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Late Shipwreck and Murders

at Encounter Bay.

FIRST Report of MAJOR O'HALLO RAN, Commissioner of Police, to His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR :

Camp Tentie-Opposite (he first Island of the

South Eastern branch of Lake Alexandrina, and abont ô miles to the W.N.W. of tho Narrows.

August 26th, 1840.

Sla-By " Encounter Bay Peter,*' I have the honor to report the progress of the expedition

under ni j command.

Mr Pullen returned from Rairwee (the Elbow ol the Goolwa) by the evening of Friday, the 21st instant, to our first camp near the mooth of Ute Murray, with a fortnight's supply of provisions. On Saturday morning, the 22nd, we started at an early hjor, the mounted party keeping along the sea coast the entire'day; bnt we could not discover any relics of our countrymen-three of whom i were said to have been killed within « few miles of

the sea month of the Murray which, however, the Encounter Bay blacks declared to be false. During this dav, (Saturday), owing to the wind being foul, the boats got on badly, and we baited for the night, about 12 miles from where we - started in the morning, and not more than 14 miles from the sea mouth of «be Murray.

On Sunday morning, the 23rd instant, wo again I moved off at an early hour ; the wind being fresh

and fair for the boats, fl proceeded, as the day before, with tbe mounted party along the seacoast, and detached Capt Nixon, Mr Bonney, and an i orderly, to keep up tbe line of communication with , Mr Pullen ; who was lo notify by certain signals,

whenever he saw any natives from tbe boats ; for J we had now got into the country of the hostile " big Murray tribe." About 12 o'clock, we dis« covered a number of natives along tbe coast, at a great distance a head, running from ns- We instanlly'followed in pursuit; and at as rapid a rate as the heavy nature of the sand would admit of; bat we rode bard upwards of two miles before we neared them, when they took to the high aid heavy* sand hills, that are tn very many places covered with thick scrub. I, however, threw skirmishers out from the coast to the lake, and we thu« kept those steadily in sight whom we first saw ; and the result was, that by evening, and after very great fatigoe and exertion-from the billy, scrubby, and sandy nature of the country-we contrived, without injury to any, to captare 13 .men, 2 lads, and abont 50 women and children. Some of tho natives took to the lake wheo closely followed, whom we rode in after and captured ; and some of them were intercepted by Mr Pollen's party. Upon tbe persons of almost every man and wo man, and in almost every "ir hil ley "we examined, -and they were numerous-we found various articles of European clothing-belonging to males and females, .as well as children-and many of them statued with Hood; as excellent silver watch

also, and 4 tea and 1 silver salt spoons, with the . initials I £ Y on the fire latter, were taken ; all of which folly proved , that- those in custody were participators in-if not actual perpetrators of

the late horrible murders.

The prisoners were carefully secured and guard ed during the night, but the women and children I liberated ; the latter, however, remained near the men till the evening of the next day. From nur last encampment, we must have travelled at least 25 miles ; independent of the great distance caused by tbe long continued pursuit in so unfa vorable a country; so that, when we rested fot

i he night, most of oar horses were quite knocked


\ On Monday morning, tue 24th instant, the mounted party were on horseback an hour before daybreak, tor the purpose of scouring ibe country a-bead of us atong the narrows, and where Mr Pullen in his former trip of enquiry, and who now í accompanied me on horseback, saw a somber of ' ferocious characters with European clothing on,

and who were chiefly the murderers, according to the statement of the captured natives. These men I was therefore folly resolved on securing if we fell in with them, and to allow none a cbance of escaping. We beat the country for a long way from the lake side to the sea shore, captured some women, and found a quantity of European clothing (male and female) in the whirleys aud hals on the take si ie ; several articles of which, especially a woman's shift, were covered with blood-close to ihese whirleys we saw two natives swimming" across the lake, we instantly rode down, and st. the water's edge Mr Pallen picked up a sailor's, cap, wbicb he at once recognised as that worn by I one of the worst looking mea he bad seen in his ) former trip, and who was then with a party of I natives pointed out by the friendly blacks that were with bim, as the actual marderer. Finding these fellows could not be followed, and had every ] chance of escaping if prompt measures were not; resorted to, I now, for the first and only time, ordered those around me to fire, and, though tba distance was great, both the natives were wounded, and one severely, though they swam to an Island immediately opposite to ns, lospectorVTolmer swam over after them, and foand the two black« \ wounded as I have describeed, bat before a boat j (wbicb was sent on our return to camp) could i reach she Island to bring them off, they Jbmd both \ got over to the north-eastern sboreof the Coorong» ! There can scarce be a question bat that these men \ formed part of the actual gang of murderers, for ! io their'whirlies, or rather huts, close by, wei fonnd articles of clothing covered with blood-' «od % at this locality the captured satires all declared ;

«liât the principal murderers were to be .found. At an tiler spot i-x this neighbourhood, wliere there are several n ¿live buts together, we found news papers, ref eipted bills, made out in the name of \ Captain '¿mitli, the mail letters from Adelaide, I -open an .1 torn, the leaves of a Bible and another

gjook, vith part of the log book of the "Brigantine Mar;M." This clearly proves that the crew and pa^/engers of the above vessel are the unhappy sufferers, and that thev must have come on shore very deliberately, and were making their way to Adelaide when murdered. It appear* straage, however, that they had no weapons cf defence

wi h them.

We rerurned lo camp by the forenoon, having swept the country in all directions for ai least eight miles to the sooth east, and especially alone the narrows. The captives, on our return, much a! ¡imed at (he situation they were placed in, pointed ont one of their number as the murderer of a whaler named " Roach", who came down here

near two years ago willi another sailor (also mur / dered) from Encounter Bay, to the wreck of the / schooner "Fanny", that lies on the sea shore just j opposite to where our pr< sent encampment is. The

captives also pointed to th ? main land on the oppo site side of the lake, {tod said that one of the murderers 0f ¡fe crevf 0f lne «<Sfar¡'a,s -*as tjjere, and could easily be taken; and two of them, at the suggestion of Mr Bonney, volunteered to bring the man o/vef, and to give bim op ta ns. I sen* "Encounter Bay Peter" with these men, and tbey returnedVat half past four o'clock in the evening, accompanied by the culprit, who was quite un conscious, till secured, of our being aware that fae WAS. one of the marderers. AU oar prisoners shouted with joy on seeing the man.

Having formally and deliberately investigated into every particular relative to the murders, in the presence of those of my own party who were off duty, the Encounter Bay blacks, and the pri soners, and finding that neither of the culprits denied, though they would not actually confess their guilt, I proceeded to pass sentence of death upon them, by virtue of the authority and instruc tions received -from yoar Excellency, for the guilt of these men. was fully and clearly established by the united testimony of all their tribe present, and my own opinion and conviction of their guilt was supported by the unanimous declaration of all the gentlemen around me, as well as of the Encounter Bay blacks.

Yesterday morning (Tuesday, the 25th instant) I proceeded with my entire party, (except a small gaard left to protect the camp) the prisoners and murderers, back about fifteen miles* to the spot on the sea coast where oar unfortunate countrymen lie buried.and where they were likewise murdered, and there, at two minutes past three o'clock, P.M., these two men were executed by hanging, immedi ately over the grave. They died almost instantly, and both evinced extreme nerve and courage tc the last, especially the man who was giver over to ns by his tribe, and who had the raosi ferocious and demon-like countenance I evei beheld. He was also a man of extraordinary strength and powerfully made.

After the execution, I released the prisoners and notified that such was the* way the white punished those who committed murder ; that tbi present punishment was a merciful one considerio) the numerous murders they bad committed

I likewise warnad (hem not to touch the bodies

and told them ever to remember this day, and ti hiing their relatives and children to the spot, tha tbey might all see how the white man pnnisbe< those who murdered any of his tribe. I tbet allowed them (o d'part, and we got back to ca ni j by dak, after a day ol heavy rain and. moe j


1 have reason to think that (bat the person; mu i dered on the spot alluded to above weie M a id Mr* Denham, Strut, their Servant, Mrs York and f--nr or five of the Denham*s children. Thej were killed in the day time, being overpowered in the .roost insidious and coward1} manner bf ; Inrge Dumber of blacks, and beaten to death b; waddles. They were all unarmed, and tbe gar meals of lliote murdered (female as well as male weie chiefly stxioed with blood about the back o the oollarp. The murderer of Roach killed hin when silting down, by the blow of a waddy fron behind, and Roach's companion was likewise kille« in a similar way, and at the same time,bj auothe


The country that we have travelled over, from the mouth to tbis, averages about a mile across from (he south eas! branch to the sea shore. I is composed of steep sandy hills and scrub, will light vegetation, at present, in some of the bottoms an J which the horses seem to relish. Water i abundant almost everywhere along the lake side and can be easily had by digging a foot or two bul in some places it is brackish, and in other smells and tastes offensively.

All the European clothes, &c, taken from th natives, with the lorn letters and papers, ar carefully preserved by me-with the hope, the they may be identified on oar return to Adelaide by some of the relatives'or friends of the deceased

I send your Excellency the native names < a few of the localities ; and the names, also, < the murderers. But we have heen otherwise ta much employed, as yet, to attend mach to soc points:-*

The place of execution is called-Pilgarn

Native name of the big Murray tribe-Miltner


Our present encampment-Tenlie.

Tbe Island opposite ourencampment-Colraon

The Narrows-Panca.

The South-east branch of the lake-Coorong, Sea mooth of the Marray-Etanduá.

The mn r ile re r of Roach--Moorcangua.

The murderer given over to us byhistribe Blnngarawáta.

1 have the honor to be your Excellency's

Most obedient, bumble servant,

(signed) T. O'HALLORAN.

Commissioner of Police.

To bis Excellency Colonel Gawler, K. H.

Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

SECOND Report of MAJOR O'HAL LORAN, Commissioner of Police, to fl is EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR :

Camp, 11 mild from the sea, mouth of the

Murray, on the north-east bank of the Coorong,

4 tb September, 1840.

Sir,-My last report to jour Excellency was dosed and despatched on the 26th ultimo, by *' Encounter Bay Peter," and I have now the honor to address you again io continuation.

On the morning of Thursday the 27th August I left the camp at Tentie ander charge of Mr Pullen, and proceeded with the mounted party along the sea coast to the south east, in search of the wreck of the brig Maria, (each man taking a supply of six day's provisions with him,) detaching three men to sweep the country along the Lake side, and carefully examine all the Whirleys they fell in with. The day was cold and wet. At 3 p.m. nine natives were seen at a considerable distance crossing the Lake to an Island opposite? We examined two of their bats close by, which were fall of European clothing; a good silver watch was likewise found, the dial and upper part ; being stained «Uh blood. Finding it impossible ' lo take any of the clothing with ns, each horse . having a. heavy load to carry, F sot fire to tb« hats , and their contents,but the watch I have preserved. m Wo travelled ibis day in heavy sand and rain t about

^fc On Friday the 28; h August we again moved off Ma.t aa early Hour, «nd travelled along the coast till


12 o'clock^ when Captain Nixon and Mr. Römer, who had been detached along the Lake side, rode over to report that they had f dien in with Thomp son and Walker and the rest of the party sent in a whale boat by Captain Hart from Encounter Bay, on Monday the 17th ultimo, in search of the wreck^ of the brig Maria. On joining these men I received the following account from Thompson, and which Capt. Nixon took down ia his own

words :


" On Tuesday monrng, 18tb August, we left the mouth of the Murray in a whale boar, two of us keeping the beach and two the boar. On Wednesday we hauled the boat up where we now are, which we estimate to be 100 miles from «he mouth. We then divided our party, two kept the beach, and two the shores of the Lake, so as tb be of use io any p*rty who might have been ship wrecked. On Sunday evening, aa hour before sun down, we fell in with the lon* boat of the "Alaria of Hobart Town," (the Captain's name was not on the boat.) two oars and a mast, but no sail. We hauled the boaiup to high watermark, and then walked on and fell iu with part of the quarter deck and skylight, some ai the panes of glass not broken ; about six miles farther on towards Cape Jaffa, we fell in willi the companion. We «lieu walked on (o Captain Wright's at Rivoli Bay, but mel nothing ia our walk except a broken taiîle. We reached Captain Wright's on Mouday evening about three o'clock. Tuesdiy abont the middle of the day we left Captain Wright's on our return. WèGoesday afternoon we found this key and seal(sbewing them) fast to the state ro un door, and part of the larboard quarter, the stern davit, and a quarter davit, one gilt star on the part

of the stern that was broken AU her deck is on the beach broken, a cask of fresh water, and several broken boxes. We think she must hare been wrecked on Baodin's Reef. Our party consisted of myself, Walker, Fox. Sullock, two native men and two boys, one of each from Encounter Bay, the other two were met n cr the wreck of the Fanny."

The information thus obtained from Thompson rendered it unnecessary for me to proceed farther; we therefore, after leaving some provisions with the whalers, who greatly needed such supplies, crossed the Lake (here very shallow) to '.he N E. side of the Coorong, and got back to oar camp, which had been moved to the side we wt*re on. and opposite lo Tentie, by Sunday the 30th ot August, and where we had the honor of meeting

your Excellency.

On Monday, the 31st Angust, and Tuesday, the 1st instant, we halted to recruit the men and horses, during which time we learnt from a nativt. of the big Murray tribe called " Tom," and who was left at our camp bv Thompson's party as they passed to Encounter Bay, that three males and one female belonging to the brig Maria had been waddled in the day time hy som» of the tribe not far from where we were encamped. These fonr bad separated from Mr. Denbam's party, at the " Narrows," and crossed to the N.E. shore of the Coorong, (the same side that we are now upon) along which, after proceeding for «orne distance, they were murdered, being clasped round the bodies by some of the savages whilst others wad died them. " Tom" offered to shew us the spot where the murders were committed, and to point out the Whirleys of the murderers, and likewise to identify them if found. This account of Tom's" perfectly coincided, both as to locality and the persons murdered, and murderers, with that pre viously given to us by th« Encounter Bay biacks. Tbe names of two of the nv rderers, who are brothers, are, Pattarynaka and Poreilpeepol, all the olher names Tom had forgotten.

As these murderers were perfectly distinct from the others, both as lo locality and the persons by whom they were, committed, it was considered that the duty in Which the force was engaged wonld not be properly completed until this affair also was searched out. as far as circumstances would

admit of.

Accordingly, on the morning of Wednesday the 2nd instant, your Excellency was pleased to order Inspector Tolmer with half of the mounted men to scour the country inland, whilst I procesded downwards with the other half along the shores of the Coorong, Mr. Pullen and-the boats keeping abreast of as. Between ll and 12 o'clock, my party discovered the mangled remains of two Europeans, a male and a female. The hair of the former was light brown, and be must have been a tall and powerful man. The skulls of both were frightfully fractu-ed, especially that of the female, I whose lower jawbone was likewise broken. Three of the teeth of this jaw on the left side, and two On the right nearly in front were decayed, those of I the upper jaw were perfect. The man had only

lost one tooth, the left front one of the upper jaw. On questioning the native Tom whether he was aware before of these two having been murdered, he said, no, bat tliat this place belonged to the murderer Mongarawatá, whom we had hanged, and who had been given over lo na by bis tribe. We buried the dead carefully, examining in all directions for other bodies or graves, but could find none. The shoe of a very large mari, however, and several books were discovered, (all of which are taken care of) io one of which the name .« James Greenshields, 1839," is written in pencil.

On reaching the spot where the other four Eu ropeans had been murdered, and which was about four miles further, none of their bodi-s could be found after a close and minute examination.

At 1 p.m. I relieved Inspector Tolmer's party with mine, and swept the shores of Lake Albert, 60 named by your Excellency after her Majesty s Royal Consort. It is a fine body of water to the I Sooth of Lake Alexandrina, and united to it by a

narrow channel. After an active search along this lake (the Albert) and the inland country, tili evening, I returned to camp unsuccessful, having seen only a few natives at a great distance from us, and who, long beforejwe could near them, hid in the high and thick reeds that encircle Lake Albert in one continued belt along the entire of its shores as far as seen by us. The impression, however, (eft on the na>ive¿* minds of our activity in thus sweeping their entire country will, I am persaaded, give them a high notion of our power and teach them to dread it for tbe future.

I am happy to state that these murders-which appear to be seventeen in all (fifteen belonging to the Maria, and the two whalers, Roach and his companion, whose name I cannot ascertain till my return to town)-have been committed onl^y by the ** Mtlmenrura," or " Big Murray Tribe," who are notorious among all tbe natives generally for than brutal and ferocious character. The neighbours* g tribes universally evince confidence in us, and abhorrence of tba atrocities that have been lately


The party having now bnen nearly three weeks in tbe field, actively employed at this very incle ment season cf the year, in a portion of the pro vince to difficult and little known,-a severe ex ample having been made, and a convincing exhi bition given of oar strength and determination to punish atrocious crimes,-the district also having been well examined for future operations, should theytfverbecome necessary,-I have received your Excellency's orders to retara with my party forth

with to head quarters.

1 have the honor to be,

Vo'ir Excellency's most obedient

humble servant,

(Signed) T. O HALLORAN.

Commissioner of Pelice.

To His Excellency Col. Gawler, K.H.

Governor apA Comtnander-in-Chief.