The Story of Pondo (“Leg-o-me”)

The Story of Pondo (“Leg-o-me”) c1817 – 1835? “Leg-o-me” (Pondo) was noted as being 18 years old when committed to gaol for trial for robberies at Wyong, Brisbane Water and Lake Macquarie. His designated “tribe” was “Wyong, Brisbane Water, Tuggerah Beach”. Court proceedings held on 12 February 1835 reported that Pondo stood indicted for highway robbery and putting in bodily fear Patrick Sheridan at Brisbane Water. Sheridan claimed a party of blacks including the prisoner asked him for some tobacco which he divided among them; after which the prisoner, in a menacing attitude, poised his spear towards the prosecutor and darted it forward but the point went into the ground. Sheridan advised he was exceedingly alarmed as he was told the blacks had been making enquiries for him and as they had already committed many outrages in that neighbourhood. Reportedly armed with implements of warfare, “Lego-me” advanced towards Sheridan, commanded him to deliver up what he had about him and thrust his hand into his pockets before pulling out a pipe and a knife, and permitting him to proceed. Sheriden swore to the prisoner’s identity as he had seen him once or twice a week for two or three years, and frequently allowed him to sleep in the prosecutor’s hut. Mr Therry, in his cross-examination of Sheridan asked him if he had been a “squatter” for some time on Legome’s ground and committed great depredations on his kangaroos. Lego’me is found guilty and received sentence of transportation for seven years. A correspondent for the Australian newspaper questioned Pondo’s harsh sentence: “This prosecution appears to us unnecessary – and the sentence severe – it is too ridiculous to think that a man should prosecute in a Court of Law, one of a body of natives who committed so excusable and unimportant a robbery”. (Blair, 2003, 75).