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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 199 pages of information about A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson.

CHAPTER XII.

Transactions of the Colony in Part of December, 1790.

On the 9th of the month, a sergeant of marines, with three convicts, among whom was McEntire, the governor’s gamekeeper (the person of whom Baneelon had, on former occasions, shown so much dread and hatred) went out on a shooting party.  Having passed the north arm of Botany Bay, they proceeded to a hut formed of boughs, which had been lately erected on this peninsula, for the accommodation of sportsmen who wished to continue by night in the woods; for, as the kangaroos in the day-time, chiefly keep in the cover, it is customary on these parties to sleep until near sunset, and watch for the game during the night, and in the early part of the morning.  Accordingly, having lighted a fire, they lay down, without distrust or suspicion.

About one o’clock, the sergeant was awakened by a rustling noise in the bushes near him, and supposing it to proceed from a kangaroo, called to his comrades, who instantly jumped up.  On looking about more narrowly, they saw two natives with spears in their hands, creeping towards them, and three others a little farther behind.  As this naturally created alarm, McEntire said, “don’t be afraid, I know them,” and immediately laying down his gun, stepped forward, and spoke to them in their own language.  The Indians, finding they were discovered, kept slowly retreating, and McEntire accompanied them about a hundred yards, talking familiarly all the while.

One of them now jumped on a fallen tree and, without giving the least warning of his intention, launched his spear at McEntire and lodged it in his left side.  The person who committed this wanton act was described as a young man with a speck or blemish on his left eye That he had been lately among us was evident from his being newly shaved.

The wounded man immediately drew back and, joining his party, cried, “I am a dead man”.  While one broke off the end of the spear, the other two set out with their guns in pursuit of the natives; but their swiftness of foot soon convinced our people of the impossibility of reaching them.  It was now determined to attempt to carry McEntire home, as his death was apprehended to be near, and he expressed a longing desire not to be left to expire in the woods.  Being an uncommonly robust muscular man, notwithstanding a great effusion of blood, he was able, with the assistance of his comrades, to creep slowly along, and reached Sydney about two o’clock the next morning.  On the wound being examined by the surgeons, it was pronounced mortal.  The poor wretch now began to utter the most dreadful exclamations, and to accuse himself of the commission of crimes of the deepest dye, accompanied with such expressions of his despair of God’s mercy, as are too terrible to repeat.

In the course of the day, Colbee, and several more natives came in, and were taken to the bed where the wounded man lay.  Their behaviour indicated that they had already heard of the accident, as they repeated twice or thrice the name of the murderer Pimelwi, saying that he lived at Botany Bay.  To gain knowledge of their treatment of similar wounds, one of the surgeons made signs of extracting the spear, but this they violently opposed, and said, if it were done, death would instantly follow.

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