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Confrontation with Aboriginal men: diary 26 May 1861
Title : Confrontation with Aboriginal men: diary 26 May 1861 Confrontation with Aboriginal men: diary 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 :

On 26 May 1861 John McDouall Stuart recorded in his diary a confrontation with seven Aboriginal men while encamped at Newcastle Waters (Stuart's Glandfield Lagoon). The men were tall and well-built, armed with boomerangs and waddies (clubs) and at first appeared threatening. Stuart managed to coax them closer and they then seemed friendly. He was however concerned for one of his men, John Woodforde who was down at the water hunting ducks. Francis Thring and Masters were also away from the camp rounding up missing horses. When these two returned Stuart told them to stay in the camp, and hoped that this would give Woodforde a chance to get back. The Aboriginal men began to light fires around the camp, no doubt attempting to frighten the white men into leaving. Stuart was now convinced they meant to make trouble, but still refrained from shooting at them. He was able to persuade them to leave, which they did, still firing the grass. Thring and Wall were sent down to protect Woodforde, who shortly afterwards returned to camp saying he had been attacked.

Stuart always endeavoured to maintain good relations with the Aboriginal people, inspired by the example of his former leader Charles Sturt. All of Stuart's men were issued with written instructions about not firing at Aboriginal people except in self defence. There had been some occasions when this had been necessary, but no Aboriginals had ever been killed by Stuart or his men. The Aboriginal people were of course only protecting their lands from the white explorers who with their large numbers of horses were drinking precious water supplies and otherwise encroaching on Aboriginal lands.
Related names :

Stuart, John McDouall, 1815-1866

Thring, Francis William, 1837-1908

Kekwick, William Darton

William John Woodforde (1841-1910)

Coverage year : 1861
Place : Newcastle Waters (NT)
Further reading :

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

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

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

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

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

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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