Narional Archives of Australia
Patrol - Patrol Report W MacDougall 1 November 1961
1 November 1961
Report on Patrol 25th September to 17th November, 1961
The itinerary drawn up for this patrol was abandoned owing
to vehicle trouble. I considered there was a strong possibility of
serious mechanical trouble developing which would require assistance
from Woomera, and therefore stayed close to good roads thus minimising
the possibility and also simplifying rescue operations if they were
required. This trouble slowly developed to the extent of my requiring
ten spark plugs in three thousand miles and also four gallons of oil
in the last nine hundred miles.
The patrol developed into a routine trip from Woomera to
Giles plus an opportunity for the natives to trade their dingo scalps.
Well under control in the capable hands of Mr and Mrs
Very good progress has been made with the establishment of
the new Mission Station here.
Some cattle have been bought and are grazing on the area.
The man in charge is young and enthusiastic, but lacks experience
in cattle management in wide open arid areas. I think he will learn -
probably the hard way.
Estimated number of natives - 250. These people are
establishing themselves close to assured supplies for the duration of
the threatened drought.
Fencing continuing. Activity in general curtailed owing to
shortage of staff.
Water supplies at times critical.
There are 200 to 250 natives, who like those at Ernabella, are
preparing for drought conditions.
Kitchen door and one shutter left open probably by BMR
The pump jack engine governor has been tampered with to increase
engine revs with the object of obtaining a faster delivery of water thus
hastening loading operations. This causes excessive wear, tear, and
depreciation of the plant.
There were no natives. All those I normally expect to see in
this area have retreated to one or other of the Mission or Government
Stations for the duration of the dry.
Thirty natives were camped approximately half a mile from
the Station. These were waiting for a Patrol Officer as they had dingo
scalps to trade. They also wanted information re a young lubra, Molly,
who had been removed from the Station to Musgrave Parm by Frank Quinn
under instruction from the OIC of the camp as advised by wireless
from Woomera. (Story Appendix A).
The lubra, Narabane, flown to Alice Springs some months ago, has
not yet been discharged. Arrangements were made through Mr Macaulay
for her husband to join her at Alice Springs Hospital.
Patrols east to the Kathleen Range and north-west to the Walter
James Range were carried out.
Thirty natives were seen in the Kathleen Ranges. Three women
and four children were seen in the Walter James area. Sixty dingo
scalps were collected.
Very dry conditions prevailed in the Reserve. Most of it is
still well covered with grass and herbage, but only because it is not
stocked. All other than permanent water supplies are dry. Virtually
all rabbits have disappeared. With the exception of Quandongs, all
vegetable food is obtainable in its dried form only. Kangaroos are
plentiful but in poor condition. Those living in timbered areas are
just skin and bone, and will probably die in four or five weeks if
there is no rain. Those living in the spinifex are in reasonable condition.
Two out of five shot were close to starvation. Emus were scarce - none
seen. Dingos - not many seen. Birds - perishing. Goannas - some
available in warm weather. Euros were plentiful.
There were eighty odd natives in the Rawlinson Range area.
They have fallen back onto big permanent water supplies, and are organised
in their hunting and gathering. All over nine years of age are doing
their share. They were getting kangaroos and Quandongs. At present
they are situated at three of these permanent water holes, Kutjinderri,
There are no natives using the Reserve south of the Rawlinson
Ranges. They have all retreated to one or other of the settlements.
Very dry conditions throughout the Reserve.
Good water supplies in big permanent holes only.
Food supplies adequate, but likely to become inadequate
if the drought continues.
In some cases, very young children and their mothers are in
difficulties now, except at the settlements.
With the exception of the Rawlinson Range natives, and any
that may be north of the Rawlinsons, all natives are prepared to stay
at the Settlement for the duration.
A careful watch should be kept on food supplies available
in the Rawlinson Ranges area.
Some preliminary thought should be given to ways of providing relief,
if, and when it becomes necessary.
W B MacDougall
Native Patrol Officer
Molly is an ex Warburton Ranges Mission School girl. She
was not satisfied as the second wife of David at the Mission.
This dissatisfaction produced behaviour that caused considerable
trouble to the community. Because of this her parents arranged for her to
be the first wife of Tiger, who was to keep her well away from the Mission
until she settled down.
Trouble at Giles
Molly was lazy in her duties. For the sake of discipline
in general and because of the lack of firewood in particular, Tiger
speared her in the buttock. Molly left the camp in a hurry, presumably
to gather more firewood. As she did not return, Tiger and some others
followed her tracks which led to the Giles camp where she had taken
Molly told the OIC that she was in fear for her life and
the attitudes of the natives surrounding the camp seemed to support her
Action taken at that time
OIC Giles asked for advice by wireless. For obvious
reasons we could not refuse protection. In the absence of the
Commissioner of Native Welfare, WA, Mr Anderson, second in charge,
approved and authorised the removal of Molly to Musgrave Park. Mr
Anderson stated that he would explain the situation to the District
Officer Kalgoolie who would arrange for the trouble to be investigated
and settled. No Western Australian Officer visited Giles or spoke to
any of the natives concerned, and it is therefore presumed they cannot
know of this particular upset.
Situation at Musgrave Park
The presence of a young unattached female with no official
interest apparent, inevitably caused trouble at Musgrave Park. This
was overcome by alloting Molly to another man, Tjipikuta.
On my arrival Molly expressed fear of Tiger and reasonable
satisfaction with the new arrangement.
Situation at Giles
I conveyed the news to Tiger at Giles. He was naturally
upset and wanted to go to Musgrave Park to recover his wife. This
was frowned upon by the District Welfare Officer, Kalgoolie, so on
a dingo trading run I took two delegates from Giles to Musgrave Park.
At an around-a-tree conference comprised of all those concerned, it
was decided that Tjipikuta had an even better claim to Molly than
Tiger, and that in view of all the circumstances, this arrangement was
the best. Tiger does not agree to this and is perplexed at white man
interference which has deprived him of a wife. He accepts the fact
that the Giles personnel acted in good faith, but cannot understand
why they will not return the woman.
All this could have been avoided if an investigation had been made
within a reasonable time of Molly's transfer to Musgrave Park.
Tiger is not likely to take any further action, but he is
left with the problem of securing another wife.