Patrol Report, R Macaulay, 11 February 1960

Narional Archives of Australia Canberra Office A6456 R136/007 Patrol Report, R Macaulay, 11 February 1960 Woomera, SA 11 February 1960 Superintendent Woomera January - February 1960 Patrol to Giles and the Central Reserves Movements 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 years. Rawlinson Natives 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. Giles 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. Wanupay 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. Wingellina 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- tioned above. 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. 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. Curtin Springs 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 unlicensed rifles. Vehicle 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. R Macaulay Native Patrol Officer