Savage Won By Tact by R. C Law. p19
At page 84 of A Century or Journalism, The Herald with justifiable pride recalls the following passage from an editorial of 1841. 'We ... hold that the blacks have an indefeasible right to follow their own customs and to be governed by their own laws, so long as these do no infringe on the great principles of international law applicable to all people and all nations ...'
The two succeeding pages of the excellent book are taken up with a reprint of a letter from the Clarence River, signed C.O. which appeared in the issue of July 8, 1842. The editor says that it is a long letter, but it displays so uncommon a humanity that no apology is needed for its insertion almost in full. There are strong grounds for believing this letter was written by Edward Ogilvie, afterwards the Hon, E. D. S. Ogilvie, MLC, best known to the present generation as the builder of Yulgilbar Castle.
The text shows that the writer was one of two brothers who had a station in the valley of the Clarence River. Near it here were mountains, from which we may conclude that it was on the Upper Clarence. They had captured a black boy named Pundoon and have learned the language of the local blacks from him. In a courageous and open way they visited the mountain camp of a tribe whose chief was named Toolbillibam, and using his own language, induced him to lay aside his weapons. They let him know that Pundoon was alive and assured him of their friendly intentions.
Referring to the previous hostilities he told the chief and other men of the tribe that they had made war on them, because they had killed white people, but now their anger was gone, and they wished to live in peace, and he agreed that the blacks were to enjoy all their hunting rights without interference, but they must leave the sheep alone. He invited them to come to the station so long as they came openly and unarmed.
The brothers, John and Thomas Mylne, took up Eatonswill Station on the Clarence in 1839, and occupied it in 1840, but they had lately come from Scotland and had no knowledge of the blacks' language, and there were no mountains on or near their run. The only other pair of squatter brothers on the Clarence in 1842 ere Edward and Frederick Ogilvie, of whom Edward was the elder and the leader. The took up Yulgilbar Station on the Clarence River in about May, 1849, and occupied it within a few months. They could speak the language of the Hunter River blacks, and at their home at Merton on that river they have been taught by their parents, and especially by their mother, to respect the blacks and treat them with consideration.
A Vengeful Massacre
About the year 1841, John Harley Pagan, brother-in-law of William Tucker Evans, and partner with him in the adjoining station of Tabulam, was murdered by the tribe of that place. A posse of whites, including two policemen, was got together, drove the tribe down on to Yulgilbar Station and massacred them not far form the homestead. The details are given in a lecture of the late Thomas Bawden (Ex-MLA for the Clarence and Richmond), delivered at Grafton on June, 11 1886.
The late Mrs Wellington Chochrane Bundock, of Wyangerie Station Richmond River, was a sister to the Olgilvie Brothers. She left a memoir dictated by her in 1895 in which she stated that her brother, Edward, captured a black boy on the Clarence River and took him to Merton, learned the language of the Clarence River blacks from him and afterwards returned him to his father. He rode alone to the Upper Richmond and discovered Wyangerie. He made friends with the natives there by sharing with them a duck which he shot, and by speaking their tongue. They were amazed and said 'He speaks, he speaks!' He was not afraid to sleep near their camp and overhearing one of the saying to another, 'Take his tomahawk' he quietly put his hand upon it, showing that he understood what they said, and was not afraid.
The late Charles Grant Tindal, the founder and afterwards sole proprietor of Ramornie Meat Works , on the Clarence, arrived in Australia on December 17, 1843. His father and the Olgilvie's father were both retired naval captains and old friends. Mr C. G. Tindal had the first five years of his colonial experience with Edward Olgilvie at Yulgilbar. Copies of his letters to his family in England from 1843 to 1859 have been presented to the Clarence River Historical Society by his son, Mr C. F. Tindal of Armidale.
Writing to his sister on March 27, 1844 C. G. Tindal describes his arrival at Merton, and says 'Captain Ogilvie is very partial to the natives, and the tribe call themselves his blacks. On eday I was introduced to them by Mrs Olgilvie, as another son of hers form England and therefore brother to all the blackfellows. There are finer and more intelligent than I expected to find them'
From Yulgilbar on January 10, 1845 he wrote 'If you want to hear anything about the natives in this part, read the letter from Edward Olgilvie in the Colonial Magazine, February 1843, signed E.O. Ths afternoon we had some wrestling matches with the blacks. I began with Tallbillibam, the man mentioned in E.O.'s letter, who is the biggest man about here. The first round was undecided. In the second he managed to throw me. After this Edward Olgilvie threw his brother Charlie twice out of three.'
In a letter of March 15, 1845, from Yulgibar, he stated that some blacks had been stealing flour. One of the them had been captured, but had escaped. 'The blacks agreed that it was right that they should be punished for stealing, but the chief said he had beaten the man already and that was enough' This was a time when in some parts of the district the aborigines were treated as animals, shot down and in one instance over twenty of them poisoned.
In several specimens of the early signature of Edward Olgilvie the initial E is made with a large upper loop. The lower loop is incomplete. Possibly the compositor in this instance mistook it for a flourish