Narional Archives of Australia
Personnel Aborigines - Safety Surveys
Report by J A M Cahey, 30 December 1958
30 December 1958
Acting Range Commander
Subject Mission Natives - Walkabout
I have to submit hereunder a copy of a report
submitted by Peace Officer First Class T Murray regarding three
full blood Aborigines whom he contacted at Ooldea on 29th December
'As briefed by Sub-Inspector I proceeded to Ooldea on 29.12.1958
and interviewed three Mission Natives who advised me they had paid
their railway fares and had travelled as passengers on a 2nd Class
carriage per Fast Goods train from ZANTHUS MISSION Station, WA,
arriving at Ooldea mid-day Sunday 28th December and were going to
YALATA MISSION tomorrow.'
'The names given were 'Paddy', a middle aged native, 'Jacky', about
25 years, and a youth named 'Davey' about sixteen years of age'
'They had been attending a 'singing' (not initiation) Corroboree
held at the ceremonial grounds, which are in the Zanthus area. They
stated, another party would be returning by Fast Goods train arriving
at Ooldea next Sunday, 3rd January 1959.'
''Paddy' also stated that natives from the Ernabella and Warburton
Missions had also attended the Corroboree and were walking North
from Zanthus on the return trip to their respective Missions.'
'As near as I could ascertain this North bound party would keep
to the 'rock country' which could carry rock-hole water, and runs
some miles West of Lake Maurice. To my question ' How many walk-
about?' 'Paddy' replied: 'Maybe two hundred.' This reply was
checked by asking 'Paddy' 'How many sheep Yalata Station carry?'.
He replied: 'Maybe 500'. (The carrying capacity of this station is
something like 6000 head, which means that the figures given by
'Paddy' cannot be relied on.)'
'When I discovered the camp about daybreak, the boys were sitting
up in their blankets which were placed in a triangular way to give
each a share of the fire. They appeared surprised at my arrival but
were co-operative, appeared to be in good health, and were well cared
for. They were carrying a good supply of food, were well dressed
and had a couple of blankets each. They showed appreciation when
I suggested they have a ride in motor and meet Mission truck from
Yalata. I then transported them with their bundles (the youth had
been supplied with a suitcase for 'Walkabout' by the Mission at
Zanthus) to the BROOM TANKS which had a good supply of water.'
'It was evident that the natives have been well warned by the
Missions regarding entering the Maralinga area.'
'Signed T Murray PO1'
2. In view of the foregoing and the fact that PO1 Murray
is satisfied the natives have been warned regarding this area it is
suggested that no action be taken regarding the party due to arrive on
Sunday 3rd. I will instruct the Peace Officer on duty at Watson to check
the party and ensure none de-train at Watson. Should the Railways
Ganger request a message to be sent to Pastor Temmey that may be done from
here after a check is made with Watson Control Centre.
J A M Cahey
Officer in Charge