Boatman and Biraban

Boatman and Biraban. Boatman is most helpful in guiding parties out to Rev Threlkeld’s Ebenezer Mission on Lake Macquarie. In 1836, Boatman and Biraban guide the missionary James Backhouse on his visit to Threlkeld’s mission. Backhouse wrote:“McGill was dressed in a red striped shirt, not very clean, a pair of ragged trowers, and an old hat. Suspended from his neck by a brass chain, he had a half-moon shaped, brass breast plate, with his native and English name, and a declaration of his kingly dignity engraved on it; his nose and part of his cheeks were be-smeared with ruddle, but he had few cuttings upon his chest: he carried one of our bundles and took a young dog upon his shoulders, on this journey of 26 miles through the bush. In passing his tent he stripped off his shirt which he left behind…”. (James Backhouse, A Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies, 1843, quoted in Hartley, p89).