Article 1: Bussamarai was also known as Possum Murray, Eaglehawk, Combo, Old Billy, and perhaps other names.
Article 2: Aboriginal Clans in the Maranoa and Nearby
Article 4: Myall Creek & Len Payne
Article 3: Corrections to the Text of Goodbye Bussamarai.
Paddy McEnroe Was Transported on the Friendship.
Data from Bob Reece, Murdoch University, August 2003.
In Chapter 6 of Goodbye Bussamarai, I reported that I was unable to verify details of Paddy McEnroe's transportation to Australia. Fortunately, Prof Bob Reece, author of Aborigines and Colonists, provided me with the missing data.
Professor Reece, whose reviews of Goodbye Bussamarai are elsewhere on this site, verified that McEnroe was transported to New South Wales on board the Friendship. He was one of 172 so-called Irish convicts who arrived on that ship. Like the vast majority of those on board, McEnroe was given a life sentence for being a member of the United Irishmen. From sources quoted in Goodbye Bussamarai, the Friendship reached Sydney on 11.01.1800. Without pushing the Irish barrow too hard and fast, McEnroe was a political prisoner whose first years in Australia were determined by others. For those interested in learning the names of those who were transported with Paddy, Bob Reece's reference for the above is: MS 144 National Library of Australia.
Finney Eldershaw’s Suspect Memoirs.
By Patrick Collins, 4.04.2003.
In Chapter 1 (pp. 3-7) I summarised an account of an 1842 run-seeking exploration of the Maranoa and Balonne-Condamine Rivers by Finney Eldershaw and two of his neighbours from New England. The details were taken from Eldershaw’s little known book, Australia As It Really Is, in which he referred to himself as, “A resident and eye-witness to the facts recorded”. Unfortunately, during March 2003, while researching Eldershaw’s life, I learned that he was prone to stretching the truth. For instance, he recorded (pp. 62-75) a detailed account of an 1841 conflict that he, his staff and neighbours, had with Aborigines east of Glen Innes and Guyra. In reality, Eldershaw was then still in England. He did not arrive in NSW until March 1842. At some future date I will provide a fully referenced coverage of Eldershaw’s antics. However, it is essential that I clarify the part Eldershaw played in the early exploration of the Maranoa District by white settlers, but first some credits to key persons who provided me with data about Eldershaw’s place in Queensland history.
Members of the Clarence River Historical Society at Grafton, eg Frank Mack and Malcolm Ford, gave me access to the Memoirs of Edward and Leonard Irby, in which Malcolm noticed that Eldershaw arrived in Australia with the Irby’s in March 1842.
Elsewhere in the text there is a reference to Eldershaw and others making a trip to the “Boyne” (actually the Upper Dawson) in 1845.
Janet Denne, author of John Windeyer: The First Settler of the Upper Dawson Valley Queensland (1999), arrived at the same conclusion but added that the others were John Windeyer and Matthew Marsh, both squatters from New England. Janet was a wealth of information on this and related issues. The point is that, apart from Eldershaw’s book, no other known record confirms that Eldershaw was ever in Queensland in 1842. Also, as no other details of the 1845 trip apparently exist, it is not certain if the above run-seekers continued beyond the Upper Dawson to the Maranoa and Balonne/Condamine Rivers, as claimed by Eldershaw.
The most accurate statement that can be made about Eldershaw and the Maranoa District is, it is possible that he was a member of a small party that searched for runs on the Queensland frontier in 1845, and that on their way home to New England they possibly searched for runs on the Maranoa and the Balonne/Condamine rivers. This in turn casts doubt on my suggestion that Sir Thomas Mitchell did not acknowledge receiving information from Eldershaw or the Windeyers before he (Mitchell) crossed the Maranoa District in 1846. None of this affected the accuracy of any other section of Goodbye Bussamarai (except for “1842” in the sub-title). However, I would be irresponsible, if I did not make known the above doubts for I am not the only person to record Eldershaw’s claim of being in the Maranoa in 1842. Others to have done so include Gordon Reid in A Nest of Hornets (1982) and John Eldershaw in his Finney and Mary (1994). The latter is an extremely well referenced account of Finney’s life, including his marriage to Mary Windeyer. John provided me with a copy of his text and has been a wonderful source of data on Finney who was John’s great-grandfather.
Finney Eldershaw’s Suspect Memoirs.
By Patrick Collins, 4.04.2003. (cont.)
I do not feel embarrassed about the above. How can an author be certain that everything recorded in memoirs is accurate? For instance, elsewhere in Goodbye Bussamarai I drew on memoirs and anecdotes recorded by Allan MacPherson, Thomas Archer, Mary McManus, Gideon Lang, Henry Coxen, Nehemiah Bartley and others. Did any of these tell “furphies”? Were some of our major explorers and frontier government officials any less prone to exaggeration? It is simply a case of let the writer and reader beware. If there were other such “fabrications of history”, responsibility lies with the persons who recorded coloured versions of their lives. The best an author can do is to draw attention to the facts as they emerge.
My content on p.132 and also in Note 89 p.260, re R. B. Taylor, need clarification.
R. B. Taylor was a very competent researcher in his era. But it was an era that did not always value the truth and at times, which I believe is illustrated below, writers contributed to the so-called “conspiracy of silence” re frontier contact history. Nevertheless, the little that I wrote about Taylor on the above pages needs some correction.
In 1851, the Moreton Bay Courier published two articles that included references to “an old dragoon …” who had accompanied Gideon Lang during his Maranoa district explorations. The first of these, published on 25.01.1851 and reprinted in the Maitland Mercury on 05.02.1851, identified this former dragoon as “Walker”. In the second article published on 23.08.1851, this “old dragoon” was referred to as Charles Hunter. However, I knew from Gideon Lang’s book The Aborigines of Australia (1865, p.25) and other sources, including the Courier of 25.01.1851, (which is cited on pp. 115-16 of Goodbye Bussamarai), that it was “Walker”, i.e. Richard Walker, who had accompanied Gideon Lang.
R. B. Taylor, author of The History of Roma and District (1959/1975) cited both of the above Courier articles in this book (pp.17-18, paragraph 62, and p.22 paragraph 92), in which he also quoted selected sections. However, Taylor did not mention “Walker” anywhere in this text, but he quoted as fact the Courier dated 23.08.1851, in which Charles Hunter was incorrectly named as Lang’s fellow traveller. So why did Taylor ignore the reference to Walker in the original article published on 25.01.1851 and referred to in the August 23 article? As the section in which Walker was named was unreadable in my copy of the January 25 article, I assumed that Taylor had deciphered it as “Hunter”, i.e. the name that the Courier published on 25.08.1851. As this was obviously incorrect, and not thinking that the Courier would have made such a mistake, I published an accurate version of Taylor’s para. 92 quotation. This is on p.132 of Goodbye Bussamarai (2002).
In hindsight, I should have realised that the Courier had deliberately referred to Richard Walker as Charles Hunter. As I had, at that time c.1998, only read Taylor’s extract from the Courier of 25.08.1851, the “pennies” dropped several years later, when I read the whole article. This was after downloading it via a Trove search. To my great surprise, much of the article was about a conflict between Richard Walker (assisted by other colonists) and many First Nations people, who had attacked an outstation on Paddy McEnroe’s Ukabulla station. As eight Aboriginal people had died during this violence, it is possible that Courier personnel invented the name Charles Hunter to provide anonymity for Richard Walker, who was well known to them. That is of course just speculation. The most significant issue to me is, because Taylor published the Courier’s fabrication, it has now been read by countless people as fact. Not a problem? It is to me. Another issue is: Taylor’s 1959 book was republished in 1964 and 1975. Perhaps no one else has ever identified this long-standing error. Maybe. On the other hand, Taylor must have read about the above massacre in the Courier article that he cited, but he didn’t mention that either. Is there any wonder that some people believe that a code of silence once existed in Queensland. Perhaps it still does.
In relation to Taylor’s quotation on his p.22, he did transcribe this accurately. His mistake was to disregard readily available information about Richard Walker and the massacre in which he was the leader-killer.