William Bird (“Little Breeches)

William Bird (“Little Breeches) is educated and baptised by Rev Threlkeld at his mission on Lake Macquarie. In 1840, “Little Breeches” assists to track and capture a gang of bushrangers (possibly the Jewboy gang). Threlkeld recommends him for a “plate with a suitable inscription”. (29 December 1840, Threlkelds letter to Colonial Secretary). After the mission is closed, William Bird works for the Eckford family in East Maitland who support his application to purchase some land. He later works on sheep and cattle stations in the Goondiwindi region in Queensland, marries an English woman with whom he shares children. During 1861, William Bird creates a stir by lodging his fourth application to purchase land. He owns 200 head of cattle. Squatter, Jacob Lowe, complains before the Native Police inquiry. A supporter endorses his application in the press, stating he is well educated, has business talent and honest. Entitled “William Bird, the Aboriginal “Squatter”, the news feature poses the question: should such a man be refused to purchase land because he is an “Aboriginal native”? (Brisbane Courier, 12 November 1861, p3).