EARLY DAYS: The Aboriginal camp at Jimbour Station in the early days. It was always a place where they were welcome to stay.
EARLY DAYS: The Aboriginal camp at Jimbour Station in the early days. It was always a place where they were welcome to stay. Contributed

Blankets fend off harsh winter

The Aboriginal people continued to move about the country in the 1860s. Hunting was still part of their way of life and their skill amazed the early settlers. Many assembled at Dalby for the blankets which were given out on the Queen's birthday. In 1870, the Dalby Herald printed an article about a kangaroo hunt the tribes folk conducted while they were in the locality.

"A day or two before the departure of the blacks they laid in a store of fresh provisions for their journey - not by the modern mode common to both colours of bushmen killing cattle, but by their own old clever legitimate method of hunting the kangaroo which they did with all the skill and activity of their forefathers in the good old times, before Charley Coxen took up the country, which is now the town of Dalby, for his sheep run.

"The blacks mustered in great numbers in the myall scrub near the Five Mile Station on the St Ruth run, and drove a mob of about 200 kangaroos out on to the plain, and then commenced to hunt them fairly, keeping them rounded up and taking flying shots at them as they ran - both man and beast 'flyers' - with their paddy melon sticks, invariably sending the missile straight to the head at the back of the ear with unerring aim, and always bringing down their quarry. The agility and accuracy of aim of the blacks at animals going full speed, is something wonderful... They generally throw at distances from 20 to 30 yards, and a miss is never heard of.”

It was May and as winter was fast approaching, it was time for the blankets to be given to the Aboriginals as was a custom on the Queen's birthday.

Sarah Hall could still remember those times when she was a little child. As the nomadic hunters moved past their home she was fascinated by them.

She even moved down to the garden fence until her mother commanded her to come home.

The Dalby Herald records the time: "Queen's Birthday was as damp and cold and miserable as it well could be, and everybody seemed to be as dull as the weather.

"All attempts at entertainment signally failed.

"Even the blacks could not get up a sensation when they received their short allowance of poor blankets but took them and went on their way, anything but rejoicing.

"Some got drunk of course but had nearly left the neighbourhood next day.”


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