Harshness in a Maitland court

Harshness in a Maitland court. Violence by Aboriginal people towards Europeans. A warrant is issued for the arrest of Wickaty Wee and Morris, “black natives of Singleton”, for a “brutal assault “ on J. Panton while camping with Thomas Parnell at Howe’s Valley. It takes several days to capture them. While handcuffed together in Howe’s Valley, they bolt into the bush. The government offers a reward of 20 pounds for their apprehension. Wickaty Wee and Morris are decoyed away from their tribe by a party of farmers and police under the promise of “mitalligo” (alcohol), captured, handcuffed together and chained around their necks. Wickaty Wee’s tribe threaten the constables by promising to spear them should they come back again. While in the lockup in Singleton awaiting trial, the newspaper reports they are “intelligent” blacks and “speak good English”. That same day, Wickety Wee and Morris travel to Maitland gaol to stand trial. During the trial, it becomes clear that Wickety Wee and Morris were seeking to protect their women from efforts by Panton’s party comprising two foreign “blackfellow servants” to “take away their gins”. Wickity Wee is known as a “quiet man” and discharged. Two settlers in the district where Morris’ tribe lives vouch that Morris is a quiet, inoffensive, trustworthy man. For almost twenty years, he has always been “willing to work and oblige white people”. He is also known to have a wife. Morris is sentenced to three years hard labour on the roads. (Maitland Mercury, 19 January, 12 March, 16 March 1853, compliments of Ian Webb, Maitland Historical Society).