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Western Australia, Government Resident's Office,
Albany, 10th July, 1841.
I* do hereby certify that the annexed deposi tions of £. J. Eyre, Esquire, of Adelaide, and Wylie, an aboriginal of Albany, were taken at this office, and are true copies of those deposited
in this office.
J. JV. FmrxiPS,
Government Resident, Albany.
Colony of Western Australia to wit.- The de position of Edward John Eyre, of Adelaide, taken tais 8th day of lu'y, 1841, before me Peter Belches, one of her Majesty's Justices of the Peace, in and for the Colony of Western Australa,
That on the 25th February, 1841,1 left Fow ler's Bay, with a party consisting of an overseer named John Baxter, an aboriginal native of King George's Sound,known by the mme of "Wylie," and two aboriginal natives of the Colony of New South Wales, known by the name of "Joey" and ~" Yarrey" with a view to proceed overland to
Western Australia. That at the time of our de
parture from Fowler's Bay the party were pro vided with provisions calculated to last for nine weeks at a rather limited allowance per week,
but that from the barren and arid nature of the
-country we had to traverse, it soon became evident that our journey would occupy a much longer period than I had calculated upon : that it consequently became incumbent upon me to reduce the allowance of provisions to the whole party to a very low scale a few weeks after com mencing our undertaking: that from the long con tinuance of this desolate region, and the conse quently reduced condi'ion of our horses, delays became more necessary to recruit the horses, whilst our small stock of provisions, though hus banded with extreme frugalty was rapidly disap pearing:, until at last it became imperative upon me to have one of the horses killed as a supply vf food te the party on the 16th April.
That the meat of the horse thus killed was
issued in daily rations of five pounds each of solid, raw flesh or four pounds of solid cooked meat being more than double the quantity consumed daily by myself or the overseer : that on the 22nd 'day of April I discovered that the native boys bad been in the habit of stealing the provisions during the night for many days past, and on the -day in question, to punish them, I deducted from their days' allowance the quantity that had been .stolen during the previous night, and wh:ch I ascertained to be four pounds weight. Imme diately alter breakfast all the three boy« set off to leave the party and endeavour to reach King ^George's Sound alone. I did not attempt to de tain the two elder boys, but would not'allow the younger one, named- " Yarrey,*' to accompany them, as I imagined him only to be misled by the others. The two elder boys proceeded oe their route to the westward, along the-coast 5 but on the evening of the 25th they again made their ap pearance at my camp, after an absence of four days, expressing contrition for their misconduct, and begging to be received again into the party, as they had found it impossible to procure either food or water for themselves in the direction they had gone. They were freely forgiven, and re ceived into the party again, proceeding onwards with it on the 27th April. We were now about to traverse a country in which we it new there was little probability of water being found for many .days. This circumstance, added to the scanty quantity and very inferior quality of the food we were able to procure for our horses, made it abso lutely necessary that those animals should be . watched every night to prevent their rambling.
This was a most important duty, and one which was invariably performed, with the exception of one nigh*, by myself and the overseer alternately. On the night of the 29th -of April I was engaged in this duty, having left the overseer and the the three native boys to go 4o rest at the camp. About the hour of IO P.M. I was looking towards the camp, which was scarcely distant a quarter of a mile, when I was startled by the flash followed by the report of a gun. I immediately called out, but received no answer, and at once hurried towards the camp. About one hundred yards from the camp I was .met by then Ati. e Wylie, caHing oat "Oh dear, oh dear," and asking me if Ï had heard the 'report. Upon reaching the »camp a few minutes -after the shot had been fired, I was horror-struck at beholding my unfortunate overseer extended on the ground, and apparently lifeless, a few yards in advance of where he had been steeping, whilst the camp was deserted by the boys "Joey" and " YarreyHaving ascertained that poor Baxter was insensible, and in the last convulsions of -death from a ball wound below the left breast,I turned round to procure my gua and -reconnoitre the camp. Te my amazement I found our email «tock of provisions had been plundered, and all the serviceable fire arms, consisting of two double barrelled guns, had been taken away, with some amunitioo. Finding my unfortunate fellow ttaveller was beyond all human aid, I left the appalling scene and proceeded with the boy " Wylie' to watch the horses during the remainder of the night, since the only chance of saving our lives, depended upon preventing these animals from rambling. They had already been three days without water, and we had still a hundred "miles to travel before there was the slightest pros ?pect of any being procured. Upon the morning -of the 30th April, after examining our stores
lelt, I ascertained that about twenty pounds of bread, a ofte*gallon keg*of water,and a few other things, belonging principally to the overseer, had been taken away by the two boys, in addition to the two double-barrel led guns and ammunition.
The melancholy occurrence above described i took place-on lae summit of the high cliffs bound ing a portion -of the Great Australian Bight, and situate in about longitude 125 0 4 J' east, and about latitude 32 0 30' south. The night on the 39th was clear and moonlight, with a cold frosty
The two boys "Joey" and "Yany" have been living in my service for a great length of time, and have been treated with the greatest kindness. I have never seen the overseer ill use either of them, nor do I think he was unnecessarily strict in exacting the very little service the boys were .required <o perform. And I can in np way account for the inducement that has led them to the nerpetration of so fearful a crime, unless that, impelled by a desire of gratifying their appetites,
^^^^^|dTs||ilen the provisions, with a view o
leaving the party and endeavouring to return to ] Fowler's Bay, where they were aware a consi- ? derable supply of provisions had been left to fall < back on in case of need, and that upon the ¡ overseer's awaking whilst they were in the act of plundering the camp, one of the boys had fired upon him to prevent his interference. This im* pression is strengthened from my having found the poor man stretched upon the ground upon his breast, with nothing bnt his shirt on, and only a few yards in advance of where he had been sleeping. At the same time, I fear much that the violence was premeditated in the event of the man's awaking; and my conviction is, that the gan had been deliberately loaded for that purpose prior to the robbery. This conviction rests upon the circumstance of my having found two loose cartridges near the fire where the boys had lain down, together with the ramrod of the rifle, which had been taken out for the purpose of charging one of the double-barrelled guns, as its own ram rod was too short for that purpose. The latter had also been left upon the ground as useless. These were found when I first came up to the camp, and so short a time had elapsed between the firing of the shot and mj arrival at the place, that they could not have been made use of for the purpose of reloading after having shot the poor
Upon the morning of the 30th April I proceeded j on our route ten miles, and men encamped until
the afternoon. Shortly before sunset, and whilst about to proceed again upon our route by night, the two boys made their appearance in the distance, having tracked us up during the day. I endeavoured to get near them, but they would not let me approach at all,retreating and dodging among the bushes as 1 advanced, but incessantly I calling out to " Wylie," for Ute purpose, as j I imagined, of inducing him to leave me and join I them. The elder boy, " Joey," had my double barrelled gun with him at the time. Finding I could neither come near them nor procure any of the property they had stolen, I proceeded on wards on Our route to the westward, accompanied I by "Wylie."! have never seen or heard anything
of the two boys since that period, and make no doubt but that they would endeavour to retrace their steps to Fowler's Bay, for the sake of the provisions we had left lhere.
EDWARD JOHN ETRE. -
Sworn before me at Albany. King George's Sound,
this 9th day of July, 1841.
P. BELCHES, J.P. J. N. Phillips, Government Resident.
Colony of Western Australia, to wit.-In formation of *' Wylie," taken before one. Peter Belches, one of her Majesty's Justices of the Peace in and for the Colony of Western Aus tralia, taken according to the Act of Victoria No. 8. this ninth day of July, 1841 :
1 left Fowler's Bay with Mr. Eyre and an other white man called Baxter, also two black lads named *' Joey" and *' Yarrey," belonging to the Sydney country. Mr. Eyre told me when we left Fowler's Bay that we were to walk to King George's Sound. After we had been walking a Jong distance "Joey" and "Yarrey" often to?d me that we should never get to King George, as we should d e in the bosh, and wished me to leave Mr. Eyre and return with them to Adelaide. One night Baxter, " Joey," " Yarrey," and my** f were sleeping at the camp when Mr. Eyre was away some distance, watching the horses, wbu-h he used to do in turns. After I had been asleep «une time, I was awoke by the noise of a i gun having been fi>ed. I jumped up, very much
frightened, and ran to Mr. Eyre, ami ^called ont to him "have you heard the gun V He was then running towards the sleeping place, anti asked what was the matter. We went imme
diately to the tent, where we saw Baxter lying on the ground, breathing heavily; he (ras wounded tn the breast, where a ball had entered ; he never spoke after our arrival at the tent ; in a short lime he was di ad. " Joey" and " Yarrey ' were gone from the camp betöre Mr. Eire and myself got to it, and they took with them five dampers, some te i and sugar, a keg of water, two double-bar relied guns, some ammunition and cari ridge-box. also our tobacco and pipes.
We immediately, after finding what had been done, left the place, and went forward fer Kine George's Sound. On the following day we saw ** Joev" and «*Yarrey'' following us: "Joey" had a double-barrelled gun with him ; ** Yarry" had also one. I heard them crying like a native dog. Mr. Eyre tried to get them cloie to us, but they ran away among the bushes, and we never saw anything more of them, and proceeded on our j way tb King George's Sound.
Declared before me at. Albany, King George**
Sound, this 9th day of Juli}, 1841.
PETER BELGS ES. I J. N. PHILOTS, Government Resident. I