G. A. Robinson
A Journey through the Western District
In 1834 the Henty brothers arrived at Portland Bay in western Victoria after
crossing Bass Strait from Tasmania. The approach of the Henty's occupation
and utilisation of land was within the British tradition of exploiting
land to its maximum extent. For instance, in order for the British Crown
to accept the 'legality' of a squatter's claim to Indigenous land it had
to be 'occupied with sheep grazed in flocks from 500 to 1,000 head, each
flock in the care of a shepherd'.
Peel, 'The First Hundred Years of Agricultural Development in Western
Victoria', in O'Brien and Douglas (eds.) Natural History of Victoria,
policies and practices had an immediate and negative impact on the Aboriginal
communities of the western district.The British hunger for land lead to
widespread violence against Aboriginal communities, which in turn resulted
in reprisals and acts of resistance from Aboriginal people.
March 29-April 5
April 30-May 2
May 20-June 8
June 25-July 6
Monday, 29 March 1841
Thomson's shepherd's hut Mr Thomson shewed me a double barrell
gun having a brass plate inlade in the stock, and an inscript
"presented by the settlers of the Geelong district [blank] for
his bravery in beating off a tribe of natives." A pretty encouragement, thought I, for the men to shoot natives.
5 April, 1841
my way was met by Mr Thomson who was watching his sheep. He said
he had lost 28 sheep and had supposed the natives had stolen them….(Thursday,
8 April, 1841), tonight natives went to Thomson's sheep fold and
was detected by overseer Wells who fired at them and they made off.