An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 866 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.

The time for this business was just after ten in the forenoon.  We found Car-ru-ey and Cole-be seated at one end of the Yoo-lahng, each armed with a spear and throwing-stick, and provided with a shield.  Here they were obliged to sit until some one of their opponents got up; they also then arose and put themselves en garde.  Some of the spears which were thrown at them they picked up and threw back; and others they returned with extraordinary violence.

The affair was over before two o’clock; and, what was remarkable, we did not hear of any person being wounded.  We understood, however, that this circumstance was to produce another meeting.

In this as in all the contests I ever witnessed among them, the point of honour was rigidly observed.  But spears were not the only instruments of warfare on these occasions.  They had also to combat with words, in which the women sometimes bore a part.  During this latter engagement I have seen them, when any very offensive word met their ears, suddenly place themselves in the attitude of throwing the spear, and at times let it drop on the ground without discharging; and others threw it with all their strength; but always scrupulously observing the situation of the person opposed, and never throwing at him until he covered himself with his shield.  The most unaccountable trait in this business was, the party thrown at providing his enemy with weapons; for they have been repeatedly seen, when a spear has flown harmless beyond them, to pick it up and fling it carelessly back to their adversary.  This might proceed from contempt, or from there being a scarcity of spears; and I have thought that when, instead of flinging it carelessly back, they have thrown it with much violence, it was because it had been thrown at them with a greater visible degree of malevolence than the others.

This rigid attention to the point of honour, when fairly opposed to each other, is difficult to reconcile with their treacherous and midnight murders.

Their mode of retaliating an insult or injury was extraordinary.  Children, if when at play they received a blow or a push, resented it by a blow or a push of equal force to that which they felt.  This retaliating spirit appeared also among the men, of a remarkable instance of which several of us were witnesses.  A native of the name of Bur-ro-wan-nie had some time before been beaten by two natives of the tribe of Gwe-a, at the head of Botany Bay.  One of these being fixed on, he was in return to be beaten by Bur-ro-wan-nie.  For this purpose a large party attended over-night at the head of the stream near the settlement to dance; at which exercise they continued from nine till past twelve o’clock.  The man who was to be beaten danced with the rest until they ceased, and then laid himself down among them to sleep.  Early in the morning, while he was yet on the ground, and apparently asleep at the foot of a tree, Cole-be and Bur-ro-wan-me, armed each

Project Gutenberg
An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook