Narional Archives of Australia
Patrol Report, R Macaulay, 11 February 1960
11 February 1960
January - February 1960 Patrol to Giles and the Central Reserves
1. I left Woomera 13th January, 1960, proceeding to Giles
via Leigh Creek, Marree, Oodnadatta, Granite Downs, Everard Park and
Ernabella Mission, arriving Giles 10th January. The route then lay
to 'Wankari in the Dean Ranges (21 January) and Kutjinderry and
Waraban (Mural Crescent area) (22 and 23 January) where it was hoped
to contact the tuberculosis suspect, Wanupay. It was then necessary
to proceed to Alice Springs via Curtin Springs and Angas Downs to have two
front springs fitted to the International. I left Alice Springs 31
January proceeding via Curtin Springs to Ernabella and Giles, then
to Wingellina and Mt Davies (3 and 4 February) and to Waraban Creek
(5 February). I departed Giles 7 February, arriving Woomera 9 February
via Ernabella, Everard Park, Granite Downs, Coober Pedy, and Mt Eba.
Condition of Country Roads
2. Widespread rains had fallen throughout the whole area covered
by the patrol, and slippery road surfaces and washaways were a constant
menace. To generalise, two to five inches of rain fell throughout the
patrol area, and the Todd, Hugh, Finke, and Palmer Rivers flowed to a
depth of up to seven feet. The main north-south road is in good condition
but there have been many washaways and much scouring on the road between
Ernabella and Wingellina.
3. The Reserves are in wonderful condition with grass up to one
foot high. The feed position around Ernabella, Kenmore Park, and Everard
Park is excellent, and Granite Downs has surface waters sufficient for two
4. Ten natives near Giles moved east the day after I arrived.
Two Rawlinson young men who arrived at Giles from Warburton Mission also
moved east to join the main group at Waraban Creek, south of Kutjinderry.
The main group was about to split up and move further east when I left,
and I do not expect any natives (or very few) to be around Giles for
a month or two. The Rawlinson natives with one or two exceptions, are
overcoming gradually the tendency to congregate around Giles. I traded
forty six scalps at Ernabella and there is an abundance of emu, lizard, rabbit,
and kangaroo meat in the Mural Crescent - Petermann Range Area.
5. On arrival at Giles I found that the morale was low and
personnel were still on edge following the shock of Mr Collin's death.
The Station had been understaffed for several weeks and this was affecting
morale also. New personnel began arriving while I was at Giles and the
morale boosted considerably. Over the period January to March there
will be nearly a seventy per cent change of personnel at Giles.
Mr C Rogan will be the new O.I/C. It is noted that he has been posted
to Giles for three months only. I noticed a marked increase in the beer
consumption with the arrival of several new personnel.
6. I brought Wanupay to Giles from Waraban. She came willingly
and appeared in good spirits so I did not take measures to prevent her
running off.However she did decide to remain in her country to die and
she ran off the night before we were to leave for Alice Springs. Wanupay
will have returned to the group by the time Mr MacDougall reaches Giles
and she should not be difficult to locate as the natives themselves
realise that she must go to hospital. Kam:i, the child with the burnt
leg, was flown to Giles at Christmas.
7. It may be possible during the winter of this year to arrange
for Mr MacDougall and me to round up all the Rawlinson natives for a
thorough medical check by Woomera medical authorities at Giles.
8. The contact position at Wingellina Mining camp was not good,
and the natives complained that they were under paid for work done. They
also claimed that Tony Sullivan, the Contractor at Wingellina, had
supplied a pannikin of alcohol to a native and had then attempted to
rape the native's wife. Mr R Sprigg, Managing Director of Geosurveys
informed me that Sullivan had been dismissed by him for general lawlessness
in Adelaide and for poor work at Wingellina. The last three Contractors
have all failed dismally. Callaghan was dismissed for continual drunk-
enness, Arica for offences against native women and for other misdeeds
(letter on file from Mr J Johnson refers) and Sullivan for actions men-
9. Mr Sprigg is of the opinion that in a few months time only a
caretaker staff of one or two men will be required at Wingellina. He will
go to greater lengths to obtain suitable personnel, and in attempting to
further minimise the chances of employing the wrong type, he has asked
the South Australian Aborigines Department to interview prospective personnel
for Wingellina. The normal system of supplying two character references before
obtaining a Reserve permit does not appear to be working out very well.
10. I interviewed the Wingellina natives about Arica's alleged offences
and they denied all knowledge of them. This I would interpret as indicating
that there is some substance to the allegations.
11. On 7th February, 1960, the white personnel at Wingellina were Geoff
Rowley, Jack Scribble, Len Terry, Eric Paunola, Bruno Beyer, and Hermann
Radolovich. The only natives at Wingellina were Jimmy and Mike and their
families and two young men. Three other families, including Bruce and Mary,
were at Mt Davies en route to Ernabella.
12. At Ernabella, the missioners are concerned about the forthcoming
payment of pension and social service benefits to some of the mission
natives. The problem resolves into whether social service benefits should
be pooled for the general benefit of all mission natives or whether those
entitled to the benefits should receive the full amount each. The missioners
fear widespread unemployment if the latter case applies as they expect
younger natives to 'live off' the older ones.
13. The Superintendent of Ernabella asked me to meet a large group of
Areyonga natives headed for Ernabella for initiation ceremonies and to en-
deavour to dissuade them from starting spear fights. I backed out of that
one very gently. As it turned out each group feared the other would seek
reprisals over a killing connected with an initiation at Areyonga last year.
The Areyonga mob came as far as Angas Downs, but gradually lost interest
when the Ernabella group did not turn up, and as the flour, tea, and sugar
gave out, they returned to Areyonga and the ration and settlement life.
Eventually a few dozen Ernabella men hurried to Mulga Park, initiated two
boys, then scampered back to their rations at Ernabella.
14. A newspaper cutting is enclosed in the Woomera file copy of
this report as it indicates how a very minor episode can be turned into a major
publicity embarrassment, (in this case the NT Welfare Department). I
spoke to the '200'. They said there was plenty of game around (blackfellow
tucker) but they were alarmed and out of sorts because their tea, sugar,
and flour had run out. They were extremely loath to continue without
these goods, so they had 'demanded' them at Angas Downs Station.
16. On the evening of 25th January the store at Curtin Springs
was robbed of five pounds by three natives. The sole white person on the
Station, a woman, had left the store door unlocked and the cash box
handy. Before sunrise next morning a mob of natives was queued up outside the
store to spend the money. Police from Alice Springs and Finke arrested the
culprits who later escaped in handcuffs and neck chains. Two gave themselves
up at Curtin Springs and One-eye Pete was arrested at Ernabella minus his
handcuffs and neck chain by Sergeant Holmes and Mounted Constable Jacobs
of Oodnadatta. It is noted that the Northern Territory Police confiscated
16. The major weakness of the International AA 120, 4 x 4 vehicles
became evident during this patrol when every leaf of a flattened front
spring eventually broke and one leaf of the other front spring gave
up in sympathy. International Harvesters have substituted a much stronger
and less springy front suspension in later vehicles. Stores and Transport
Section is endeavouring to obtain the larger springs and shock absorbers
for the vehicle allocated to my use.
Native Patrol Officer