Early disputes at Brisbane Waters

Early disputes at Brisbane Waters. The newly appointed Brisbane Water Magistrate Willoughby Bean documents one of the first reported disputes between Aborigines and the small European settlements shortly after his arrival with three constables in the Gosford-Wyong region (Bennett in Blair, 2000, 12). Bean relates that from late-1827 “many strange tribes had appeared in the district and destroyed the settlers’ crops”. The District Constable dealt with the disturbances by “arming fifteen men and pursuing the Aborigines”. The Constable’s actions echoed official missions carried out at Bathurst three years earlier aimed at dispersing Aborigines. Both punitive expeditions are in line with Earl Bathurst’s instructions of 1825: “…when making hostile Incursions for the purpose of plunder, - You will understand it to be your Duty when such Disturbances cannot be prevented or allayed by less vigorous measures, to oppose Force by Force, and so repel such aggression in the same manner as if they proceeded from any Accredited State”. (Earl Bathurst, State Records M1481, in Blair, 2003, 25).