Patrol Report W MacDougall 1 November 1961

Narional Archives of Australia Canberra Office A6456 R136/008 Patrol - Patrol Report W MacDougall 1 November 1961 1 November 1961 Superintendent Woomera 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. Coober Pedy Well under control in the capable hands of Mr and Mrs Bussbridge. Fregon 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. Ernabella Mission Estimated number of natives - 250. These people are establishing themselves close to assured supplies for the duration of the threatened drought. Musgrave Park 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. Mt Davies Kitchen door and one shutter left open probably by BMR personnel. 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. Giles 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, Wankari, Bongobiri. There are no natives using the Reserve south of the Rawlinson Ranges. They have all retreated to one or other of the settlements. Summary 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. Recommendations 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 APPENDIX A History 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 refuge. 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 fears. 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.