Monday, 15 May 2017

PAY BACK




I recently found this rather gruesome story about a relative I didn’t know anything about. The relative in question was a George Williamson Clark who was a half-brother of my great grandfather, John Henry Clark. My great grandfather’s family were largely unknown to me until now.
The following story about George Clark is fairly indicative of the brutality that occurred on the outback frontier in the nineteenth century. It was a time of European expansion into Aboriginal land with total disregard for Aboriginal traditions and lives.  Of course, Aborigines fought back but the odds were stacked against them. Over the years, massacres of Aborigines occurred frequently, right up until the 1930’s.
In 1892, George was working at a remote outstation at Cresswell Downs in the Northern Territory, a place that is still an isolated part of Australia.  
A visitor by the name of Charles Fox was in the kitchen of the outstation with a Charles Deloitte and two other men. He noticed that George Clark wasn’t there and decided to look for him at the branding yard nearby. The first thing he noticed when he got to the yards was an arm sticking out from under a blanket.  When he peeled back the blanket, George was dead with a smashed in skull as a result of a tomahawk blow.
Fox was then attacked by five Aboriginal men throwing spears. He was able to get away and raise help. When they returned, Deloitte lay dead in the outstation kitchen.  What would follow was the police leading two ‘punitive expeditions’ against the local Aborigines that year. There are no figures on how many Aborigines were massacred.
Years later, local Aborigines told researchers that the reason why Deloitte and Clark were killed was because they were raping the Aboriginal woman. According to Aboriginal law, they had broken a strict taboo and had to be killed. It had been pay back.