From the settlement on the banks of that river the best reports continued to be received from time to time: every where the settlers found a rich black mould of several feet depth, and one man had in three months planted and dug a crop of potatoes. The natives, however, had given them such interruption, as induced a necessity for firing upon them, by which, it was said, one man was killed.
At Toongabbie, where the Indian corn was growing, their visits and their depredations were so frequent and extensive, that the watchmen stationed for the protection of the corn-grounds were obliged to fire on them, and one party, considerable in number, after having been driven off, returning directly to the plunder, was pursued by the watchmen for several miles, when a contest ensued, in which the natives were worsted, and three were left dead on the spot. The watchmen had so often come in with accounts of this nature, that, apprehensive lest the present transaction should not be credited, they brought in with them, as a testimonial not to be doubted, the head of one of those whom they had slain. With this witness to support them, they told many wonderful circumstances of the pursuit and subsequent fight, which they stated to have taken place at least fourteen miles from the settlement, and to have been very desperately and obstinately sustained on the part of the natives. It was remarked, however, that not one of the watchmen had received the slightest injury, a circumstance that threw a shade over their story, which, but for the production of the head, would have been altogether disbelieved.
Whatever might have been the truth, it is certain that a party of natives appeared the following day about the corn grounds, but conducted themselves with a great deal of caution, stationing one of their party upon the stump of a tree which commanded an extensive view of the cultivated grounds, and retreating the instant they perceived themselves to be observed.
From the quantities of husks and leaves of corn which were found scattered about the dwelling places of these people, their depredations this season must have been very extensive.
At Sydney a large party of natives assembled for the purpose of burning the body of Carradah, the native mentioned in the transactions of the month of December last, by the name of Midjer Bool. He had been put to death while asleep in the night by some people who were inimical to his tribe; and the natives who witnessed the performance of the last rite assured us, that when the murderers should be discovered several severe contests would ensue. It was at this time that the rencounter between Collins and Wyatt took place; and some other points of honour which remained unsettled were then determined, not without much violence and bloodshed, though no one was killed.
Cropping the ground with wheat formed the general and most material labour of this month. On the public account nearly four hundred acres were so sown with that essential grain. At this time wheat bore the price of twenty shillings a bushel.