Mention of Frank Hawson’s death in book by Edward John Eyre

Explorer Edward John Eyre talks of Frank Hawson’s death in his book Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia, and Overland from Adelaide to King George’s Sound, in the years 1840-1.

This book is available from the University of Adelaide ebooks, a fantastic source.  The book is downloadable and copyable.

In Chapter 9 of the book he talks of a “Boy Speared by the Natives — Anomalous State of Our Relations with the Aborigines.”

“October 6. — In the course of the afternoon I learnt that a little boy about twelve years old, a son of Mr. Hawson’s, had been speared on the previous day by the natives, at a station about a mile and a half from my tent … ”

This gives an account of the spearing of Frank Hawson, but also examines the issue of the friction between Aborigines and White people and examines in a very open and understanding way the reasons why Aborigines may feel very aggrieved at the infiltration of their land by white people.  It shows that those in the 19th century were not as openly racist, aggressive and ethno-centric as is often assumed in the modern 20th/21st century.

Eyre had worked with Aborigines in his expeditions and was known for his understanding of their needs.




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