Notwithstanding the town of Sydney was at this time filled with children, many of whom visited the natives that were ill of this disorder, not one of them caught it, though a North-American Indian, a sailor belonging to Captain Ball’s vessel, the Supply, sickened of it and died.
To this disorder they also gave a name, Gal-gal-la; and that it was the small-pox there was scarcely a doubt; for the person seized with it was affected exactly as Europeans are who have that disorder; and on many that had recovered from it we saw the traces, in some the ravages of it on the face.
As a proof of the numbers of those miserable people who were carried off by this disorder, Bennillong told us, that his friend Cole-be’s tribe being reduced by its effects to three persons, Cole-be, the boy Nan-bar-ray, and some one else, they found themselves compelled to unite with some other tribe, not only for their personal protection, but to prevent the extinction of their tribe. Whether this incorporation ever took place I cannot say; I only know that the natives themselves, when distinguishing between this man and another of the same name at Botany Bay, always styled him Cad-i Cole-be; Cad-i being the name of his district; and Cole-be, when he came into the field some time after, appeared to be attended by several very fine boys who kept close by his side, and were of his party.
Whenever they feel a pain, they fasten a tight ligature round the part, thereby stopping the circulation, and easing the part immediately affected. I have before mentioned the quickness with which they recovered from wounds; but I have even known them get the better in a short time of a fractured skull. That their skulls should be fractured will be no wonder, when it is recollected that the club seems to be applied alone to the head. The women who are struck with this weapon always fall to the ground; but this seldom happens to the men though the blows are generally more severe.
Their spears and shields, their clubs and lines, etc are their own property; they are manufactured by themselves, and are the whole of their personal estate. But, strange as it may appear, they have also their real estates. Bennillong, both before he went to England and since his return, often assured me, that the island Me-mel (called by us Goat Island) close by Sydney Cove was his own property; that it was his father’s, and that he should give it to By-gone, his particular friend and companion. To this little spot he appeared much attached; and we have often seen him and his wife Ba-rang-a-roo feasting and enjoying themselves on it. He told us of other people who possessed this kind of hereditary property, which they retained undisturbed.