“Old Ned”: The Aboriginal Farmer at Lake Macquarie

“Old Ned”: The Aboriginal Farmer at Lake Macquarie. Newspapers in Newcastle and Maitland run stories on “Old Ned’s” struggles to hold onto the land he has long farmed at Lake Macquarie after a white man “free selects it”. We do not know if Ned approaches the press as part of his strategy to attain justice. Either way, Mr F. Naisby from the Morpeth region reads Ned’s appeals in the newspaper and forwards them to the local Member of Parliament asking for “Ned’s title in equity”. The Minister for Lands issues instructions that Old Ned is not to be disturbed in his occupation and the surveyor is to measure twenty to thirty acres for him to be notified as reserve to render him and his family secure from intrustion. One newspaper expresses the hope that Naisby’s actions will serve as an inducement to others to exert themselves under similar circumstances rather than “stay their hands”. (Maitland Mercury, 19 October 1871, compliments of Ian Webb, Maitland Historical Society).