BASIL KENDALL was in SYDNEY early in 1848 when he received the 2 year sentence to PARRAMATTA GAOL. AT THIS stage he would appear that he did not serve that time in Parramatta and appears to have gone North with his family to Dr Dobie at Gordonbrook. Here are some more background images of the area to which they removed from Sydney.

article3715576-3-001ABORIGINES 1848



The Maitland Mercury… Saturday 15 January 1848, page 2. News


The Phoenix had
an unusually long passage, owing to boisterous
weather, on her downward trip here. Since

my last letter we have had a good deal of rain,
sufficient to produce a fresh in the river, and
from which Mr. Crabbe, an innkeeper at the
Falls, about twenty miles above our proposed
township, unfortunately lost his life; a small
boat in which he was accidentally upsetting,
and before he could be rescued, the force of
the torrent bore him away. Mr. Crabbe was
very greatly respected, and has left a wife
and several small children to deplore their
loss. Trade, owing to the wool season, is ex-
cessively brisk. The country, from the late
visitation of rain, now looks beautiful. There
is wool enough already at Phillips’ and the
other stores to give two cargoes, in addition
to the one she now conveys, to the steamer,
and teams are daily coming down.


The Maitland Mercury… Wednesday 2 February 1848,

page 3.

29.-Phoenix, steamer, 108 tons, Captain
Wiseman, from the Clarence River the 26th

instant. Passengers-Mr. Hunter, Mr. Plo-
mer, Mr. Hayley, ten in the steerage, one
constable, and four prisoners.

The Phoenix was detained at the Clarence
seven days, owing to the fresh in the river,
consequent upon a continuation of heavy rains.

Her cargo comprises 160 bales wool.

A very
extraordinary occurrence, and in which
equally extraordinary presence of mind was
displayed, on a snake visit, happened a few
days since. A gentleman of the name of

Gannon, staying at Phillips’ stores, being
alarmed by a noise outside, about 2 P.M. on
the 24th ultimo, rose from his bed for the
purpose of going out and discovering the
cause. Whilst in the act of unfastening the
door, by removing a heavy wooden bar, a
large snake, of the carpet species, six feet
five inches, as described per measurement
after death, fell bodily on Mr. G.’s left
shoulder, and then slowly spread itself along
the arm. Assistance was called for, but which
was however some time in arriving, and during
the arrival of which Mr. G. managed to keep
as unnerved as possible, at all events suffi-
ciently so to contrive to open the door and
get outside, but during the time of this pro-
cedure, the snake had coiled itself round Mr.
G.’s body, the tail was around the wrist, the
body part in a double fold on the bend of the
arm, and the head over the left shoulder,
spreading across the back, and crossing over
the right shoulder, its neck and head up to
the chin and lips, across which Mr. G. states
be distinctly felt the reptile twice or thrice
pass its head. A stick could not be found,
but Mr. G., after getting hold of an axe, con-
trived sufficiently to remove the coils of the
upper portion of the reptile so as to attack it
when it was in such a position as prevented
its injuring him, and on which it wholly un-
coiled itself and made off; but so great was
Mr. G.’s trepidation incident on his escape,
that the snake got away some five or six
yards from him : he however then rallied,
overtook, and finally killed it. On examining
it, it was found to be a female, and on opening
it two young ones were found inside its body.
-Extract from Letter.-S. M. Herald,


The Maitland Mercury… Wednesday 2 February 1848, page 3.


(From the S. M. Herald, January 31.)

Committal for Poisoning Blacks.-The Phoenix, which arrived on Saturday morning, brings intelligence of one of the most extensive squatters in the district, Mr. Coutts, being committed for the poisoning of several of the aborigines.

The following particulars of the case are gained from a letter dated 18th instant. In the year 1840 Mr. Thomas Coutts located on this river, at Kangaroo Creek, about thirty miles inland, and at that time his cattle numbered between eight und nine hundred, his sheep upwards of five thousand ; but owing to the repeated depredations of the blacks, he can now only number half his quantity of sheep und cattle. There has, moreover, been two of his men murdered by the blacks, as was also a fine intelligent boy, who was most barbarously so, no later than twelve months since; protection was applied for in the proper quarter, but none was rendered. Owing to the above occurrence, which of course spread like lightning, it was with much difficulty Mr. Coutts could get men to hire with him, and then only at a very advanced rate of wages.

About a fortnight since a great sensation was created at the township, and indeed along the river, in consequence of a report having been circulated that Mr. Coutts had poisoned some of the aborigines, and that some of their sable brethren had gone to the Commissioner of Crown Lands to report the case. The excitement was heightened when, some few days afterwards, it was observed that the commissioner, two policemen, and the chief constable, accompanied by a servant of Mr. Coutts-then, by the way, in custody on a warrant-proceeded in the direction of Mr. Coutts’s station. Curiosity was on the qui vive for two days after, until it was learned from a black boy attached to the commissioner that his master was returning, and that the objects of the expedition were then discovered. The commissioner and party had proceeded to a black camp for information, and they there found, and took away from thence, a piece of damper, which the blacks there encamped said was the remainder of one that had caused the death of several, and seven bodies were pointed out which were said to have died from partaking of the damper, and four of these bodies were found to be dead at a waterhole.

The commissioner’s party then proceeded to Mr. Coutts’s, and took that gentleman in custody, on a warrant, issued on the affidavit of his servant, then in custody for horse stealing, and which averred that Mr. Coutts had twelve months previously shot an aboriginal, but the circumstances already detailed were, at this time, kept from Mr. Coutts’s knowledge, and in fact he did not know a single iota about them until he arrived at the court-house in the township. On the case, in due course, coming on for hearing, the commissioner stated that from information he had received, he went to the black camp, found the bodies and damper, and subsequently proceeded to Mr. Coutts’s station, and ordered him to be apprehended ; two of Mr. Coutts’s servants were examined, but only proved that they had heard from the blacks that Mr. C. had given them some flour which produced the effect alluded to, and another witness stated that he had seen Mr. C. give the blacks a bag, which he supposed to contain flour, and at which time Mr. C. had a paper in his band, which he also supposed contained poison. The bench, in committing, allowed bail Mr. Coutts in £1000, and two sureties in £500 each ; but no sureties sufficient to satisfy the magistrates being tendered, Mr. Coutts was forwarded to Sydney by the last steamer.

Feb. 2.



On Monday last, Mr. Thomas Coutts, who was committed
by the bench of magistrates at Grafton,
Clarence River, on an alleged charge of poi-
soning certain aborignal natives at KangarooHelp
Creek, in the above district, was brought
before Mr. Justice Manning in chambers, by

a writ of habeas corpus, and upon the motion
of Mr. Nichols was admitted to bail, to
appear at the March sittings of the criminal
court at Sydney, to take his trial on such
information as the Attorney General may
prefer against him. The defendant was
bound in the sum of £500, and his sureties,
Messrs. John Campbell, merchant, and Mr.

F. Garnison, grocer, in the sum of £250 each.
The bail having entered into the requisite
recognizances, Mr. Coutts was discharged.
Herald, Feb. 2.























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