Christopher Rolleston Letter 1 January 1845
1st January 1845
To the Colonial Secretary
In forwarding you for the information of His Excellency the Governor this my second report on the condition and prospects of the Native Tribes, frequenting this District, it affords me great satisfaction to be enabled to state that they have refrained from committing any of those daring aggressions upon the property & Stock of Squatters, which I had occasion to mention in my last annual report, and that only one attempt upon the life of a white man has been made during the past year which I am happy to say proved unsuccessful – Some few attacks have been made upon Cattle depasturing within reach of the Scrubs and are likely to be continued so long as the Parties whose Runs are so situated allow their Stock to feed in the neighbourhood of their Secure Shelter.
The Natives still confine themselves to the Scrubs &Ranges, seldom appearing in the open country, but on every occasion that has offered, I have endeavoured to establish a confidence in the friendly disposition of the Whites towards them – but these occasions have been few, and all my attempts to coax them from the Shelter of the Scrubs & induce them to visit my Head Quarters have been fruitless – I am sorry to observe a natural disinclination on the part of the Squatters generally, to admit the Blacks upon their Stations, were they so disposed – I say, “natural”, in as much as it has arisen from the apparently treacherous conduct of the Aborigines on former occasions in having committed the most frequent aggressions upon those Stations, where they were originally kindly received and well treated – that such a disposition as this belongs to the Tribes frequenting this District I should be very loath to believe, and would rather account for it by the interference of the Shepherds & Stockmen with the Gins, in consequence of which quarrels may have ensued, and where the death of the offender could not safely be accomplished. The Stock of the Master has been attacked by way of revenge – it has been my object to re-establish on the part of the Squatters a confidence in the peaceable intentions of the Natives, which the less hostile disposition manifested during the course of the past year, naturally leads me to hope for and expect.
At a Station I visited lately I found a Camp of some two or three Hundred Blacks collected from the Moreton Bay, Clarence and Darling Downs Tribes – the Superintendent told me they had been on the Station a week and had shewn themselves very friendly.
I sincerely trust that the next year will witness a mutual & permanent establishment of friendship between the two colors to further this desirable object. I beg to assure His Excellency my most strenuous exertions shall be directed – with regard to the number of the Natives frequenting this District it is impossible to arrive at any accurate conclusion. This District is visited by Tribes from the Severn, Richmond & Clarence Rivers, from Moreton Bay District & the River “Boyne” and if there are any Tribes peculiarly belonging to the Darling Downs they are so united & mixed up with the others as to admit of no certain distinction.
In conclusion I beg to state that I shall as far as lies in my power endeavour to ameliorate their condition and create in them a taste for the pursuits of civilized life.
I have etc.
(Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society Inc., Initial Settlement on the Darling Downs 1843-1852, a transcription of Rolleston’s Records, p. 19, 2008 [CD]. Reproduced with permission from the New South Wales State Library)