Blanket distribution lists diminish

Allowing for administrative anomalies, blanket lists record a diminishing number of Aborigines receiving blankets between the Hawkesbury River and Upper Hunter districts between 1827 and 1850. The 1827 list recommends 1412 Aboriginal people receive blankets throughout the Hunter/Newcastle region. By 1841, this is reduced to 232 despite the addition of new blanket distribution points as settlement expands into the Upper Hunter. This may reflect deaths from smallpox, as well as eratic or cancelled distribution in some districts from 1844. There is a slight increase in distribution during 1843 to 243, but nearly half of the people receiving blankets are living in the new northern district of Cassilis. By 1850, distribution within the Hunter region is almost non-existent. ("Memory", "Letter to the Editor: Reminiscences No. V," Maitland Mercury, 25 August 1877).