© 2018 by GBK Graphics. Copyright P.J Collins

The following article was published in the Queensland History Journal, Vol 20, No 10, May 2009, pp 457-519.

Richard, Frederick and Robert: Three Militant Walkers on the Maranoa Frontier.

Patrick J Collins *

Three militant, unrelated Europeans named Walker conflicted with Aborigines on the Maranoa frontier. They were Richard who lived in the district from c.1848 until 1857; Frederick whom they faced in 1849 and 1851; and Robert who was based there from 1858 to 1861. Richard was a former border police trooper and frontiersman. Frederick was commandant of the northern Native Police, and Robert was a Native Police lieutenant. Not surprisingly, there has been confusion about them.

 

The most misleading example of Walker confusion is in Jonathan Richards’ The Secret War: A True History of Queensland’s Native Police, which he based on his Griffith University doctoral dissertation. Richards stated (p.179):

Patrick Collins, who wrote about the early years of the Native Police, confuses Frederick’s brother Robert, who also served in the Native Police, with frontiersman Richard Walker. Others believed Frederick and Robert were unrelated. 1

 

If Richards’ conclusion is valid, it means: 10 chapters of my Goodbye Bussamarai: the Mandandanji Land War, 1842–52, are nonsensical; my research was substandard; and I have misled Indigenous Australians. 2  By extension, senior historians who reviewed it positively should not have done so. 3 Other than the publication details of Goodbye Bussamarai, he provides no evidence to verify his claims.

This paper will show that Richards’ conclusion is inaccurate. His own text should have alerted him, for he accurately recorded that Robert Walker joined the Native Police in 1853, i.e. after the 1842–52 period about which I wrote. 4 Also, 58 endnotes substantiated what I stated about Richard Walker. If I was confused, then so were Gideon Lang and Hovenden Hely, who recorded their travels with Richard Walker for many months in 1850–51 and 1852 respectively. Although Richards provides no evidence to support his claim that Lieutenants Frederick and Robert Walker were brothers, he stated this fact four times and was critical of unnamed authors for not knowing of this unsubstantiated relationship. 5

This issue and other examples of Walker confusion are addressed in this paper following chronological accounts of Richard’s, Frederick’s and Robert’s lives. Additional data on Frederick and Richard is in Goodbye Bussamarai.

Richard Walker, born in County Down c.1812, was the first to arrive in Australia. This was on 14 July 1840 aboard the Maitland as a soldier convict, after being court-martialled in Manchester on 31 October 1839 and given seven years for drawing his sword on a sergeant. Richard’s description included: unmarried Protestant, can read and write, 5 feet 11.5 inches tall, eyebrows partially meet, scar on left side of forehead, brown hair, hazel eyes, ‘sallow’ complexion, left thumb missing, ring on left little finger, scar on left knee, tattoo of an anchor and cable surrounded by a wreath on upper right arm, three hearts surrounded by a wreath on lower right arm, and blue square above right knee. 6

Gideon Lang, who later hired Richard as a guide and bodyguard (when searching for pastoral runs on the Lower Condamine and in the Maranoa) stated:

 

Dick Walker … was a man of great intelligence, and of education besides, having been an officer in the Bombay Marine, but had to resign on account of an ebullition of temper. He then enlisted in the 5th Dragoons, and was imprisoned for cutting down his sergeant in the streets of Bradford. 7
 

Richard’s intelligence is reflected in his letter writing, which historian Elsie Webster described as ‘surprisingly aristocratic’. 8 Although Richard was a fallen gentleman officer, his proficiency with horses, muskets, pistols, swords and cannon did not go unnoticed. The New South Wales (NSW) government recruited him as an unpaid Border Police trooper. The creation of this force was endorsed by a March 1839 Act. Its purpose was to ‘preserve order … as the squatters were moving out’. Contingents were attached to Commissioners of Crown Lands. 9 Good conduct earned ‘the highest rewards … in [the Governor’s] power to bestow, and at the earliest periods which He is … empowered to grant’. Kind treatment of ‘the natives’ was stressed. 10  A potential ticket of leave was highly motivating.

Convicts had to serve four years under one master, or five under two, before they could be granted tickets. Richard joined the Border Police immediately after his arrival 13 and as the NSW frontier was expanding beyond the Liverpool Plains and New England, Richard was presumably sent to a nearby centre, possibly near the Castlereagh,  where he apparently shot an Aboriginal ‘murderer’. 14 By early 1844 he was stationed at Tamworth and had patrolled on the Macintyre. 15 He was granted his ticket on 26 June 1844 and had served very satisfactorily, 11 as later claimed by Gideon Lang. 12 When granted his ticket, it was conditional upon remaining in the district of Murrurundi. 16 He immediately re-enlisted as a paid trooper and continued to patrol on the New England frontier, 17  which extended to the Macintyre River on the future Queensland border.

Richard became a corporal on 1 January 1845 and stayed in the force until 31 October 1845. 18 As his ticket remained in force until the expiration of his seven-year term, he presumably worked near Murrurundi until around 31 October 1846. Gideon Lang provided an idea of where Richard travelled:

Dick Walker … had for years moved out as the frontier extended, so that he had great experience with wild blacks and during our companionship of four months [in 1850–51] … he related many a wild adventure. 19

The moving frontier was ‘beyond the limits of location’ and, as the Border force was disbanded on 30 June 1846, 20 Lang’s comment suggests that Richard Walker then worked for frontier squatters, e.g. Thomas Hall who needed experienced staff to deal with resistant Aborigines. In the future Maranoa District in late 1847, stations were established near St George’s Bridge (Dangar’s Boomba and Fitzgerald’s Burgurrah), present day Muckadilla (MacPherson’s Mount Abundance), and adjacent to the site of Surat (Hall’s Yamboucal). 21 Major conflicts on these and other stations are discussed in Goodbye Bussamarai. William Telfer Jnr provides graphic, albeit possibly exaggerated accounts of how the Balonne River station hands took the law into their own hands. 22 From their perspective this was unavoidable. There were no police in the district until Commissioner Henry Durbin brought four when he established a temporary Lands Office on Hall’s Yamboucal in late March 1849. 23 But Durbin did not stop the practice. Lieutenant Frederick Walker recorded that Balonne ‘settlers’ used so-called ‘hut blacks … styled Native Police’ from 1849 until he arrived there in July 1851. 24 From Gideon Lang’s accounts, he and Richard Walker were two of the settlers who did so.

Between late September 1850 and January 1851, Richard confronted the Mandandanji with Lang and two unpaid Aborigines, when they marked out multiple runs. This took them as far as the Upper Maranoa River, where they also searched for signs of the missing Ludwig Leichhardt. They then ventured up the Moonie from near St George’s Bridge. Lang recorded numerous encounters, some while assisting Commissioner Roderick Mitchell. 25 One account showed that the Mandandanji regarded Richard as a policeman. With warrants issued by Mitchell, Lang and his Aboriginal assistants caught up with ‘five [Aborigines] three of them murderers’, but: 

They denied that they were the men, “t’other one blackfellow did it,” and expressed through the tame blacks, the utmost disgust at the way they had been pursued, and asked the Commissioner [Mitchell], “what for that one white fellow along o’ Walker ‘cabon coola’ [very angry] along o’ them?” That he [Lang] was not a policeman, that they had stolen none of his sheep, nor killed any cattle or white men or black boys belonging to him. 26

Richard Walker was obviously one of those who Frederick Walker reported for using ‘hut blacks … styled Native Police’. Also, as there were no reports of Aboriginal or European deaths during Lang’s stay, this suggests that Richard had been around when Aborigines had ‘murdered’ Europeans in previous years. That Mitchell sanctioned Richard’s pseudo Native Police officer role was not surprising, for, as a Border policeman, he had served satisfactorily under Mitchell at Tamworth. 27 Mitchell did not arrive at Surat until early 1850, but as previously suggested, Commissioner Durbin had possibly drawn on Richard’s frontier police experience in 1849.

Although the exact date of Richard Walker’s first involvement with Hall’s Yamboucal has not been verified, and although he was a superintendent there in 1856, he was a self-employed contractor at times. In addition to his role with Lang, he was selected to accompany Roderick Mitchell, during a planned search for Ludwig Leichhardt, 28 who was last seen by Europeans at Mount Abundance in April 1848. 29 After Mitchell drowned in August 1851, Hovenden Hely conducted the search in 1852. Hely passed via Surat where he signed a lucrative contract with Richard on 19 April. This stipulated that Richard was to remain with Hely’s party until they were back in Sydney. They passed through Surat on their return journey in late July. Richard could not therefore have returned to the Maranoa until around late October or after. 30

South of Surat on the Balonne, while bound for Sydney, Hely recorded that Richard had once been a station hand on William Ogilvie’s Waghoo (also known as Warroo). The superintendent Mr Hazard and his brother who was a superintendent on Dangar’s Boombah, described Richard as a poor bushman, and as a lazy, insubordinate, useless hut-keeper. Hely lapped this up for he had assessed Richard similarly, 31 but he did not record when Richard had worked at Waghoo. It was presumably before Roderick Mitchell arrived at Surat, for Richard was held in high regard from then until after Hely’s arrival. This does, however, cast doubt on where and why Richard first worked in the Maranoa.

Documentation of Richard’s life is scant after 1852 until late 1856. Correspondence from Commissioner Henry Boyle reported a lack of discipline at Wondai Gumbal Native Police barracks, from where troopers controlled by Lieutenant Nicoll patrolled the Maranoa. Boyle stated that Richard Walker, the ‘superintendent’ at Hall’s Yamboucal, was a source of his information. This and Nicoll’s defence implied that Richard had been in the district for an extended period, but only undated extracts from Boyle’s report were located. These were in an attachment to an April 1857 letter from Fitzpatrick of the Department of Lands in Sydney. 32 However, by this date Richard was dead.

Richard Walker died on 29 January 1857 at Condamine township, where he was buried the following day by a Maranoa Irish squatter named ‘Paddy’ McEnroe, from Ukabulla on Yalebone Creek. 33 McEnroe had previously managed McPherson’s remnant Mount Abundance. 34 There appeared to be a strong bond between these Irish former convicts, for Richard had built a hut on Ukabulla to protect himself from Aborigines when mustering. Hely had camped in this during his search. 35 Richard and Paddy enjoyed a drink or two, for they both died during drunken pub sprees. 36 In Richard’s instance, Lieutenant Nicoll claimed that he had been ‘in a drunken freak’ and had tried to ‘vault over a cross beam … in a public house at Dalby fracturing his thigh from thigh from which he had died.’ 37 

hich he had died.’ 37

Frederick, born c.1820, was the second of the three Walkers to deal with Aborigines on the Maranoa frontier, but that was long after he and an unnamed brother (according to LE Skinner) migrated to Australia from England. 38 However, I was unable to verify his migration date, or details of this brother. A letter from Frederick’s mother mentioned several brothers but it was not clear if one was then living in NSW. 39 From Mary McManus: Frederick ‘Philibuster’ Walker was ‘a fine specimen of a man. He stood six feet or over, broad-chested and square shouldered. He was well educated, and possessed much practical knowledge on almost every subject’. 40

The earliest relevant record located included: On 1 April 1844, Governor Gipps appointed Frederick Walker as a Full Constable with the Border Police on three shillings per day. He was commanded by Commissioner Bingham in the Murrumbidgee District. His rank placed him above a sergeant, nine European troopers and ‘one Aboriginal Native’. 41 This was during a period of great dissatisfaction with many of the convicted soldiers who worked as Border troopers. Accordingly, ‘the Border Police were dismissed on 30 June [1844] – except in areas where there had been recent conflict with Aborigines’. 42 Frederick patrolled near the Murrumbidgee until March 1845, in close proximity to some areas patrolled by the Port Phillip Native Police, and in direct contact with Aboriginal tribes from which he later recruited Native Police troopers. He would have also met with influential squatters such as Augustus Morris and William Charles Wentworth on nearby stations.

These men became Walker’s mentors in later years. 43 On 1 April 1845, Frederick resigned as a full constable. For the remainder of the year and for some time after, he became a Clerk of Petty Sessions (CPS) based at Tumut, about 500 kilometres upstream from the Murrumbidgee–Murray junction. 44

Throughout 1846, Frederick nominally continued as the Tumut CPS. However, if Edmund Morey’s memoirs were accurate, some of Frederick’s activities appeared inconsistent with being a CPS. Morey, who later took up land north of Mitchell in the Maranoa, claimed that he, Frederick with two armed Murrumbidgee Aborigines, and seven other Europeans, fought with 70 to 80 Aborigines on the Murray. Morey claimed that they caught many in the river. When these defenceless people came up to breathe, Walker and the others shot them.

This was possibly the earliest documentation of Frederick’s frontier conflicts with Aborigines. The presence of his armed Aboriginal assistants indicated that he had laid the foundations of his future role as a Native Police commandant. 45 Officially, Frederick continued as the Tumut CPS until 30 April 1847, when he was appointed as the CPS at Wagga. 46 However, a week later, another person was appointed to this same position. 47 On 15 July Frederick became a Justice of the Peace, which allowed him to issue arrest warrants. As the Government Gazette entry referred to him as ‘Frederick Walker of Tumut’, he may never have acted as the Wagga CPS. 48 Doubt remains about Frederick’s movements for a year after 30 April 1847, but he was probably WC Wentworth’s superintendent in the Murrumbidgee area. 49

On 8 June 1848 the NSW Government budgeted £1000 to fund ‘a small Corps of Native Police, to be employed beyond the Boundaries of Location’. 50 On 1 July Frederick Walker was appointed as a Native Police Commandant. 51 He recruited 14 Murrumbidgee Aboriginal troopers and two Aboriginal orderlies and on 15 February 1849 he set off for the Macintyre River frontier where many Europeans and probably many more Aborigines had been killed. 52                   

 

Frederick and his troopers reached Warialda on 1 May 1849, after travelling up the Darling and Barwon Rivers. From his reports he did not deviate from this route until he swung north from Warialda to the Macintyre, arriving there on 10 May. 53 For the remainder of 1849, Frederick was involved in conflicts with Aborigines on the Macintyre and the Lower Condamine on the outer Darling Downs, where he patrolled for a week in late June, and between late July and September. He later reported:

On the first occasion the Fitzroy Downs blacks [Mandandanji from the Maranoa] … suffered so severely that they returned to their own country a distance of 80 miles. 54

 

As Frederick knew that the Mandandanji had ‘returned to their own country’, he and his troopers had possibly pursued them there. If so, this was the first time that he and Richard Walker were in the Maranoa simultaneously. However, time constraints suggest this was most unlikely. Also, his comment about bogus Native Police in 1849–51, indicated he first visited the Maranoa in July 1851. In December 1849 and early 1850, Frederick with some troopers visited his superiors in Sydney before spending most of 1850 recruiting 30 more Murrumbidgee troopers, returning to his Macintyre headquarters (Callandoon) on 10 September. After preparing his new recruits he proceeded via Brisbane to Wide Bay and the Burnett District until March 1851, and did not patrol in the Maranoa during 1850. 55

Frederick continued to patrol in other districts until July 1851, when he made his first definite patrol of the Maranoa, where he concluded that Europeans were in more danger from Aboriginal attacks ‘than any of the Northern Districts’. 56 This, and possibly Roderick Mitchell’s imminent departure for Sydney to prepare his Leichhardt search, influenced his decision to make the Mandandanji conform to his version of British law. Roderick’s death in August possibly motivated Frederick to participate personally. When back on the Macintyre in August, he arranged for up to 33 Native Police troopers in several contingents to patrol the district between 1 September and 20 November 1851. Frederick led his contingent in late October. 57 July until November 1851 was the first period during which Frederick Walker and Richard Walker were definitely in the Maranoa simultaneously. As Frederick allowed selected settlers to assist his Native Police, it is likely that Richard also did so during this period.

There is no record of Frederick Walker being in the Maranoa from late 1851 until nearly four years after he was sacked for drunkenness at the close of 1854. 58 By then, 10 Native Police divisions patrolled from north of Gladstone to the Clarence River. 59 Presumably, Frederick’s increased responsibilities and a lack of Aboriginal attacks in the Maranoa, kept him away from the district. As a civilian, throughout 1855 and until the Hornet Bank massacre of 27 October 1857, he was occupied in the Dawson River area. He was proficient at locating suitable station runs and protecting settlers, and apparently did so on a commercial basis, but no record was found of him doing this in the Maranoa before the massacre. After the massacre, he led a squatter-funded unofficial Native Police contingent, and could have entered the Maranoa in late 1857 and 1858, in pursuit of Jiman Aborigines from the Dawson, who were under siege over the massacre. 60

Stephen Spencer bought Allan MacPherson’s Mount Abundance in late 1857 and occupied the property on 11 June 1858. His daughter Mary McManus recorded that soon after their arrival:  

 

We were visited by two companies of native police at this time. One under the command of the Government officer, Mr Robert Walker, with eight troopers (I think) all black. Another under Mr. Frederick Walker … with a band of six black troopers. … He still patrolled this and other districts, chiefly in the Dawson. His home I believe was at Mr. Andrew Scott’s station, Hornet Bank. 61 

 

During early 1859, the Government disbanded Frederick’s ‘irregular force’. 62 McManus, however, recorded that in around July 1859: ‘My father now made an exploration of the upper Bungeworgorai Creek in the company of Mr. Frederick Walker, before mentioned’. 63 Presumably Frederick was not accompanied by unofficial troopers, though he possibly assisted multiple squatters who moved into the Maranoa and adjacent districts after Queensland became a separate colony in December 1859. Edmund Morey (mentioned above) comes to mind. 64 The acceleration of pastoral activity resulted from the new government’s policy of stocking large stations or losing them. 65

 In August 1861, Frederick accepted a governmental invitation to lead a search for Burke and Wills. He earned a deal of praise for this but he never returned to the Maranoa prior to his death. The Burke Shire web site states:

On August 9, 1864, the Legislative Assembly of Queensland passed a motion thanking Walker for his services as an explorer in Northern Australia and in 1866, W. J. Cracknell, Superintendent of Electric Telegraph advised: '... Mr F. Walker with a well equipped party consisting of four Europeans and four Aboriginal Assistants left Rockhampton in the l9th ultimo (March) for Bowen, enroute for the Albert and Gulf shores to thoroughly explore and survey the country ... to discover the most eligible route. '

Frederick became very ill towards the end of this telegraph line survey, apparently with typhus. He died on 13 September 1866. A solitary bush monument at Floraville on the Leichhardt River marks his now well cared for grave. 66

Robert, the third of the militant Walkers, was from an influential Scottish family who engaged in commerce and the pastoral industry. Few of Robert’s personal details were found, but his 11 April 1853 application to join the Native Police puts his early colonial life in perspective. Sent to Governor Fitz Roy from the Fort Street Sydney office of W’m Walker & Co, it stated:

Having heard that appointments are being made in the Native Police force in the northern district, I do myself the honor to apply to your Excellency to grant me one of those appointments. I have been for seven years in the employment of my relative Mr James Walker of Wallerowang to whom I beg to refer your Excellency for character and ability to perform the duties which would devolve upon me should your Excellency honor me with one of these appointments. I would also beg most respectfully to refer your Excellency to Mr Thomas Walker Fort Street, and also to Thomas Brown Esq JP Commissioner of Crown Lands Etc Hartley. 

Margin notes recorded that Robert was to be appointed as a ‘Sub Lieutenant’ on ‘28 May 1853’. 67 NSW ‘Blue Books’ confirmed this date and rank. 68

 

James Walker’s Wallerowang, east of Bathurst, was the headquarters of his pastoral empire. This comprised 27 runs and a total of 2.1 million hectares before Robert first worked for him in 1846. 69 The runs extended to the north along the Castlereagh, west of the Warrumbungles, and for 60 miles north of Baradine, which developed from a Walker station above those mountains. 70

Robert’s other Walker referees, William and Thomas, were powerful figures in colonial commerce. William was James’ brother. Thomas, their nephew, eventually took over William’s merchandising business and became an influential banker and philanthropist. 71 Commissioner Thomas Brown was a former manager of James’ Wallerowang. 72 Significantly, the pioneering Archer brothers, Scots who established Durundar, Waroongundie (Emu Creek), Coonambula, Eidsvold, and Gracemere in Queensland, were members of the extended Walker family. Their mother Julia was a daughter of David Walker, a half-brother of James and William Walker. The Archers’ trek north to Queensland started at James’s Wallerowang, where brothers David, William and Thomas Archer had worked before Robert Walker arrived there. Thomas Archer recorded most of this in his Recollections of a Rambling Life, but he did not mention Robert. 73 David Archer, a former superintendent at Wallerowang, formed a pastoral partnership with William Walker’s son Edward and borrowed heavily from William. Edward, however, did not work on the Archer properties. 74

Bernard Crew’s study, The Walker and Archer Families in Australia, included details of David Archer and his brothers’ solitary travels around James Walker’s pastoral empire, sometimes accompanied by an Aboriginal guide. Bushrangers were a major problem, but conflicts with Aborigines appeared minimal or non-existent and were not reported. 75 If this had been so, it begs the question: how did Robert Walker gain, ‘the ability to perform the duties which would devolve upon me should your Excellency honor me with one of these [Native Police] appointments’? Perhaps the Archers were more skilful in dealing with Indigenous people, for around the time they left James Walker’s properties, Richard Walker, the Border trooper who was not related to James Walker’s family, conflicted with Aborigines on the Castlereagh.

Robert Walker’s exact relationship with his Walker-Archer family has not been verified. However, his first Native Police posting was to Walla on the Lower Burnett River, downstream from the Archers’ Eidsvold and Coonambula. In 1854 he was relocated to Rannes on the Lower Dawson River and until September 1857, he patrolled as far east as Port Curtis and north to the Fitzroy River, where the Archers established Gracemere in 1855.

On 13 December 1854, Robert and a few troopers set out from Rannes on a Leichhardt search, but a conflict with Aborigines soon ended this. Robert, who was promoted to Second Lieutenant on 1 April 1856, also participated in the aftermath of the October 1857 Hornet Bank massacre. He remained in the Leichhardt District, which included the Upper Dawson, until early 1858. 76

On 22 January 1858, Lieutenant  Nicoll, the officer in charge in the Maranoa, was suspended for his alleged lax discipline at Wondai Gumbal. 77 The day prior to Nicoll’s suspension, Lieutenant EV Morisset, the then Commandant, wrote to Second Lieutenant Robert Walker and advised him that he was to take control of Nicoll’s division. 78 Robert, who arrived at Wondai Gumbal within a few weeks, 79 was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on 9 June 1858, and remained in control of the Maranoa until his retirement on 10 July 1861. 80 During his time there he: mapped the district in 1858 (my only reference to him in Goodbye Bussamarai); 81 engaged in patrols and recruiting; 82 and relocated the Maranoa headquarters to Euleutha Barracks on Bungil Creek, from where he patrolled as far west as the Upper Maranoa River. 83 As stated in relation to Frederick Walker, Robert was in the Maranoa at the start of the massive arrival of pastoralists and stock during 1860–61. What became of Robert after he left the force has not been discovered.

The following partial tabulation of the above chronological sketches shows where each of the Walkers was employed, to determine when confusion between them was most likely.

Robert may have met Richard in 1846–47 e.g. on the Liverpool Plains, but Robert was never in the Maranoa at the same time as Richard, who was there from c.1848 until he died in January 1857. Robert may have pursued Jiman Aborigines from the Dawson into the Maranoa in late 1857, but that was the only time he was likely to have been there prior to his early 1858 transfer to Wondai Gumbal. He certainly did not accompany Gideon Lang in 1850–51, or participate in Hovenden Hely’s 1852 Leichhardt search, when working for his relation James Walker of Wallerowang. However, as Robert had commenced a minor Leichhardt search of his own in 1854, this may have contributed to Jonathan Richards’ confusion, but this is to clutch at straws.

The data strongly suggests that Jonathan Richards was also confused when he claimed that Robert and Frederick were brothers. Presumably Robert was, like his Walker-Archer relations, a Scot, whereas Frederick was an Englishman whose family home was in Devon. If Frederick was related to the Walker-Archer family, it is surprising that it was not mentioned in biographies, or in studies by Bernard Crew and Lorna McDonald, and especially in Thomas Archer’s Rambling Life. 84 But then none of these mentioned Robert who was related. Similarly, Robert did not mention Frederick when he applied to join the Native Police, when Frederick was the commandant. Admittedly, as Governor Fitz Roy knew of Frederick’s drunken behaviour, he was not an ideal referee. Also, Charles Archer, who spoke about Frederick to the 1856 Select Committee on Native Police, did not mention a relationship with him. If Mary McManus (who knew both Robert and Frederick) had believed they were related, she probably would have mentioned it too. None of this verifies that Robert and Frederick were not siblings, but on ‘the balance of probabilities’ they were not related.

Richards also claimed (p.113) that there were no Native Police sub lieutenants, although Robert and at least ten others were appointed to that rank. The NSW ‘Blue Books’ listed them, 85 and the 1856–57 Select Committee discussed the rank at length. 86 Also, Les Skinner tabulated the sub lieutenants in an Appendix. 87 Richards also claimed (p.122) that Native Police were not recruited in the future Queensland prior to 1860, but around 50 per cent or more were. This recruitment, based on primary documents, was discussed by Les Skinner, Gordon Reid and in Goodbye Bussamarai. 88 Richards similarly claimed (p.40) that Select Committee Inquiries held in 1858 and 1861 were the only ones that examined frontier violence in Queensland. The 1856–57 Select Committee’s Inquiry into Native Police, however, was possibly the most pertinent and objective. It was also discussed by Skinner and Reid and in Goodbye Bussamarai. 89
 

No other confusion between Robert and Richard has been found, although Richard and Frederick deserved attention. For instance, William Telfer Jnr claimed that Allan MacPherson received assistance from Frederick’s Native Police when Aborigines killed a teamster named Foley, who was transporting wool from Mount Abundance. Historian Bill Thorpe made a closely related claim in his Colonial Queensland. 90 However, MacPherson recorded that he learned of Foley’s death on 5 May 1849. This was after he sought assistance from Commissioner Durbin at Hall’s Yamboucal on 22 April, following the deaths of other Mount Abundance station hands. Durbin and his troopers protected MacPherson and his evacuating staff from then until they reached Warialda, in late June or early July. 91 As previously discussed, however, Frederick Walker was travelling up the Darling-Barwon to Warialda during April. He arrived at Warialda on 1 May, where he rested before reaching the Macintyre on 10 May. He then patrolled on the Macintyre and Lower Condamine until around November. Frederick could not, therefore, have assisted MacPherson and Durbin after Foley’s death c.4 May 1849. On the other hand, Richard Walker, who was living at Yamboucal where Durbin was then camped, could have used ‘hut blacks styled Native Police’ to assist Commissioner Durbin and MacPherson. This has not been verified, but it is a rational explanation of Telfer’s error, for he was only eight years old in 1849, and he probably learned a hearsay version in 1859–60. 92

Other accounts of Frederick had him squatting or assisting squatters in Southern Queensland, before he established his Native Police force. In 1886, William H Traill twice published:

When stations were first formed on the Burnett, upper Dawson, and Maranoa, the squatters … were scarcely able to maintain their position against the persistent hostility of the blacks. … The exact particulars of what ensued are obscured … But it appears that [Frederick] Walker, who had with him a black boy or two … [from] northern New South Wales, and was seeking employment as an overseer, suggested that he could easily induce additional natives to join him, … the tradition goes that his suggestions were adopted … he scoured the disturbed localities, receiving payment from a fund subscribed among the squatters. The efficaciousness of the native troopers thus originated in a private band of free-lances, was speedily recognised and a number of such squads was instituted by the government of New South Wales. 93   

Ernst Favenc stated in 1908:

Frederick Walker commenced his bush career as a pioneer squatter in the districts of Southern Queensland, but afterwards made his residence in the centre, where he joined the Native Police. 94

In 1928, William Robertson published a collection of his radio talks that included a version of Traill’s account above:

Just when the squatters [on the Burnett, the Maranoa and the Dawson] saw that ruin would be inevitable … there appeared on the scene a celebrated explorer named Fred Walker. This man … had with him two aboriginal boys from New South Wales. He suggested to the squatters that he could easily get a body of aboriginal men from … [NSW] and by arming them he could effectively cope with the menace of hostile natives. His suggestion was adopted … The New South Wales Government having received information of the success of Walker’s methods, a black force was established under his command… 95

If Frederick was in Southern Queensland before he arrived on the Macintyre with his Native Police in May 1849, the details and the date of his arrival in Australia remain unverified. If there was truth to these anecdotes, the likely period was before he joined the Border Police in April 1844, or after he was a CPS in April 1847. However, elements of the above could have originated with Richard Walker, who, with two Aborigines, assisted Gideon Lang to find runs on the Lower Condamine and in the Maranoa. But that was more than a year after Frederick’s first 1849 patrols. Alternatively, Richard could have done this for Queensland squatters, soon after he left the Border Police in 1846. Robert Walker was an unlikely candidate, but there is a dearth of specific data about his life when he worked for James Walker between 1846 and 1853. The important issue is: historians should be very wary of accepting stories such as those promoted by Traill, Favenc and Robertson. The same applies to references to Walkers in the Maranoa, between Robert’s arrival in early 1858 and his resignation in 1861, when Frederick was assisting squatters such as Stephen Spencer.

RB Taylor’s The History of Roma is another source of confusion. On 23 August 1851, the Moreton Bay Courier published an article about Roderick Mitchell’s planned Leichhardt search. Taylor republished this. His version included:

Mr Hunter is also to form one of the party. Mr Hunter, who was a Dragoon and quite famous in frontier warfare, accompanied Mr Gideon S Lang on his journey through the unexplored scrub in the Maranoa Disrtict. 96

In reality, it was Richard Walker who was mentioned in the newspaper. Presumably Taylor had read John Oxley Library’s microfilmed copy of a damaged original, in which the name ‘Walker’ is not clear. 97 Taylor no doubt concluded that this was ‘Hunter’, for in 1851 Gideon Lang jointly leased some properties with a Maranoa identity named William ‘Daddy’ Hunter. 98

The above examples highlight the potential to corrupt history in secondary texts and article and the responsibility that historians have to research and write from primary sources. Unfortunately, if errors in current secondary sources are not identified and rectified, they will continue to mislead readers and frustrate future historians. 99 Hopefully this article will preclude confusions relevant to Richard, Frederick and Robert Walker.

Endnotes.
 

  1. Jonathan Richards, The Secret War: A true history of Queensland’s Native Police, Brisbane, UQP, 2008, p. 179. Richards’ dissertation, A question of necessity: the Native Police in Queensland, Griffith University, 2005 has not been available to the general public. A copy provided to Pat Collins, 24 December 2008, via Freedom of Information, includes the errors found in The Secret War.  

  2. Patrick Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai: The Mandandanji land war, Southern Queensland 1842–1852, Brisbane, UQP, 2002. The ten affected chapters are: 1,3,4,9,10,13,14,15,17.

  3. Reviews of Goodbye Bussamarai are at goodbyebussamarai.com. In chronological order they were by: Raymond Evans, Shirleene Robinson, John Graham, Lorenzo Veracini, Jack Bowers, Neville Green, Ruth Kerr, Bill Thorpe, Ian Crawford, Robert Reece, Robert Murray, Tom Blake, plus short newspaper reviews by Cameron Woodhead, Diane Carlyle et al, Kim Scott, Carolyn Wadley Dowley, Nicholas Rothwell, Amanda Campbell and Rodney Chester.

  4. Richards, The Secret War, appendix 2, note on ‘Walker, Robert George’, p. 265.

  5. Richards, The Secret War, pp. 115, 121,179, 265. The criticisms are on pp. 115,179.

  6. State Archives of NSW, Transportation records, fiche No 743; and Mitchell Library, MF, Roll No 58, Convict records 1824-1868, frame 126.

  7. Gideon Lang, The Aborigines of Australia in their original condition and in their relations with the white men, Melbourne, Wilson and Mackinnon, 1865, p. 23. Lang and his Scottish brothers William and Dr Thomas Lang were frontier settlers in Victoria. Gideon, as a politician, advocated the separation of Victoria from NSW, and he promoted Garibaldi when in Europe. Australian Dictionary of Biography [ADB] (on line) entry for Lang, Gideon Scott; Sizer, Nancy F, ‘Gideon Scott Lang’, in Royal Australian Historical Society Journal [RAHSJ], Vol 47, Pt. 3, 1962, pp. 174-87; Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai, pp. 104-21.

  8. Webster, Elsie May, Whirlwinds in the plain: Ludwig Leichhardt — friends, foes and history, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press [MUP], 1980, p. 258.

  9. The Archives Authority of NSW [AONSW], Guide to the State Archives of NSW No.18, ‘relating to the occupation of crown lands’, 1977, p. 4. This cited the March 1839 Act entitled An Act to further restrain the unauthorised occupation of Crown Lands, and to provide the means of defraying the expense of a Border Police.

  10. Historical Records of Australia [HRA], Series I, Vol XX-R, p. 257, ‘Standing orders for the border police’, 22 May 1839.

  11. Mitchell Library, Sydney, MFL Roll No 58, frame 126, CO 207/3–6, ‘Convict records 1824–1868’, Richard Walker granted Ticket of Leave No. 1789 on 26 June 1844.

  12. Lang, The Aborigines of Australia, p. 23.

  13. ‘Tickets-of-Leave Regulations Amended’, Government Order Colonial Secretary’s Office, 1 January 1827. Order No 1. By His Excellency’s Command, Alexander McLeay, Sydney Gazette 2 January 1827. Reproduced by Jenny Fawcett in Genseek Genealogy ‘Convict Conditions/Tickets of Leave’, www.hotkey.net.au.

  14. Lang, The Aborigines of Australia, p. 67.

  15. AONSW, Reel 2996, frame 480, ‘Letter from W Elyard Jnr, Col Sec’s Office, to CCL Allman [Tamworth]’, 10 May 1844. This related to a replacement horse that a squatter James Mark had supplied for [Richard] Walker.

  16. Mitchell Library, MFL roll No 58, frame 126, ‘Convict records 1824–1868’, Frame 126. Richard’s ticket of leave was No 44/1789 of 26 June 1844.

  17. AONSW, ‘Return of the Department of CCL Liverpool Plains, Border Police’, 1 January 1845–31 December 1845, signed by Commissioner for Crown Lands [CCL] R Mitchell. Richard Walker was listed as a corporal appointed by CCL Francis Allman on 1 January 1845 and succeeded by another on 1 November 1845.

  18. AONSW, ‘Return of the Department of CCL Liverpool Plains, Border Police’, 1 January 1845–31 December 1845, Signed by CCL R. Mitchell.

  19. Lang, The Aborigines of Australia, p. 23.

  20. AONSW, Guide to the State Archives of NSW No.18, ‘Guide to records relating to the occupation of crown lands’, 1977, pp. 4, 6. This cited the 1939 Act Appointing Border Police, Government Gazette, 22 May 1839, pp. 605-9. This Act was continued by 5 Victoria, No.1 and expired on 30 June 1846 but was not replaced: i.e. the Border Police was disbanded.

  21. Allan MacPherson, Mount Abundance: or the experiences of a pioneer squatter in Australia thirty years ago, Roma, Tsuba, 1994, pp. 6–8. First published: London, Fleet St Printing, 1877.

  22. William Telfer Jnr, The Wallabadah manuscript, Sydney, NSWUP, 1980, pp. 48, 71.

  23. MacPherson, Mount Abundance, p. 26.

  24. Queensland State Archives [QSA] M2076, NMP BJ2, ‘Letter from Lt F Walker to Lt G Fulford’, 30 April 1853.

  25. Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai, pp. 104–21. This is cross-referenced with Lang’s book above and other primary sources.

  26. Lang, The Aborigines of Australia, p. 62.

  27. AONSW, ‘Return of the Department of CCL Liverpool Plains, Border Police’, 1 January 1845–31 December 1845, Signed by CCL R Mitchell.

  28. The Moreton Bay Courier, JOL, microfilm, 23 August 1851.

  29. Mitchell Library [ML] Sydney, A1384, CY736, Frame 200, ‘Correspondence with Mr H Hely, relative to his search for Dr Leichhardt, Letter No 11, Hovenden Hely to Colonial Secretary’, 15 March 1852.

  30. John Oxley Library [JOL], NSW Legislative Council V&P, 12 August 1852, Papers relative to Dr Leichhardt and party; P.11 Frame 309 ‘Enclosure No 14, Contract between H Hely and Richard Walker’, 19 April 1852; Frame 348, ‘Letter from H Hely to Colonial Secretary’, 22 July 1852.

  31. ML, CY Reel 211, Hovenden Hely’s Journal of his journey in search of Leichhardt, 1852, pp. 259–61.

  32. QSA, M2074, NMP4, ‘Letter from Fitzpatrick, Department of Land and Public Works Sydney to The Principal Under Secretary’, 7 April 1857.

  33. NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, ‘Death certificate Reg No 1857/004464, Richard Walker labourer’. This stated that Richard died aged 35, but from his transportation record above, he would have been 44 (approx).

  34. Mary A McManus, Reminiscences of the early settlement of the Maranoa District, Roma, Western Times 1969/87, p.5; For details of Patrick McEnroe’s life: Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai, Ch 6.

  35. ML, CY Reel 211, Hely’ Journal … search for Leichhardt, pp. 72, 81, re Walker’s hut on Ukabulla.

  36. Mary A McManus, Reminiscences, p. 5. McManus, who crossed Occabulla (sic) in early June 1858, said that Paddy ‘McInroe’ died of a drunken spree at Drayton, soon after her father bought Mount Abundance: i.e. in September 1857, p. 3.

  37. Leslie E Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, Brisbane UQP, 1975, pp. 295–6. Skinner cited: QSA, NMP B/J2, ‘Letter from Lieutenant Nicoll to the Government Resident Wickham’, 7 August 1857.

  38. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, p. 28. Skinner cited F Walker’s death certificate as the source of his approximate birth year.

  39. QSA, M2076 NMPJ1, ‘Letter from F Walker’s mother, from Dawlish, Devonshire, to Frederick Walker’, 16 February 1854. A note from Frederick’s sister Harriet was archived with it.

  40.  McManus, Reminiscences, p. 51.

  41.  AONSW, MFL 4/7321 Return of the Commissioner of Crown Lands Murrumbidgee, Henry Bingham, for period 1 January1845–31 December 1845.

  42. AONSW, Guide to the State Archives of NSW No.18, ‘Guide to records relating to the occupation of crown lands’, 1977, p. 6.

  43. JOL, MFL328.9441, Frame 1194, NSW LA, ‘1857 Report of the 1856 Select Committee on Native Police’, reply by RP Marshall former Native Police commandant, to question 144.

  44. RH Graham and RD Watson, Tumut and district sesqui centenary 1824–1974, Tumut, Tumut District Sesqui Committee, 1974, p. 23.

  45. JOL, Manuscript, Edmund Morey, The Morey papers, arranged by Vivian de Vaux Ross, Emu Park, 1952, pp. 30–1.

  46. AONSW, NSW Government Gazette, No 39, 30 April 1847, p. 39.

  47. E Irvin, Place of Crows, Wagga Wagga, Daily Advertiser, 1953, p. 13.

  48. AONSW, NSW Government Gazette, No 52, 15 June 1847, p. 650.

  49. JOL MFL328.9441, Frame 1194, NSW LA, ‘1857 Report of the 1856 Select Committee on Native Police’, reply by RP Marshall former Native Police commandant, to Question 144.

  50. JOL microfilm, NSW LC V&P, ‘Native Police Beyond the Settled Districts’ (i) ‘Governor Charles Fitz Roy’ Message No. 26,’ 8 June 1848. (ii) ‘Colonial Secretary Deas Thomson’s Additional Supplementary Estimate for the Year 1848,’ 8 June 1848. This was to fund ‘the formation of a small Corps of Native Police to be employed beyond the boundaries … 1000 [pounds]’.

  51. JOL, NSW Civil Establishment 1848 Blue Book, p. 320:  Walker’s appointment was from 1 July 1848 JOL, NSW GG, p. 1033. His appointment was published in the Gazette on 17 August 1848.

  52. QSA, A2.19, NMP, frames 364–66, ‘Letter from F Walker at Deniliquin to Col Sec’, 30 November 1848. He acknowledged being advised of murders on the Macintyre and included a list of his new troopers; QSA A2.19, NMP, frames 358–59, ‘Letter from F Walker at Deniliquin to Col Sec’, 15 February 1849. His departure delayed, he was about to leave the ‘first station on the Darling’.

  53. QSA, A2.19, NMP, frames 355–56, ‘Letter from Frederick Walker at Moana [near Fort Bourke] to Col Sec’. He stated his intention to leave there on 4 April; QSA, A2.19, Frames 350, ‘Letter from F Walker at Warialda’ 1 May 1849, reporting his arrival there and his delays prior to this, and his intention to leave for the Macintyre on 3 May; QSA A2.19, Frames 325, ‘Letter from F Walker on Macintyre to Col Sec’, 26 May 1849. He reported his arrival there on 10 May; JOL, NSW LA V&P, ‘Letter from Commandant F Walker to Colonial Secretary’, 31.12.1849, a report of Walker’s activities from 1848 until December 1849. He stated, para. 3, that he had walked for 17 days and 300 miles [Moana to Warialda]: i.e. he had departed from Moana on 14 April 1849.

  54. JOL, NSW LA V&P, ‘Letter from Commandant F Walker to Colonial Secretary’, 31 December 1849.

  55. ML, Dixon Library, File No. 17, NSW Colonial Secretary File 51/3266, ‘Report from the Commandant of Native Police [F Walker] to The Hon Colonial Secretary … from 1 January 1850 up to 10 March 1851’, 10 March 1851.

  56. JOL, Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, A.2.23, Frames 673–74, ‘Letter from Lt F Walker to Col Sec’, 1 August 1851.

  57. JOL, Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence, A.2.23, Frames 680–87, ‘Report from Lt F Walker to Col Sec’, 31 December 1851.

  58. JOL, MFL328.9441, Frame 1189, NSW LA, ‘1857 Report of the 1856 Select Committee on Native Police’, replies by RP Marshall to Questions 7–9.

  59. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, Appendix B, pp. 376–7.

  60. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, pp. 166–7, 359–60, 363–4.

  61. McManus, Reminiscences, pp. 3–7.

  62. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, pp. 363–4.

  63. McManus, Reminiscences, pp. 10–11.

  64. Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai, p. 113 & Endnote 54 p. 254.

  65. QSA, Agency Details, Crown Lands, Internet Search, ‘Unoccupied Crown Lands Occupation Act’ 1860.

  66.  Burke Shire Council, The Morning Glory Site, ‘Frederick Walker, Official Memorial’; ADB entry ‘Walker, Frederick’, by David Denholm, Vol 6, R–Z, MUP, CD–ROM.

  67. JOL A2.26, NMP, frame 265, ‘Letter from Robert Walker to Governor Charles Fitz Roy’, 11 April 1853.

  68. QSA, ‘NSW Returns of the Colony [Blue Books]’:  1853 p. 430; 1854 p. 502; 1855 p. 566; 1856, p. 424. Robert was appointed as a sub-lieutenant 28 May 1853; promoted to second lieutenant 1 April 1856.

  69. Roger Milliss, Waterloo Creek (paperback), Sydney, UNSW Press, 1994, p. 803, Note 56. Milliss cited, NSW V&P (1), 1844, Depasturing Regulations, ‘Returns of the largest and smallest occupiers of Crown Lands in each District’, 18 July 1844. 2. See Note 70 below.

  70. Bernard H Crew, The history of the Walker and Archer families in Australia 1813–1868, MA Thesis, Canberra, ANU, 1963. Frontispiece Archer-Walker Family Tree; Map of James Walker’s stations p. 23.

  71. Australian Dictionary of Biography [ADB] Online, Walker, Thomas (1804–1886) Biographical Entry.

  72. Eskbank House, ‘Thomas Brown’, www.lithgow.com/eskbank/thomas_brown.html.

  73. Thomas Archer, Recollections of a rambling life, Boolarong facsimile, Brisbane, 1897/1988, p. xxiii, map of Archer station sites, and Chapters II, III, & IV.

  74. Crew, The history of the Walker and Archer families, Chapter 3, ‘D Archer & Co’.

  75. Crew, The history of the Walker and Archer families, Chapter 2, Wallerawang.

  76. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier. See ‘Index’ listings for Robert Walker.

  77. QSA, Native Police Letter Book 6 May 1857–28 June 1858, MFL Z2437 (M2078), ‘Letter from Commandant Native Police to Lieut Nicoll’, 22 January 1858.

  78. QSA, Native Police Letter Book 6 May 1857–28 June 1858, ‘Letter from Commandant Native Police to Second Lieut Robert Walker’, 21 January 1858.

  79. QSA, Native Police Letter Book 6 May 1857–28 June 1858, ‘Letter from Commandant Morisset to Robert Walker’, 19 April 1858. Robert Walker was advised that another officer was to join him at Wondai Gumbal: i.e. Robert was there prior to 19 April.

  80. QSA, NSW and Qld Blue Books for 1858, p. 32, 1860 p. 27; 1861 p. 27, refer to Robert Walker being deployed in the Maranoa. The 1858 Blue Book, NSW, p. 32, recorded Robert’s promotion to lieutenant, 9 June 1858. The 1861 Blue Book, Qld, p. 27, recorded that Lieut Carr replaced him on 10 July 1861.

  81. JOL, A2.42, frame 674, Colonial Secretary Files, map ‘Part of the Maranoa District’. Attached to: A2.42, Frames 669–73, ‘Letter from Commandant Morisset to the Government Resident’, 14 December 1858,

  82. JOL, A2.41, frames 618–20, Colonial Secretary Files, ‘Letter from Commandant Morisset to Government Resident’, 30 March 1859’.

  83. JOL, A2.42, frames 698–99, Colonial Secretary Files, ‘Letter from Commandant Morisset to Government Resident’, 17 September 1859, and Frame 697, tabulation dated 15 September 1859, of Native Police personnel at: Bungil Creek [Euleutha Barracks], Lower Condamine [Wondai Gumbal], and Lower Balonne.

  84. Crew, The history of the Walker and Archer families; Lorna McDonald, Over Earth and Ocean, the Archers of Tolderodden and Gracemere, Brisbane, UQP, 1999.

  85. QSA, ‘NSW Blue Books’:  1853 p. 430; 1854 p. 502; 1855 p. 566; 1856, p. 424. Robert was appointed sub-lieutenant 28 May 1853; promoted to second lieutenant 1 April 1856.

  86. JOL, MFL328.9441, frame 1189, NSW LA, ‘1857 Report of the 1856 Select Committee on Native Police’, p. 8. The Committee’s fifth recommendation was the removal of the rank of sub lieutenant. Many of the witnesses were asked to comment on the rank.

  87. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, ‘Appendix D’, pp. 383–4.

  88. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, pp. 85–8; Gordon Reid, A nest of hornets, Melbourne, Oxford UP, 1982, p. 60; Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai, pp. 190–3.

  89. Skinner, Police of the pastoral frontier, Chapter 15; Gordon Reid, A nest of hornets, pp. 38–40; Collins, Goodbye Bussamarai, pp. 150, 152, 183–4.

  90. Telfer, Wallabadah manuscript, p. 43; Bill Thorpe, Colonial Queensland, Brisbane UQP, 1996, p. 59.

  91. MacPherson, Mount Abundance, pp. 25–9.

  92. Telfer, Wallabadah manuscript, pp. 12, 69–78. He was born in 1842. He drove sheep to the Maranoa in late 1859 and departed the district in late 1860.

  93. William Henry Traill, ‘Historical Sketch of Queensland’, in Australia the First Hundred Years a facsimile of The Picturesque Atlas of Australia, Vol 2 of 2, Andrew Garran editor, Sydney, Ure Smith, 1974, p. 336. Originally published in 1886; Traill’s section was also published as a separate book titled Historical Sketch of Queensland. A facsimile edition was produced by Lansdowne, Sydney, 1980. The section on Frederick Walker is on p. 59.   

  94. Ernst Favenc, The explorers of Australia and their life work, Kessinger Facsimile, 2004, p. 91. Originally published, Christchurch, Whitcomb and Tombs, 1908.

  95. William Robertson (‘Brin-ga’), Coo-ee talks, Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1928, p. 150.

  96. RB Taylor, The history of Roma and district, 1846–1885, Roma, Rotary Club, 1974, p. 22, para. 91.

  97. JOL, MFL, The Moreton Bay Courier, 23 August 1851.

  98. McManus, Reminiscences, p. 10, re; ‘Daddy’ Hunter; QSA, CLO N6, Maranoa run register, p.47, for details of runs jointly held by Gideon Lang and William Hunter 1851 and later.

  99. For errors and corrections in Goodbye Bussamarai: www.goodbyebussamarai.com. A probable error was taken from an 1854 primary text, Finney Eldershaw’s Australia as it really is; A verified error was from a well referenced secondary text, TJ Kiernan’s Transportation from Ireland to Sydney: 1791–1816. Professor Robert Reece, author of Aborigines and colonists, detected this. Skinner’s research was meticulous but not error-free. e.g. on p. 55 he referred to a 1851 patrol led by Sgt Dolan to the Maranoa, but Dolan and Fred Walker had taken his men to near Warialda and along the Barwon, as stated in Walker’s report, 31 December 1851: i.e. Skinner’s source. Reid’s research was also generally meticulous but in his endnote 38, p. 221, he inaccurately stated that George Lang did not have an uncle named Andrew. This was highly pertinent to the relevant content.

* Patrick Collins is a retired academic psychologist and freelance writer, who has published articles in the JRHSQ and the JRAHS. His publication, Goodbye Bussamarai, Brisbane, UQP, 2002, is central to this paper.