Correspondence, R Durance, 4 December 1961

Narional Archives of Australia Canberra Office A6456 R136/008 Correspondence, R Durance, 4 December 1961 4 December 1961 Commissioner of Native Welfare, Department of Native Welfare, 176 Wellington Street, Perth, WA Dear Sir, Mr W B MacDougall, Native Patrol Officer, passed the following information by radio from Giles on 27th November, 1961. It refers to the health of the natives in the Rawlinson Area and to their general physical requirements during the current severe drought in the Central Reserves. Health 1. An old woman (Mi:mia) died yesterday. She had been suffering from a virus (?) affecting some of the Rawlinson natives. Her body temperature had been 104 degrees. The natives buried her twenty- five miles from Giles. 2. Mr MacDougall has evacuated a woman and her baby to Warburton Mission. This woman has a similar condition to the woman who died. 3. Another old woman at Giles has the virus, but she is responding to sulpha drugs. Mr MacDougall believes that the virus is losing its intensity. He comments that the younger people have not been affected. 4. Mr MacDougall also took Old Willie to Warburton. Willie's legs are almost useless from the knees down, but this appears to be only a temporary condition. 5. A young woman near Giles is being treated with penicillin for a swollen jaw. The penecillin and sulpha drug courses have been prescribed by a Royal Flying Doctor, Alice Springs. 6. Mr MacDougall is treating numerous cases of sore eyes. Location and Movement of Natives 7. A native family is living at a small rock hole on the Giles Creek some twenty-five miles from Giles. 8. Another family is living in the sandhills north of Giles, probably just south of the Sir Frederick Range. Mr MacDougall is proceeding to that area to check on themm and bring them to the Rawlinsons if necessary. 9. Several families are endeavouring to walk to Musgrave Park from the southern side of the Petermanns. Mr MacDougall is not concerned about them as he reports that good rains have fallen in the Mann Ranges. 10. All other natives in the Rawlinson - Petermann Ranges are near Giles. Water 11. There are permanent waters in the ranges. 12. The natives near Giles are being provided with bore water by Mr MacDougall. 13. Wankari rock hole in the Dean Range is twenty-four feet below the high water mark. The water in it is unfit for human consumption, being full of decaying bird and small animal life. Food 14. The kangaroos in the Rawlinson area are in poor condition and are becoming increasingly fewer in number. Mr MacDougall has been shooting them for the main native camp. Shortly he may have to obtain them from Mt Davies where the kangaroos are numerous and in good condition. 15. The natives near Giles had a large number of dingo scalps which Mr MacDougall has traded for 700 - 800 lbs flour and a quantity of sugar and tea. 16. On the authority of the Native Welfare Department, Head Office, Perth, Mr MacDougall is issuing supplies of powdered milk and potatoes to the aged, infirm, pregnant and lactating, and their small children. Summary 17. No additional food supplies are required at present. 18. No assistance is required at present. 19. Mr MacDougall is of the opinion that, failing good rains over the next two months, the Rawlinson natives may have to be evacuated to Musgrave Park or Warburton Mission, whichever they prefer. He will advise further on this possibility late in December after he has completed his patrol. 20. Mr MacDougall requests advice on the condition of the natives he took to Warburton. The above is in confirmation of advice passed by telephone to Mr Beharrel by Mr Macaulay. Mr Beharrel has undertaken to forward details of the condition of the natives taken to Warburton. Yours faithfully R Durance Colonel Superintendent, WRE, Woomera