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Return to Chapter 4, 1857 Parliamentary Votes and Proceedings
NEW SOUTH WALES.
NATIVE POLICE FORCE.
THE SELECT COMMITTEE
NATIVE POLICE FORCE;
THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE,
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE.
ORDERED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY TO BE PRINTED, 28 January, 1857.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM HANSON, GOVERNMENT PRINTER,
Work in progress,links last updated 16/11/2005
Legislative Assembly Votes and Proceedings - Native Police and Crown Lands
August 19, 1856
Notice of Motion
Mr. BUCKLEY to move, That all Correspondence from the Inspector-General of Police, Sydney, to the Commandant of Native Police in the Northern Districts, also all the Correspondence from Commandant of said Native Police to the said Inspector General for the last two years, respecting the management of the Native Police, be laid upon the Table of this House.
October 2, 1856
Government Business- Notice of Motion
Mr. MURRAY to move for leave to bring in a Bill to Regulate the Waste Lands of the Crown.
EXTRACTS FROM THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.
Saturday, 8 November, 1856.
Native Police Force:—Mr. Sandeman moved pursuant to amended notice,—
(1.) That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the present state of the
Native Police Force employed in the Colony, with a view to the improvement of its
organization and management.
(2.) That such Committee consist of Mr. Hay, Mr. Holt, Mr. Jones, Mr. Forster, Mr.
Buckley, Mr. Hely, Mr. Francis T. Rusden,- Mr. Lang, Mr. Wm. Macleay, and the:
Mover. . .
Question (1.)—That a Select Committee be appointed to. inquire into the present
state of the Native Police Force employed in the Colony, with a view to the improvement of its organization and management,—put and passed.
Question (2.)—That such Committee consist of Mr. Hay, Mr. Holt, Mr. Jones, Mr. . Forster, Mr. Buckley, Mr. Hely, Mr. Francis T. Rusden, Mr. Lang, Mr. W. Macleay, and the Mover,—put and passed.
Tuesday, 25 November, 1856.
Management of the Native Police Force in the Northern Districts:—Mr. Sandeman moved, pursuant to notice, That the Papers relating to the Management of the Native Police Force in the Northern Districts, which were laid upon the Table of this House on the 28th of October last, be referred to the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the Native Police Force.
Question put and passed. ' .
Wednesday, 28 January, 1857.
Native Police Force :—Mr. Sandeman, as Chairman, brought up the Report from, and laid upon the Table the Evidence taken before the Select Committee appointed, on the 8th November last, to inquire into the present state of the Native Police Force employed in the Colony, with a view to the improvement of its organization and management.
Ordered to be printed.
NATIVE POLICE FORCE.
The Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly, appointed on the 8th November last ,to inquire into the present state, of the Native Police Force employed in the Colony, with a view to the improvement of its organization and management;" and for whose consideration were referred certain "papers relating to the management of the Native Police Force in the Northern Districts," have agreed to the following Report:—
Impressed with the serious importance of providing protection for life and property, from the outrages and depredations of the Aborigines, so urgently claimed by the settlers residing in the unsettled parts of the Colony, and more particularly those, inhabiting the outskirts or frontiers of those districts which have been most recently opened to occupation, your Committee, in pursuance of the duty devolving upon them, to inquire into the present state of the Native Police Force, with a view to the improvement of. its organization and management, have availed themselves of the evidence of the undermentioned witnesses:—
1. Francis Nicoll, Esq., J.P., Lieutenant of Native Police, Wandai Gambul. ■
2. William Colburn Mayne, Esq., Auditor General, late Inspector General of
3. Charles Archer, Esq., J.P., of Gracemein, Fitz Roy River, Port Curtis District.
4. Charles Leith Hay, Esq., J.P., of Rannes, Leichhardt District.
5. Colin John Mackenzie, Esq., J.P., of Wanna Wanna, Darling Downs.
6. Richard Purvis Marshall, Esq,, J.P., late Acting Commandant Native Police.
7. William Thomas Elliott, Esq., Fitz Roy River, Port Curtis District. -
8. Robert Strathdee, Esq., of Coranga, Burnett District
9. Richard Purvis Marshall, Esq., J.P., second examination.
10. Henry Hort Brown Esq., late of Gayndah, Burnett District.
11. Arthur Brown, Esq., of Gin Gin, Wide Bay District.
12. A. Orpen Moriarty, Esq., of the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands Department. .
13. William Forster, Esq., M.P., formerly a resident in the Wide Bay District.
14. Gideon Scott Lang, Esq., M.P., formerly a resident in the Murrumbidgee District.
15. Richard Bligh, Esq., J.P.., Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Clarence
16. John M'Lerie, Esq., J.P., Inspector General of Poliee.
Your Committee would, at this stage of their Report, remark, that the difficulty of obtaining the evidence of witnesses before the Committee, practically conversant with the subject of the Native Police at so great a distance from the localities where the force is employed; has, for the present; prevented their prosecuting a more extensive examination of evidence on this very important subject. Their investigation, however, as far as it has gone, has furnished a very considerable amount of evidence of a practical character, from which your Committee will proceed to draw their deductions, which they are desirous should be submitted to your Honorable House before the Estimates of Expenditure for 1857 are brought under consideration; and in the absence of further viva voce evidence, they are desirous of drawing the attention of your Honorable House the means afforded them of examining the written testimony furnished in the answers to a Circular addressed by their Chairman to his constituents residing in the Northern Districts, and others acquainted with the requirements of those Districts. A copy of the Circular, with the Questions to which, the Answers referred to are given, is hereto appended:__
" Ipswich, Moreton Bay,
14 July, 1856.
" The difficulty of organizing a Public Meeting of the Inhabitants of these scattered Districts has suggested the step of inviting those interested in the important question of the Native Police Force, to express their opinions in writing on the subject, and your favouring me with answers to the annexed questions, and with any information or suggestions you may deem useful for the better organization of the Force, will be esteemed of service.
,Your answer, addressed to me at the Legislative Assembly Chambers, Sydney, will oblige.
" I am, Sir,
Your faithful Servant
" GORDON SANDEMAN."
" Proposed :—-Fifteen men for each section, to be divided into two detachments of six each, allowing three men to be left at Barracks for sickness and accidents. One officer for each detachment; each officer to be independent of the other, and responsible for his own particular charge. The whole of the Native Police Force to be under the superintendence of a Local Inspector-General or Commandant, whose duty it should be, frequently, to inspect the various sections, to be assisted, if necessary, by a Deputy Inspector, or Assistant Commandant.
" Each Trooper to be furnished with two serviceable horses; two pack-horses and gear for each section. Each section to have attached to it a Farrier, or man capable of shoeing horses and keeping the Saddlery, &c., in order, and taking charge of, and issuing Stores at the different Barracks."
" Are you of opinion that it is absolutely essential an Officer should be immediately appointed to the Local Superintendence of the Native Police Force, either as Commandant or Inspector, or both ?
"Do you consider that an augmentation of the Corps is essential not only to the interests as at present existing, but to the future progress and security of the frontier Districts; and to what extent in each District should such augmentation be made ? and will you have the goodness to make any suggestions you consider may be of service to the future management of the Force, either as regards the general supervision or details of management.''
The Circular referred to was addressed to the undermentioned persons, from whom answers have been received:—
Name. ° District.
1. John Balfour, Esq., J.P. ... ......... Moreton.
2. Messrs. Robert and Bryce Barker ... ... ... Burnett.
3. Joshua Peter Bell, Esq., J.P....... ... Darling Downs
4. James Bennett, Esq. ... ... ... ... Do.
5. Henry Boyle, Esq., Commissioner of Crown Lands Maranoa.
6. Henry Hort Brown, Esq. ... ... ... ... Burnett.
7. Thomas R. Boulton, Esq....... ... ... Leichhardt. : ..
8. J. D. Bushnan, Esq. ... . ..; ... Darling Downs.
9. Pollet Carden, Esq.-, J.P. ... ... ...... Leichhardt.
10. A. W. Compigne, Esq. ... ... ...... Moreton.
11. John Ferrett, Esq., J.P. ... / ... ,.. ... Darling Downs.
12. F. A. Forbes, Esq....... Moreton.
13. H. B. Fitz, Esq............. ... Darling Downs.
14. William O'Grady Haly, Esq., J. P. ... ... Burnett.
15. Charles Robert Haly, Esq. .. ......... Leichhardt.
16.-Frederick R. Hutchinson, Esq. ... ... ... - Wide Bay.
17. Matthew Goggs, Esq, ............ Darling Downs.
.18. W. P. Gordon, Esq. ......... ... Do.
19. Lieut.-Col Gray, Police Magistrate ... ... Ipswich.
20. Clark Irving, Esq., M.L.A. ......... Richmond River.
.21. Joseph King, Esq. ... ...... ... ... Leichhardt.
22. W. F Kennedy, Esq. ........ ... Darling Downs.
53. Messrs. J. and J. Landsborough........ Wide Bay.
24. Messrs. B. A. and H. Lawson......... ... Burnett.
J25. Clement Lawless, Esq. ............ Burnett.
26. Colin John Mackenzie Esq., Esq.. .. ... Darling Downs.
27. D. Mactaggart, Esq. ......... ... Wide Bay.
28. Thomas De Lacy Moffiit, Esq., J.P, ..... .Darling Downs.
;29. Francis Nicoll, Esq. JP.......... ... Do.
30. P. J. Pigott, Esq., J.P. Burnett.
31. B. B. Ridley Esq..J.P. ............ Do.
32. Fredk. W. Roch, Esq. ......... ... Darling Downs.
33. Messrs. C.J. and E,M. Boyds J.P....... Leichhardt.
34. Messrs. R. and W. Strathdee ...... ... Burnett.
35., John Scott, Esq. ... :. ...... ... ... Leichhardt.
36. Simon Scott, Esq. .. ;, ... ... ...... Moreton.
37. Alfred Sandeman, Esq. J.P. ......... Darling Downs.
38..James Taylor, Esq.,............. Do.
39. Joseph Thompson, Esq: ........... .Leichhardt.
40.Honorable Robert Tooth, Esq., M.L.C. ... ... Darling Downs
41. Wm. Henry Walsh Esq. JP..... Burnett.
42. J.Ker Wilson, Esq., J.P......... ...... Darling Downs.
43. .William Henry Yaldwyn, Esq. ... ... ... Leichhardt.
The above cited list includes, it will be perceived, the names of ,forty three persons, all of whom, with one or two exceptions, have answered the questions proposed emphatically in the affirmative, while the greater number have enlarged upon the subject submitted to their consideration, by throwing out various suggestions, having for their object improvement n the management of the Native Police Force.
From the various evidence adduced, your Committee are of opinion, that the maintenance of the Native Police in such force, as to meet not only the requirements as at present existing, but the progressive wants of that widely extended class of the community, the frontier occupants, is absolutely requisite for the protection of life and property, and is essential as a most valuable adjunct to the pioneering energies of the extreme outlying districts with the progress of which great producing interests of the Country are so intimately connected, and on the advancement and prosperity of which those interests are so largely dependant.
Before proceeding to .make the recommendations which the Evidence before them enables your Committee to offer, they deem it proper to bring under review, as briefly as the circumstances will permit, a few prominent points in the past history of the Native Police Force, with the object of better elucidating .the grounds on which your Committee feel justified in proposing the recommendations for the better organization and improvement of the Force, which they are prepared to submit to your Honorable House.
It appears from the Evidence before your Committee that, previously to the Native Police being introduced into the Northern Districts of the Colony, the outrages committed by the blacks in the outlying districts were of frequent occurrence, extending to murder as well as the the destruction of stock to a great extent. That, although the Native Police Force, then only recently raised, was not, as could scarcely be expected in a recently organised body, and so composed, in such a perfect state of efficiency, as under proper management there was no reason to doubt it might have attained. That body after its introduction into the troubled districts, effected a great amount of good in checking the lawless state of outrage on the part of the native blacks that had previously existed; and although it does appear complaints existed that some portion of the Wide Bay District did not receive the same amount of protection as others, your Committee are inclined to attribute such neglect in a measure to the same serious fault on the part of the first Commandant, then perhaps partially betraying itself, to which so much reference is made in the Evidence before them, as well as probably to the weakness of the Force, and to the absence of such a distribution over a widely extended space, as a more matured experience would have dictated; and taking the aggregate result of the effects produced by the presence of the Native Police Force, your Committee are of opinion, that a far greater amount of life must have been sacrificed, and a much greater extent of property destroyed, had the Native Police Force not been established in the most recently occupied districts and those immediately adjoining. But while your Committee believe that much good was effected by the presence of the Native Police in the districts referred to, they are of opinion that a far greater amount of benefit might have been effected had the capabilities of the Force been properly developed and directed, which they are of opinion was not the case,—for with the difficulties naturally existing of perfecting the effectiveness of a recently raised body, composed of such novel material, to the management of which, perhaps, the majority of the officers had previously been totally unaccustomed,—there appears to have existed for a very considerable time, within the Force itself, an abuse quite sufficient to have rendered ineffective a body or men far more intelligent than a corps composed of native blacks. It appears that intemperate habits on the part of the Commandant had existed for some years—that frequent complaints of misconduct, arising out of, those habits on the part of the Commandant, had been made' to the Government by respectable residents, including Magistrates of the Districts,—but that no effectual steps were taken to remedy the abuse complained of, until the Officers of the Force themselves, after a long period of hesitation, arising from causes which are detailed in the Evidence before your Committee, were compelled to complain to the Government of the day,—and not till then were any. effectual steps adopted to put a stop to an abuse so glaring, and so obstructive of all discipline and efficiency. The course thus, at last, forced upon the Government, was the institution of a Commission of Inquiry, and the consequence was the dismissal of the Commandant. The next step that appears to have been taken in the administration of the Force, was the abolition of the office of Commandant. In the Evidence before your Committee there is no just reason or grounds shown for the adoption of such a measure, and the great body of the Evidence taken, with the exception of that of Captain Mayne, under whose control the Force was at the time, combines to condemn that measure as subversive of the efficiency of the Force, and strongly to recommend the appointment of an Officer to fulfil the duties of the local head, as Inspector or Commandant.
Your Committee will only briefly allude to another measure adopted in the administration of the Force, viz.,—the reduction of the Force from its former strength of one hundred and thirty-six men to seventy-two men, the present nominal strength of the Force. No reason has been adduced to account for such a step having been taken, while the Evidence before your Committee tends to shew that that reduction (in conjunction, doubtless, with the impaired efficiency of the Force consequent upon the abolition of the Commandantship,) has been productive of very serious results, in an increase in the number of murders committed since the reduction took place; and not only is the loss of life thus occasioned to be deplored, but the important consideration is involved in the measure that the occupation of the frontier country, and development of its resources, the spread of population, and the advancement of the productive interests, have been seriously checked, and are still being retarded by the absence of the requisite protection.
On the whole, your Committee are prepared to state to your Honorable House, as the result of all the investigation they have been able to bring to bear upon the important subject before them, and after the most mature consideration : That throughout the whole mass of Evidence adduced there does not appear the least ground to question, or even to indicate, a doubt of the capabilities and adaptation of the Native Police Force for the duties for which that body was originally raised; but, on the contrary, that, under proper provisions and judicious management and direction, such a Force is admirably adapted to protect life and property, and materially to assist the progress of the settler in the unsettled frontier districts.
That the abuses and want of protection that have been complained of latterly have arisen—
1st. From the weakness of the Force.
2nd. An ineffective or improper distribution of it; and that the inefficiency of the Force has been greatly increased by the absence of a Local Officer, as Inspector or Commandant, to supervise and control the Conduct of the Force generally—a duty the more imperative from the fact of many of the officers being young men with but limited experience, and a few of them, it is feared, with habits not improved by the force of example so long permitted to remain unchecked on the part of the former Commandant. Your Committee, therefore, convinced of the urgent importance of the subject, and confirmed in their views by the Evidence before them, will now proceed to submit to your Honorable House their earnest recommendation.
1st.—That there be appointed an Officer to undertake the local charge of the Native Police in the Northern Districts, as Commandant and Inspector, who shall be responsible to the Government for the efficiency and proper conduct of the Force, and whose duty it should be to inspect, from time to time, the various detachments, or bodies comprising the whole Force in the Northern Districts, and whose duty it should further be to control and regulate the movements and distribution of the Force; and considering the past irregularities which have already been referred to, your Committee recommend, that while the entire control and direction of the Force should be in the hands of the Commandant and Inspector alone, in whose hands, also, should rest the power of appointing Officers to the Force, subject to the approval of the Government—that Officer shall render to the .Executive Officer of Government to whose department the Native Police Force shall be attached, Monthly Reports, to be transmitted through the Bench of Magistrates nearest to the locality where the Commandant and Inspectors shall happen to be at the time when such Monthly Report shall be due; and that such Reports may be accompanied by any Minutes that may seem to the Bench to be desirable to make on said Reports, and that copies of any such Minutes shall be transmitted to the Commandant and Inspector by the Bench; and in event of any complaint being made - against the conduct or proceedings of the. Commandant and Inspector,. such complaint shall be referred to a Bench of Magistrates near to which the cause of complaint in question shall have occurred. |
2nd.—Your Committee recommend—as the duties of the Officer proposed to be appointed as Commandant and Inspector would, necessarily be of an itinerating nature, and prevent him remaining stationary at any given spot, and attending properly to the clerical duties in detail, including accounts of the Force-—that an Officer should be attached to the Department of the Native Police in the capacity of Secretary or Clerk, whose duty it should be to undertake the correspondence and attend to the accounts, and other clerical business of the Force, and whose place of residence should be fixed at some central locality, where, also, should be fixed the head quarters of the Commandant and Inspector.
3rd.—Your Committee recommends as absolutely essential to the due effectiveness of the Native Police Force— ;
That the Force for the service of the Northern Districts consist of not less than 120 Troopers, to be divided into bodies or Detachments of about 10 men each; say effective men 100 and to supply casualties by sickness or otherwise, allowing 2 men for each detachment 20 : in all 120
4th.—Your Committee recommends that while the Native Police should be employed principally as a patrolling Force, there should be main Camps formed for each body or detachment, to be fixed in localities the most central in each outlying district or portion of district where such detachments shall be stationed; and that such main Camps should he formed in number and in the districts named as follows:—
Leichhardt.............................. 4 main Camps.
Port Curtis ...........,................ 1 „
Maranoa and Lower Condamine...... 2 „
Burnett and Wide Bay............... 1 „
Moreton ..............,i................. I „
Clarence and Macleay................. 1 „
in all 10: and that to each main Camp there should be attached an Officer as Camp Sergeant, whose duty it should be to issue and attend to the stores, keep the saddlery in order, and, if practicable, to be able to shoe the horses, and generally to assist the Officer in charge of detachment in drilling and exercising the Troopers.
5th.—Your Committee recommend that the number and respective grades of Officers in the Force should be fixed as follows, viz.:—
3 First lieutenants, .
11 Second Lieutenants.
The existence of the grades as recommended in the Department your Committee are of opinion is most advisable; as, in a prospect of promotion an encouragement is held out to increased, exertion on .the part of the junior Officers of the Force and on the like principle, your Committee recommend that the pay of the different grades of Officers should be fixed and apportioned. Your Committee, while they would merely remark that the Evidence is conclusive as to the propriety of. abolishing the grade of Sergeant, have not recommended that the grade of Sub-Lieutenant should be continued; being of opinion, that the amount of .responsibility devolving upon a Native Police Officer is far too serious and important to be extended to a grade hitherto generally composed of very young men, or filled by a class of persons, not more, efficient than could be expected the low rate of salary attached to the office would induce to enter—what is in reality a very arduous service. Your Committee have. therefore proposed, that the Officers should principally consist of Second Lieutenants, a grade, for which if proper remuneration is appropriated, it is to be hoped would be filled by. persons fitted by character and competency for its responsible duties.
6th.—The distribution of the Force your Committee recommend should be adopted as set forth in the following scale,— leaving any future alteration in its distribution to the discretion and control of the Commandant and Inspector; viz:—
1. Commandant and. Inspector.
1. Secretary or Clerk. . . .
1. Second Lieutenant.
12. Troopers. .- . .
I. Camp Sergeant.
(Including the whole of the Upper Barwon.)
5. Second Lieutenants.
4. Camp Sergeants.
WIDE BAY AND BURNETT.
1. Second Lieutenant.
1. Camp Sergeant.
MARANOA AND LOWER CONDAMINE, DARLING DOWNS.
' 2. Second Lieutenants. .
2. Camp Sergeants.
1. Second Lieutenant
1. Camp Sergeant.
CLARENCE AND McLEAY.
1. Second Lieutenant.
1. Camp Sergeant.
7th.__With reference to the Native Police Force employed in the Southern Districts, your Committee are of opinion, after having investigated the evidence before them on that branch of the service, that the Native Police are not now required in the District of Murrumbidgee, for the purpose for which the force was originally raised and intended; and as the duties, to which its services are now devoted, belong to the ordinary Constabulary of the district, your Committee recommend that the force now employed there should be withdrawn - to the number of 12 Troopers and the Sergeants attached—and that the services of said Troopers should be transferred to the Force stationed in the Northern Districts; and as according to the evidence before them, the Native Police is still required in the Albert and Lower Darling Districts, for the purposes of protection against the Aborigines, they recommend that the Force to be employed in those districts should consist as follows, viz.:—
1. Second Lieutenant.
1. Second Lieutenant.
In comparing the proposed amended Estimate with the sum placed on the Estimates of Expenditure for 1857, for the service of the Southern Districts, there will be a considerable reduction apparent.
After taking into account the probable reduction contemplated, there will be a large increase in the estimate for the Native Police for the Northern Districts; and in conclusion your Committee beg leave to state, that while they have been desirous in the consideration of the subject, to which they have devoted much serious attention, to advise and adopt the strictest economy consistent with efficiency, they have no hesitation, bearing fully in mind the important interests involved, strongly to recommend to the approval of your Honorable House the alterations and increase they have felt it their duty to propose for the Service— the improvement, of the organization and management of which was referred by your Honorable House for their consideration and report. , '
Legislative Assembly Chamber,
28 January, 1857.
NEW SOUTH WALES.
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
TAKEN BEFORE THE
Native Police Force
WEDNESDAY, 19 NOVEMBER, 1856.
Mr. BUCKLEY, Mr. FORSTER, Mr. HELY, Mr. LANG, Mr. Wm. MACLEAY,
GORDON SANDEMAN, Esquire, in the Chair.
Francis Nicoll, ;Esq., J.P., called in and examined:—
1. By the Chairman : You are an officer of the Native Police ? Yes.
2. Where are you stationed ? At Wandai Gumbal, on the Tchanning.
3. You are in the District of Darling Downs ? The building which constitutes my 'headquarters actually stands in the Darling Downs' District, but that is not the District where most of my work lays. It is only because I happen to be on one side of the creek, instead of the other, that I am in the Darling Downs. '
4. How many men have you under: your charge ? Twelve at present, and there are six men on the Dawson, at Palmtree Creek, whom I have to visit occasionally, because it is too far for the officer in charge of the Leichhardt District, Mr. Murray, to inspect them. I have to go over the range and inspect these men, though they are not in my district.
5. Then you have eighteen men altogether under your orders? I have nineteen altogether, for there is one I keep and pay myself because he is too good a man to lose.
6. What district or extent of country do you consider under your charge ? I am supposed by the Government to keep the country quiet as far as Dray ton, which would be utterly impossible were the blacks not quiet in that direction.
7. On the other side, how far does it extend? On the other side it is illimitable.
8. You are supposed to have the Maranoa in your district ? Yes, and the Fitz Roy Downs: When the Force was stronger we were supposed to look after the upper part of the Balonne.
9. With these eighteen men you have charge of the whole of the Upper Dawson ? Yes, but six of these men do not belong to me; I only look after them, because it is too far for Mr. Murray to come to inspect them ; it would take him a fortnight to ride to them if he rode night and day ; I can get to them in about four days.
10. Then, in fact, under your immediate command there only twelve men ? Only twelve men.
11. And with these twelve men you are supposed to protect the country extending all over the Maranoa? Yes, and the Fitz Roy Downs, and up to Drayton.
12. By Mr. Macleay: Have you any idea of the number of the Native Police Force altogether? It has been so reduced that I do not know the number now. I think there are now seventy-two altogether : Mr. Murray has twenty-four in the Leichhardt District; there are twenty-four in the Wide Bay and, Burnett; I have twelve; arid there are twelve on the Clarence.
13. By the Chairman: Within what time has the Force been reduced—within eighteen months? About eighteen months.
14. How many men had you in your section previous to the reduction ? Twenty-four. We always, at Wandai Gumbal, kept a supernumerary in the section in case of sickness in the Force; what will keep twelve men will keep thirteen. One thing the Government makes no allowance for is, that out of seventy-two men there are sure to be some of them sick. Wandai Gumbal ten of them not able to move, and at other times I have had them all well. The men that were brought from the southward with Mr. Walker, the original Commandant, are very subject to fever and ague, which my northern troopers do not suffer from.
15. Did you consider twenty-four men sufficient protection for the country under your charge? Yes; but I considered they were very improperly placed.
I6. If they had been properly placed, would they have been sufficient for the purpose? Yes, .if one of the Sub-lieutenants had been regularly stationed on the Balonne with eight men, and relieved every three months.
17. By Mr Hely : Have you ever known any instance of native troopers being sent out by themselves without even a white Sergeant with them ? Yes; I did it. I was left for some months without a Sergeant; my Sergeant became deranged, and I got rid of him on the 27th January. I was left from that time to the 22nd July without an European, in charge of a large district and whenever I sent out my troopers in this way, I took care that there were no blacks in the vicinity. I told them to go about from place to place and make camps, because when the blacks see the camps they conclude we are out patrolling, and go back again.
18. Have you ever known an instance in which native troopers sent out by themselves have attacked and shot other blacks ? No; but I have heard it ,was once done before I joined the Force.
19. By the Chairman .-.Do you approve of the abolition of the grade of Sergeant and the substitution of that of Sub-lieutenant ? Yes. We never could get Sergeants latterly that we could trust out of our sight; if there was a keg of grog in the district they were sure to get at it, and then they would leave the troopers to shift for themselves; they would not even get the men their rations.
20. You think it is a grade not applicable to the service? No; because the troopers do not pay so much attention to men of that class as they do to their Lieutenants. The Government wrote to us to say that we might make any appointments we chose; but if we got a good bushman, the chances were that he could not read and write, and then he could not manage the ration accounts; and if he could read and write, most likely he was a drunkard; so that we were between two stools; but I do not think the Sub-lieutenants can live on the pay they have at present.
21. The appointment of Commandant was done away with some two years ago ? Yes.
22. Do you consider the Force has been improved or otherwise since that step was taken? I think it has deteriorated very much ; but I should like to qualify that remark, by saying that it was getting very bad under the former Commandant Mr. Walker—on account of his intemperate habits; if he had kept steady it would have been quite a different Force. Mr. Marshall had so short a time that he had not time to get things in order; he was hardly in charge before they abolished the office; he had no chance at all.
23. What do you consider should be the duties of the Commandant or Inspector ? I think a Commandant should interfere very little with the officers, unless any of them should be guilty of a very great breach of duty, because the Commandant cannot know so much as the officer in command of the District, what the native tribes are likely to do. I think the Commandant should see particularly to the forwarding of supplies. As the Force is at present constituted, it does not matter whether flour is £10 or £100 a ton; it must be bought just when it is wanted; but when flour is low why cannot a supply be laid in. When I wrote to Captain Mayne for permission to purchase flour, he wrote back to say, that he considered the purchase of flour in such large quantities as a ton at a time very objectionable. However, I had half a ton, at about £26, and the next time I wanted flour it was at £68 a ton. I think the greatest benefit to be derived from the appointment of an Inspector or Commandant would be, that he would see the supplies forwarded to the proper stations, because at present it may happen that I get another Lieutenant's tea and he gets my tobacco, and so on; and sometimes we do not get our supplies at all. As an illustration of the way : in which matters are managed now, I may mention, that when a Sub-lieutenant was sent to Wandai Gumbal, on the Lower Condamine, or towards the borders of Maranoa, he was sent to Grafton by the Clarence steamer.
24. In the absence of supplies, you have to pay much higher prices to the neighbouring settlers? A great deal. ' I can shew accounts in which I have been charged a shilling a pound for flour.
25. How many men should be in each detachment ? That would depend greatly upon the district. I think six men are too few for any detachment; because, if you have two sick at a time, which is not unlikely, you cannot do anything with four men.
26. What number do you think sufficient for a detachment? I think the smallest detachment should be eight; and then, allowing two for sickness and casualties, there would always be six fit for duty.
27. If you had a detachment of eight men, would you have any man to leave in charge of the stores? I think there should be an European for that purpose. When I was left by myself for five months, as I have before mentioned, whenever I went away I had to leave the men their rations for each day made up separately in paper bags; and if I happened to be detained longer than I expected, when I came back their rations were out, and they had helped themselves from the stores, for of course they could not starve.
28. By Mr. Lang: Then you would have a white man to each detachment, to weigh out the rations and take charge of the stores ?. Yes.
29. Would he have no other duty ? If we could get a handy man, who could shoe horses and stuff a saddle, to fill up his time, it would be a great advantage. At present, I have to send such of my horses as want shoeing all the way to Myall Creek, and when they come back their shoes are nearly worn out again; some horses must be shod, as you are aware.
30. What sort of a man would you get, and what wages would you pay him ? I do not think we could get a man up there at all; it would be easier to get him down here.
31. The blacks round about Wandai Gumbal are quite quiet now, I suppose? In the immediate neighbourhood they are.
32. Are they quiet round the head of the Yulbar ? No; that is about the worst place in the district to get at them.
33. How far is that place from your station ? About twenty-five miles, as the crow flies.
34 How far to the westward are the blacks quiet? I think if the barracks were moved further out, they would be quiet a long way back—say to the Bungle.
35. You think, if you moved on to the Bungle, they would be quiet all behind you? There would be no difficulty behind. There is one place on the Tchanning, viz., Bogandilla, where Mr; Kettle who was killed by the blacks built a station, close under the range, where I do not think they will ever be quiet.
36. Do you not think that if the country is to be put to the expense of putting up another barracks, it would be advisable to move on ahead still further than the Bungle, so that you would then command a larger extend of country behind you as well as in front ? That would be of no use, unless we could arrange with settlers to move out and occupy the country at the same time.
37. Are there not settlers on the Bungle ? I am not aware of any.
38. Does it not strike you that if the head quarters are to be removed and another station built, it should be placed in such a position that it would protect the settlers who might go out into the new district beyond the Bangle, and beyond the Maranoa? You would then leave a great deal of country unprotected down towards the south.
39. In which, I suppose, you. would place detachments ? That would be very well if you gave us men enough.
40. If you only move to the Bungle, people will soon push out ahead of yon again, and when you go to the expense of moving from Wandai Gumbal------? You forget that the station at Wandai Gumbal cost the Government nothing; the squatters put it up themselves.
41. But they are not likely to do the same again, and it is evident this movement would cause additional expense. However, I suppose if you had to supply detachments for the whole frontier of that new district, you must have more men ? Yes; twelve men cannot do it.
42. Do yon think that if you had the whole number of your former command, twenty-four men, with sub-officers, so that you could place detachments at the necessary points, your head-quarters should be further out than the Bungle? Yes, I would go as far as I could, then.
43. How far is this place that you propose removing to from the Balonne ? I only proposed removing to this place with twelve men ; if you give us more men we would move further out at once. I would then send a detachment of eight men to the Balonne, and change them every three months; but, with twelve men, I could not do that. We should have enough to ' to do to save ourselves with only twelve men, if we moved out so far. If I went out, I should never expect to find the barracks in existence, on my return.
44. By the Chairman: Supposing the number of men belonging to your section to be twenty- four, how many horses would you give them ? They should have two each. We have been I only allowed one to each man, but it is absurd.
45. You would require some pack horses? Yes; there should be two pack horses to twelve men. We have nothing but bush feed, and that is not very plentiful at times, so that we must have a good number of horses; besides the horses being loose in the bush are constantly missing.
46. By Mr. Lang: Have you ever had a paddock put up at Wandai Gumbal ? No; I do not think there is a paddock at any Native Police Station, unless Mr. Murray has one at Port Curtis.
47. Could you not get the blacks themselves to put up a sapling yard? If they had somebody to direct them, they might; but I do not know that I could teach them. '
48. By the Chairman : You consider that the local Commandant or Inspector should have the supervision of the whole Force ? Yes. We did not know at times to whom we ought to write, whether to Capt. O'Connell, Capt. Mayne, or Mr. Marshall.
49. By Mr. Buckley : Where do you think would be the best locality for the Commandant to be stationed? I think he ought to have a place at Wide Bay, and a place at Brisbane— I mean some place to put his stores in; he might make arrangements with some storekeeper to give him room for them. The Inspector or Commandant ought to have some place wherehe could store up flour when it was cheap.
50. Which would be the most central spot for a depot? He could not get one, because my stores, for instance, have to be shipped to Brisbane; Mr. Murray's to Port Curtis; and Mr Morrisett's to Wide Bay.
51. Supposing yon wanted to communicate officially, which would be the most convenient position for the Commandant ? Brisbane, because the posts are so regular there.
52. By Mr. Lang: I suppose you are acquainted with the country between the Dawson and the coast, and between the Burnett arid Wide Bay? Very slightly. I was on the Burnett for a short time after I went down, bat all the rest of the time I have been on the Lower Condamine.
53. What number of men would be required to take charge of the country between the Dawson and the Burnett ? Twenty-four is the present number, as far as I have understood.
54. Do yon think they are sufficient for the purpose ? I am not sure, but I have always understood the officers were satisfied with that number.
55. They are placed in detachments, are they not ? There are six or eight men on the Burnett, but I do not know where Mr. Morrisett has the others.
56. Do you know where the head quarters are ? He is putting up a hut or two, I believe, in some central place; but, until lately, he has had no barracks at all.
57. Yon mentioned just now, as one of the duties or the Commandant, that he would be able to see that stores were regularly supplied to the different sections of the Force—do you not think arrangements to meet that object could be made with some storekeeper in each district ? We used to have some arrangement of that sort, but at times we have been starving.
58. Settlers have no difficulty in procuring supplies ? I beg your pardon, I have seen all the shepherds and hutkeepers of the district where I was on a ration of half a pound of rice a day because there was no flour to be had in the district.
59. By The Chairman: Do you consider, from your knowledge of the country, that a Native Police Force is required in the Clarence .District ? I do not know the Clarence, but the blacks never seem to commit any murders there. I am always satisfied if I can protect human life. I do not think you can expect to prevent the blacks taking an odd sheep, or a bullock or two, now and then.
60. By Mr. Lang: Are the settlers themselves satisfied with that way of doing business ? I have always heard them say so—I do not mean rushing the cattle and disturbing the main camps, or taking off a flock of sheep.
Although not given in actual evidence, I should much desire that the following remarks be printed with the questions and answers before given.
The number of officers at present in command of the different detachments of Native-Police, is so small, that a newly appointed Sub-lieutenant has to proceed at once to his own individual command. As a necessary consequence, he is at the mercy of his troopers, who, taking advantage of his ignorance, do whatever they choose. The appointment of another officer would enable the Sub-lieutenant last appointed to learn his duties under an experienced Lieutenant, before he undertakes a separate command.
19 November 1856
W C Mayne William Colburne Mayne, Esq., Auditor General, late Inspector General of Police;.
Esq. called in and examined:—
1. By the Chairman: As Inspector General of Police you had the Native Police Force under your charge for some time ? Yes, since the middle of 1855.
2. Did. your duty in that respect commence before or after the abolition of the office of Commandant ? My taking charge of it was with the understanding that the office was to be abolished.
3. Do you consider that the abolition of that office has tended to increase the usefulness of the Force, or otherwise ? I think it was an office that it was perfectly justifiable to dispense with as not being necessary.
4. And, from your experience in the management of the Force up to the time when you gave up the control of it, were you still of that opinion ? Quite of that opinion
5. Will you be good enough to state some of your reasons for forming that opinion? I think the means of communication with the central authority in Sydney are very nearly as great as for communicating with any Commandant. In fact, it being known that the central authority can always be communicated with, and is always there, presents a facility which does not exist in the other case, because the Incus in quo of the Commandant could never be. known to any of the officers of the Force. My view is that there is nothing to prevent the Corps being directed in the same way as the Mounted Police Corps was directed, each officer being made strictly responsible for his own command in his own district, but being compelled, to act in co-operation and in unity with the officers in contiguous districts. ] .
6.An alteration has been made recently, I believe, by which the grade of Sergeant was done away with, and that of Sub-lieutenant substituted ? Yes. It was represented by the Officersthat making it a rank which gentlemen would hold would afford facilities for getting a class than could be obtained for the rank of non-commissioned officers. I saw force in the reason; it was one that I quite concurred in, and on that ground I recommended the alteration. In fact,. I may say it was impossible to get men as Sergeants in the least approaching to efficiency.
7. Do you believe that the appointment of Sub-lieutenants has worked well in the management of the Force ? I have no means of judging, because I have had no reports one way or the other.
8. What is your opinion of the number of men required for the District of Leichhardt including; Port Curtis ? I originally proposed the strength of the Force there as it is at present; a Lieutenant, a second Lieutenant, two Sub-lieutenants, and twenty-four troopers. I subsequently saw reason to advise that there should be an increase of a few troopers, to meet contingencies of accident and sickness; but, there being no provision to enable that to be done, it was not done. I would always wish to have the division of the effective strength of twenty-four troopers.
9. Are you aware of the extent of country that body would be expected to protect 5] Not the whole extent. But the principle I have always endeavoured to carry out has be on that the duties of the Native Police ought to be confined to the protection of the white population on the extreme limits of the frontier districts. That was the view taken by the Legislature, (see Parliamentary Votes and Proceedings, ....find date) and it was one which, I confess, I concurred in.
10. By Mr. Lang: If twenty-four troopers are necessary for the protection of that district,, how many do you suppose would be sufficient for the protection of the Maranoa and the country beyond it—it would require twenty-four also, I suppose? No, twelve. |
11. There are twelve there now ? Yes. -
12. Do you think twelve men are sufficient to protect the Balonne—where the blacks are and always have been troublesome—and also to protect the country to the north bf the Balonne ? I have had nothing before me to lead me to suppose the contrary.
13. You are not aware that there is a Petition now before the Assembly on the subject of the outrages in the Maranoa District ? I am not aware of it.
14. There is a detachment on the Darling ? Not belonging to the Native Police Corps.
15. Where are the detachments that were under your control—where were they placed ? The division for the Clarence was stationed on the Clarence River as their head quarters.
16. What was the Force of that division ? One Second Lieutenant, one Sub-lieutenant, and twelve troopers.
17. That at Wide Bay and the Burnett you have described already ? No; that was the Port Curtis and Leichhardt division ; but the strength of the Wide Bay and Burnett Corps is just the same. :
18. I suppose you hold it as a principle that the Native Police should move on further into the interior as population advances ? Yes.
19. I believe there is a proposition before you to move the detachment at Wandai Gumbal . out farther ? Yes, about fifty miles.
20. Do you think it is worth while to move them fifty miles, bearing in mind the expense of establishing a new station, and the probability that they would soon have to move on again ? I think not. That is exactly the principle on which I declined to recommend the removal.
21. You are aware that the Bungle—to which it is proposed they should remove—forms part of the district they are now protecting I have understood so.
22. And you think it would not be worth while to go to the expense of moving the detachment so short a distance ? I think 80—that it would not justify the expense. I think it better to wait until the necessity arises for their removal to a greater distance onward. Then they should remove, but not before.
23. This Maranoa country extends only to the Ambie and the Grafton Range ? I believe so.
24. You are aware that as soon as another district is proclaimed beyond any of the existing boundaries, settlers immediately go and take up the country ? Yes.
25. The Maranoa country being now occupied, and the settlers anxious to go out into the country to the north, do you not think, if this detachment is to be moved at all, it should be moved far enough out to keep quiet not only the country that has been protected, but to be in a position to protect the settlers who go beyond them, and save the necessity for another removal a short time afterwards ? Certainly.
26. By Mr. Macleay: Do you think that each division of the Native Police should be under the command of an officer of their own ? Yes; I think so.
27. Then you disapprove of the system of placing them under the Commissioners of Crown Lands, as has been done in the southern districts? I have always understood that they have white Sergeants.
28. In the north country you have done away with white Sergeants altogether ? It is merely nominal; it is giving them a different name, because, the holders of these offices have to discharge precisely the same duties.
29. By Mr. Buckley : Do you think any Native Police Force is requisite on the Clarence? I was of opinion that they were not, but the representations made to me on the subject have been such that I have always felt a difficulty in withdrawing them, although I could hardly reconcile their remaining there with the view of the Legislature, in which, as I have said, I concurred. Although there has been no instance of loss of life in that district, there have been very serious outrages; two cases of rape have been reported; and there have been repeated remonstrances and calls from the residents of the Macleay District for the assistance of the detachment of Native Police from the Clarence.
30. Do you allude to depredations on stock? In the Macleay District there have been constant depredations on stock; and the nature of that country renders white men quite inefficient to stop them.
31. Do you not. think that what you have stated is sufficient to warrant the maintenance of a Force in that locality ? I have not refused to keep them there; I only said I had some difficulty in reconciling it with the view pf the Legislature and my own view. I never thought of withdrawing them. .
32. Are we to infer that you think they could be dispensed with ? I am not prepared to go to that extent. I should have hoped and expected that a district so long occupied would not have required them; but, as I have said, the representations from the Clarence and the Macleay are such that we do not feel justified in dispensing with them.
33. Do you think Port Curtis would be a good place for the head-quarters of the Native Police ? If the Force is handled and used as it should be, I think there never should be any permanent head-quarters. In the Port Curtis District I know they have had very serious collisions with the aborigines. I know they have dealt out very summary punishment to repress their outrages.
'34. Do you not think Port Curtis would be a better position than Brisbane for an officer to reside who might have the general command of the Force—that the head-quarters of the officer in command of the Force should be at Port Curtis ? The head-quarters of the present division are close to Gladstone. 3&. But the officer there, has not the supreme command of the whole Force ? No.
36. Would it not be more desirable to have a person, having the full command of the Force,, resident at Port Curtis instead of placing them under the orders of Captain Wickham, for instance, at Brisbane ? No, I do not think so. It would be very difficult for the other officers to communicate with Port Curtis,. I do not recognise the necessity for a Commandant of the Force at all. The principle I acted upon. with them was to place the. fullest and widest discretion in the hands of each officer, and to discourage and discountenance referring to me for instructions. I looked to them for the proper management of the men under their command, and for maintaining the peace pf their respective districts, holding them responsible for the exercise of. a. proper discretion.
37. Do you think it desirable to have a person resident at Gladstone for the purpose of the charge of all the stores ? No, I do not think it necessary. The stores for the PortCurtis District are sent to Gladstone, and the officer makes his own arrangements for their transmission.
38. Would it not be well to have a general store, at some central point, for the whole Force ? I think not. The stores must be sent to the respective ports of the districts.
39 We have been told that a person is required to look after the saddlery, and attend to stores of that kind—do you think there would be any economy in having a person of that kind attached to each division ? I do not think so.
40. By Mr. Lang: Do you think some of the blacks should be taught to do that? Yes; I have no doubt they could be taught to do everything but what a really competent saddler could do. You cannot, I think, throw these men too much upon their own resources.
41. By Mr. Buckley: There is great difficulty as to shoeing the horses, which are much distressed in consequence ? I know there is. If the country is a stony one, which I have reason to believe, there in a great difficulty, and one it is almost impossible to meet. I think it might be met to a certain degree by each detachment having shoeing tools, and a few spare shoes and nails with them, and some one of them being taught to put them on. I used to do it constantly myself when I was a Commissioner of Crown Lands. I used constantly to. shoe my own horses. In fact the putting on of the shoes is a thing that every person paying common attention to it can Soon do.
42. By the Chairman : In case of charges being made against any officer of Native Police, how would you propose to proceed with the inquiry when the Force is under the superintendence of an officer residing in Sydney? I would, in case of inquiry being necessary, have the Court held at whatever was the most convenient place where there were officers or gentlemen that could be made to constitute the inquiring body or commission. For instance, as regards the Clarence or the Maranoa, I would recommend that the inquiry should be held by the Government Resident at Brisbane; and in a case arising in the Port Curtis District, by the Police Magistrate at Gladstone. They might hold the inquiry, and transmit the depositions and proceedings, leaving the decision in the hands of the central authority in Sydney) of course subject to the control of the Executive.
43. By Mr. Forster: In speaking of the full discretion which yon would allow to the officers of Native Police in their respective districts, do you imply a discretion to execute warrants whether they please or not ? What description of warrants ?
44. Warrants by Magistrates ? Directed against whom ?
45. Against blacks? Of course they should execute warrants against aborigines, but still subject to a proper discretion in not interfering with other more important and pressing duties.
46. You would allow them a discretion as to the execution of warrants ? As to the immediate execution.
47. But you would! not allow them a discretion as to whether they would put these warrants in force or not at any time ? Certainly not.
48. Are you aware that warrants were issued and were never put in force during the time of Mr. Walker, and that the officers of the Native Police assumed a discretion of that sort? lam not aware of that. My knowledge of matters while the Force was under the control of Mr. Walker is very limited indeed. It is confined simply to matters that still required to be investigated after his dismissal—chiefly matters of account.
49. Are you aware of any case in which the Native Police were employed in the apprehension of white men, in pursuance of warrants issued under the Masters' and Servants' Act, or any other warrants. I am not aware of such a thing. I am aware that there was a com plaint from a settler that they connived at, or did not prevent, the absconding of a white man.
50. I think I gather that you are unfavourable to the Native Police being engaged in apprehending white men? Yes; it is outside the sphere of their proper duty; but in the case of the commission of actual crime, for instance, in a ease of murder, I think they ought to carry out the action of the law, to prevent the escape of the criminal.
51. Are you aware of the regulations that were imposed on the Native Police, in reference to their intercourse with the native tribes during your control of the Force? I recollect perfectly the instructions I gave, and particularly with reference to their interfering with the native women. I gave most positive instructions that they were not to be allowed to interfere with these women, and were not to have any of the women with them, except with the entire and full consent of the tribes, and the individual members of the tribes to whom they might be supposed to belong.
52. Do you know of any case, in the whole Native Police Force under your supervision, where the native women accompanied them all over the country? No, I am not aware of the fact; it has never came to my knowledge.
53. Respecting the permission implied in what you have said, as to the native women being with them with the consent of the tribes to which they belong, do you not think it possible that, although that consent of the tribe might be supposed, it might have been forced from them through fear of the Native Police? That was one of the things I called the attention of the officers' to. If it could have been possible to have prevented it altogether I would have done so, but under the circumstances, I could only endeavour to guard against the evils of the practice.
54. With regard to the late management, since the dismissal of Mr. Walker, have you any reason to believe that the efficiency of the Force has greatly improved, or what is your opinion of it? Everything I could collect from my correspondence with Mr. Marshall gave me the impression that he was a very active, anxious, and zealous officer, and that he carried; out his duty with benefit to the public.
55. My question implies no censure upon Mr. Marshall, but the system may be so bad that it is incapable of efficiency; I wish to know whether, by the substitution of Mr. Marshall for Mr. Walker any improvement has taken place ? I should think there has been improvement. The substitution of a man, such as I have described, for a man who had, to say the least, serious and glaring faults, must have been beneficial.
56. Have you any knowledge of the reasons that led the Government to maintain Mr. Walker in his position so long in opposition to the wishes of the inhabitants? I suppose they must have had a conviction of his competency, until the contrary was shown.
57. Have you had any evidence before you to shew how long his intemperate habits had prevailed ? No.
58. With regard to procuring horses for the Force, what regulations existed—I believe some sort of certificate is required ? The duty of purchasing horses devolved on the officer in charge of each division, and he was instructed to give his own certificate, and, if it were possible to obtain it, the certificate of some Magistrate, that the horses purchased were suitable ones.
59. Are you aware of any case in which a Magistrate gave certificates for some forty horses which had been procured during several weeks, from different individuals, and as to the serviceableness of which horses that Magistrate could not have had any knowledge ? No. I must conclude that a Magistrate signs bond fide, until the contrary is shewn.
60. Yon have had no complaints to that effect ? No.
61. What is your idea as to the relative expense of a Native Police Force, and a Force composed of white men, we will say similar numbers; do you think the expense of a Native Police Force would be smaller or greater than the expense of a body of white men ? Much. less, unquestionably.
62. Taking every circumstance into account, the wear and tear of accoutrements, for instance, may I ask you whether it would be greater ? The wear and tear of accoutrements is considerably greater in the case of a Native Police, no doubt; but the pay is very much less, in fact it is merely nominal, 3d. a day; while that of white men would not be less than 5s. 6d.per diem.
63. You think the efficiency you obtain from the Native Police is obtained at much less cost than it would be from white men? Yes, and the duty is one you could not get performed by white men. '
64. What would you think of the proposal to have a white mounted Police Force, smaller in number than the Native Police, attended by a certain number of blacks as trackers; what do you think would be the efficiency of a Force of that kind ? It would be more expensive, and I do not think it would be so efficient in dealing with the Aborigines when they come into collision, because the blacks would go into places where white men would be perfectly helpless:
65. Are you of opinion that the Native Police should be subject to the local authorities not connected with the central Government, or not ? Not unless the two Governments are separated; if they are, the Government at Brisbane would become a separate Government in itself. I think there ought to be an authority in some central place of Government to which the Native Police should be subject.
66. Do you think any officer in the nature of a municipal officer should have any authority over them? No, I do not.
67. You are of opinion that, in case of a separation of the Governments, Brisbane would be the proper place for the supreme authority over this Force ? I think so.
68. You think Brisbane a better place than either Gladstone or Maryborough ? I do.
69. What is your reason for thinking that an authority further removed from the scene of action, Brisbane being more distant than Maryborough for instance, would exercise a more efficient control? The means of communication with Brisbane are at least equal from all the outposts, and they are greater both from the Maranoa and the Clarence.
70. But you would not say they are greater from the Leichhardt District ? There is very little communication between the Leichhardt and Wide Bay.
71. Do you mean that there could not be a better communication than with Brisbane ? You would have to establish the means.
72. By Mr. Lang: Do you not think that the Native Police Force, the greater part of which lies chiefly in the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts, and in the Leichhardt District, would be more immediately under the command of a central authority at Wide Bay than at Brisbane, which is far to the south both of Wide Bay and Port Curtis ? I do not think so, with reference to the means of communication which exist.
73. When the country becomes settled, as it is doing every day, and when there is a population at the back of Wide Bay equal, as I have no doubt it will be to the population of Moreton Bay, means of communication will be established equal to those with Brisbane itself? You are pre-supposing that there should be a Commandant of this Force alone; but I think the direction of this Force ought to be combined with the central authority; wherever the head-quarters of the central Government are, I think the central authority for the Native Police ought to be.
74. By Mr. Forster: I think you said there was very little necessity for a Native Police Force in the Clarence District ? I said I had hoped and expected that a District so long occupied would have been in a situation to dispense with such a Force, but that the representations made by the inhabitants went to prove the contrary.
75. Do you not think there is a much greater necessity for their presence in the Burnett and Wide Bay District than in the Clarence ? I should think so. But I may mention that constant representations have been made of the danger to life and property, from the attacks of the aborigines, in the immediate neighbourhood of Brisbane, at a place called Sandgate, for instance.
76. Do you not think the central authority would be better placed as near as possible to the more obvious scene of operation!? If you had a central authority for that force alone it might be.
77. What would you say to a proposal to place a certain number of Native Troopers under the orders of each Bench of Magistrates, or of the Commissioners of Crown Lands ? I think they would become entirely inefficient.
78. What is your reason for supposing they would become inefficient? Being constantly about the head-quarters of the Benches of Magistrates or Commissioners, they would be subject to a variety of temptations, which would all tend to deteriorate them and render them inefficient.
79. I am supporting that they would be placed entirely under the control of the Magistrates, that is, that their officers should be under the orders of the Local Magistracy, who would locate wherever they might be most required ? I think you would find it very difficult to carry out such a scheme, because it is very natural that each Magistrate should, when outrages by the Aborigines were prevalent in the locality, think his own part of the district the one most exposed and most calling for their operations, and thus there would be no unanimity in their direction.
80. Why have not the same causes operated unfavourably on the ordinary Police as would operate on them? I look upon the ordinary Police as very inefficient from that very cause, the want of system.
81. You think the system of obedience to a central authority might be applied to both with good effect ? Yes, without question ; it is what I have all along contended for.
82. Do you think the inefficiency of the Native Police has not been in any way caused by the virtual irresponsibility of the Commandant in former days? I am not aware that he was virtually irresponsible; I have always considered that he was strictly responsible to the Executive.
83. Are you not aware that the circumstances which have occurred are such as to lead to the conclusion that he was to all intents and purposes irresponsible ? I have nothing before me to show it. Representations were made to the Government that Mr. Walker, the late Commandant, had fallen into habits of great intemperance, that incapacitated him from performing his duties properly. The Government determined upon holding an inquiry into these and other charges, which were preferred against him by Officers of the Corps; and when the Board of Inquiry met at Brisbane, Mr. Walker presented himself before them in a state that rendered it impossible for them to proceed with the inquiry. They therefore, reported what had occurred to the Government, and discontinued further proceedings, whereupon Mr. Walker was immediately dismissed.
84. Do you mean to imply that because a person accused, presents himself before the Court in a state of intoxication, that is to prevent them from going on with the inquiry? I think you are drawing an inference you are not justified in drawing from what I said; but I think Mr. Walker's appearance in such a state did, under the circumstances, fully justify them in stopping the inquiry and reporting it to the Government, and also that it fully justified the Government in dismissing him.
85. Are you not of opinion that some good might have been done by going on with the inquiry? ' I think it might have been possible for the Board to have taken the evidence, but it was to be borne in mind, that taking the evidence in the absence of the man charged is wholly opposed to British principle.
86. If I understand you rightly, the decision was given upon his incompetency to attend the investigation ? He was dismissed for his impropriety of conduct in appearing before the Board in the state he did.
$7.. By the Chairman : Are you aware whether the Government instituted an inquiry into Mr. Walker's conduct as soon as they became aware of the charges made against him? My impression is that they did; in the case I refer to, I recollect seeing the representations, made by Mr. Marshall and other officers, and I believe the inquiry was instituted immediately.
TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER, 1856.
Mr. BUCKLEY, Mr. HELY,
Mr. LANG, Mr. P. T. RUSDEN, Mr. SANDEMAN.
GORDON SANDEMAN, Esquire, in the Chair.
Charles Archer, Esquire, J. P., called in and examined :—
I. By the Chairman: You are a resident of the Leichhardt District? Of the Port Curtis District.
2. You are a Magistrate of the Territory ? Yes.
3. You were formerly resident in the Moreton and Burnett Districts ? I had resided in the Burnett District before I went out to Port Curtis.
4. And in the Moreton District also ? Yes.
5. Hew many years have you resided in the Northern Districts altogether ? Thirteen, or fourteen years.
6. Have you had much experience among, the native blacks ? I have been at the forming of six new stations, outside stations in the outlying districts, and, of course, 1 have had some experience with the blacks.
7. Have you had much trouble in protecting the lives of your men from their attacks, and your property from their depredations ? Yes, I have had a great deal of trouble in that way, but I have been very fortunate in not losing men, although I have lost a good deal of property—stock, and so on.
8. Do yon consider that the establishment of the Native Police Force tended to put a stop to the depredations that originally existed in the Northern Districts ? I think that in the Burnett District, where I was at the time the Native Police Force was formed, the progress of the squatters would have been arrested altogether if it had not been for the establishment of the force,—or I would rather say, not arrested altogether, but greatly retarded, if the force had not been established.
9. Is the Native Police as effective now as it was on the first establishment of the Force, and for some time afterwards ? I think it is not so effective.
10. To what do you attribute the altered or lessened efficiency of the Force ? I attribute it, in the first instance, to the hold that the late Commandant, Mr. Walker, got over the men, at the expense of the authority of the other officers. He pampered the men under his immediate command, and the men under the other officers who had not the means of treating them in the same way, disliked the officers immediately over them ; they all looked up to the Commandant, and when he was removed the other officers had not the same control over them that he had had. And since then the head of the Force being placed in Sydney has been greatly against its efficiency. ;'
11. Are you aware of the causes that occasioned the dismissal of the first Commandant of the Force ? I know what they were by report.
12. What were they ? Intemperate habits, I believe, and irregularity in his accounts, are what I understood to be the causes of it
13. Do you think that if timely investigation had been made into that officer's conduct, the evils attendant upon that conduct, in the mismanagement of the Force, might have been prevented? I do not think the evil would have gone so far; it might have been checked sooner perhaps, but the Force was not completely formed for a long time after he was in charge, and we were always in hopes that when all his arrangements were properly carried out it would be more efficient under his command than it had been. His intemperate habits did not shew themselves all at once, and of course no private individual was aware of any irregularity in his accounts. .
14. You think that if it had not been for his intemperate habits the Force would have been more efficient under his command than it was, or than it has been since? Yes; if he had been a man of temperate habits, a correct accountant, and good man of business, he was admirably fitted for his post in other respects, and he could have managed it very well; but he never could have managed it unless he had been on the spot. .
15. Who succeeded Mr. Walker as Commandant? Mr. Marshall acted for some short time.
16. The appointment was then abolished ? Yes. I do not think Mr. Marshall was ever : properly appointed Commandant; he merely acted.
17. Are you aware of the reasons which actuated the Government in doing away with the office of Commandant? I believe it was considered that the Force would be better managed by placing the supreme authority in Sydney, and making each officer responsible for the manner in which the duties of the Force were performed in his own district.
18.After the abolition of the Commandantship the Force was placed under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police, in Sydney ? Yes, I understood so. :
19. What has been the effect of that change in the management of the Force—do you think it has been injurious or otherwise ? We must remember that the Force was badly managed before, but its efficiency has certainly not been improved by the late arrangement. I think the appointment of a head in the district itself would have had the effect of improving the Force very much, whereas by appointing the head here it has not been improved at all.
20. What is the average distance of the positions in the Northern Districts; where the Police are employed from Sydney? I atn not very well acquainted with them all. .
21. Take the most central station where, the Police are employed? I think the most centrical part would be about seven hundred miles from Sydney ; I could not speak positively.
22. There are other parts that are further away ? Yes, I think my station, where there are four Policemen, is about nine hundred miles from Sydney.
23. What is the distance from Sydney of the farthest outlying district where the Police are now ? I think about nine hundred miles ; I do not mean in a direct line, but travelling on the ordinary lines of communication.
24. Do you believe it possible that a Force like the Native Police can be managed by an officer residing in Sydney ? No, I believe not, when a man of Captain Mayne's ability has failed, and, I think, the attempt to manage it from Sydney must be pronounced a failure. I do not see how it is possible that a person who is not intimately acquainted with the localities and the features of the country, or a person not acquainted with the blacks, and where the places are that require protection, can arrange the distribution of the Force satisfactorily; he mast be on the spot, seeing everything every day.
25. Do you think it could be managed by an officer residing at Brisbane? I think it could be ; but I think it could be more easily managed by an officer residing in a more central situation: it could be better managed from Brisbane than from Sydney.
26. Do you think it desirable that the head of the Force should be stationary, or, that he should travel from one locality to another ? I think the head of the Force ought to have his head quarters in a centrical position, and ought occasionally to visit the different Police stations.
27. You consider that the Force cannot be efficiently managed without an officer as local head ? I do.
28. Do you consider that a clerk should be attached to the department of the local head ? Yes, I think so. At head-quarters there should be a clerk who should always reside there, and who should be able to carry on the correspondence- in the absence of the local head, or could at all events know where the correspondence could reach him, in case of any emergency, , when absent from head-quarters. Besides, the accounts ought to be managed by a proper accountant
29. We have understood that there bag been a great deal of difficulty and irregularity ingetting supplies of clothing and other articles ? That has arisen from the bad arrangements of the late Commandant; he always had the clothing sent to head-quarters and brought in the various divisions to receive their clothing, sometimes making the horses travel two hundred miles there and two hundred miles back again, merely for the purpose of receiving the clothing; and they have sustained more injury in that way than from several weeks' service, as Police.
30. By Mr. Lang: More than the whole value of the clothes ? Much more.
31. By the Chairman : Would it be desirable to have a barrack or store in each district from which clothing and other articles might be supplied? Any store near some shipping port would do. I think each division ought to have its depot at the shipping port nearest where the division is stationed, but I do not think any buildings should be erected by the Government, because the Force might be moved to some other place at any moment; for, I suppose, that as squatting progresses, the Police will be moved further out.
32. At the time the office of Commandant was abolished, or some .short time after, a portion ofthe Force was disbanded ? I heard of it, but it did not come under my immediate knowledge. I know an offer was made to some of the Police to be sent back to their own country if they wished to go; and, I believe, some of them did accept of the offer, and others consented to remain with the Force; but I know also that after the late Commandant was dismissed,ia-. considerable body of Police was raised by order of the Inspector General, I think, which order was countermanded again, and they were turned adrift on the country.
33. Where were they recruited from ? From Wide Bay principally, I think. They were brought up to Traylan, the head-quarters in the Burnett District, and drilled for a short time,and when Mr. Marshall found that there was no provision made for the pay and feeding of these men, he, of course, was obliged to disband them.
34. Have any bad effects resulted from this ? I have not been living in that part of thjs country recently, and therefore I cannot speak of my own knowledge, but I have heard that there were great complaints that the men were disbanded without their Police clothes having been taken from them, and that they represented themselves as Policemen and got rations supplied to them in that belief at different stations.
35. Do you not think the men should be recruited in districts at some distance from that in which it is intended to employ them? Yes, I think so. I think the men recruited on the Clarence for instance might be employed in the Port Curtis District, and vice versa. They-should be recruited in districts far removed from where they are intended to serve.
36. I think yon said part of the Force has been disbanded ? Yes, but they had only been enlisted for a short time—those that had been enlisted at Wide Bay. Some others have been disbanded lately; but I understood your question to allude to those disbanded immediately! I after the late Commandant was dismissed.
37. Or afterwards ? Some have been disbanded lately.
38. Are you aware what have been the consequences of that step? I am aware that the.amount of protection afforded to the outlying districts has been less.
39. By Mr. Rusden: Do you think that in recruiting men for the Native Police, attention should be paid to their being able to converse or communicate in their own language with the tribes in the neighbourhood where they are to be employed ? No doubt natives from distance are not able to communicate very readily; but it is a singular circumstance that families twenty miles apart often speak a totally different language. Even different families in the same camp will tell you different names for the same thing, but they find no difficulty in understanding each other.
40. They soon acquire it ? Yes.
41. By the Chairman: You consider that the Force should be augmented? Decidedly.
42. What is the extent of the Leichhardt District, or the country in that district over which licenses have been applied for to depasture stock? From the head of the Dawson to the head of the Isaacs is from three to four hundred miles The Leichhardt District is considerably larger than England, and very nearly as large as England and Scotland.
43. What number of officers and troopers do you think would be requisite to protect a district of that size ? Do you mean as the district is now, or to make allowances for the progress of squatting ?
44 For the requirements at present existing ? I think thirty men might do it.
45. That would be about three sections; a section generally consists of twelve men, I believe ? Thirty-six would be better than thirty.
46. How many officers are there to each section of twelve men—are you aware ? To each division' of twenty-four men, there are supposed to be a First and Second Lieutenant, and one or two Sub-lieutenants, I am not sure which. These Sub-lieutenants are, I believe, in the place of Sergeants, and only receive about the same pay. It was found that the men had not the slightest respect for white men in the capacity of Sergeants, who went into the huts on the stations they visited and associated with the men they found there on an equal footing. I believe that was the reason why the white Sergeants were done away with, and it was thought advisable to get respectable young men to whom the Police would look up as gentlemen, under the name of Sub-lieutenants.
47. Do you think that was an improvement? Yes, if the Sub-lieutenants received pay which would induce men capable of performing the duties to enter the Force; but the pay is so small that they cannot get efficient men to fill the situations. I think it was a good idea, if they could get proper men.
48. The system of having white men as Sergeants has not been found to work well in the Force? Not as far as I have seen.
49. Do you consider that the Lieutenants in charge of sections should be Magistrates? No, I think not.
50. The First Lieutenants, I mean.It might be as well to make the First Lieutenants of divisions Magistrates, but I think that officers of a lower grade ought not to be Magistrates. I think there are many men who would be very efficient Second Lieutenants who are not fitted to be Magistrates. And I do not think it is necessary.
51. By Mr. Buckley: Of what class are the present Sub-lieutenants; are any of them men that have been raised from the grade of Sergeant ? No, not at all; I have never seen a sergeant of Native Police yet who was fit to be raised to be a Lieutenant. The Sub-lieutenants are men who have been applying to Government for situations, I suppose, and they have got these. :
52 The pay is much the same as the pay of the Sergeants, is it not ? Yes, the appointment is merely a change of name as regards the pay. The only one I know is one who is stationed in my own neighbourhood; he was a sailor, or he had been brought up to the sea at all events.
53. I think you say it was considered desirable to dispense with the Sergeants and substitute Sub-lieutenants for them, on account of the Sergeants not being able to command the respect of the men ? Yes.
54. Leaving the respect in which they, may have been held out of the question, are the Sergeants a class of men whose services should be considered more efficient for pursuing the blacks than those of the Sub-lieutenants ? I have heard of one Sergeant who was very efficient, and of many who were not. As for pursuing the blacks, when it is once determined that it is necessary to go out after them the men know a great deal better than the officers what it is best to do. '
65. You consider thirty-six troopers necessary for the Port Curtis and Leichhardt Districts? Yes. There is a portion of the Port Curtis country which lies very near the Burnett District, and which would be more easily protected from the Burnett than from the Leichhardt. The Port Curtis District is comparatively a Small strip of country, and that portion of it could be protected from the Burnett.
56. How many do they allow for duty out of every section—what number would it be requisite to leave in charge of the station ? Much depends on the place where the station is; if it is in the immediate neighbourhood of a squatting station, one or two men would be enough, but if it were some distance away from any other station, there should be three or four men besides an officer. .
57. By Mr. Hely: How many Native Police are there at present in the Leichhardt District ? I cannot speak positively—I can only give a guess at the number—but I think that in the Leichhardt and Port Curtis Districts there cannot be more than twenty men.
58. By the Chairman: Does that include the Upper Dawson ? Yes. There may be one or two more or less, but I do not think there are more than twenty effective men there.
59. Do you consider that if a force of white men, such as the Old Mounted Police, were substituted for the Native Police, they would be adapted to protect the outlying districts? They would not be of any use whatever. I have had a good deal of experience of white men in dealing with the blacks, and they are not of tie slightest use , they cannot track a black when a depredation has been comiitted, and if by good fortune they have found him he always manages to escape.
60. Do yon consider that if the best white troopers, picked men, were chosen for the service, they would not be fitted for the duty? No, they would not; and the more of a soldier a man might be, the less fitted he would be for the purpose.
61. It has been said by some, that the Native Police should be under the orders of the Benches of Magistrates in their respective districts—do you think that would be attended . with benefit ? I think it would not be attended with benefit.
62. Will you state any reasons why? I think a Bench being composed of several individuals, there is likely to be great difference of opinion as to how the force should be distributed, or what they ought to do; That is one reason, and I think it is almost enough. Besides, I do not think a Bench of Magistrates can know as well as the local head of the Force what ought to be done ; the Bench only knows the requirements of its own district, and knows nothing more. I think it ought to be in the power of the local head to remove drafts of the Police from one district into another district, when the increase of outrage in any particular neighbourhood might render it desirable. It appears to me that according to the present system the Police must remain in the district for which the money was voted; for instance, any part of the force voted for the Burnett District could not be removed to the Leichhardt, or those from the Leichhardt to any other district—at least so I understood it. I think it would be better, perhaps, to make the vote a general one, without stating what district they should be in, and to let the distribution rest with the Officer in command of the Force.
63. Are you aware whether the Native Police are required in the Clarence River District at present? I am not aware; but if they are required it is to the disgrace of the squatters that they are;—that they should not have been able to conciliate the blacks in the time that country has been settled. I think they ought to be able to protect themselves by this time.
64. You think the Native Police Should be employed in the outlying frontier districts entirely ? Decidedly.
65. By Mr. Buckley: You would not allow the Benches of Magistrates to have the slightest control over them ? I would not. I would make the local head responsible, and on that account I would also say, that any recommendations he might make as to the dismissal or appointment of Officers should have the favourable consideration of the Government.
66. You would give him the entire control of the whole force ? Yes; I think one Commandant would be sufficient from the Clarence to Port Curtis.
67. By the Chairman: Do you think the number of officers at present sufficient? I consider that if there are one First Lieutenant, one Second Lieutenant, and two Sub-lieutenants to each division of twenty-four men, they are quite sufficient as to number.
68. Is not the present system of rationing the Force expensive ? I do not know whether it is considered expensive or not, but I know it does not pay a squatter, in the district where I am residing, to provide the Police with rations at the prices allowed by the Government. I have been providing the Native Police, at my station with rations for a long time, but I consider that I have lost by it, although I am willing enough to do it in consideration of the protection they afford me. The storekeepers out there refused to give them rations at the government rates, and they then came to my station for them.
69. Do you consider two horses to each trooper sufficient? Quite sufficient, if any care was taken to keep their backs well and to have them shod.
70. There is great wear and tear of horse flesh in consequence of carelessness in those matters ? Yes.
71. What would you recommend to remedy that defect? I should think to have a man who could stuff a saddle and shoe a horse attached to each division would be the best remedy for it. There would be plenty of employment for him, and he might be useful as an additional man to leave behind at the station for its protection, during the absence of the troopers.
. 72. Do you think that by a well regulated system of supplies, the expense of rationing the men could be much reduced, from head quarters I mean, from Sydney or Brisbane? I think it could be reduced in some places, where the Force is stationed, but I do not know that it could be reduced in the far out districts, to which there would be high carriage to pay. I think the vote for supplies would be sufficient if it were distributed throughout the whole Force, so that if rations could be got cheaper in one place the saving should be added where rations might be dearer. But it appears now that the one and eight-pence is given to every one who supplies the police with rations, in whatever district.
73. You have said that in your opinion thirty-six men would be sufficient for the Leichhardt District—how many men do you think, from your knowledge of the country, would be required for the protection of the Wide Bay and Burnett District, the Wide Bay District extending, of course, up to the boundary of the Port Curtis District ? Taking in that portion of the Port Curtis District that I have alluded to before, and extending to the Brisbane Range, including the Bunya country, the Burnett District would take twenty-four men.A great portion of that district is pretty quiet now.
74. Are you aware how many men would be sufficient for the Lower Condamine and Maranoa ? . No; I do not know the nature of the country.
75. Are yon aware whether any Native Police are required on the Macintyre River ? I am not aware; I do not know that part of the country.
76. By Mr. Rusden : Do you find the men belonging to the Native Police to interfere with the women of the surrounding tribes ? They do take them.
77. I have heard it mentioned as a great evil, that the blacks are tyrannized over by the Police on that account ? I do not think that is, the case. 1 think when they take women, the arrangement is made with the consent of the men of the tribes; I have certainly known instances of disturbance on account of the women, but the white men are just as bad; you cannot control white men in this respect, and it is the cause of half the murders that are committed by the blacks upon them.
78. By the Chairman : By proper supervision on the part of the officers, I suppose this could be put a stop to ? They do restrain the men in some degree; but most of the men have gins of their own.
79. Do you think it desirable that they should be allowed to have gins of their own ? I think so.
80. By Mr. Buckley: How are the gins supported? They go and hunt for themselves; and when the Police are not on duty they are always hunting.
81. Are you aware whether any gins, in disguise, ever travel with the Native Police and act as troopers in the Northern Country ? I am not aware of their acting as troopers. They, sometimes travel dressed in trousers and a blue shirt, but it is not done for the purpose of disguise so far as I am aware.
82. By the Chairman: Are you of opinion that the less communication the Native Police are allowed to have with the native tribes the better or otherwise ? I think there ought to be a restraint kept upon their communication. Let them communicate as freely as they like with proper caution, font they ought not to allow the native tribes to be too near the Police with their camp.
83. By Mr. Rusden: That would not be consistent with the discipline of the Force? No.
84. As long as it did not interfere with the discipline of the Force you would allow them to communicate ? Yes.
25 November, 1856
Charles Leith Hay, Esq., J. P., called in and examined:—
1. By the Chairman : You are a resident of the Leichhardt District? Yes. x 2. And a Magistrate of the Territory ? I am. .
3. How long have you resided in the Leichhardt District ? For about three years.
4. Have you had much experience amongst the blacks? Yes; I have been present in the district during all the disturbances.
5. Have they committed many depredations in the parts of the country yon are acquainted with ? Yes; they committed depredations on the station on which I live, to a very large extent.
6. Do you know how many murders have been committed by the blacks in those parts of the country you are acquainted with, since you first took up your residence there ? I know of twelve people having been murdered in that part of the country.
7. Have many sheep or cattle been destroyed ? There have never been any murders without subsequent losses of sheep.
8. Was the Native Police Force established in that district before yon took up your residence there? No ; they were not in the Leichhardt District then.
9. But they were in the Northern Districts ? Yes; they had head quarters at Traylan, in the Burnett District, when I first passed out to the Leichhardt.
10. Are you aware whether the depredations of the blacks were much diminished after the establishment of the Native Police ? They committed no depredations for eighteen months after the establishment of the Native Police in the Leichhardt District.
11 Subsequently to that period were the murders or depredations increased? Yes, a great deal.
12. To what cause do you attribute that increase of depredation ? I attribute it to the want of a sufficient force, and to the misplaced confidence of the squatters in the blacks; but mainly to the reduction of the Native Police Force.
13. By Mr. Rusden: To what extent was the Force reduced ? From one hundred and twenty to seventy-two men, aa near as I can say.
14. In the whole of the Northern Districts ? Yes.
15. To what extent were they reduced in the particular district in which you reside ? From twelve to six men.
16. I see they have returned twenty-four men in the Leichhardt District? That must be in. the Leichhardt and Port Curtis Districts. There have never been twenty-four men in the Leichhardt District.
17. By the Chairman : What do you consider to have been the effect of the abolition of the office of Commandant? It has been very prejudicial to the working of the Force.
18. The Force was also partially disbanded ? It was. A portion of the troopers that were disbanded had been recruited from the surrounding districts, and they returned to their tribes after they had been disbanded.
.49. What was the effect on their own tribes in that part of the country ? The effect was, that as they were perfectly well acquainted with the strength and their distribution, they were better enabled to assist the tribes in their depredations than if they had not been in the Force, by giving them information.
20. Do you consider it very prejudicial to recruit the troopers near to the country where they are to- be employed ? Decidedly.
21. By Mr. Rusden: These men that were disbanded rather contributed to increase the amount of depredation than otherwise ? Undoubtedly. ,
22. By Mr. Hely: I suppose there is never any difficulty in getting recruits? There has been no difficulty in obtaining recruits, in any district that I have been in.
23. By Mr. Buckley: Do you think any attacks have been made on stations in consequence of these men having been disbanded? I cannot positively "say ; but I believe the attacks have been materially assisted by civilized blacks who have been in the Force.
24. Have any of the disbanded Native Police been seen amongst attacking parties ? I am not aware.
25. By the Chairman : You consider generally, that the efficiency of the Native Police Force is much less than it was ? I do.
26. And you attribute that to the abolition of the office of Commandant and the reduction of the Force ? I do.
27. By Mr. Rusden: But still there were great complaints when the Commandant was over them? There were.
28. By the Chairman: What was the cause of the dismissal of the first Commandant, Mr. Walker ? I have understood that it was on account of his being addicted to drinking, and being very careless in carrying out the finance of the Force.
29. Do you think that if irivestigation had been made in time, the evil effect of his conduct upon the efficiency of the Force should have been prevented ? I do, undoubtedly.
30. By Mr. Rusden: You would suggest a return to the appointment of Commandant ? Undoubtedly.
31. Would you leave full power in his hands, or in what way would you suggest that he should be responsible ? I would suggest that he should have full power over the distribution of the Force.
32. In what way should he be responsible for the performance of his duty—that is to say, would you have him responsible to the supreme authority in Sydney; or to any local body ? I should suggest that he should have nothing to do with the finance of the Force at all.
33. I am not speaking of that, but of the management of the Force in the Districts—would you have him take his orders from Sydney, or from some person appointed for that purpose; for instance, the Government Resident at Moreton Bay ; or would you have him receive his orders in some way from the Benches of Magistrates ? I would suggest that he should hold himself in communication with the Government Resident at Moreton Bay ; but that on no account should his movements be controlled, cither by the Government Resident or the Benches of Magistrates; that is to say, that he should have free action as to the distribution of his troopers.
34. By the Chairman : You do not consider it desirable to place the Force under the direction of the Benches of Magistrates ? I do not.
35. By Mr. Rusden : Would it not be advisable that on a complaint made to a Magistrate of an outrage having been committed, the Magistrate should communicate with the officer in command in that district, and that he should be bound to take notice of the complaint ? He would naturally do his best to keep the district in a peaceable state, and, in that view, I should suppose that he would attend to the complaint of any person, whether a Magistrate or not.
36. Do you not imagine that the complaints made of the late Commandant greatly arose from his irresponsibility ? I think the evils that resulted from the conduct of the late Commandant arose chiefly from his having unlimited command of the finance, and from the fatal habit which made him perfectly unfit for his office. I consider that his distribution and working of the Force were such as no person could complain of—the effective working for the protection of the district. . :
37. By the Chairman: Do you consider that a Force of white men could be properly substituted for the Native Police ? No ; I consider no Force of white men could contend with the blacks with advantage.
38. By Mr. Buckley : How many men do you consider sufficient for the protection of the •Port Curtis and Leichhardt District—troopers and officers ? Do you mean to include the Upper Dawson?
39. What is commonly termed the Leichhardt District, including Port Curtis ? I should say four sections of twelve men each—forty eight men.
40. Would that number afford sufficient protection for the whole of that district, no matter how many squatters located themselves there ?. Yes, for the whole.
41. With officers, in the same manner as they are now apportioned, to each division? Yes, the same number.
42. You are aware that the Sergeants have teen dispensed with, and Sub-lieutenants appointed in their places ? Yes.
43 Has the alteration had a good effect ? Most beneficial. .
44. For what reason do you fancy that the Sergeants were not efficient ? The troopers never looked towards them with the same respect as to those whom they consider gentlemen. The Sub-lieutenants are a superior class of men to the Sergeants.
45. From-what you know of the Sub-lieutenants and the Sergeants, would you imagine that the sub-lieutenants are a class of men who would undergo the same amount of fatigue and hardship in pursuit of duty as the Sergeants ? I do.
46. By the Chairman: Would the number you have mentioned—four sections—be sufficient to protect the country as far as the Peak Downs ? To protect the country as far as the heads of the Mackenzie.
47- Are there any troopers required in the neighbourhood of Gladstone now ? Yes, there are..
48. How many men do you think would be sufficient to protect the neighbourhood of Gladstone and the country surrounding it ? Twelve.
49. Are you aware whether there are any police required in the Clarence District now ? There are.
50: Do you not think that in an old established district like that the settlers should be in a position now to protect themselves ? The blacks have committed depredations some little time ago in the Clarence District. They were in a very disturbed state, especially in the interior, amongst the cattle, and the presence of the Native Police there has been of immense benefit. But I think they might do with a smaller Force on the Clarence than that at present stationed there.
51. What number of horses do you consider necessary for each trooper ? Not less than two.
52. Is there not great wear and tear of horseflesh in the Native Police from bad backs, and want of shoeing in rough country ? From bad backs and want of shoes.
53 Do you consider a person in the capacity of farrier and saddler combined is necessary for the Force ? I look upon it as indispensable for the efficient carrying out of the duty.
54. You say that the number of men necessary for the protection of the Leichhardt and Port Curtis is forty-eight—would that include supernumeraries, to make up for those who might be ill, or non-effective from casualty ? When I said forty-eight, I meant that there should be forty-eight in the field, allowing, of course, the additional number of three to each section for supernumeraries.
55. Do you consider it necessary that a person in the capacity of clerk should be attached to the Force ? I do, decidedly.
56. What would you propose should be his duties ? He should be attached to the Commandant, and collect with him all the different accounts from the different divisions, and he should do, in fact, all the clerical duties connected with the Department.
57. Including the Commissariat Department ? Including the Commissariat.
58. Do you think that by a well regulated system of supplies the expense of rationing the men could be much reduced ? I do.
59. What is your opinion regarding the situation of barracks or central camps ? ! I think the barracks or head quarters of each division should be as near water carriage as possible, always avoiding the stationing of native troopers in townships. From that central position the sections and detachments that patrol can all receive their supplies and clothing.
60. Do you consider the Police should be permanently stationed at barracks ? I consider there should be a permanent head-quarters from which they can patrol.
61. You consider that a section of them should be continually patrolling each district ? I consider that it would be essential to the prevention of outrage to place the Native Police under a system of patrol, especially in the frontier districts, and that they should not be allowed to ride along the road from station to station as they have done and do now.
62. .And it would be the duty of the Inspector, or head of the Force, to carry out that system of patrol ? Yes. You are aware that the nature of the blacks leads them to assemble together before a depredation is committed, and the presence of the Native Police would at once disperse them.
63. How many officers would be sufficient to each division of twenty-four men ? I think the present number sufficient, but I consider that one or two supernumerary Sub-lieutenants should be attached to the department of the local head.
64. For the whole Force ? Yes, to be disposable at the discretion of the Commandant. They could fill vacancies occasioned by sickness or by the absence of officers on leave, and they would give time to enable young officers to be initiated into the discipline and ways of the Force, which, under- the present system, they are not until they are actually called upon, to act.
65. Are you aware what is the pay ,of the Sub-lieutenants just now ? I understand it is £100 a year, but I cannot speak from any correct or authentic information.
66. The Sergeants had only £50 a year, and they are now replaced by the Sub-lieutenants— do the Sub-lieutenants get more than the Sergeants did ? No, they get the Sergeant's pay, but I understood the temporary increase had raised their pay.
67. Then they get £50 and the temporary increase ? I believe so.
68. Do you consider £ 100 a year a sufficient amount of pay for a Sub-lieutenant ? I do not.
69. Do you consider the salaries of the officers generally sufficient for the very arduous and harassing duties they have to perform ? I do not; I consider for the duties they have to perform, the salaries are insufficient.
70. Do you think that by holding out inducements in the shape of higher salaries, a better class of officers might be induced to enter the service? I do.
25 November, 1856
Colin John Mackenzie, Esq., J. P., called in and examined :■*-
1. By the Chairman : You are a resident of Darling Downs ? I am.
2. And a Magistrate of the territory ? I am.
3. How many years have you resided in the Northern Districts ? Between fifteen and sixteen years.
4. Have you had much experience of the blacks ? Being one of the earliest settlers there, I have had very extensive experience of the natives of those districts.
5. During your experience in that district, have they committed many depredations? They have committed a great number of depredations during the period I have been acquainted with the districts. ?
6. Both by murder and destruction of property ? Both by murder and destruction of property.
7. Were those depredations diminished in frequency by the establishment of the Native Police Force ? They were, to my knowledge, very much decreased in frequency, both as regards murder and as regards the destruction of property, by the action of the Native Police.
8. You consider that the Native police was very efficient in the repression of outrage? I consider that the establishment of it was productive of the utmost benefit to the northern districts, as regards the safety of life and property. It was the most efficient Force of its kind that could have been organized for that purpose.
9. That force was under the orders of a Commandant for some time ? The Force was under the orders of Mr. Walker, who was then Commandant, when it first came up to the Darling Downs District.
10. The office of Commandant was subsequently abolished ? As I understood. I was then out of the country—it was abolished, and the duty transferred to the Metropolitan head of the Police.
11. Are you aware whether the efficiency of the Force was impaired by the change? I believe the efficiency of the Force; was very much impaired by the abolition of the office of Commandant and of his local charge.
12. Do you consider it possible that a Force like the Native Police could be managed by an officer residing in Sydney? I do not consider that a Force of that particular nature can be efficiently managed by an officer residing in Sydney. I consider that local supervision is absolutely necessary by the party in supreme command of that force.
13. Then you think it could not be managed by an officer residing even in Brisbane? I think it could not be managed efficiently by an officer residing in Brisbane, unless he had a deputy to exercise immediate local supervision, to visit the various stations of the Force and from his own judgment to ascertain the efficiency of its management, et cetera.
14. You consider the duties of the Commandant or Inspector should be to continually visit the various outlying stations of the Force ? I do. I consider that would be his principal duty.
15. Do you consider that the Force should be stationary at head-quarters in the different districts, or that it should be kept continually patrolling ? I think that in each district there should be head-quarters.
16. Do you think that the Force should be kept continually patrolling the outlying districts? I consider that a portion of each division should be continually patrolling; but there always should be a party at the head-quarters of each locality, so that if a person were to send for assistance, or to apprehend depredators, there should be a body of men ready to go.
17. The Force was partially disbanded some time ago ? I understood it was partially disbanded.
18. Are you aware what the effects of that step were ? Very much to affect the efficiency of the Force. It rendered it much too small to perform the necessary duties, and in some cases, from the impossibility of leaving men in charge of the stations, and at the same time sending out a party, it made the Force entirely useless.
19. By Mr. Buckley : How many men do you suppose should be left in charge of a station ? I should think at least four troopers and an officer of some sort.
20. If far removed from any other establishment, do you think they would be able to spare any of that number to a neighbour in difficulty ? No.
21. I understood you to propose that a party should be always left at the station for the purpose of affording protection in cases of emergency ? My idea would be this—say they have twenty men at the station, there would be eight out on patrol, and eight on the station ready for duty if required, and still there would be four to leave in charge if the second eight were called away.
22. How many would you propose to have in every division ? Sixteen at the least; I think twenty would be more efficient, but there should not be less than sixteen.
23. How many do you say is sufficient for one party on duty ? Seven and an officer.
24. By Mr, Rusden: Do yon not think it would be a very good plan that the Force should be ordered to move from one part of the district to another, if not employed on other duty? Yes, I think that would be desirable, particularly if a sufficient force were left at the station; I do not mean merely for the protection of the station, but to go out in case of emergency ; and another portion of the Force should be patrolling: the sight of them patrolling stops depredations.
25. By the Chairman: In fact, in outlying districts, I suppose you think they should be principally patrolling? Yes, that should be the main feature of their duty, to bring home to the natives, by the sight of them, the fact that there is a force ready to prevent and to punish.
26. By Mr. Rusden : Have you any suggestions to make with respect to the responsibility of the Commandant. We all see the eligibility of this Force, and the necessity of having a Commandant; but the evils that arose under the rule of the late Commandant were the result of his having too much of his own way. Now, not to impair his efficiency will be the great object of this Committee; to leave him his free action, but at the same time to maintain some hold over him—How would you suggest that he should be kept under control ? I think it would be very difficult, except by his responsibility to the general Government.
27. The question is whether he shall communicate with a chief in Sydney, or with some resident authority ; for instance, it is suggested that the Government Resident at Moreton Bay should have control over the Force—do you think that would be a good plan ? I think that would be open to very grave objection, because the position the Commandant of this Force occupies is a peculiar one; it seems to me that he requires large powers, and it would be difficult to see what would be the nature of the check which the Resident, for instance, at Moreton Bay could hold over him. Should he report his proceedings to him, or what ?
28. By the Chairman : If a system of periodical reports from the Commandant to the Government Resident at Brisbane were kept up, would not that have a beneficial effect ? I am inclined to think it would have a good effect. The necessity of making these reports would entail a greater degree of nicety in action.
29. By Mr. Rusden: Do you think the Commandant of the Force should have anything to do with the contracts for rations and supplies ? It appears to me that there might very well be a Commissariat officer or clerk, who would have to do with the rationing of the whole Force. . ..
30. By the Chairman ; You think a clerk should be attached to the head of the Force ? I do. .
31. By Mr. Rusden ; So that matters of finance might be taken out of the Commandant's hands, but that he should inspect and certify the accounts? Yes; he should be like the commander of an army, in fact. I think it would be unfair to a Commandant who would have to overlook an extensive district, and to see to the working of the whole Force, to expect him to keep up a system of accounts.
32. By Mr. Buckley: Suppose a party of the Native Police were travelling at a very considerable distance from. head-quarters, and the officer in command found it necessary to procure rations at any station they might pass, in what way would that transaction be communicated to head-quarters? It must be by requisition to that station to furnish the supplies. They must have printed forms, I suppose, to be signed by the officer in charge and forwarded to this clerk.
33. Then you propose that this clerk should be employed in receiving these documents ? Yes, and also in seeing to the supply of rations, saddlery, and everything connected with the Force, so as to leave the Commandant free to look after the men and the general conduct of the Force.
34. By the Chairman: I suppose you consider keeping the horses and saddlery in order a very important matter ? Yes, because the efficiency of the Force depends on the state of the horses and saddlery. I think the Force has generally been under-horsed
35-. By Mr. Buckley : How many horses would you allow for each man ? At least two.
36. By the Chairman : Do you think a Force of white men would, be adapted to act with good effect in the out-districts ? 1 do not think so.
37. From your own knowledge you think they would not ? From my own knowledge I am convinced they would not.
38. Not even the very best white troopers ? Not even the best.
39. Are you aware whether the class of non-commissioners officers (sergeants) has answered well in the Force ? I cannot speak very well of my own knowledge as to that, because it is only of late years that Sergeants have been appointed; but I believe they have not answered well.
40. Is the substitution of Sub-lieutenants an improvement? I believe it to be an improvement. I believe the natives of this country, like the natives of India, look up to a gentleman more than they do to a person who seems to be nearer their own level, and therefore they do not pay the same respect to a Sergeant that they do to a Sub-lieutenant.
41. And therefore the appointment of a better class of officers tends more to the discipline of the Force ? It does.
42. Are you of opinion that, if the Force were placed in particular parts of the country, under the orders of the Benches of Magistrates, it would be attended with benefit or otherwise—do you think the Benches are capable of ordering, with beneficial effect, the movements of the Force ? No; I should think it undesirable that they should be placed under the orders of the Benches; for one reason, there would be such a want of system, in all probability, each Bench taking its own view of the plan on which the Force should be managed.
43. Are you aware whether the Native Police are required at the Clarence now ? I think a small number—say half a section—ought to be sufficient there. I believe that cases of danger to life from the natives are very rare at the Clarence; but there are cases of danger to property. The last case I heard of the Native Police being employed in at the Clarence was in arresting a native on a charge of rape, close to Grafton, I believe.
TUESDAY, 2 DECEMBER, 1856.
Mr. BUCKLEY, Mr. FORSTER, Mr. LANG, Mr. HELY, Mr. HOLT, Mr. RUSDEN.
GORDON SANDEMAN, Esquire, in the Chair.
. Richard Purvis Marshall, Esq., called in and examined :—
1. By the Chairman: You have been resident for many years in the frontier districts? The greater portion of the last nineteen years.
2. In what districts did you reside ? First in the Gwydir District, and then in the Darling Downs, as a squatter.
3. Have you had much experience of the native blacks ? I have been constantly employing them, and have been brought into contact with them in various ways.
4. Subsequently you joined the Native Police? I did, in January of the year 1850.
5. You were for several years an officer of that Corps ? Upwards of six years.
6. You were senior officer, next to Commandant Walker? I joined as next in command to him.
7. What were the causes that led to the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Mr. Walker ? Complaints were made by the officers of his irregularities, drunkenness, and abuse to them, as well as his general irregularity in the management of the Force.
8. On that officer's dismissal you were appointed Acting Commandant ? I was acting for three months; and after that the appointment was confirmed.
9. How long did you hold the appointment ? From January, 1855, until July of the same year, as Commandant. I was acting three or four months previous to that.
10. You eventually resigned ? I did.
11. How long ago? I resigned in August 1855.
12. Have you any objection to state your reasons for retiring from the Force? The Government proposed a reduction of the Force to me, and I saw clearly that I could not carry out the duties with the number of men they proposed., I stated my objections to the Government, and the next thing I heard was, that the Force had been placed under the orders of the Inspector General of Justice.
13. Do you consider that the abolition of the office of Commandant rendered the Force comparatively useless? I think there ought to be a local head for the Force. I do not think it can be managed from Sydney properly.
14. When the Native Police were, first employed, the blacks were very troublesome, were they not? Yes, very troublesome on the Macintyre, where I was then resident, so much so that it was almost impossible to reside there; they were killing people and driving stock away in all directions.
15. After the establishment of the Native Police in the more unsettled districts, was there any diminution of the outrages committed by the blacks? I should say so. I am speaking of the time when I was a squatter, and I know there was a great difference after a few . months, the blacks seeing that there was a Force employed to hold them in check. Certainly the outrages were less. That district is now as quiet as any part of the Colony.
16. Did the Native Police continue fit be as efficient latterly as at first ? I should say not.
17. To what do you attribute their altered or lessened efficiency? What time do you refer to—do you mean from the first establishment of the Force ?
18. I mean latterly ? Since when- what date ?
19. Since about the time of the abolition of the office of Commandant? I can scarcely speak of that, because I was, up to April, 1856, in the Burnett District. For ten months previous to the reduction of the Force not a single murder had been committed; but; in four months after the reduction, no less than eleven lives were sacrificed.
20. Has the attempt to manage the Native Police Force by an officer residing in Sydney proved a failure ? I do not think it can be carried on by a person in Sydney as well as by a person residing in the district, and knowing and seeing everything that is going on. I know that I was informed by the Inspector General that I had ceased to be an officer of the Force from the 31st December, 1855; and, at that time, I was the only person who had been connected with the Native Police within the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts. There were twelve men at one of the police stations, who, in consequence of their officer having been ordered to remove to another district, were left entirely to themselves.. The officer had made some arrangement for rationing them, but, of course, they did as they pleased in his absence. The Burnett and Wide Bay Districts were left literally without an officer of tie Force. That was the first step of the Inspector General of Police. In fact, though I was kept employed up to the 16th April of the present year, I have received no pay for service, though I did all the duties.
21. A portion of the Force has been disbanded ? Yes; it was reduced from 136 to 72 men.
22. Are you aware what led to that reduction ? I cannot say.
23. Were you not consulted ? The reduction was proposed to me, and I opposed it in every possible way. I pointed out the impropriety of it, and what the result would be. I explained that seventy-two men were not adequate to protect the country; but my statement was not paid any attention to, and, as I did not favour the reduction, the Force was placed under the Inspector General of Police.
24. Finding that you could not carry out the duties you resigned ? I was offered the post of senior officer of the Force at a reduction of salary, which I, of course, declined.
25. I think yon said you could not efficiently carry out the duties of the Force in its reduced state ? Decidedly not. With seventy-two men you would have to make war on the blacks, whereas a larger force would act as a preventive, and save the lives not only of the white population but of the blacks also.
26. How many men do you think would be sufficient to protect the Leichhardt District as it how constituted ? I should say not less than forty efficient men. It is a very large district—nearly as large as Great Britain.
27. How many men would be requisite on the Lower Condamine and Maranoa? I do not think less than eighteen men.
28. Would that number protect the Maranoa in addition to the Lower Condamine? I think it would.
29. By Mr. Lang: The settlers are likely to be moving out ahead—do you think that force would protect the country behind them as well as on the actual frontier ? The number I have mentioned for the Leichhardt District would allow for settlers going to the northward. I am speaking of north from where the Lower Condamine Police are now stationed.
30. By the Chairman: You speak of the district as at present existing —not providing foe the future progress of the settlers? No, I am speaking of the present frontier.
31. In what way does the management of the Force being vested in an Officer in Sydney interfere with its efficiency ? I look upon it that he is totally useless ; because Mr. Mayne's instructions are, that the officers are to be thrown on their own resources, and are not to appeal to him for instruction; therefore what use can he be except to manage the finance of the force.
32. The Inspector General desired officers in charge of detachments continually to correspond with each other—is such a course possible ? I am told that the Inspector General instructed the officer commanding the Clarence District to keep up a communication with the officer at the Maranoa, (Wandai Gumbal,) a distance of three hundred miles, with the intervening country as quiet as Sydney, so far as blacks are concerned, and without direct postal communication.
33. What is the distance from Wandai Gumbal to Traylan, in the Burnett, the nearest head-quarters to the northward ? Traylan has been broken up; there are no head-quarters there now that I am aware of. The officer commanding in the Burnett District had instructions to remove from Traylan, as it would no longer be the head-quarters of a division.
34. Then the nearest head-quarters to Wandai Gumbal would be at Rannes, in the Leichhardt District ? The next place to Wandai Gumbal is on the Upper Dawson, where there are six troopers stationed under the sanction of the Inspector General.
35. There are no barracks there ? No, merely a bark place. I believe it is part of the system of the Inspector General that the men are to have no head-quarters.
36. Do you consider that a good regulation, to keep them on patrol ? Most decidedly. The men cannot be too much employed, and the more they have to do the better they are disciplined.
37. You consider they should be kept continually patrolling? Yes; the more they can be kept moving the better. The blacks do not know then where they may meet the Police, and that is a great check on outrage.
38. How many men do you think would be sufficient for the Wide Bay and Burnett ? I think eighteen men might perhaps do—'twenty-four would perhaps be better.
39. Are you aware whether the Native Police are now required in the Clarence District? I can offer no positive opinion, but my own impression is that they might not to be required. The greatest mischief there is in killing cattle, which they will do as long as any half-dozen blacks can collect in the Colony.
40. Do you think they are required in the Moreton District ? I should say that, round about the town, there is a great deal of pilfering, robbing of gardens and huts, and without a Police Force it is very likely they would go on until murder would follow.
41. Are they required on the Macintyre ? I think an occasional visit from Wandai Gumbal station would be sufficient. I do not think it requires that any should be stationed there, though there was a Chinaman killed there some months ago, close to where I hold a station ; but I believe myself that it was in consequence of his endeavouring to take one of the black women by force from the blacks. The people residing in the neighbourhood think nothing of it, though the man was killed, because they believe he brought it on himself.
42. By Mr. Forster: With reference to the blacks having been rendered quiet in certain districts, as you say, by the agency of the Native Police, are you not aware that that has occurred in all districts of the Colony, even where there have been no Native Police ? Yes, in course of time, but they have become quiet much quicker where the Native Police have, been. The Clarence District, for instance, had been occupied about fourteen years, and it was even thought necessary to send Native Police there after the lapse of that time; they have only been there two or three years; whereas the Burnett has been occupied only eight, years, and I believe the blacks are as quiet there as in any district of New South Wales, though some few petty robberies may taken place.
43. Are you not aware that there are parts of the Wide Bay District which have never been visited by the Native Police, or that were not visited until the blacks were quiet ? I am not aware of the part you allude to; I was there myself from the first.
44. Were not the Native Police there before you joined? No; I brought the first detachment to the Burnett District.
45. Was not Mr. Walker there before you ? No; I was there a few weeks before Mr. Walker-
46. With regard to what you have said about the uselessness of any central authority, would you propose that the Commandant should be totally independent of the central authority? Of course he must be responsible to some member of the Government; but, as far as the Benches of Magistrates are concerned, I would have him independent of them in every way.
47. You think local supervision by any authority not connected with the Force, would not: be beneficial ? I think it would never answer to place the Commandant or Officers of the Native Police under the control of any person not immediately connected with the Force.
48. Yon think it would be injurious to do so ? Most decidedly.
49. Do you not think some supervision could be exercised to the extent of reporting any irregularity? I presume any private, individual could bring before the Government any irregularity. ;
50. Are you not aware that in Mr. Walker's case, irregularities were complained of for years before any notice was taken of them ?', Yes, I believe that was the fact.
51. Might not that occur again ? It might, but it ought not.
52. Do you not think that the exercise of a power of inspection by some local authority to the extent of reporting any irregularities might be beneficial, inasmuch as complaints made by persons in authority might have greater effect with the Government than the complaints of private individuals ? Of course they would ; but I do not see any Officer that could be put over the Commandant that would be beneficial; I do not know what authority you could place over him.
53. Were not the irregularities to which you have alluded, in the case of Mr. Walker, extending over a period of three years ? I am told so, but though I served for six years with Mr. Walker, I do not think I spent as many as six. weeks with him. I may, perhaps, have seen him exceed at a private dinner table, but I did not consider it part of my duty to take any notice of the circumstance.
54. With respect to certain claims against the Government for rations for the Native Police, are you aware whether there are any claims made by private parties still outstanding ?. A few months ago, I believe, there were claims to a large amount, but whether they have been liquidated since I left the Force I do not know. I believe not, for a claim was made to me the other day in the street by a party to whom the Government are indebted to the extent of more than £100.
55. Are you aware whether these are just claims? I have reported to the Government every claim which I consider a just claim.
56. Do you think any new mode could be instituted of providing rations for the Force to do away with the necessity for the Officers buying them at the different stations ? I do not see any better mode; but I think the system of making the payments might be simplified with advantage. I think the price of rations is increased greatly, because there is so much trouble connected with the vouchers. They have to sign their names three or four times, and go through a great deal of routine.
57. You think the difficulty of getting payment increases the price of the rations ? Yes, no doubt.
58. Would you not suppose that that is a mere matter of detail which might be remedied by a better system ? I think so. I think that by giving facilities for paying people, there might be a saving, with 100, Troopers employed, of four or five hundred a year to the Government.
59. By the Chairman: Do you think that if timely investigation had been made into the conduct of Mr. Walker, the evil effects of that conduct might have been obviated, in the mismanagement of the Force ? I think if earlier inquiries had been made he would not have got into such pecuniary difficulties. The only evil influence that was felt in the Force, was when he was immediately in contact with another Officer; then his irregularities were felt, because it was almost a matter of impossibility- for the Officer to have any control over his men.
60. Do you think that if a Force of white men were substituted for the Native Police, they would be as efficient ? I think white men, as a body, would be perfectly useless; they cannot track the blacks. I have never known that a white party was successful for any length of time in tracing the blacks.
6l. By Mr. Forster; Are not the difficulties in pursuing the blacks increased as you go northward ? Yes, on account of the scrubs.
62. By the Chairman: Do you think that the employment of white Sergeants was beneficial? I only speak from memory, but I think that out of thirteen Sergeants that were employed during my time there were only .three efficient men. It was at my recommendation that Sub-lieutenants were substituted for the white Sergeants.
63. What was your reason for this recommendation ? I thought that the Native Troopers, would look with more respect on those who associated with gentlemen, than on those who associated with the labouring men at the stations they visited, and who were continually getting drunk and setting a bid example. The natives are very imitative, and even follow the manners of a man they have been with for any length of time. The only men who were found useful as white Sergeants, were men who had formerly served in the old Mounted Police. They were highly efficient.
64. The Sublieutenants get the same pay the Sergeants did, do they not ? Ye3.
65. Do you think it possible to get; efficient men for that rate of pay? .You can get very young men, but I hold that young men ought not to be employed in such a Force. It requires men of steady and confirmed habits. I do not think it is proper that boys of 18 or 19 should be sent away in command of twelve men, who, to say the best, are but semi-savages, and with whom on the slightest sign there would be a dozen .triggers instantly pulled. I think they ought to be well paid men, and, and at any rate, not less than five or six and twenty years of age. " ' ,';
66. What pay would you recommend ? I do not think any Officer ought to have less than. 200 punds a year, even of a junior grade,.
67. Do you consider the employment of military men; either as Officers, or Sergeants, has worked well ? 1 should have no objection to take men who had served in the old Mounted Police, but generally speaking, I would be opposed to the employment of military men in such a Force. They are not fit for it; their previous habits unfit them for bush life, and they, cannot adapt themselves to circumstances.
.68. Are yon speaking of them both as Officers and men ? I am speaking of the Sergeants.
69. Do you think the appointment of old military men as Officers in the Native Police would be a good measure? I think it is highly objectionable.
70. By Mr. Rusden: Was there any system pursued in regard to disbanding the Force ? The reduction was left to me, and I discharged all the men that had been recruited in the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts principally.
71. Were they discharged with their government clothing ? By the orders of the Inspector General, I was instructed to allow them to retain any clothing they had had in wear.
72 Did you not hear of an outrage that was committed on the Macintyre, by some of these men—I allude to some woman who was attacked? I cannot speak as to that; I believe they were not disbanded men, but deserters after I left the Force, from the Wide Bay District, men who had been left without an Officer for some two or three months.
73. Do you think it a good plan to recruit men from the districts where they are to be employed ? No ; I always employed the men as far away from their own districts as possible.
74. In case of being disbanded, they were returned to their districts? Yes; I was even instructed, if necessary, to horse them to their own districts; all that were disbanded belonged to Wide Bay and Burnett.
. 75. By the Chairman: Then on no account would you employ the Force near the districts they are recruited from ? Not in any numbers; there would be no objection to one or two men being employed in their own districts; but if a body of twelve men had been raised at the Clarence I would bring them north, or if at the Burnett, I would take them south.
76. By Mr. Rusden : How far is Easton's Station from Callandoon ? About 35 miles; but there have been no Police at Callandoon for some considerable time.
77.. There have been several outrages committed there, since they were removed from that place ? Not that I was aware of; I have a station 18 miles from Callandoon, and I never heard of it. 7H. You consider the district quiet ? Most assuredly I do.
79. By Mr. Foster: Do you consider the Wide Bay District quiet? I do not know; but there may be a great deal of petty thieving from drays and so on ; but I look upon it that if the bullock drivers would look after their drays instead of getting drunk at the public-houses, nothing of the sort would happen.
80. The natives there are not in a state of hostility to the whites ? No.
81. I suppose that generally, there is a feeling of hostility at first ? Yes; that has been the case all through the Colony, I think,
82. You consider that that state of things has passed away in the Wide Bay District 1 Yes.
88. Would you recommend keeping the Native Police in any district where that feeling has passed away ? Yes, I would as a check for a time.
84. Do you think it proper to recruit at all from any district where the Native Police are employed ? Yes; I think it has a most beneficial effect, because the tribes knowing that their own friends are employed would be more inclined to be peaceable.
85. They would not fear their own people ? They have never been in any numbers employed against their own people; we may have had one trooper belonging to Wide Bay as a guide, and ' the same an the Burnett.
86. What is your opinion of the effect of this police system on the natives themselves, has it had a good effect ? I think so.
87. Would not the blacks, after being disbanded, be likely to be dangerous ? No more than a black boy that a person may have had in his service.
88. Do you not think the habits of organization they acquire would render them dangerous? No; because all that is done away with as soon as they get amongst their tribes; they are cut up into families again. There can be no organization amongst them without a white leader; they never have a leader amongst themselves.
89. By Mr. Lang: You say seventy-two men are too few to make the Native Police Force efficient; will you have the goodness to say how many you think there ought to be in each district? I would say forty-eight for the Leichhardt, to allow for casualties and sickness; eighteen for Wide Bay and Burnett; eighteen for the Lower Condamine and Maranoa; six for Moreton Bay; twelve for the Macleay; twelve for Port Curtis; and twelve for the Clarence.
90. By the Chairman: The object of the Force is to protect the Aborigines as well as the settlers ? Most decidedly, I should say so.
91. By the employment of the Police in small bodies, would not the effect be much more severe on the blacks owing to the necessity of making war upon them; whereas would not the employment of the Force in larger bodies tend to overawe the blacks and thus prevent collision and save life ? I am quite confident that if you do not employ a sufficient number to keep them in check, you will have to make war on them ; whereas if you employ a larger number, you not only better protect the whites, but the blacks also. I believe that, previous to my leaving the Burnett District, there had not been a shot fired against them for two years.
92. What officers, were in the Burnett District from the 1st of January, 1856, to the beginning of April in the same year ? The Inspector General wrote to inform me that I was not an officer of the Force, although I was at the time the only person in the District who had been connected with the Native Police Force.
93. Therefore you could not legally have acted ? (Find Act) I suppose not. I merely kept the men together. There was no occasion to take any active steps against the blacks. If there had been I should have acted as a Magistrate, but not as an officer of the Force.
94. Were there any evil results from that state of things ? There were twelve men left to themselves in the Wide Bay District, and though Mr. Bligh, who had been removed to tha Clarence, had left them at a station of Mr. McTaggart's, who had promised to ration them, the men were doing just as they liked, amusing themselves in fact.
95. Could such a state of things have occurred under a local head? No; it would have been hardly possible for a man living in the district to have made such a mistake as to remove every officer out of the district.;
96. By Mr. Buckley: You say the Commandant of this Force ought to have full discretion as to its distribution and management; and should not be subject to, any control from any other authority? Most decidedly; except that he should report his proceedings to the Colonial Secretary, or some Member of, the Government.
97. Do you think the Government Resident at Brisbane would be of any service in managing the Force ? No.
98. What sort of reports would you have the Commandant make to the Colonial Secretary? Perhaps quarterly reports, or a report whenever there was occasion, with a yearly full report.
99. In case of an attack on the blacks, is it usual to report the circumstances? Always. There is always a magisterial inquiry where life has been taken; affidavits are taken and sent to the hands of the Attorney General:
100. Do you take the evidence of the native troopers? No; we take their statement; we cannot swear them.
101. Can you depend generally on the evidence they give ? I could depend upon any man I knew speaking the truth as much as I could upon a white man ; but I could not do so in the case of a man I had never seen before.
102. Have there been any bad results! from the removal of the Police from Wide- Bay and Burnett? You mean from their being disbanded. I think it had a very bad effect. The blacks of course all saw them going away through the district.
103. Did they belong to the tribes in the vicinity ? Most of the men I dismissed on the first occasion belonged to Wide Bay.
104. Do you think it had a bad tendency with the tribes to which they belonged ? I think not. .
105 Were the blacks generally well disposed towards the whites ? Some are well and some-ill-disposed. The numbers in favour of the whites are the largest.
106. Can you mention any, depredations that were committed after that Force was disbanded ? Not in the Burnett and Wide Bay.
107. Were they disbanded at the time those parties were killed in the neighbourhood of Wide Bay—I allude to Mr. Furber and his men ? They would have had time to have gone there.
108. Do you know anything of the circumstances under which that murder took place? Only by report. I am told that Mr. Furber had been making use of firearms in the camp. I believe it is well known that such was the fact; but one hears these things, and cannot get any evidence of them. ■
109. Is it probable he had given then) any cause for making the attack ? I am told he had fired into the camp.
110. Do you think it is likely that the collision that took place with him was with the Wide Bay blacks? Either the Wide Bay or Frazer's Island blacks.
111. Are they generally more savage than those in the Burnett ? The coast blacks are generally more savage than those in the interior.
112. Do you think twelve men would keep them in order ? Yes, with six for the Burnett.
113. Do you think six would be sufficient for the Burnett ? Yes.
114. Is not the Burnett a much larger district than the Wide Bay district ? Yes, it is larger; but the Wide. Bay has a coast frontage, and the coast blacks have such facilities of escape, owing to the country along the coast not being taken up by settlers or squatters; of course, where there are many squatters there is not so much trouble.
115. By Mr. Hely: Did you ever hear of native troopers being sent out by themselves without a white Sergeant or officer ? For what duty ?
116. Sent out, for instance, to inquiire into outrages. I believe they were sent out, in the case I refer to, with a white Sergeant, but he left them to their own devices, and they attacked and killed a lot of station blacks? I do not know anything of that; I was not in. the district. I know an inquiry took place, and a Sergeant was suspended for a considerable time, but I know nothing of the circumstances myself. The whole matter was before the Government, and the correspondence could be got in the Colonial. Secretary's Office. I have never seen it myself, and I .know nothing about it, because I was three hundred miles away at the time.
117. Did you ever hear of the black troopers being sent out without even a white Sergeant ? No, except as a patrol party perhaps to the adjoining station, when there was no officer to send with them. I sent a party myself since the first of January of the present year, when complaints were made to me that the blacks were congregated in large numbers at a particular spot. The Inspector General had told me that I was not an officer of the Force, but I told some of the men to ride up there and tell the blacks to go quietly away..
118. By Mr. Rusden: Did the Inspector General keep appealing to you to perform the duties after he had told you you were not an officer of the Force ? I was in correspondence' with him. ;;. .
119. By Mr. Forster : You considered you have a claim on the Government for pay during that period ? I do. I shall try to convince the Government that I have a claim for pay until I was relieved by Lieutenant Morisset.
120 By the Chairman: How many months was that after you ceased to belong to the Force ? I was told that I ceased to be an officer of the Force from the first of January, but I was actually employed till the sixteenth of April.
121. By Mr. Forster: Were not the Wide Bay and Burnett generally under the same supervision, as far as the Native Police were concerned ? There were two separate sections— twelve in Wide Bay, and twelve in the Burnett.
122. By the Chairman : Do you consider that the Native Police might be usefully employed, when necessity required, as a general Police ? I think that, under whites, they might be usefully employed as a general Police.
123. Under their officers ? Yes. I think they might act as a Police body in any case that came under their notice, but protecting people from the Aborigines should be their first duty.
124. In that case should the officers of Native Police be Magistrates ? That would depend entirely on the age and fitness of the persons. I know that two young gentlemen were appointed to the Native Police, and they were written to, to come down and be sworn in as Magistrates, and it was found that neither of them was more than eighteen years of age.
125. Do you consider that the senior Lieutenants should be Magistrates ? Most decidedly.'
126. But not the second or Sub-lieutenants ? That would depend entirely on their age and capabilities. I think there are many men who would make efficient officers in the field who are not fitted to be Magistrates.
127. By Mr. Holt: Would not a great deal more country be taken up by settlers to the northward, if it. could be done with safety ? I know several persons are waiting to go out, but they are afraid until there is a stronger Police Force. :
128. Would they not pay a considerable amount to the revenue, both by License Fees and Customs' duties ? Yes ; they would contribute in every way, of course.
129. Do you not think they would pay the expense of the Police ? Not at first; it is hardly to be supposed a new district would pay the expense of the Police at first; however, I have not formed a decided opinion on that point. .
130. By Mr. Forster : Are you aware whether the Government ever instituted any inquiry into the irregularities of Mr. Walker upon the complaint of the settlers ? I am not aware.
131. You are aware that complaints were made to the Government by settlers? Yes; I have seen a letter, I think, from yourself on the subject.
132. Are you aware whether any notice was ever taken of those complaints by the Government ? He was called upon for an explanation, I believe.
133. Is it the custom, or was it the former custom with the Government, upon receiving such an explanation, to at once close the case and take that as conclusive ? I do not know. I suppose the statement made by Mr. Walker was deemed satisfactory.
134. I think you state that yon are aware of a complaint having been made against Mr.Walker by me ; are you aware what that complaint was—did I not charge him with drunkenness ? You did.
135. Can you state, of your own knowledge, whether that complaint was true ? I believe it was true, but I believe also that he was drunk at a private house, and that the complaint ought not to have been made. I would not say so after his having been in the district six months or more; but he had just come amongst you, and it was the first offence.
136. Were not his habits the habits of a drunkard at that time ? I could not say, because I did not know sufficient of him. When I first saw him in the Burnett District, I had not been with him a week.
137. By the Chairman : It is proposed to place the administration of the Native Police under the Government Resident at Moreton Bay—have you heard so ? I have.
138. Do you think that step would tend to the efficiency of the Force ? You might make him a referee for the Commanding Officer to make his reports to.
139. Do yon think it possible the Government Resident could exercise any useful or efficient control in directing his movements ? I think it very possible the result would be, that the troopers might be removed from their districts to protect the gardens and properties of the people about Brisbane.
140. Still you think it necessary that a snail Force should be stationed in the Moreton Bay District ? Yes, I think so, or matters will go on till murder will be committed. .
141. Six men would be sufficient ? Yes.
142. By Mr, Rusden.: Your opinion is that the Commandant should have no person over him, but should refer direct to head-quarters ? That he should make his reports to a member of the Government, but be under no local control.
143. Do you mean periodical reports? The same reports that other Government officers make.
144. By the Chairman: Do you think Mr. Walker possessed any special influence in Sydney? I have my own opinion, and I have not the slightest objection to state it. Mr. Walker had been in the service of Mr. Wentworth, and, I believe, was his personal friend ; Mr. Morris, also a Member of Council, was the personal friend of Mr. Walker; and I believe Mr. Wentworth and Mr. Morris carried their friends with them. That is my opinion. There is no doubt that Mr. Walker was very strongly supported by Members of Council. I know this, that I would have complained to the Government before I did, but that I felt reluctant to do so individually. I did not feel confident in making any complaint against him, seeing the way in which he was supported. I know complaints have been made, and that his conduct was most glaring, although no notice -was taken of it.
2 December, 1856
William Thomas. Elliott, Esq., of Fitzroy River, Port Curtis District, called in, and examined:—
1. By the Chairman : You reside in the Port Curtis District? Yes.
2. You formerly resided in the Wide Bay and Burnett District ? Yes.
8. How many years, altogether ? Since June, 1861.
4. You have been engaged in pastoral pursuits all that time ? Yes.
5. Have you had much experience amongst the blacks ? Not till latterly.
6. Not in the Burnett District ? No; I was amongst the quiet blacks there.
7. You have had a great deal of experience amongst them recently in the outlying district you are now in? Since I have been out — fourteen months — I have had almost constant experience.
8. In what part of the Port Curtis District? In the counties of Palmereton and Liebig, on the FitzRoy River.
9. Have you been much exposed to the depredations of the blacks out there? Yes, a good deal.
10. Have you suffered any loss of men? I have had one man killed, and two attacks made upon me.
11. Have you suffered any loss of stock ? An attempt was once made by the blacks to take some stock away, but they were unsuccessful.
12. You narrowly escaped yourself on one occasion, report says? Yes; we were attacked in the night. .
13. By a large body of the blacks ? About one hundred.
14. Where were the Native Police at that time ? At Rannes, fifty miles distant.
15. Do you consider the number of Police in the Leichhardt District sufficient to protect it ? Certainly not.
16. How many men have they in the Leichhardt District now ? I believe about twenty, but I am not sure.
17. That includes the Upper Dawson ? Yes.
18.. How many men do you consider sufficient for the protection of the Leichhardt District alone? I should say not less than three sections, of twelve men each.
19. That is thirty-six men. .Do you inclnde supernumeraries, or would you have a few more, to make allowance for casualties and sickness ? There should be thirty-six on constant duty there.
20. The office of Commandant of Native Police was abolished some time ago ? Yes.
21. What has been the effect of that step—has it tended to the efficiency, or otherwise, of the Force ? I should say it had not tended to its efficiency, for an active Commandant, 1 think, is absolutely necessary for the perfect efficiency of the Force.
22. The management of the Force was then placed in the hands of the Inspector General of Police—Do you think that has tended to benefit the operations of the Police ? The Inspector General's means of information, being derived from the very persons whom it was his duty to control, could hardly be conclusive or correct.
23. The Force was also reduced in strength sometime ago ? Yes.
24. What has been the effect of that reduction ? There are too few men to patrol the whole of the district it k necessary for them to protect.
25. In your own case, when you were attacked in the night, I suppose the attack was owing to the absence of the Native Police ? Not a doubt of it.
26. Have you heard of any other case of depredation in the Leichhardt District ? One of the most serious attacks was made on Mr. Young's station, when every one on the station was killed.
27. How many murders took place on that occasion ? Five ; four men and one woman.
28. Where were the Native Police then? There was a small party at Gladstone.
29. What distance ? Twenty miles, I think.
30. What was the number of the party at Gladstone ? I suppose about six men—I am not sure; certainly it did not exceed six men.
31. Could not their services have been made effective ? They were ; but if there had been more, the officer would have been able Jo patrol more regularly, and very likely that would have prevented the attack.
32. Do you consider that the office of Commandant were restored it would add much to the efficiency of the Police ? Decidedly, I think so.
33. You consider that the Force generally should be augmented? Yes.
34. The Force now consists of seventy two troopers—to what extent throughout the districts generally do you consider the Force should be augmented ? I am not sufficiently acquainted with any other district except my own; to be able to say.
35. Take the Leichhardt District, for instance—you say there are now twenty men, and that includes the whole Force ? Yes.
36. Supernumeraries as well as effective men ? I believe so.
37. You say thirty-six effective men is the number requisite under a proper augmentation; how many supernumeraries would you: think necessary ? I could hardly say how many more would be required to provide for the number of people forming new stations; but in the present state of the district I think thirty-six would be the least number that could effectually protect it.
38. Each section would require three supernumeraries to meet cases of sickness and casualty ? Yes, I should think so.
39. Would that be sufficient ? I should say so.
40. That would be forty-five men in all ? Yes.
41. By Mr. Forster: Do you consider that the difficulties of taking up stations are increased as you go north ? Yes.
42. Owing to the nature of the country ? Yes ; the scrubs are so extensive.
43. Yon would say, then, that a bigger Police Force is necessary in proportion to the difficulties to be encountered ? I should say so.
44. In addition to the sort of organization you propose, that is, that the Commandant should be responsible only to a Department in Sydney, do you not think some mode of local supervision might be arranged, so as to render such an officer subject to be inspected or reported on by people in the district ? I think that ought to be left to public opinion in a great measure. I would interfere as little as possible with the local chief.
45. Are you not aware that complaints have been made against officers of the Native Police, which have Hot been attended to by the Government ? I believe there have been.
46. How do you suppose public opinion is to act, if the Government will not. take notice of complaints? The Government is supposed to notice complaints in general.
47. I think you have stated that you have known instances in which the complaints of settlers have not been noticed ? In former times, but I do not think that at that time so much of the attention Of the Government was directed to it :is now. We have never had till now a Committee to inquire into Police matters at all.
4?. When an officer is left in that way, to his own devices as it were, is there not a danger of his becoming virtually irresponsible, owing to the distance from head quarters, and the difficulty of getting complaints either made or substantiated or attended to? There might be.
49. Was not that the case with Mr. Walker ? I have heard so.
50. That he became virtually irresponsible because complaints were not attended to? I seldom at that time paid much attention to the subject, not having occasion for the Police where I was then living. All the information I can give is as to what has come under my own actual observation.
51. It is only since you have felt the necessity of the Police in your own case that you have attended to them at all ? Yes; and I think that is pretty generally the case with every one.
52. By Mr. Holt: Have you a station near Port Curtis? About ninety miles from Port Curtis.
53. Near Rannes? Seventy miles from Rannes.
54. Have you been at all troubled with the blacks? I have.
55. Have you lost any men ? I lost one man.
56. By Mr. Forster : You were speared yourself, were you not ? I was. '
57. By Mr. Holt: Do you think much new country would be taken up if the squatters were more protected—there is a great deal of good country to the north and east, I believe ? A good deal of country has been applied for. .
58. By Mr. Forster-: Do you think any thing would stop the squatters? I do not think it would.
59. If there were no Native Police the country would still be taken up, but not so quickly, and with greater loss of life ? Yes, I believe so. Whenever there is a pressure from want of room the squatters will move out; but there would be less loss, most undoubtedly, with an efficient Native Police.
60. By the Chairman : Are you aware whether any persons have been prevented from taking up fresh country lately, in consequence of the want of protection? I think the occupation of new country has been delayed in many instances. Very likely I should have more neighbours if the protection were better.
61. You think it very essential to the progress of the outlying districts that the Native Police should lie maintained in full force ? Yes, I think so.
62. Do you think it would be advisable that a clerk should be attached to the department of the Commandant ? I think so. It would enable him to attend more to his active duties.
63. When relieved from the details of the accounts and correspondence? Yes.
64. By Mr. Forster: Have you any claims against the Government for rations furnished to the Native Police, which have not been attended to? I have only supplied them very lately.
65. Have any of your neighbours claims of that sort ? I believe Mr. Archer has.
66. Is there not something Of an indisposition to furnish rations, owing to the manner in which these claims have been treated? Most of the squatters on the Upper Dawson hare refused to supply them, unless they were paid their previous claims. I think Mr. Murray, of the Native Police, mentioned that to me, and that he was going up there on that account.
3 December, 1856
Robert Strathdee, Esq., called in and examined :—
1. By the Chairman: You are a settler in the Burnett District ? Yes.
2. How many years have you resided there? Since 1848.
2. Have you had much experience of the blacks during that time? I have employed a great many of them at different times.
4. Have the blacks committed many depredations during your experience in the district? A great many in the district.
5. Attended with a good deal of loss of life and property ? Yes.
6. Do you think that those depredations were diminished after the establishment of the Native Police in the district? I think they were on the outskirts of the district, but towards the centre I think they were all pretty quiet, even when the Police did come.
7. They have been of great service in the outlying districts ? Very great, I think.
8. And have prevented loss of life that would have taken place had they not been there? I think so.
9. You are aware that the office of Commandant was done away with ? Yes, I am aware of it.
10. Do you consider that that step tended to the efficiency of the Force or otherwise? The Force was in a state of great disorganization when Mr. Walker left.
11. To what do you attribute that? To his habits of intemperance.
12. Do you think that if timely investigation had been made into Mr. Walker's conduct, the evil effects of that conduct would have been obviated, in the mismanagement of the Force ? Yes, I think so, if it had been perhaps a couple of years before the investigation did take place.
13. His conduct was allowed to go unnoticed by the Government for so long a period as two years? Yes, I think so.
14. Are you aware whether the Government were cognizant of his misconduct? I have been informed that his conduct was frequently represented to the Government. I do not know anything of it personally.
15. Under proper regulations, do you consider tint a Commandant or local head of the Force is essential to its proper working ? A local head is essential to its efficiency.
16. Do you think it necessary that there should be a clerk attached to the department of the head of the Force to attend to the accounts and relieve that officer from the details of matters of that kind ? Yes, I think so. One of the Second Lieutenants did act as such to Mr. Walker and Mr. Marshall also.
18. Are you aware whether that reduction has been attended with any evil consequences ? A great many outrages have been attributed to the dismissed policemen. They are supposed to have been the ringleaders in certain cases. .
19. Those men were recruited in certain districts near where they were employed ? Yes.
20. Do you not think it very undesirable that troopers should be employed in districts near where, their own tribes reside ? Yes. I think so. : '
21. Are you acquainted with the requirements of the Port Curtis District ? I think it is impossible to prosecute squatting pursuits out there without an efficient Native Police - to extend them or even maintain the ground at present occupied
22. You consider then that squatting operations would be very considerably retarded by the absence of an efficient Police ? Yes. I do not think the present stations could be, retained in many cases, and I think it would be quite impossible to go out much further, without the Police.
23. Are you aware how many men would be requisite for the protection of the Leichhardt District alone ? I am not aware; but if they were employed in -patrolling a less number would be necessary than if they were to remain stationary.
24. It has been said that four sections would be required for that district, do you think that would be sufficient ? I think it would be sufficient if every trooper had two horses, and if a certain number of pack horses were attached to each section besides.
25. Do you think it desirable that a person capable of shoeing a horse and attending to the saddlery should be attached to each division—do you think that would tend to the efficiency of the Force, looking to the wear and tear of horse flesh ? Certainly. A horse will do nearly double the work when shod that he will do when without shoes. I have found it so.
26. One great cause of the inefficiency of the force in former times arose from the sore backs of the horses and want of shoeing ? Very often I have understood. I have seen the whole of the horses belonging to a section or detachment quite knocked up from that cause.
WEDNESDAY, 10 DECEMBER, 1856.
Mr. FORSTER, Mr. BUCKLEY, Mr. SANDEMAN, Mr. F. RUSDEN,
Mr. GORDON SANDEMAN, ESQUIRE, IN THE CHAIR..
Richard Purves Marshall, Esq., J.P., Esq Acting Commandant Native Police, called in and
1. By the Chairman: Where would yon recommend the head quarters and local head of the Native Police Force to be stationed ? In the neighbourhood of Maryborough.
2. Do you think that would be better than Port Curtis? Yes; it would be more central for the local head of the Force. If it were fixed at Port Curtis, to keep up the communication with Brisbane there would be a long distance to travel; it would be more central to have the head quarters fixed near Maryborough.
3. Do you think the appointment of an officer in the capacity of clerk would be of advantage to the Force ? Yes, I think it would be a very great advantage; the accounts of the Force' would be more regularly kept if a clerk were appointed, than they could be by the head of the Force.
4. Would there be a saving effected by this appointment ? Yes, I think it would be cheaper. If the returns were made out by a clerk, it would not take such a time in passing the vouchers.
5. Is there a great length of time intervening before passing the vouchers ? Yes.
6. In your opinion, what arrangement should be made with regard to main camps? I should say that every division should have a main camp, as in. the district where I was stationed, and that they should be as centrically situated as possible.
7. Have the horses of the Force suffered a great deal from bad backs, and from want of shoeing, owing to the broken nature of the country ? They have suffered more from bad backs than from want of shoeing.
8. Have they not suffered from want of shoeing in the Upper Dawson ? They have suffered there; but with two horses per man I think they might manage to do without shoeing in the Upper Dawson.
9. I suppose there are some parts of the country where the horses are shod ? Yes, there are two localities where persons who carry on the trade of blacksmiths live in the neighbourhood. From some districts they would have to send a distance of 150 miles to have their horses shod.
10. What do you think of the appointment of a Barrack Master ? I think he would be useful to see that the saddles were kept in proper repair, and if he could shoe as well it: would be so much the better.
11. Are any of the troopers capable of shoeing their horses? No; it would be impossible for them to do it.
12. Captain Mayne's opinion was that it could be done by them ? If Captain Mayne could get the men to shoe their own horses, he can do more than any other man in the Colony. It is all very well to fancy that the things can be done; but if you try to put them in practice they will be found very difficult.
13. You consider it of great importance to the efficiency of the Force that the horses should be well attended to ? Yes; everything depends on attending to the horses as well as to the men. If the horses were not attended to the men cannot perform their duty.
14. Are yon of opinion that the head of the Force should be Inspector or Commandant? 1 should say Inspector. I should have the Officers to see that the men were in a good state of discipline, and whether they performed their duties properly. It is impossible for a man stationed at the head quarters to have any control as to discipline over men at a distance ; for instance, from the Clarence to Gayndah is a distance of 500 miles.
15 Should the responsibility rest with the Officer commanding the Detachment? With the Officer commanding the Division.
16. Should he be subject to the Inspector ? Yes; this Officer, by visiting the different districts, would know for himself (as well as by hearing by the report of persons), and seewhether the Native Police Force was efficient. He would not be called on to interfere with the discipline of the men, but would look to the Officer in command for that. If the men were not disciplined, it would be his duty to report to whoever he was called on to make his report to.
17 Have you been able to make any calculation of the number of men required for the different district ? I consider that not less than 102 men would be required.
18. That is not taking into consideration the real or fancied wants of the Clarence and Macleay Districts—would you state again the number you would attach to each district ?I should say not less than 48 men for the Leichhardt District, that is, so far as the country is at present taken up. For Port Curtis, 12 men; Wide Bay and Burnett, 18 men; Moreton Bay, 6 men. With regard to the Clarence and Macleay, my impression is that they would not require any. Some of the 48 troopers for the Leichhardt District could be occasionally sent to the Clarence District, if not required in the former.
19. With each Division of 12 men, how many Officers would you have? I think there should not be less than 1 Officer to each 6 men. I would have a First Lieutenant, one Second Lieutenant, and two Sub-lieutenants, to each Division of 24 men.
20. Do you consider the rate of salary sufficient to induce efficient men as Officers to enter the Force ? I think gentlemen would not remain in the Force at £100 per annum.
21. The rate is only £68 per annum—that is the present allowance? They get the same allowance and pay as a Sergeant—in all, £105 per annum.
22. What should be the salary, do you consider, to induce an efficient class of men to enter the service ? I said not less than £200 before, and I am still of the same opinion. I think men are required to make the Police Force efficient; it is not boys that are required. No doubt they consider themselves paid, and are satisfied with £100 a year, so that they have the uniform; but the first shower of rain they get into, they find they are very barely paid. It is not boys that ought to; be placed in command of such men, and for such duty.
23. The Force consists, I believe, at present of 72 men ? Yes, but with 72 men employed, the chances are that not more than 62 would be effective at one time.
24. The increase you propose is, I think, 30 troopers ? I do not believe that is enough. I said before that 30 was the least number that could be employed with a due regard to safety of the people.
25. If there were 30 troopers, that would involve the necessity of some 60 horses? WhenI left the detachment, two horses were allowed to every man, two pack horses to every six men.
26. That would involve the necessity of 70 horses? Yes.
27. By Mr. F. Rusden : All the horses would not have to be purchased—Is there not an establishment there already ? There are two horses for every man. There were 156 horses allowed for the Force when I left it.
28. By Mr. Forster : I should like to know whether Maryborough is more central than Gayndah—You said it was more central, I should like to know why ? I did not say it was more central—I considered that it was better suited as a station for the local head of the Police. I gave it as my opinion that the largest force could be stationed near Maryborough.
29.You stated that Maryborough was the best place for the local head of the Force to be stationed at ? Yes.
30. With, reference to the most central position, do you not think that Gayndah is more central than Maryborough for the local head of the Force ? Well, perhaps it would be more central, but I think Maryborough has more advantages. The reason why I recommend Maryborough is because it is near a sea-port.
31. Although Gayndah is more central, you believe that Maryborough combines more advantages ? Yes; I recommend it because Tiaro is only 14 miles distance from Maryborough, and that is the first ford up the Mary River ; the Police therefore could command each side of the river, as occasion required. I would offer an opinion to the Committee which I think is very necessary. During my predecessor's time, the clothing was sent to the Burnett District to be distributed to the other districts. I should like to see this system improved, and the clothing for each division sent to the sea-port near where that division was stationed.
32. I think it would not be departing from .our subject if I asked if the mixing of the Native Police with the blacks was of benefit towards civilizing the blacks ? Yes, I think it is.
33. Do yon think that any good has been done to the blacks by the issuing blankets and slops—do you think that system does any good? I do not think that the blacks understand what the blankets are given for. I think the system would be good if it was properly carried out. The blacks in the vicinity of towns generally get the blankets given them, and they are probably sold the next day for grog or tobacco.
34. Would you conclude that under the present mode of distribution it was a waste of money ? No, I will not say that.
35. Do you think it does some benefit ? Yes.
38. Would you recommend it« abolition ? No.
37. All your objection goes to is, that yon think the system might be improved, althougk you believe the principle is good? Yes?
38. For instance, you have heard of blankets being sent to the country stations for distribution—is that better than sending them up to town for distribution? Most decidedly it is.
39. By Mr. F. Rusden: Do you think there would be a saving if the Inspector was allowed a clerk, and advances were made to him, to pay the district, and to receive the vouchers from the Officer, and to place money to the credit of the Officer? I think a very great saving would be made. With 100 men employed, I should say that £400 per annum would be cleared by effecting prompt payments to the settlers, which could only be done by the employment of a clerk. I always received money three months before I would suggest to the Committee, if any witnesses are to be examined, to ask them whether payments were not made with punctuality during my time. I do not know whether it is necessary to state it, but I know this, that I saved £400 of £500 out of the money allowed to me to supply the men. I think it desirable that the Commandant should have nothing to do with the payments, and not be troubled with them, but that this work should be left to the clerk, who would give the vouchers to the Commandant merely to sign. The Inspector, of the Force should so arrange it as to be at home at the end of the quarter, (which I always did) when the vouchers could be signed.
40. Do you think the delay of payments added to the inefficiency of the Force? No doubt of it. .
41. Would the clerk be able to act as storekeeper also, and with the Commissariat? We had no Commissariat. .
10 December, 1856
Henry Hort Brown, Esq., M. R. C. S., called in and examined:—
1. By the Chairman : You have been a resident of the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts ? Yes.
2. How many years have you resided there ? Eight years.
3. You are a Magistrate of the Territory I believe ? I was.
4. You were the Medical Officer to the Native Police Force? I was; but that appointment has been done away with lately.
5. Have you had much experience among the blacks in the Northern Districts ? Yes, in my professional capacity, I have seen much of them.
6. Have the blacks been very troublesome in the districts you are acquainted with ? Yes, very much so.
7. Were you in the Northern Districts; previous to the arrival of the Native Police Force ? I was.
8. Do you consider the depredations committed by the blacks were diminished after the introduction of the Native Police Force ? Yes, I think they were.
9. Do you think it tends to the safety of the people on the .frontier districts to continue the Native Police Force in those localities ? Yes.
10. What do you think of the measure of doing away with the Commandantship of the Force ? I think it is most desirable that it should have a local Commandant.
11. Had the abolition of the local head an injurious effect on the efficiency of the Native Police Force ? No doubt of it.
12. Were you aware of the circumstance that led to the doing away with the old Commandant, Mr. Walker ? Intemperance, I believe.
13. How long was that species of misconduct going on in that district, on the part of Mr. Walker ? In my professional capacity I have known Mr. Walker as an intemperate man for some two years previous to his dismissal.
14. Were reports made to the proper authorities of his misconduct? I am not aware I have been told that representations were made of his conduct by one or two settlers, and a requisition was made that his conduct should be enquired into, but I did not take part in it.
15. You believe that representations were made, and that complaints were made on the part of the settlers ? I am satisfied of it.
16. Were those complaints attended, to ? I believe not. They were (I was informed); referred to Mr. Walker himself for approval.
17. What! to Mr. Walker himself? I was given to understand that a copy of the complaints was referred to Mr. Walker himself to be reported on.
18. The complaints were not made against the efficiency of the Force, but of the misconduct of the Officers? Yes.
19. Do you think it was owing to the irregularities you have alluded to that the inefficiency' of the Force was complained of? Yes, I think so.
20 And if it had not been for inefficient management, arising from the cause you have I referred to, and without being checked in time, the Force would have been kept in a far I more effective state ? Yes, I think so. It must have recovered its position if the evils had been promptly remedied.
21. Who succeeded Mr. Walker in charge of the Force ? Mr. Marshall.
22. Did the Force improve under his authority? Yes, the discipline was much improved, under his direction.
23. Was he not very much tied down by previous arrangements ? I think he was not able to act as he wished.
24. Shortly after he took command of the Force, was it partly disbanded? Yes, and previous arrangements were still in force which, I think, if he had possessed the full power to alter, would have been amended. Many of the arrangements, although he was the Chief Officer of the Force, he had no absolute control over.
25. Was the Force then placed under the control of the Inspector General of Police? Yes.
26. Do you consider such an Officer competent to carry out such a charge, he being at the same time in Sydney? I am sure it was impossible for a person, living in Sydney, to manage the Force at so great a distance. I know it of my own personal observation.
27. You attribute the compartive (sic) inefficiency of the Force to that arrangement? Yes, to the want of local supervision.
28. Are you aware whether there used to be much trouble in obtaining the payment of . accounts for supplies made to the Force ? Yes, I am aware of there being great trouble in getting accounts paid. I myself had my pay as Surgeon to the Native Police detained for nine months, in consequence of a complaint made against me by Mr. Walker, subsequent to his dismissal from the Force; the charge was " inattention to my duties," and the complaint made by Mr. Walker was entertained, although he had then ceased to hold the Commandant-ship. The grounds of complaint were palpably visionary, dependant, I presume, upon his state of health at the time.
29. Are you aware whether, under Mr. Marshall, the payments to the Force were made with, punctuality? They were expedited much.
30. What has been the case under the Inspector General's management ? It is worse; it requires so much time to refer to and from Sydney. It took months, however promptly they might be inclined to meet accounts, before they could pay them. It takes a month or five weeks to get an answer to a letter in our district from Sydney.
31. Have you heard that the Force is to be placed under the control of the Government Resident of Moreton Bay? No, I have not heard it. .
32. Do you think that is a measure that will tend to the efficiency of the Force ? Certainly not. I think a local Commandant or General Superintendent should be appointed, the same as it was before.
33: There would be no objection to Captain Wickham being made local referee in case of need ? Over the Commandant. .
34. No, in affairs of the Force? He should not have the power of interfering with the Commandant's directions of the Force; but in matters that required the reference of the Government, it would be better that reference should be to a committee of Captain Wickham and two others.
35. Would it be better to refer these matters to this Officer than to an Officer residing in Sydney ? Yes, it would be better. I think the Officer in command ought only to be responsible to the Colonial Secretary, or a Committee at Brisbane.
36. By Mr. Forster: You say you noticed the mismanagement of the Police under Mr. Walker—Are you aware of any loss of life occasioned by the mismanagement of the Force ? No actual loss of life.
37. Do you think that any of the murders that occurred at that period were occasioned by the mismanagement of the Force, and by the misconduct of the Commandant ? I think less murders would have been committed if Mr. Walker had been more judicious in his arrangements for protection.
38. Do you recollect that after the Police came to the district they were suddenly withdrawn again? Yes; I remember that they were withdrawn.
39. Do you think that was an improper step ? Yes, very much so.
40. Do you think that led to any loss of life ? I think it had a very injurious tendency so far as the influence over the blacks was concerned by the presence of the Force. I think ittended to make them more dangerous.
41. Did not the Force get into a state of almost disorganization under Mr. Walker ? Latterly
42. You think that was owing to his intemperate habits and bad management? Yes; latterly he appeared to have lost all moral influence over, and respect from, the men. .
43. You have no reason to suppose that any of the other officers were to blame ? I think one or two officers were incompetent.
44. Would you have any objection to name them ? I should prefer not naming them, unless absolutely necessary for the improvement of the Force.
45. Are you aware that any of the Magistrates of the district had gone over .to Brisbane to make inquiries into the conduct of the Force ? I am not.
46. I think you stated that the representations that were made to the Government were not. further attended to than by reference to Mr. Walker ? In the district, I resided, we knew nothing further than that they were referred to Mr. Walker to report on.
47. What was the immediate cause that led to the inquiry at Brisbane into the conduct of Mr. Walker—was it from the complaints of the Officers, or of the inhabitants ? I think it was held in consequence of the general feeling in the district on the subject.
48. Do you think that Brisbane was a proper place for such an inquiry to be held at—could it not have been more conveniently carried on in Gayndah itself? Yes, I think it could.
49. Do you think that removing the inquiry to Brisbane was done with a view to make it inefficient ? It would have a tendency to do so.
50. Are you aware of any gentlemen in your district having offered evidence to the Commissioner appointed to inquire into the matter ? Yes; I myself offered to give evidence.
51. What was the result of that offer ? I was told that my information was not required.
52. You are a Magistrate, I believe ? I was.
53. The other gentlemen you mentioned, were they also Magistrates ? Yes.
54. From your own knowledge of Mr. Walker's intemperate habits, could you say for how long he was incompetent to hold office before he was dismissed ? I should say for about two years.
55. With regard to what you said, that the Native Police ought to be placed under a local head—how would you propose to render such an Officer responsible ? I would have him responsible to the authorities in Sydney, or a Committee of Inquiry appointed by them, leaving him otherwise unencumbered.
56. Was not that very much the position in which Mr.. Walker was placed? Yes, at first.
57. Are you not of the opinion that having the same head would lead to the same result ? I think not, if the details of the arrangement were altered.
58. Suppose at some future time the local authorities of a municipal kind were established —I do not mean to say in the shape of a municipal corporation—but some municipal officer was appointed to supervise the affairs of the Native Police Force, and such Officers having some degree of supervision were to give notice, and report on any error of management that might come under his notice, to the authorities ia Sydney, would not that have a beneficial effect ? I think it would have a good; effect if two or three people were appointed.
59. You would not give this supervision to a single individual: No.
60. You stated that you were the Medical Attendant to this Force ? Yes.
61. Are you of opinion that such office is necessary, or would be of use to the Force? I think it is necessary.
62. Do you think that a Medical Officer of any kind could be done without ? That would depend entirely on the amount granted for the Medical Attendant.
63. Do you think that the efficiency of the Force would be very much increased by having ; some Medical Gentleman to superintend and look after them ? Yes, but I think it is of little consequence if the sections are not kept constantly in the same district.
64. Will you state the highest number of invalids you had under your care at any one time in the year, or the average number while you were Medical Superintendent ? I do not know quite what you mean.
65. I want to know the average number that was placed under you as Medical Superintendent, and the highest number you had at any particular time? The highest number I had was during the time of epidemics and influenza, I had then fifteen or sixteen at once.
66. What was the average number of sick per month throughout the year, in round numbers ?
During my time, about seventy or eighty.
67. You misunderstand me—taking the average number of Native Police, would there be ; 70 sick in the year? No, that was (the total number, j
68. What would be the average number of sick every month—would it be one or two? The average per month would be about five or six.
69. Was there a prevalence of the venereal disease among them ? There was a certain amount of the venereal disease, but the principal diseases were epidemics and influenza.
70. You think they were more subject to these diseases than the venereal disease? The diseases they were most -subject to were epidemics, such as influenza, mumps, &c., which with them is always of a most serious nature.
71. Do you think their mode of life as Police was more favourable to longevity than their mode of life in their wild state ? I think not, on account of their style of clothing and artificial habits acquired.
72. You think they are more inclined to disease as Police than in their wild state ? Yes; because they wear very warm clothing, which they throw off when thy are in a state of perspiration, and otherwise live, to a certain extent, artificially.
73. Could you suggest anything in their management which would lead to other results ? Yes; I would recommend a lighter suit of clothing, and as near an approximation to their natural habits of life as practicable.
74. You think their tendency to mortality is increased by the mode in which they are clothed ? Yes.
75. By Mr. F. Rusden,: Do the Police die off very rapidly ? Yes, for the reasons before stated.
76. Do you think the mortality is increased by their intercourse when they come into contact with the native women ? No, I think not.
77. You think this intercourse does them no particular harm ? No, I think not; there are cases of venereal disease but they are not very serious. :
78. Will you be kind enough to state whether you think the formation of the Native Police Force has had a beneficial effect on the Aborigines, and whether the wild tribes have been civilized by coming in contact with the Police ? I think a well organized Force would be of great benefit, and would have a good effect on the Aborigines.
79. Would it have a moral effect on them, the Aborigines, seeing them and deriving some ideas from them? I do not think it would have a moral influence on the Aborigines. It would be more from fear that the influence would be derived.
80. Do you think fear is the best agent for keeping blacks quiet, or is there any other mode; do you think they are best kept in order by being made afraid ? Yes; I think fear is the only thing to be attained with a black Force.
81. The only way to keep them in order is to make them afraid? Yes.
82. By Mr. Forster; With regard to the locality of head quarters, Maryborough has been; recommended—have you anything to state that would make any other place preferable ? No.
83. Do you think Maryborough would be the best place? I think it advisable to have branches on the boundary line of. the two districts.
84. Do you think Gayndah is more central than Maryborough? Yes. The Commandant could always go there, call in the sections, and inspect them.
85. Instead of having different localities, you would have two branches? Yes. I would have one barrack for two district, as central as possible, for facility of supervision.
86. Do you think the advantages possessed by Gayndah are not compensated for in Maryborough by being able to get cheaper provisions there ? That should weigh a great deal in selecting a place.
87. Do you know any thing of Brisbane ? No, not much.
88. Could you state whether a Native Police would be required in the Brisbane District? I could not say.
89. By Mr. F. Rusden : Would it not be necessary to keep the power of the Commandant in some check by making him send in monthly reports? Yes, certainly.
90. You would recommend these reports to be sent to the Colonial Secretary ? Yes.
91. The great objection to the old arrangement during Mr. Walker's management was his irresponsibility; can you suggest a remedy for this, that is, should he not be responsible to some power in the district in which he worked ? Yes; I think he ought to have been responsible to two or three people, but not to any one local authority.
92. There ought to be some intervening power between him and the Colonial Secretary, who cognizant of his acts? Yes.
93. If there was not such a power, would not his authority be unlimited; would he not be liable to become overbearing and run into extremes ? Yes; but not if there were two or three people in Brisbane to refer to.
94. Could he not send his report to a Bench of Magistrates ? I think not.
95. Would you not give them any control over him ? No; I think not, considering the peculiar nature of the Force.
96. By Mr. Fortter: Do you know whether any of the officers were intemperate besides Mr. Walker ? Yes, there were others who were not strictly temperate.
97. In the organization of the Force, the new Commandant that was appointed would require a decision of character to turn out his old friends ? Yes.
98. By the Chairman: Looking at the present disorganization of the Force, would it not require a man of great decision and energy, and a thoroughly practical bushman, to take the command of the Force ? It would require a man of very peculiar qualifications to manage this Force properly.'
99. Do you think the Commandant ought to appoint officers ? Yes, decidedly. I date the degeneracy of the Force from the withdrawal of this power.
100. Who appointed the officers? They were appointed in Sydney.
101. By Mr. Forster : Do you think it was the practice of the Commandant, or his officers, to favour certain stations and certain individuals—friends of his—at the expense of others; that is to say, to extend a greater amount of protection to certain places and persons than was their share or was due to them ? I know certain districts had not the same share of protection as others; but I cannot speak as to the motives.
102. By Mr. Buckley: Do yon think it is desirable to give full authority to the Commandant to select his own officers ? Yes; I would give him full authority. I think that it is particularly desirable that he should do so.
103. The chief office in Sydney or Brisbane should have nothing to do with these appointments ? They could be recommended by them to the Commandant for approval. By far the best officers in the Force were appointed by the Commandant himself.
104. Did you know any officer of the name of Fullford ? Yes. :
105. Was he not an efficient officer ? Yes.
106. Was he one of those who were appointed by the Commandant ? Yes; he was appointed by Mr. Walker, as also Mr. Marshall and Mr. Murray.
107. I believe they were some of the most efficient officers ? Yes. Those officers of whom I spoke as inefficient were Sydney appointments; they were men entirely unfit for their occupation.
108. Are there any officers now in the Force appointed from Sydney inefficient ? I do not know; it is some time since I had anything to do with the Force.
109. You know that was the tendency of the appointments? Yes; because I had noticed it particularly.
Arthur Brown, Esquire, of Wide Bay, called in and examined :—
I. By the Chairman: You are a resident in the Wide Bay District, I believe? Yes.
2. How long have you resided there ? Seven years.
. 3. Have you had much experience of the blacks during that time? Yes; I have been amongst them during all the troublesome times when they committed depredations, and was there when the Native Police first came.
4. Were they very troublesome previous to the arrival of the Native Police ? Yes, very much so.
5. Do you consider the establishment of the Native Police Force diminished these depredations ? Most undoubtedly.
6. Do you think the efficiency of the Force was latterly as good as when it was first established ? By no means. .
7. To what do you attribute the alleged inefficiency of the Force ? I think to a want of proper organization.
8. Whose duty was it to see that those appointed attended properly to their duty ? The Commandant's.
9. Did the Commandant neglect his duty in that respect ? He did.
10. That was during the time of Mr. Commandant Walker? Yes.
II. He was suspended and afterwards dismissed the Force ? Yes.
12. Are you aware of the cause that led to that step ? I believe his habits of drunkenness. It was generally supposed that was the reason why he was dismissed.
13. Had that conduct continued long ? I believe it had continued for some time.
14. From your own knowledge are you aware of it ? Yes, if I may draw a conclusion from what I have seen of him. I have seen him in a state of inebriety.
15. Were you aware that complaints were made to the Government of this irregularity in Mr. Walker's conduct ? Yes, continually.
16. When were they made, and how long previous to his dismissal? I should say three or four years before his dismissal.
17. Were these complaints not attended to ? No, they were not. They were not even noticed in many cases.
18. The complaints were not made against the capabilities of the Force, but in consequence of the inefficiency arising from the irregularities of the Commandant ? Yes; the Force was always always considered very good and very necessary; but the inefficiency, from bad regulations, at one time rendered it very nearly useless.
19. The Force was also partially disbanded ? Yes, it was.
20. What was the effect produced by that step ? I think the blacks were more troublesome afterwards, in fact I know they were.
21. Do you think it would be desirable to restore the office of Commandant, or create a head of the Force afresh, in the office of Inspector ? I think I would place it on much the game footing as it was established originally.
22. To whom would you render the Inspector or head of the Force liable for the proper discharge of his duty ? I cannot say that I should render him liable to any person.
23. Do you think that by his rendering monthly reports, and strict supervision being kept on his conduct by the Authorities in Brisbane, would have a good effect? No.
24. Would vesting the administration of the Force in the Government Resident at Brisbane have a desirable effect ? I think not.
25. Do you think the Commandant ought to be responsible to the Colonial Secretary's Department ill Sydney ? I think he ought to be responsible to nobody.
26. Supposing such a case were to occur as was the case with Mr. Walker, what steps would you take to check such conduct ? I see no steps could be taken but dismissal from the Force.
27. Do you not think that the representations of three, four, or six respectable inhabitants should be sufficient to induce the authorities to consider it necessary to inquire into the subject ? Yes; I think so, decidedly.
28. Ought there not to be some restraint over the Commandant ? I would not render him responsible to, nor would I place him under the supervision of any department.
29. You think his action in the field: should be quite uncontrolled ? I think so.
30. Do you think it desirable to augment the force as at present constituted ? Yes; I think so, and it seems to be the prevailing opinion that it should be augmented.
31. The Force, at present, consists of ,72 troopers—to what number would it be desirable to augment it ? I think at least to twice that number.
32. Are you aware how many would be required for the protection of the Leichhardt District ? I cannot say.
33. It bas been stated that four sections of twelve men each would be sufficient? I think that number would be quite sufficient at present.
34. How many would the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts require—according to the present establishment twenty-four men are. the number—do you think that number sufficient, or would a less number do ? I think it would require four, sections for the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts. ,
35. Are not the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts comparatively quiet now ? They may not , remain so.
36. Have you heard of any depredations having occurred in the absence of the police in the Wide Bay District? Yes; sheep and cattle stealing.
37. Do you think the appointment of Sub-lieutenants from the grade of Serjeants would be an improvement ? Yes; I think so.
38. What is your reason ? I think with policemen they would obtain greater respect, and Sub-lieutenants perform their duties better.
39. You think the men would pay greater respect to Sub-lieutenants ? Yes, and Sublieutenants do their duty better than men of the grade of Sergeants.
40. You think the grade of superior officer commands more respect from the police ? Yes, decidedly.
41. By Mr. Forster: Do you consider the mismanagement of the Force, and the state of inefficiency under Mr. Walker to be principally owing to his intemperate habits ? Yes, I think so, decidedly.
42. Are you aware that an inquiry was held, after some time, into his conduct ? Yes.
43. How long was it before that inquiry that he was unfit for his office ? I don't remember when the inquiry was held.
44. How long were you aware of. the inefficiency of the force, and of Mr. Walker as an officer, being affected as you describe through inebriety ? I should think at least three years.
45. Are you of opinion that Brisbane was a proper place to hold an inquiry of this kind? No; decidedly not.
46. Was not the district in which he lived, or near the district in which he was known, the best place to hold an inquiry ? Yes.
47. With regard to obtaining evidence, should you say it was almost virtually amounting to not collecting evidence at all the holding this inquiry at Brisbane ? I should say so, decidedly. :
48. Would this not have the effect of making the inquiry a mere nominal one? Yes; it was merely a nominal one.
49. Was the general opinion of tlte inhabitants of Wide Bay and Burnett Districts to that effect ? Yes ; that was their unanimous opinion.
50. With regard to local supervision you stated your opinion that the local head should be responsible to no authority ?; - What I meant was that he should not be under any department, such as the Inspector General of Police.
51. Should he be responsible to the Government at Sydney in some way ? Yes, of course.
52. Suppose some kind of local authority, exercised by the authorities themselves, should in future be organized—that is, something in the character of a municipal authority, I don't mean a Municipal Corporation, but something bearing a municipal character—are you of opinion that it would lead to the efficiency of the Force if such a body was authorized to have some inspection and to report thereon ? I think not.
63. Do you think it would have a bad effect ? I think it would.
54. Do you think the Magistrates ought to have any supervision of the Force ? Decidedly not.
55. Have you any idea, or has anything come to your knowledge that would lead you to-. suppose that the Commandant, Mr. Waiter, had favoured certain individuals at curtain localities with more than their fair share of protection ? I am not aware of it.
56. Are you acquainted with the country further north of the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts? Yes, I am.
57. Do you think the difficulty of taking up stations will be increased by the difficulties, of the countries as you go north ? I think not.
58. Do you think the same amount of police protection, in proportion, that should be granted to the inhabitants of Wide Bay and. Burnett Districts would be sufficient for those further north ? Yes.
59. Are you acquainted with the Moreton Bay District ? No.
60. You cannot say whether the police are required there or not? No.
61. Are you acquainted with the Clarence District sufficiently to give your opinion whether they are required there or not ? No; I do not feel competent to give an opinion on thesubject.
62. By Mr. Buckley: You stated you thought Brisbane was not a proper place for the investigation into the conduct of Mr. Walker ? Yes.
63. Do you know the parties who brought the charge against him, and reported him to the Governor ? Mr. Walsh was one, and I think Mr. Forster was another.
64. Are. you aware of any other party ? No.
65. Are you aware if any of the officers in the corps made any report? I cannot say with any certainty; I heard they did.
66. Are you aware of who was summoned to give evidence in the case? No; I am not..
67. You say yott would not make the Commandant subject to any authority—I suppose you consider his making returns to the Government necessary ? Yes.
68. Do you propose monthly or quarterly returns ? I consider monthly returns unnecessary.
69. For how Iong a time periodically do you propose the returns to be made ? l I think quarterly returns are sufficient.
70. You think the same number of Police, in proportion as for Wide Bay and Burnett District, would be sufficient for the whole of the districts further north ? I think the same amount, in proportion as stationed in the Wide Bay and Burnett District, would be sufficient.
71. Would the same proportion be sufficient, that is, four sections? Yes.
72. Would that number be sufficient for the Leichhardt and Port Curtis District ? Yes, I think so, at present.
73. Would their services be more required at Leichhardt and Port Curtis than at Burnett and Wide Bay Yes.
74. If the Police were stationed further north than Maryborough and Gayndah, would occasional visits to the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts be sufficient? No; I think they ought to be stationed where they are at present. The blacks are not so dangerous as they were, but they require the Police to keep them in check ; they are given to stealing.
75. Would it not be consistent to place them at Gayndah, as their services an; required more north? I think not—the expense of transit would be great and unnecessary. I do, not see the advantage of placing the head party at Gayndah, when a section could be placed there.
76. By the Chairman : It has been recommended by some that there should be no permanent head-quarters for the Force—do you think it .would be better to employ the Police as a patrolling Forces ? I don't think a patrolling Force would keep the blacks in check, nor do I think they would be so efficient.
77. Do you think they would be so much needed in some of the inner districts as on the extreme frontiers ? I think quite as much for the purpose of keeping the blacks quiet. I have found, in the absence of the Police, the blacks stealing sheep.
78. Do you think the presence of the Police in some of the inner districts, or rather those immediately contiguous to. the extreme outlying districts, prevents the commission of murder? Yes.
79. Do you think the great object is the saving of life ? Yes.
80. What would be the result of increasing the Force northwards ? I do not think the Police should be removed from where they are stationed.
81. Do you think it necessary to increase the Police on the extreme frontiers, and gradually withdraw them from the comparatively older districts ? Yes, in proportion to the requirements of the outlying districts I would increase them; I consider, at the .present time, the same number would be sufficient for the extreme frontier districts, in proportion to their extent, as formerly required for those districts that are now quiet.
82. By Mr. Rusden : Is not the country being rapidly settled upon, and new stations taken up every day ? Yes.
83. If the head-quarters were established at any given place, would it be necessary to have white men to move them ? No, I think not.
84. As the country is settled and new stations taken up, would it not be necessary to remove these quarters to some other place ? It would be necessary in time to remove to Port Curtis; in fact, the main body of Police should remove as the frontiers are extended.
85. By the Chairman : Are you aware that when the Burnett District was first taken up the blacks were very troublesome ? Yes.
86. They are not nearly so much so now? No; comparatively quiet.
87. You attribute that to the presence of the Police Force ? Yes; I consider the Police quite necessary to the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts.
88. Do you not think that more country has been taken up by the squatters since the Police Force has been stationed on the frontiers ? Yes, no doubt.
89. Are you aware of any persons having been deterred from going to the northward to take up stations and to settle upon them, in consequence of the absence or temporarily disorganized state of the Police ? I cannot make the assertion from my own knowledge, but I have no doubt that it is the case. I have, however, no personal knowledge of the case.
90. By Mr Foster : Do you think the country would not be taken up if there were no Native Police Force ? Not so quickly:
91. Do do you think anything would stop the squatters ? I think not.
92. By the Chairman : Would there not be much greater loss of life and property were it not for the Native Police Force ? Yes.
93 By Mr. Forster : When the blacks commit depredations upon stock upon any important scale, is it not generally the act of the tribe, and not of individuals—is it not done generally by a number of them collectively ? It is not always confined to the resident tribe.
94. It is done by a large body ? Yes.
95. In case of depredations of that character, are they not disposed to commit murder if resisted ? Yes.
96. Are they appeased in any way by the commission of murder in such eases ? Yes.
97. In that case, to prevent depredations is to prevent loss of life ? Yes.
98. By Mr. Buckley: You think there is something humane in the effect of the Native Police Force, and that it saves the lives of the blacks as well as of the white man ? Yes. :
99. By the Chairman : Do you think it would be desirable to have a clerk attached to the department of the head of the Force for the purpose of attending to accounts and other matters of detail? Yes, I think it; would, because all the work of the department would otherwise devolve on the Commandant.
100. Ought not he to exercise a supervision over every voucher? Yes.
101. Do you not think great attention should be paid to the horses, to prevent them having sore backs, and to keep them shod? Yes.
102. Are you aware that the inefficiency of the Force was attributed to the state of the ' horses ? Yes, and the bad equipage and little attention that was paid to them, rendered them almost useless.
10-'5 If there had been proper supervision; on the part of the Commandant, these defects would have been remedied ? Yes.
104. By Mr. Rusden: Do .you think a clerk necessary? I think it is quite necessary. When the Commandant has so many accounts to supervise, and so much correspondence, his duty of supervision cannot be effectively carried out. If relieved of such press of business, no excuse for neglecting active duty,' if he was furnished with a clerk, could exist.
10 December 1856
Orpen Moriarty, Esq., of the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands Office, called in and
1. By the Chairman : The detachment of the Native Police in the Southern Districts been under the department to which you belong ? Yes.
2. Under the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands? Yes.
3. By Mr Rusden: How was it there was a distinction made that this branch of the Native Police in the Southern District should be placed under the Commissioner of Crown Lands, and the other in the Northern Districts under the Inspector General of Police ? The Southern Police was intended to consist only of four small parties, each under an European Sergeant, and the Commissioners of the Districts bordering on Victoria were entrusted with their formation and control, probably on account of the remoteness of the scene of their intended employment, (along the frontier,) and the smallness of the Force not requiring a special officer.
4. By the Chairman : Has this body worked well ? The intention of their employment has not been carried out.
5. Will you state your reason why you think it has not worked well? I believe that the principal obstacle to their perfect efficiency has been that the men were necessarily raised in the districts in which they were to be employed, and blacks never work well unless removed from the neighbourhood of their own tribes.
6- Were not some of the same men employed with the white Force in the Murrumbidgee ? Yes, the Murrumbidgee party, consisting generally of three or four, has been principally employed on the Gold Fields.
7. What does the whole Force consist of ? The full number authorized for this district twelve/ and two Sergeants, but they have not been all employed.
8. Do they work well, and under whose authority? The men employed do, I believe, under the authority of the Commissioner of Crown Lands. (Crown Lands Act, 1839)
9. The Commissioner who has charge of the Gold Fields has two or three placed under him I? Yes he works all his parties of men, white and black Police together.
10. Do they work well together; Yes; but it was originally intended to station these two parties on the confines of Victoria.
11. In the Murrumbidgee Districts, are the blacks quite quiet? Yes.
12 Are the Native Police in the Murrumbidgee District employed in the general Police services ? Yes.
13. In the Albert and Lower Darling, are the blacks quite quiet? Yes, they are quiet now.
14. Have any complaints been made from the "Upper Darling ? Yes ; and in consequence of these complaints one of the parties has been dispatched to the Upper Darling, and is now stationed there.
15. From the correspondence that has taken place, and from your own knowledge, do you consider it necessary to keep up the Native Police Force for the protection of the people from the aborigines in those localities? Yes, in the Upper Darling.
16. What is the number employed ? Six men are stationed there, but the parties of the Lower Darling and Albert Districts have to take the duty alternately, in order to avoid exposing the men to the extreme beat which prevails in this part of the country, during the entire summer.
17. By Mr. F. Rusden : The party that is stationed in the Upper Darling is under the authority of the Commissioner of Crown Lands ? Yes.
18. There is no Commanding Officer ? No.
19. Do you consider six men sufficient for the Lower Darling and Albert Districts? I believe six at one time would be sufficient for the particular service of the Upper Darling.
20. Would twelve men be sufficient? Yes, quite sufficient under the present plan of taking the duties alternately.
21. Are the Native Police required in the Albert and Murrumbidgee Districts? I believe not in the latter. The intention of forming a party of Native Police there, was not to protect the people against the blacks, but to establish a cordon of communication along the Victorian Frontier.
22. They are not employed as Native Police, that is, for the purpose for which the Native Police were raised ? A part of them are not, but those that are stationed in the Upper Darling are employed for that purpose.
23. Is the whole Force employed ? The whole Force is not employed.
24. Will you state in what manner they are employed ? In general Police duties. Some of them, those in the District of Murrumbidgee, work with the Gold Police, for instance, one party recently took an offender to Bathurst from the Tumut.
25. What is the nature of their duties ? They are employed as a general Police Force, sometimes taking the place of the ordinary constabulary in escorting prisoners, and on the Gold Fields.
26. Does the Commissioner report favourably as to their working as general Police? Yes; by working them with his other men.
27. By Mr. Buckley: Are the Sergeants European? Yes.
28. By the Chairman : There is an item in the Estimates of last year under the head of contingencies for forage, £1,280, that seems to be a large sum for forage? That sum has not all been drawn. In these districts, in the summer months, there is no grass; it is necessary, therefore, to provide forage, but not more than half of the entire estimate has been spent, and a very small proportion of this item.
29.In the Northern Districts, with a larger Force, the amount put down for forage is £274 ? Is that the estimate for 1857 or 1856.
30. By Mr. Rusden : Most of the men are employed near the coast where there is an; abundance of grass? Yes, in the Northern Districts, there is plenty of grass.
31. By Mr. Forster : In what shape is the forage provided ? Hay and corn.
32. Is it grown in the district ? In the remote districts there is no agriculture; all produce is imported.
33. I suppose in cases where the money is not drawn for the forage, it is not considered a perquisite of the officer ? Certainly not; the money is paid by the head of the department to the persons supplying the establishments.
34. Do you recommend the practice of employing black natives as ordinary constables—do you think it a good plan ? Yes; if the men are well selected.
35. What is the effect of white men being placed in the charge of blacks—do you think they would submit to be handcuffed and taken in charge? I think they would.
36. You think there is no objection to employing these men as Police for general purposes. How can they be properly employed as constables, they cannot take an oath. How is that difficulty to be got over ? They are under the orders of the white men, their Sergeant.
37. I always understood this difficulty was got over by the body of Native Police employed in the duties of constables being always considered as assistants—are Sergeants also considered as assistants if sworn. The reason why I allude to this is, because you said somebody was taken over the country by a black Sergeant ? I used the expression " black Sergeant,' but meant Sergeant of black Police.
38. In this case you do not allude to cases in which blacks are employed without White Superintendents—you would not recommend sending a white man under the charge of a black man? No, I would not.
39. By the Chairman : Would you have the goodness to point, in the printed Estimates-before you, to the proportion of the expenses belonging to the Murrumbidgee District, and the proportion belonging to the Albert and Lower Darling—it appears from this estimate the expense is principally attached to the Murrumbidgee ? I should say that half the forage was the proportion.
40. You see that the forage is put down in a lump sum, without drawing the distinction as to where it is expended ? The forage put down is for the entire division ; these estimates were made out at a time when these expenses were particularly high in the Southern Districts.
41. You say that not more than half is the proportion for the Murrumbidgee—can you say what the whole cost of this establishment would be? I should say about £1,500 for the whole Southern Force.
42. It would not be increased for 1857.at the same rate—do you know what the arrangements for 1857 are? I cannot say.
48. Are the estimates sent in for this year increased ? I am not aware of it.
44. By Mr. Rusden: You said £1,500 would be the cost—how many men arc employed ? The average number employed in each district has been about four men and a Sergeant.
45. That was about the average ? Yes.
46. That would be ten men altogether? About twelve men and three Sergeants.
47. I want to see what the cost of the establishment in the Northern and Southern Districts was ? This estimate includes the pay of a portion of the men of the Northern District, who were sent into the Southern Districts. A draught of seven men and one Sergeant were sent into the Southern District.
48. By the Chairman : Are you aware of any remonstrances having been made by the Northern Districts, in consequence of the detachment having been sent down? I am not aware of it.
49. By Mr. Buckley: The blacks are not committing depredations in the Murrumbidgee to justify keeping a Native Police Force there ? I have heard of one or two solitary instances.
50. But not sufficient to render a black Force necessary ? No.
FRIDAY;12 DECEMBER, 1856.
Mr. BUCKLEY; Mr. FORSTER, Mr. LANG,
GORDON SANDEMAN, ESQUIRE, IN THE CHAIR.
William Forster, Esquire, M.P., a number of the Committee, examined in his place :—
1. By the Chairman : You were a resident in the Northern Districts ? I was for a long time.
2. You have been engaged in pastoral pursuits in those districts? Yes.
3. For how many years? I was in the Clarence River District about eight years, and in the Wide Bay District about five or six years.
4. Have you had much experience of, the blacks? A great deal; I have been present at the formation of three new stations, besides travelling occasionally.
5. Have you suffered much from the depredations of the blacks ? A great deal.
6. What is your opinion of the capability of the Native Police Force for checking those depredations. I think the original intention of the Force was very good, and !I think it is quite capable of being carried out still .Dy proper organization ; but in my opinion—as far as my experience went—it does not extend to within the last two years—the real intention of the Native Police was not carried out, it was never properly organized, or properly managed.
7. Then the Native Police were not an efficient body in the Wide Bay District during your residence there ? They were, quite the reverse of an efficient body in the Wide Bay District, that is, in general, for I will not say they were not efficient in certain cases where a section was under a good officer.
8. To what do you attribute that general inefficiency ? In general to the mismanagement of the Government of the day, and in particular to the appointment of Mr Frederick Walker to the post of Commandant, and his retention in office while lie was incompetent and incapable of fulfilling his duties.
9. What was the nature of his misconduct ? He was notoriously a man of intemperate habits, and judging from his public conduct—which was also notorious—I cannot but come to the conclusion that he was scarcely in his senses for at least two or three years before he-was dismissed.
10. How was it such conduct was overlooked ? His conduct being overlooked was, in my opinion, a gross act of misconduct on the part of the Government. Representations were made, by myself in particular, three years before his dismissal, and by a number of settlers and Magistrates combined, within two years, asking for inquiry in the one instance, and in the other making particular complaints against him.; none of these complaints were more than barely noticed by the Government.
11. Were these complaints made directly to the Government? Directly to the Colonial Secretary; and I have reason to believe other complaints were made beside those I have mentioned.
12. What was the general opinion of the residents of Wide Bay of the Native Police Force? The general opinion was that the Force was badly managed, but that it was capable of being made useful, and that it would be a great loss if it were taken away.
13. Mr. Walker was eventually placed on his trial before a Court of Inquiry!? I have understood that, in consequence of representations made by the officers of the Force, he was placed on his trial at Brisbane.
14. What was the result of that inquiry ? In speaking of the result I may be permitted to mention that Brisbane, in the first place, was the worst locality that could have been named in the Northern Districts; the instances of Mr. Walker's misconduct had occurred in the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts—the witnesses were nearly all in those districts—and the consequence of holding the inquiry at Brisbane was that scarcely any evidence could have been got if the Government had wished it; but it was evidently the intention of the Government not to receive any evidence from the settlers, for I have it from the authority of the two gentlemen in question—on whose word I can rely—that two Magistrates, Mr. Walsh and Dr. H. H. Brown, both offered their evidence and were told that it was not required.
15. How long after the first complaints were made was the inquiry held ? Talking in round numbers, I should say about three years, and about two years after complaints were made by Magistrates and other inhabitants combined.
16. You said the officers of the Native Police made complaints against Mr. Walker eventually. That is what I was given to understand; any of the facts I am stating now are not exactly hearsay, because they are notorious facts.
17. By Mr. Lang : \ believe the strongest witness against Mr. Walker was himself—that on two occasions, when he appeared before the Court of Inquiry, he appeared drunk ? Yes, that is in evidence. There is a Report from the Court of Inquiry to that effect. But, to my mind, the inquiry was very improperly conducted, even on what appears on the face of it, because the person accused was, as it were, found guilty of drunkenness, and the case was not gone into simply because he was drunk If such a course of proceeding were adopted in Courts of Justice generally, it would enable any man to defeat an inquiry into his conduct by simply getting drunk. It appears to me that the Commissioners took advantage of Mr. Walker's drunkenness to ignore the whole inquiry.
18. By the Chairman : The inquiry was not pursued after his dismissal ? According to the Report which has been laid before the House the inquiry was carried no further after his appearing drunk. All the complaints that had been previously made against him were taken no notice of whatever. He was dismissed simply for his drunkenness.
19. Are you aware how it was that the Officers of the Native Police Force did not complain of his conduct before they did ? I believe it was owing, in a great degree, to their forbearance, and, I think, also to another feeling, viz., that he was strongly supported in Sydney by some mysterious influence, and that their complaints, unless of a glaring character, and supported by glaring facts, would not be taken any notice of, and that they might place themselves in a disagreeable position by complaining.
20. Have you reason to believe that Mr. Walker possessed any special influence in Sydney ? I can only give the rumour, but the facts are almost notorious. It was understood that he had friends in the former Council, amongst whom I might name Mr. Wentworth. I believe Mr. Wentworth was supposed to be his strongest friend. That was the general impression at Wide Bay—and that Mr. Morris was also his friend. I think I have heard Mr. Martin named, but I am not certain.
21. Do you think the Native Police Force, if properly managed, well calculated to assist the settlers in opening up new country ? They would be of great use if properly managed. I do not mean to say the country would not be taken up without their assistance, because I do not think anything would stop the squatters; but the taking up of new country would be accomplished less expeditiously, and would be attended with greater loss of life, if there were no Native Police.
22. Do you not consider that if the Native Police were under proper supervision, their operations would tend, not only to protect the lives of the squatters, but also to bring into comparative civilization the aborigines themselves ? I, for one, have very little hope of ever civilizing the aborigines, but I think the Native Police, under proper management, would produce a beneficial effect upon them to a small extent, and particularly on those natives employed in the Force.
23. By Mr. Lang: They would prevent collision and bloodshed on both sides at any rate ? Yes: The great point is that the Native Police Force would prevent collision between the whites and the blacks, such as invariably occur in taking up new country. The Native Police being on the spot, and being ready to follow, and more able to pursue the natives than the settlers—in fact, making it their duty to do so, are able, not only to trace the real offenders -with more certainty, but to inflict punishment more suddenly, and with greater effect, so as, in the end to lead to less loss of life and fewer collisions.
24. By the Chairman : Do you consider that a white Force would not be adapted to keep the natives in check ? I am not prepared to say that a combination of white men with natives might not be an improvement, but I believe it would be very expensive, and I am satisfied the settlers generally are entirely in favour of a Native Police'Force—that is to say, the ! majority of them.
25. The office of Commandant was abolished soon after Mr. Walker's dismissal ? I understand it was.
26: Are you aware of the effect of that step on the management of the Force ? Having left the district about the time, I can only repeat what I have heard, that the efficiency of the Force was not thereby improved.
27 The Force was also reduced ? Yes.
28. Are you aware whether any evil effects resulted from that reduction ? My experience scarcely extends to the last two years.' All that I judge of is from conversation with settlers, and from letters from the districts themselves. I strikes me that the reduction was not a judicious step.
. 29.. Do you consider that the appointment of an Officer as the bead of the Force, in the capacity of Inspector, is essential to its efficiency ? If you mean by Inspector one of those Officers who have been appointed to look after the Police generally, the feeling against them is so very strong, that I think such a system would not answer. !
30. Do you consider a local head of the Force essential to its efficiency ? I think there ought to be a Commandant of some kind, most decidedly; but in my opinion, to make any system of Police, or any Government Department efficient at a distance from the central authority, a system of local supervision must be organized—I mean a supervision which should extend only to a power of reporting any misconduct, without allowing any interference in the duties of the Force. I think such a system as that is possible, but I only speak theoretically. It has often struck me, that in all the Country Districts, and particularly in the most remote ones, some local officers, to the number of, perhaps, one or two, or even three, might be elected by the inhabitants to look after both municipal and local concerns, and to inspect the Police, and report on them, whenever any such gross cases might occur as in the case of Mr. Walker. If a local head is left to himself, and you have not some supervision in the nay I recommend, I doubt whether the same thing will not occur again. We have no reason to suppose it may not, when the circumstances are exactly similar.
31. Do you consider that, under representative Government, the same abuses are likely to occur? I think so; for the very reason that the abuses which reached such a height in Mr. Walker's case appear to have been supported by representatives of the people—by elective Members; and although I confess the Government system appears to have been very bad in former days, and may be greatly altered for the better, still it is quite possible that a large amount of influence among the Members of the present Assembly might lead to an Officer being supported in that way, if he were stationed in a very remote place. Probably the danger might not occur so often ; but I see no reason why it should not occasionally.
12 Dec without some means of exercising a local check; I do not mean a check that would amount to interference with executive functions in any way.
32. Do you consider that the requirements of the outlying districts render an augmentation .of the Native Police Force necessary ? In reply to that question, I can give merely what I gather from those who are interested and on the spot—within a period, my experience does not extend to—that an augmentation is necessary, and that the present Force is not sufficient for the duties required of it. . . -
33. The Force is at present supposed to consist of 72 troopers? I cannot speak to the numbers.
34. Are you aware how many men are requisite for the protection of the Leichhardt District? I was in the Leichhardt District long before almost any one that is now in it; but I have had no experience of it since it has been settled.
35. From your knowledge of the Northern Districts generally, and from your having lived in the neighbourhood of the Leichhardt District for a long time, could you not give something towards an approximation to the number that would be required ? I dare say twenty men might be enough.
36. For the whole of the Leichhardt District ? I fancy so. I am rather inclined to differ on one point from those who have stated their opinions on this subject. I think a large body of Native Police is not necessary at any given spot; the great point, in my opinion, is to scatter them about. With a body of six men you may disperse any tribe of. blacks in the country; but it would not do to depend on detachments of six only, because there are generally one or two men sick, or their horses disabled, or something of that sort; therefore, the best way would be to allow rather more than six for a detachment—say ten; and therefore I beg leave to correct what I have been' saying, in one respeet; I would say thirty men for the Leichhardt District.
37. How many men would you say are accessary for the Port Curtis District? The Port Curtis District is very small. Do you mean the four or five counties around Gladstone ?
38. From the boundary of the Leichhardt District to the coast? I am really so little acquainted with those localities that my answers can be of very little use to the Committee. In talking of thirty men, I fancied the Leichhardt District extended over all that, up to the Dawson and Fitzroy. I thought the Leichhardt District was, in fact, all the country beyond the Dawson. ,
39. By Mr. Buckley: How many men do you suppose would be sufficient for the Wide Bay and-Burnett Districts ? I can speak pretty well from a knowledge of those districts. I am inclined to think eighteen or twenty men would be quite enough.
40. Have any more than that ever been.kept there? There have been more at times, but never more in a state of efficiency. One of the great faults in Mr. Walker's management was that he was continually moving the men about; not that travelling about was in itself disadvantageous, but they were continually being moved from head-quarters to other quarters, and back again, along lines of road. That was one of the points in which the inefficiency of the force was glaringly manifest. They were perpetually moving them along lilies of road; and, to my knowledge, there never was a time, when I was there, that there were not a great number of the horses quite unfit to travel, from sore backs, and one thing or other.
41. By the Chairman : What do you thiink of the system of patrolling the Force? There should be a patrolling of the Force within certain limits; but if they patrol too much they are rendered inefficient. There should be a certain circle, within which each detachment should act. By having a Force at other point to-day, and moving them on within a short period—perhaps a week, or two or three days—-the blacks would be much more effectually kept quiet; but they should not be kept continually moving, because in that case they would knock up any body of horses in the world.
42. In speaking of patrolling I do not allude to patrolling the roads, but the bush? No; they should be kept moving from place to place at short intervals, but not kept travelling about the main lines of road.
43. I suppose you would fix them on the outskirts of the districts? Yes. I am inclined to think, now, that eighteen or twenty is the very outside number that would be necessary for Wide Bay and Burnett; but as to what I said about the Leichhardt and Port Curtis Districts, I would not have the Committee place the least reliance on my estimates of the numbers.
44. Do you know any thing of the wants of the Maranoa and Lower Condamine ? No.
45. Are you aware whether there are any Native Police required in the Clarence River District ? My impression is that a very small body must be sufficient there. I can hardly understand why they are required at all; because after the country has been occupied a certain time, the blacks appear to reach a different stage altogether. I think there are three stages. At first they are thoroughly wild, and at war with the whites, though in appearance disposed to be rather civil than otherwise; they do not commence their depredations until they understand our habits; then they reach another stage, which is a kind of open war; after which they reach the third stage, when they understand our superior power, and at the same time their predatory habits are still in existence—they will carry on small depredations, and no doubt take life at times, but their object is not to take life—it is not war. I understand that, in the Clarence District, they are something in that way now; they are disposed to be predatory, and will take life occasionally.
46. You think a small Force necessary in the Moreton Bay District ? Yes, it may be; and if they are required there, they may be at the Clarence also; there is no great difference between them, though Moreton Bay his been taken up longer than the Clarence. There is a kind of border country at both places, not adapted for stations, where the blacks congregate more, and in the vicinity of which they are apt to commit these depredations.
47. Do you think the appointment of a clerk attached to the department of the head of the Native Police Force desirable? I dare say the appointment of a man who would combine the duties of clerk and storekeeper might render the Force more efficient, because it is very difficult for the officer at the head of the Force, with the kind of duties he has to perform, to attend to. these details.
48. By Mr. Buckley: Do you know what effect Mr. Walker's habits had on the officers of the corps—did they make them less efficient and less active.? I can hardly say that they had a bad effect on the officers, but they made the Force, generally, inefficient, and, of course, the officers shared in that inefficiency. I do not know that, individually, it had a bad effect. Some of them were considered very efficient officers, where they .were separated from •Mr. Walker. . . .
49. Do you think it had a bad effect on the men ? I have no doubt it had, from what I know of the character of the blacks. Mr. Walker had great influence over them. He. was also a man of great talent. He understood the blacks, probably, better than any man in those districts, and therefore his treatment of 'the natives was likely to disorganize them altogether, and to bring them into a state of lax discipline,; and when it came to the turn of another Commandant to check them, his endeavours to reform would be attended with discontent. I believe that is what actually occurred.
50., Were there any other officers of the Native Police who were in the habit of indulging in the same way ? I am inclined to believe that there were several of the officers who had intemperate habits, but I would rather not name them unless the question ig pressed. But I fully believe there were one or two whose habits were not quite correct in that respect, and yet they were efficient officers. I may make the remark that I do not think habits of. that sort in the inferior officers are attended with such effects as in the superior officer. It is a difficult thing for the Government to get efficient officers.
51. Generally speaking, were the officers under Mr. Walker's command better satisfied to be away from him? Yes; I know he was not at all popular among his officers. They were all sensible of his misconduct and of his unfitness for office, although they always expressed themselves cautiously.
52. You say the. Native Police ought to be under a local head ? I think there ought to be a local head.
53. What power do yon think that Commandant should have; would you propose that any power should be vested in any other party to suspend his operations ? I think it would be dangerous to appoint a local Commandant, unless you have some local check over him; I do not say a local authority placed over him, but a check which should operate whenever he either, exceeded his duties, or neglected them; I think there should be some means of reporting on his conduct.'In Mr. Walker's case it was quite evident that a most glaring amount of misconduct existed, and there was reason to believe that the Government were fully informed of his irregularities and improprieties; but the difficulty that was felt was the want of a proper authority to insist on a hearing of complaints. There was, no power of making the Government do more than they did. If two Magistrates had been armed with the power of reporting they could have compelled the Government to hold an inquiry on the spot, and no doubt a great deal of mischief and loss of life would have been saved.
54. Suppose any Commandant became subject to the same habits as Mr. Walker, and became known to this local authority, do yon propose that they should have no further power than to report, that they should not have power to suspeud ? I think it would not be an improper power, but it should not be done without some form of trial I have long formed an opinion, with reference to all the country districts, that whenever the time comes for municipal authority to be put into action, it must, in the first instance, assume some shape such as I have described; I think that would be best suited to the state of the country, better than what are called municipal institutions, which I do not think can be made to operate in the form they are usually supposed to take.
55. Where would you decide on fixing such a local authority? It would be necessary to embrace districts within a certain circle, in the same way as Electoral Districts.
56. If Mr. Walker had been sent to Gayndah, for examination in the district where he had made himself most offensive, would it have been likely—supposing he could have set up any defence, that he would have been in a position to have made such a defence available as well as in Brisbane ? I see no reason whatever why he should not. It appears to me that the same reason that would render the inquiry available would render his defence available; the witnesses would have been on, the spot, and would not have been prevented by distance from attending.
57. Are you aware whether the officers of the Force who were present intended to speak against or in favour of Mr Walker ? I cannot speak as to the inquiry at Brisbane, more than what I have gathered from this report, which is before the Committee. I have always understood that the officers made complaints, and went down to support them.
58. Do you think if the investigation had taken place at Gayndah a better conclusion would have been arrived at ? I doubt whether a better conclusion would have been arrived at, because, it appears to me, that advantage was taken of Mr. Walker's drunkenness to ignore the inquiry, and they could have done that at Gayndah as well as at Brisbane.
59. You say a great many complaints were sent to the Government? I spoke of two instances of complaints having been made within my own knowledge, because I signed both of them ; I signed one with other parties, and I wrote one myself. I have every reason to believe there were other complaints from the same neighbourhood.
60. Were those complaints of such a character as to justify the Government in arriving at the conclusion that Mr. Walker would not receive a fair and impartial trial there ? I cannot see how that could be their conclusion, because the Commission appointed by the Government. could not be influenced by the feeling of parties resident in the district. The impression is that every Government Commissioner delegated by the Government to inquire into the iniquities; or alleged iniquities of a Government Officer, is rather disposed to favour the person accused. I think that is a conclusion that may be drawn from what we know of human nature. If a jury were to be summoned on the spot where strong public feeling existed, it is possible they might be influenced by it; but it would not be so with a Commission of Government Officers.
61. Supposing Mr. Walker's trial bid taken place at Gayndah, the evidence being all on one side, the Board would have had to decide against him right or wrong, without giving Mr. Walker an opportunity of defending himself? I cannot understand what you mean by the evidence being all on one side; we are to presume that every witness tells the truth..
62. Were there not parties in that district who were disposed to think Mr., Walker's conduct was not so very reprehensible ? No doubt there was a difference of opinion, as there always will be on any given subject you like to name. Some were more vehement against him than others; I can speak for myself, to a certain extent; I have been accused of. having had a strong feeling against Mr. Walker myself, but to my knowledge, I never saw the man in my life.
63. You have not had any opportunity of personally judging of his habits? No, not personally ; not with my own eyes.
64. You are aware that there were parties very favourably disposed towards him? I cannot say very favourably disposed, because I know the general public feeling was that Mr.Walker was not fit for his office; and that was the feeling even among men supposed to be friends of his.
65. Did he favour any particular localities? I certainly think he did, because, speaking of my own branch of the district, my Station was never visited by the Native Police until I considered the blacks to be in a tolerably quiet state; and I know that it was the same with other localities which ought to have been visited some time or other. I know there were stations where the Native Police under Mr. Walker were continually stopping, without any apparent reason; and it was a remarkable thing that they were more disposed to stay at stations on lines of road, the natural inference being, with a knowledge of Mr. Walker's habits, that be liked to visit those stations where grog was to be got.
66. Were parties ia the habit of sending to Mr. Walker for assistance when the blacks attacked them - was it the usual practice to send to Mr. Walker ? As far as my own station was concerned we did not usually send; I believe the Police were scarcely in the district in the beginning; but we sent on one occasion. I may say it was the general practice to do so, but I have heard settlers say it was of no use.
67. Do you think many unfortunate occurrences might have been prevented if the patrolling plan you mentioned just now had been adopted ? I have every reason to believe so. They were too much in the habit of stopping at one place.
68. Was that caused by the inclination of the Commandant ? It was in part owing to the partiality of the Commandant for particular spots. In some cases he would leave the Force altogether.
69. By the Chairman: The effect of the system of patrol would be, to keep the blacks more in awe? One excellent effect it would have upon the blacks would be this, that would prevent their calculating on the Police being in any particular spot at the time they were about to commit a depredation. Nothing, in my mind, would be so great a check the uncertainty when the Police would come against them, because they never commit depredation without a considerable degree of consultation and preparation among themselves; they have meetings and long talks over it.
70. Do you think a system of monthly reports adopted by the Commandant, either to the Government Resident at Brisbane or the Resident at Port Curtis, would be a sufficient check against abuse of his authority ? I do not think any check would be sufficient without some sort of local supervision.
71. But before that local supervision which you propose for the Colony in general could be organized, a system of monthly ..reports to the nearest Government Official would be desirable ? It would be a very good check, no doubt, and particularly if it were combined with a rule that these reports should be always published, because one of the faults of the old Native Police system was, that all sorts of things were reported and not published, except where it suited the Commandant to make them public.
72. Mr. Marshall succeeded Mr. Walker until the abolition of the office of Commandant ? Yes.
73. Was Mr. Marshall an efficient Officer ? He was looked upon as a good Officer. He was a vast improvement on Mr. Walker in point of attention to his duties; but I think it was impossible to expect much from him, owing to the state that Mr. Walker left the Force in. I do not think the most efficient Officer in the world could have done much in the short time that Mr. Marshall held office.
74. Do you think that if the Force had been in a proper state, Mr. Marshall would have made a good Commandant ? Yes. I believe he would have been .a most efficient Officer. He was popular among the settlers, and well acquainted with the bush.
75. And he has had considerable experience ? He has.
76. Are you aware what were the effects on the management of the Force of the abolition of the office of Commandant, and the transference of the control to the Inspector General of Police in Sydney ? I cannot say much of that, bat my own opinion is that it did not operate well.
77. The Inspector General of Police was generally considered a most efficient Officer in his own department ? I believe so.
78. Under his management it wag generally supposed not to have answered ? I have not quite the strong opinion that many people have, that there was any great harm done by his system. It appeared to me that the chief defect in his system was, that there were too many Inspectors.
79. Do you think it possible that an Officer in Sydney could properly direct such a Force as the Native Police? Certainly not, without some local Commandant. No doubt the nearer the spot the better the supervision exercised; that is a general rule that I do not believe 6. there is any exception to. I think I may mention one thing as another probable reason of the inefficiency of the Force at times, namely, .that a kind of supervision was exercised over them by the Attorney General's office, which was objectionable; it hampered the Officers, and kept them in dread of prosecutions, which operating on the minds of men who knew nothing of law, had an undesirable influence.
80. Do you think it desirable that the senior Officers of the Force should be Magistrates ? I am rather opposed myself to making Magistrates of executive Officers, but I think there would be no harm in their being Magistrates if they were not to act where judicial duties were concerned; they should confine themselves merely to giving warrants, but should not undertake ministerial duties. It is placing them in a position I think they ought not to be placed in.
81. Do you think the Native Police could be employed as a general Police ? I am entirely opposed to that idea, and I think the white population would be greatly irritated if it were carried out.
82. Do you think there is any necessity for such an employment of them ? I should not like that anything I would say would be supposed to sanction it.
Gideon S. Lang, Esquire, M. P., a Member of the Committee, examined in his place :—
1. By the Chairman: You are acquainted with the Murrumbidgee District? Yes.
2. Are you aware whether the Native Police are at present required in any part of that district to protect the settlers against the blacks? No more than in Sydney.
3. Are you aware for what purpose they are employed there ? I cannot imagine any purpose. All that are required are a couple of Policemen attached to the Police Magistrate.
4. Are they employed as a general Police in the same way as ordinary Constables ? They must be; because they can have nothing to do with the blacks.
5. Are the Native Police not at all required ? Not at all.
6. Are they required on the Lower Darling ? Yes.
7. To any extent ? Yes, to a considerable extent. There have been outrages there lately.
8. On the Lower Darling and Albert ? . Yes. I think there should be an Officer, and, I should say, at least twenty men there.
9. At present there are twelve ? Yes; I think there ought to be twenty, particularly if the Upper Darling is taken up. The whole length of the Darling will soon be taken up, and, I think, there should be enough to extend the whole way from the Murray up to Fort Bourke, and even beyond it.
TUESDAY, 30 DECEMBER, 1856.
.Mr. FORSTER, Mr. JONES, Mr. SANDEMAN,
GORDON SANDEMAN, ESQUIRE, IN THE CHAIR
Richard Bligh, Esq., J. P., Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Clarence District, called
in and examined:—
1. By the Chairman: You are Commissioner of Crown Lands at the Clarence River ? I am.
2 How long have you resided there ? Since the beginning of March last.
3. During your residence there, have the blacks been troublesome? They have been very troublesome.
4. What has been the nature of their depredations ? There have been frequent complaints of their spearing cattle in many parts of the District—at Red Bank, Johnson's, Layton's Broad Meadows, Bundock's, and Glennie's, on the Richmond, and one or two other places. At least two rapes have been committed on respectable women; one of them in January last, on a girl of fifteen, the daughter of a shepherd, and the other about the middle of February last, on a respectable woman, the wife of a schoolmaster at Woodford Island, about twenty miles from Grafton. There have also been very numerous complaints of pilfering of corn and pumpkins, and robbing of station huts,—in one case within less than a mile of Grafton.
5. Have any murders been committed? None that I know of; and no doubt if any had been committed I should, from my position, have been one of the first to hear of them.
6. Have these outrages increased since you first took up your residence there ? No, I should say not. There appears to be a constant current of occasional outrage.
7. There is a detachment of Native Police in the district ? Yes.
8. Do you know of what it consists? ' I believe the force should consist of twelve men, but half of them are detached to the Macleay.
9. Have there ever been more than half a dozen men in the Clarence District alone ? I should think there have been more, but since the beginning of August I know six men have been detached to the Macleay. And I know also, that the force is often reduced in consequence of desertions, which, from some cause or other, are very frequent there.
10. Are you aware whether the outrages committed by the blacks have decreased since the establishment of the Native Police Force in that district ? I should say they have decreased; but I cannot speak positively, because I found the Native Police there. I believe it is the general opinion of the settlers that outrages would be much more frequent if there were no Native Police there.
11. We have heard that there is some difference of opinion as to the necessity of maintaining a Native Police Force there at all - what is your opinion ? Judging from all I have heard of the proceedings of the blacks, I must say I should be unwilling to be a settler in a remote portion of the district in the absence of the Native Police, because I should fear that the female portion of my family would run great risk of outrage, if at any time left without protection: and that, in such case there would be no probability of the offenders being legally punished.
12. Will you state how many men you consider would be sufficient for that district? The district is of a very peculiar character, being intersected by a great number of dense scrubs, swamps, and rivers, which the blacks cross with ease, though a horseman cannot pursue them. I think if the whole of the twelve men, now nominally stationed there, were applied to the service of the Clarence District alone, they ought to be sufficient, but I do not think a less number would be sufficient.
13. Are you acquainted with the Macleay District ? Not at all.
14. Are you aware of the state of that district, with regard to the conduct of the blacks;? I have heard great complaints, and the settlers there were very urgent for the presence of the Native Police. My brother is in charge of the detachment at the Clarence, and I have heard him express great difficulty on the subject of meeting their calls for assistance. I have seen letters from the authorities here, referring to representations of frequent outrages by the blacks, which had been made from the Macleay District, and urging my brother to send his men there. .
15. By Mr. Forster: Are you aware that the Native Police have only been placed in the Clarence District within a limited period ? I am aware of that.
16. Can you give the Committee any idea how the district got on during the wilder times of its first settlement, when the blacks must have been much worse ? I have heard stories of gross outrages, and even murders during those times, and of the slaughter of the blacks from private revenge. In fact I have become aware of them from official records, and from the reports made by Mr. Fry, the lite Commissioner of Crown Lands there, which have come into my hands. I observe, however, that Mr. Fry generally represents the conduct of the aborigines in a very favourable light, but his views do not all tally with the representations which I have received from other sources. The settlers, previous to the arrival of the Native Police, seem to have restrained the blacks in the way in which you, no doubt, as a bushman, are aware that blacks are restrained in the bush, where no authorized system of protection exists. There are ways of doing that, which, though not strictly legal, are very effective. People, of course, will defend themselves when left to their own resources.
17. Do you not think that if the presence of the Native Police is still to be continued there, a less force than twelve men would be sufficient to restrain the blacks in their present stage of civilization? My idea is that the point of civilization at which they have arrived , has made them rather more mischievous than before; that is to say, they are more disposed to commit rapes and robberies; I have not heard recently of any tendency to commit murder.
18. Probably the presence of the Native Police Force might restrain them from committing murder, for the blacks are awre that when they murder they are more severely punish Id than when they merely commit mischief? No doubt of that, but the commission of a rape on a respectable woman is perhaps a worse crime than a murder.
19. Are you sure of the character of the women on whom rapes have been committed ? I have made particular inquries, and I am sure that one, at least, of those I have mentioned was a respectable woman—the wife of a tutor at Woodford Island. Moreover, these offences are commonly committed by the blacks when going to or returning from their fights—when they are in parties, and it is, therefore, improbable that any consent or encouragement on the part of the women has lead to the offence.
20. Was the black who committed hat rape ever taken up ? The blacks were pursued by the Native Police, and, I believe, and sort of collision took place; but what happened I do not know. I have been told by a respectable resident of Grafton, that not unfrequently they have committed outrages on children, which the parents have hushed up, not wishing to injure the character of their daughters by publicity.
21. By the Chairman : Do you not think the ordinary Constabulary ought to be able to pat a stop to these outrages, at least in the neighbourhood of the town ? They ought to do their duty, but it is not possible to compel them. Indeed I think they are incapable of doing anything effectual against the blacks. The town is situated in a scrub, which is only cut through by lanes where the roads go, and, consequently, the blacks have great facilities for escape and concealment.
John M'Lerie, Esquire, J.P., Inspector General of Police, called in and examined:—
1. By the Chairman : The Committee wish to ask you whether the Native Police have be under your control since you undertook the duties of Inspector General of Police ? Only a short time. I suggested, on taking office as Inspector General, that they should be handed over to the Government Resident at Brisbane, which suggestion has been carried out by the Government. They are under my: control, as far as the accounts go, up to the end of the present year, but not beyond.
2. Are you aware whether the system of placing them under the control of the Inspector General of Police answered well ? From my knowledge of organized bodies generally, both military and police. I should say that, under that system, they were too far from control; and, on that ground, I suggested that they should be placed under the Government Resident at Brisbane.
3. Do you consider that a local head to the Force in the position of Inspector or Commandant would be an improvement on the late system—I mean a local Officer in charge of the whole Force? I look upon the Government Resident at Brisbane as the local Officer in charge.
4. Do you think it is possible that he, with the other duties of his office pressing upon him, could leave Brisbane for the purpose of inspecting the different detachments of Native Police ? I think that, under the Government Resident, there ought to be an Officer continually itinerating throughout the districts occupied by the Native Police, in order to control their movements—in fact, an Officer to whom the Officers in command of detachments would be responsible.
5. An Inspector or Commandant ? As Inspector or Commandant.
6. Are you aware whether a necessity exists for augmenting the numbers of the Corps at present ? I can only judge from the communications I received during the short time the correspondence was addressed to me. There were continually applications for assistance. This very morning I received, from one of the most distant stations, a communication addressed to the Officer in command, calling upon him to protect some stations which had been attacked and sheep killed.
7. From what district was that ? I hardly remember. It was one of the most distant districts, because the Officer in command had not received my letter informing him of the change.
8. Is it on the Condamaine ? Yes.
9. Wandai Gumbal ? Yes, that is the name of the station. Judging from the multiplicity of applications for police assistance, I should say that the present number of Native Police is not sufficient to afford that amount of protection which the Northern Districts require.
10. Have you any suggestions to make with reference to improvements in the management of, the Force? I think, with the Officer we have just been speaking of, under the Government Resident, there would be no occasion to retain any other Officers than Sub-lieutenants. That Officer, with the Corps broken up into small parties under Sub-lieutenants, would be quite sufficient. It is perfectly well known that the efficiency of a Police Force depends as much on the uncertainty of their whereabouts as on their strength; and, therefore, I consider that the Native Police Force should be a continually moving body. In fact, they should be so distributed that the part of a district vacated to day by one party might be re-occupied by another party to-morrow, and so on in succession. Their movements should be a matter of perfect uncertainty to the natives.
11. I believe complaints have been made from the out districts as to the mode of payment of the accounts—that it has been attended with a great deal of delay and too much formality ? The grounds for that complaint did not exist when I took charge, because my predecessor had made arrangements to obviate it, by placing a certain sum to the public credit of every officer in charge of a detachment, to meet the charges of his division for a certain period. But that system was not then sufficiently long in operation to shew its advantages.
12. Do you think the appointment of a local clerk to attend to the details of the accounts and correspondence would be an advantage ? If all the detachments were under the control of one officer, of course a clerk would be necessary. At present there are three Lieutenants having separate commands, and each of these three renders his accounts for his own detachments ; but, if these officers were discontinued, of course a clerk would be required, under the Government Resident, to render all the accounts.
13. The present Force consists of seventy-two men—to what number do you think the Force should be augmented to make it efficient ? I have not been sufficiently long in the control of the Force to know the numbers that are really required; but, judging from thieapplications I have before referred to, I should say one hundred men would not be too much.
14. Would you propose any augmentation in the number of officers ? I would divide the Force intoten detachments of ten men each, each detachment being under a Sub-lieutenant, and the whole body controlled by the Government Resident at Brisbane, and his deputy, the Inspector or Commandant.
15. Do you consider that the Government Resident at Moreton Bay should have the power to control the movements of the Force? Subject to representations from the magistracy of the Northern Districts.
16. Would it not be necessary to give the Inspector discretionary power ? Of bourse he must have discretionary power. He ought to have a discretionary power of directing the operations of the Force; reporting any extraordinary movement to the Government Resident, for the information of the Government here.
17. You are aware that some of the out-stations are upwards of three hundred miles from Brisbane? I am at a disadvantage in not knowing anything of the districts themselves.
18. Will you state the present distribution of the Force ? There are three Lieutenants, four Second Lieutenants, six Sub-lieutenants, and seventy-two Troopers; and the distribution , is as follows,—at Port Curtis, a Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, two Sub-lieutenants, and twenty-four Troopers: at Wide Bay and Burnett, a Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, two Sub-lieutenants, and twenty-four Troopers ; at the Lower Condamine, a Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, Sub-lieutenant, and twelve Troopers; and at the Clarence and Macleay, a Second Lieutenant, Sub-lieutenant, and twelve Troopers.
19. Are we to understand that you consider the number of officers at present existing should be reduced ? The number of superior officers.
20. By Mr. Forster : You recommend an increase in the number of troopers, and a reduction in the number of officers ? I would increase the strength of the Force; and, instead of having three grades of Lieutenants, I would hare only one grade, subject to the local inspector.
21. By the Chairman : Supposing it became necessary to divide a section of ten or twelve men, a second officer would be required? I think it would not be expedient to reduce the number of any detachment below ten. .
22. Do you not think circumstances might arise to render it expedient ? No, I would never reduce the number below ten. Circumstances might arise, perhaps, when it would be necessary to concentrate two or three sections together. For instance, if the blacks became troublesome in any particular district, the supervising inspector might concentrate them in that district for active duty; and in that case, he ought to be present there himself.
23. You are aware that there has been a good deal of mortality amongst the troopers at times, or, at all events, many casualties from sickness ? From what I have learnt from gentlemen who know more of it than I do, the mortality arises more from their long and frequent residence in the townships ; if they were more in the bush the mortality would be less. In all conversations I have had with gentlemen from the Northern Districts, that has been the Impression.
24. Do you think any improvement could be made in clothing the men—they are at present clad in very warm clothes? The clothing is too warm ; but there is great esprit de corps among the black men, and if they fare not dressed in the same way as the other police they might be jealous. The dress is too heavy, I think.
25. Will you have the goodness to state what is the rate of pay at present? Lieutenants receive £300 per annum, and £l00 gold increase; Second Lieutenants £120, and 100; Sub-lieutenants £50, and £18 5s., or one shilling a day, gold increase ; and Troopers five pence per diem, and a ration at a cost not exceeding one shilling and sixpence per diem; if the ration exceeds that price a corresponding reduction is made from the pay of the Troopers.
26. Of what class of men do you consider the Sub-lieutenants should consist ? I should take them from amongst the active intelligent bushmen who have been employed on stations.
27. Do you think for such a rate of pay you would get a proper class of men? It depends a great deal on the habits of a man—whether he is fond of knocking about on horseback. Certainly the pay is not much, but the Sub-lieutenants now look to promotion, whereas, if my suggestion were carried out, there would be no promotion to look to.
28. In that case, do you think it would be advisable to increase the pay ? I think so.
29. By Mr. Jones : I presume you would put a Sub-lieutenant in command of a detachment in the position of a Second Lieutenant, as regards pay ? The fixed pay of the Second Lieutenant is £120 per annum, and I should not offer a man in charge of a detachment less than that.
30. By the Chairman : In case of the sickness of the officer in command of a detachment, what would you propose ? That is a difficulty; you must leave the party in charge of a black man.
31. By Mr. Forster: You cannot use these blacks as constables without some white being with them ? No.
32. By the Chairman: Would it not be advisable, under such circumstances, to have two officers instead of one to each detachment? You might get a white Sergeant to each detachment, under the Sub-lieutenant.
33. It has been said that it is very difficult to get the right class of men as Sergeants? I do not know. I sent down to the late Commandant, some years ago, a man as Sergeant Major, and he has been with him till lately.
34. By Mr. Jones: Could not the difficulty be met, by having two supernumerary Sub-lieutenants under the Inspector, whho could be attached to any Corps left temporarily without an Officer ? That would not meet the difficulty; for the detachment at the extreme north might be left without an officer, while the Inspector, with the supernumerary Sub-lieutenants, might be at the extreme south of his District. ^
35. Suppose one were left at Brisbane, while the other was travelling with him? That might do.
36. Would not that be a better arrangement than putting the country to the expense of two officers to each detachment? I think the suggestion is a very good one; if one were constantly at Brisbane he might act as clerk.
37. By Mr. Forster: Why should he reside at Brisbane? To carry on the correspondence; all the orders would be drawn by the officers on the Government Resident at Brisbane; for supplies.
38. By the Chairman: You spoke of detachments to consist of ten men each;—as it is known that the blacks do suffer a good deal from sickness, what would you propose to remedy the deficiencies that might take place from that cause ? You might have a small depot at Brisbane, where men could be drilled and sent out to supply vacancies.
39. But Brisbane is a long distance from many of the Native Police stations? Well, suppose the detachments consisted of eight or nine men; the remainder could form a reserve divided between Brisbane and Maryborough, or wherever it might be deemed expedient to fix them, so that they might be sent out to the other stations when required. It might not be necessary to place the reserves under an officer at Wide Bay or Brisbane; they might be placed under the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
40. The divisions have hitherto consisted of twelve men each ? Two consist of twenty-four men, and two divisions of twelve men each ; the Port Curtis and Burnett Districts have twenty-four men each, and the Lower Condamine and Clarence have twelve men each. :
41. Your proposal would be a reduction of two men in each division of twelve men? I would not have them by divisions my proposition is to do away with the divisions altogether;; in fact, to make the whole Corps a patrolling body.
42. Would you not attach a certain number to each District? The distribution would of, course, rest with the Government Resident.
43. Or with the officer appointed as Inspector ? If he found it expedient to retain the services of any number of men at a given spot, of course I would give him liberty to do so; but I would have no permanent bead quarters in the bush.
44. Would it not be advisable to place large discretionary powers in the hands of the! Inspector ? Of course you must.
45. Full discretionary power ? Full discretionary power. I would place the Inspector in the same position as the Commandant of the old Mounted Police was here; he reporting to the Government Resident at Brisbane, in the same way as the Commandant reported to the local Government at Sydney.
46. By Mr. Jones: The Inspector would practically have the control of the Force? Ye, for all practical purposes.
47. By the Chairman: Do you think it desirable that the officers in command of each detachment of ten men should be Magistrates? No, I do not think so.
48. Do you think cases might not arise, when the services of these officers as Magistrates might be very essential ? It is just possible that their services as Magistrates might sometimes be necessary; but I do not think that, giving them the small salary of £120 per annum, you could take them from the class of men from which Magistrates would be appointed. I would give them instructions to act under the orders of all Magistrates within their district.
49. By Mr. Forster: If not Magistrates, they must be sworn in as Constables ? Yes, as Special Constables, of course.
50 By the Chairman: The Government Resident would have the administrative control of the Force, without interfering with its direct management, which he could not possibly understand, from not being on the spot ? Yes, exactly; when representations were made to him of the commission of crime and outrage, he would place them in the hands of the Inspector, who would act as the circumstances required.