Annual Conference with the Natives

Sydney Gazette 9th Jan page 3 Annual Conference with the Natives.: “The weather on the morning of Wednesday last, being rather unfavourable, the number of visitors to Parramatta, to witness the interesting scene which is annually presented at the conference held by His Excellency the Governor with the native Chiefs and tribes, was not so numerous as on former occasions. About 12 o'clock, the Governor, attended by the Hon. Alexander McLeay, the Venerable the Arch Deacon, Colonel Shadforth, Captain Dumaresque, the Rev. Samuel Marsden, the Rev. W. Cowper, the Rev. C. P. N. Wilton, the Rev. Thomas Hassall, Major Innes, Lieut. Darling, W.Lithgow, Esq. W. Lawson, Esq. Major Lockyer &C, proceeded to the Market-place, where 269 Aboriginal natives, including women and children, were assembled to partake of the usual treat of roast beef and pudding, &c, with which they were plentifully supplied, together with a reasonable quantum of grog. The ground was roped in for the occasion, and decorated with a profusion of shrubs. The chiefs of the tribes were noticed in the kindest manner by His Excellency, who placed a badge of distinction on the neck of one of them, and personally took care that their wants were supplied with everything which had been provided for the feast. At the conclusion of the repast, blankets, hats, handkerchiefs, jackets, trousers, and tobacco were plentifully distributed; and after The Governor and his immediate attendants had retired, Lieut. Darling prevailed on the blacks to indulge the spectators with a dance, or corrobora, which ended the day's amusements. Particular notice was taken of two Aboriginal native boys and a girl who were brought up in the house of the Rev. W. Walker at Parramatta, and accompanied him to the meeting. These children have made a very creditable progress in reading and writing, and are excellent house servants, a proof that the intellect of the natives is not so debased as to be incapable of cultivation if judicious measures be adopted.”

  • Reverend Samuel Marsden
  • Reverend Hassall
  • Earliest settlement, Parramatta
  • Government House, Parramatta
  • Parramatta courtesy of National Library of Australia