall now detain our readers with no further remark, than that of simply entreating
them not to suffer themselves to be led away by any harsh and unnecessary feelings of hostility to the Natives, either by what is contained in the following, or by any of the horrifying details which are likely to come out on the return of the Expedition :
Fortified Camp " The Hornet's Nest,"
240 miles from Adelaide, 27th June, 1841. Sir-I have the honor to report for your Ex cellency's information, the results of the Expedition ander my command.
The detachment of police and volunteers, with bullock drivers, cooks, &c. (in all 68 men, including officers,) left Adelaide on the 3 st May, and arrived at the "Pound," on the Murray, by the 4th instant. Between this point and the Fossil Cliffs, near Lake Bonney, a distance of about sixty miles, we halted no less than seven days in all. waiting for the two boats that were to join us from the sea-mouth of the River; but finding that our supplies would not admit of any further delay, and knowing that it would be dangerous for the boats to proeed higher up the river without our escort, I blazed some trees close to the river side, ordering the boats to proceed back to the N. W. Bend, and wait our return there, and also left a letter in a bottle, under one of the trees blazed, giving further instructions to the officer in charge of the boats. On our way from the "Pound", to the, Fossil Clffis we induced some nativesto communicate with us, two of whom promised, to act as inter preters, to accompany us to the hostile tribe, and show es where the sheep were. They, however, left us suddenly, but we were joined by two other blacks at the last encampment ! before making Lake Bonney. These men! seemed very intelligent and confiding, and evinced great hatred to the hostile tribe, all of whom they requested us to kill, stating at
the same time that plenty of Mr. Inman's sheep were yet alive, and had a few days be fore been seen by one of them. On approach ing the spot where the sheep were said to be, and within a short distance of where Mr. Inman was attacked, and Lieut. Field's party had been engaged, our interpreters according to promise, went in advance considerably of the detachment, with a message from me to the hostile tribe, stating, that if the remaining sheep were given up they should not be molested, and they promised to bring several of the tribe back with them, to meet us on our approach. Before encamping this promise in part was fulfilled, for the interpreters met es, but only with one of the hostile blacks, a
large and powerful man, who had lately re ceived a gunshot wound through the thigh, and which he pointed out to us. This fellow's manner was quite unembarrassed, and he remained in camp all night, and was made much of. He stated that the sheep were very numerous, one only having been killed by a man who should be given up, that they were, yet some miles to the north, and that we must make another half days' march before we could get to me spot where the sheep were folded, under charge of an overland party, who had arrived a few days before, with three drays and a large herd of cattle. In the morning therefore we started with our blacks
in company, who however suddenly sneaked away, notifying to our Adelaide native to keep on the beaten road, and that they would again meets fma by crossing the creeks they would save a very considerable distance. After marching eight miles I encamped where we now are, (which is in the very heart or this hornet's nest) and then pushed on with the mounted men six miles further, to ascertain if any reliance could be placed on the informa tion so frankly given. When we had proceeded the above distance, on Tuesday last, the 22nd instant, we suddenly fell in with Mr C. Lang horne's long expected overland party, and I who had been attacked by the same tribe that we are amongst but two days before, having had four men killed and two wounded, out of sixteen individuals; twenty head of cattle dispersed, others having been killed, and nearly all their property and supplies taken from them. They were in the most wretched and deplorable state imaginable, and appeared on seeing us as men would do who were unexpect edly reprieved from apparently certain death. All had given themselves up for lost, and ex pected to be murdered that very night on the spot I now write from. The scene then wit nessed will never be forgotten by any present. The enclosed letter from Mr. C. Langhorne, with the informations on oath taken by my self and brother magistrate Mr. Moorhouse from others of the party, give full particulars of the attack. On Wednesday morning, the 23rd instant, (our blacks not having returned, and who were doubtless spies sent amongst us,) I left our camp here, (fortified) with a strong foot party under command of Captain Fergusson; and with the remainder of the detachment scoured the country around for miles in all directions, with the hope of making prisoners, and recovering some of the sheep, but we returned before dark, unsuccessful in both objects, for we found that the whole of the sheep had long before been slaughtered, as we saw their carcases and bones thrown about in vast heaps in various places where the blacks had formed large encampments, and had folded the sheep; and though we saw and chased thirteen natives, (the only number seen on our side of the river, though numerous enough, on the other), they were ever too closer to the water's edge to admit of our securing them, for they took to the river when driven through the high reeds on its banks, and which rose above our heads when on horseback, and. thus, from the want of boats, escaped us,
though only a few yards distant. They might, all with certainty have been shot, but when they found we would not fire, the villains laughed at and mocked us, roaring out "plenty sheepy," " plenty jumbuck," (another name of theirs for sheep), and one them repeated the word "Cornu," several times, and who was instantly recognised as the black that had been with us for several days, and who volun-
teered to act as interpreter and negotiator between us and this brutal tribe. This fellow had explained to us that "Cornu" meant white chalk, and not "a chief", as we imagined.
Considering myself now fully justified in rendering Mr Langhorne all the assistance in my power, and hoping yet to make some prisoners, I left our fortified camp again, leaving the entire of the foot party under command of Mr Inman, and about half-past three, p.m., on Thursday the 24th instant, with the mounted detachment got to Lang horne's Ferry, on the Rufus, where his party were attacked, and there found the body of one of his murdered men, lying along the bank, guarded by a faithful bull dog, that had been speared in two places by the blacks, for he had fiercely attacked them; the noble animal on seeing us set up a piteous and I heart-rending howl, swam across to the
opposite side, and has not since been seen. Martin's body was covered with wounds; his head and face frightfully battered with waddies, and his entrails and thigh bones taken out; part of a dray, flour in heaps, broken muskets, and other articles, lay strewed around, as also many waddies and jagged and pointed spears, with blood, flesh, and hair opon them, also several dead calves. The sight was altogether horrifying, but as the day was far spent, and it would require considerable time to cross a party with horses over the Rufus, I retired for the night to a flat, five miles distant, where there was good feed for our horses, and early the next
morning, (Friday the 25th instant) was again' at Langhorne's Ferry. A grave was then dug for the remains of poor Martin, andi had the melancholy satisfaction of giving him Christian burial, and reading the funeral service over the corpse, a large fire being afterwards lit
over the grave, to prevent the blacks from. recognising it. These wretches had taken his
body out of the water to extract the thigh bones, but what they have done with the other three we could not discover, though the river was traced to Lake Victoria, (into which it now empties itself, though in the summer into the Murray) with the hope of recovering the relics of the murdered men. Before 12 o'clock Inspector Tolmer with eighteen mounted men was across the Rufus, with instructions: to sweep a little inland towards the Lake, whilst my party pf fourteen men jinxed tbhi aide of the river. , ABOOUI soon testified- tomine that thirty blacks were running along the edge of : the Lake, and we pushed rapidly along nfter them, crossed the river on horsel>atk at the junction of the Rufus and linke, along which we rode for some'miles, bnt had the mortifica- - tion to find that those punned irere far beyond our reach, and already across the take, when we counted' no leas than eight canoea
together-we m>w re-*rossed, opened'^g$¡^'; watched the banka oTthe Ruins Stfföjg$j2&v siderable *i»jp^;<ijïi^
Tolmera detaclinient nùght drive before -lüm.'fiiiwflfc^
nat tte «noie coimtry ^er? ^
extensive beacon fires, we recruited, and after blazing some trees near the river, at Langhorne's Ferry, notifying to overland parties to beware of the blacks, we retired to the same fiat occupied the night before, and yesterday returned to our fortified camp, and are resting to-day to recruit our poor jaded horses. I have the satisfaction of adding, that we have recovered fifty-three ont of seventy head of missing cattle, and have been the happy means under Providence, of rescuing twelve of our countrymen from inevitable death,.and710 head of cattle, (the number now here) from being lost to the owner and the colony.
Unfortunately after great exertions and anxiety we have failed in making any priso ners; but this has been owing solely to the boats not joining, and for which I cannot ac
In a country such as we have gone over, intersected by rivers, lagoons, and creeks, and thick with polyginum scrub and high reeds, it is next to impossible to surprise any blacks, /for alTknow the approach of a party from the time they make the xi ver, into which the natives plunge, and at once escapes to the opposite side, and is there secure from all danger.
The cruel tribe we are now surrounded by are very numerous, and have doubtless become emboldened by having defeated three succes sive parties of Europeans, and having also escaped punishment from any detachment. ViAJongthe Lake, Bufus, and MurayH&e pro perty of Messrs Inman and Langhorne have
been found, and a gentleman has only'now ' come in from a trip to examine the ground on which Lieut. Field encountered the blacks, (two and a-half miles from this,), and has brought with him a hymn book that belonged to one of Mr. Langhorne's party. Mr. Inman was attacked three and a-half miles from this, and Mr. Langhorne fifteen miles, and which .dearly proves that this tribe only, in the last three instances, are the murderers of our countrymen, and the plunderers of their property.
To the entire detachment I am greatly in debted for their zeal and exertions, and am most grateful to the gentlemen volunteers for their assistance, admirable example, cheerful obedience to orders, and great attention to every duty performed by them.
We commence our march homeward to "morrow, having been to the extreme frontier of the colony, and I propose sending this re port to town by express after passing Lake Bonney, before which it would not be
safe to do so. As the roads are bad, and the
cattle party who require our protection travel slowly, I do not think that the police can make Adelaide before the 12th or 14th proximo ; but I hope to reach town a few days after this letter, when my journal will furnish > our Excellency with any further information you may require.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Tour Excellency's most obedient
^ . Commissioner of Police. His Excellency Capt. Grey, 1 Governor, and Commander-in Chief, >
Head Quarters, Adelaide. y