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Woodforde compelled to fire: diary entry 26 May 1861
Title : Woodforde compelled to fire: diary entry 26 May 1861 Woodforde compelled to fire: diary entry 26 May 1861
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Creator : Stuart, John McDouall
Source : Diary, 29 November 1860 to 3 July 1861
Format : Diary
Contributor : Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Ms Anne Bachelard and RGSSA. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Ms Anne Bachelard and RGSSA and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

John McDouall Stuart continues the account of the confrontation with seven Aboriginal men at Newcastle Waters on 26 May 1861. John Woodforde, one of his men had been alone by the water hunting ducks when the seven men approached the camp. They had first appeared menacing and then friendly to the exploration party under Stuart. After setting fire to the grass the men had left but still appeared troublesome.

Stuart sent two of his men Francis Thring and John Wall to the aid of Woodforde who shortly afterwards appeared in the camp alone. He told how the Aboriginal men had attacked him with their boomerangs and waddies. When they were within 15 feet of him, Woodforde could refrain no longer and fired one barrel of his gun at them and ran for the camp.

Thring and Wall now returned to camp and told their story. They heard the report of Woodforde's gun and went to the place, chased the Aboriginal men, retrieving Woodforde's powder-flask and the ducks which he had put aside when attacked. They gave up the chase to look for Woodforde and found him safely back at the camp. Stuart then sent Thring and Woodforde to look for the shot belt that Woodforde had dropped. Stuart concluded the day's entry with the words 'the natives seem to be very treacherous. I will not deal so gently with them next time...', words which were not published in the official Government report on the expedition.

Stuart's attempts at conciliatory behaviour towards the Aboriginal people he encountered had failed on this occasion. The Aborigines were only trying to drive the white explorers and their thirsty animals from their land, and Stuart was trying to keep his men safe. The following day, this unhappy encounter behind him Stuart continued the search for a way forward from Newcastle Waters (Stuart's Glandfield Lagoon). Proceeding to the north and north-north-east he found some water but also thick scrub. Trying to the north- -north-west he again encountered thick scrub, found some water for the horses, and followed an Aboriginal pathway which finally disappeared.
Related names :

Stuart, John McDouall, 1815-1866

Thring, Francis William, 1837-1908

Woodforde, William John, 1841-1910

Coverage year : 1861
Place : Newcastle Waters (N.T.)
Further reading :

Stuart, John McDouall, Explorations in Australia: the journals of John McDouall Stuart during the years 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, & 1862 ... Carlisle, W.A.: Hesperian Press, 1984

John McDouall Stuart's explorations, 1858-1862: South Australian parliamentary papers 1858-1863 Adelaide : Friends of the State Library of South Australia, 2001

Webster, M. S. John McDouall Stuart [Carlton]: Melbourne University Press, 1958

Stokes, Edward, Across the Centre: John McDouall Stuart's expeditions, 1860-62 St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1996

Webster, M. S. John McDouall Stuart: his character and personal qualities Adelaide [S. Aust.]: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1964

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-



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