Walter George Arthur, 1820 – 1861

1820 – 1861

Born – Ben Lomond, c.1820-1822
Died in night-time boating accident, Derwent River, May 21 1861

Native name not known
Ben Lomond tribe

Father – Rolepa (aka King George), important Ben Lomond Chief
Mother – Luggenemenener
Brothers – Maulboyheener (Friendly Mission adventurer) and “Benny” (captured by John Batman), both died in Melbourne

Married – Mary ann Cochrane

The Black Wars
Separated from his family some time prior to 1832 (as a young child). No knowledge of his native name.

1832
January – working as a pickpocket in Launceston. Aged 10-12 years.
February - As “Friday”, meets George Augustus Robinson in Launceston.
March - Taken to Flinders Island: reunites with kin1
October – under recommendations of Backhouse and Walker, removed with other children to Kings Orphan School in New Town
November – At Hobart (New Town), “Friday” enrolled as 10 years old, small stature2.

1833-34
At Orphans School, with brothers Davey and Peter Bruney (neither of them orphans) and Thomas Brune. Acquired excellent literacy skills.

1835
May - Removed from Orphans School to Flinders Island3
1 October – arrives at Flinders Island
16 December – GAR's “hopes centre on…boys like Friday”4

1836
January – renamed Walter George Arthur in census (after Governor Arthur)
7 Feb – First Sunday school at FI, Walter appointed teacher5
6 August – GAR writes - Walter wins 3/1 from other boys by playing pitch and toss6
September – along with Thomas Brune, is editor of the Flinders Island Aboriginal Weekly Chronicle – one issue produced, along with Prospectus.7

1837
10 January – Robert Clark reports to Robinson that Walter went bush for two days, returned with money and an attitude - “seems to consider himself a man', refuses to attend boys classes8
15 July – living with adult Ben Lomond kin9
10 August – The day of many marriages – Walter “Married” to Flora – lasted two days, before Flora (and all the other women) absconded.10
20 September – The Chronicle is resumed. No editions attributable to Walter until -
2 October – writes his first (?) edition of Chronicle –

Now my Dear friends you know that there is but one God only The God who made the sun, and moon, and star and every thing that you can seen round about you would you like to pray if you would my friends that I know some of you which now can read and can spell words of four or five siylaible and I know that some of them can read out of the Bible if was was to try Because of the Bible which is God Book and that is best Book which we call the Bible and that of book of books and they all understand and they all know how to sing hymns and some of them can read also.
and now my friends I want to tell you one thing what a thing it is to die without haveing the love of God in our hearts you seen the other day a man die which I hope is gone to Glory Because my friend we all got to die you all got to die Some time or a another perhaps you mite die by and by I Cant tell when days shall come I cant tell it of myself when I have got to die O that our hearts my be fixed up God for God careth you.
O may we learn more and more of God and of his Son Jesus Christ.
And now And when I am in school I always see Mr Thomas Brune Laughing and playing away in the middle of school.
The Natives of Flinders Island have being some time of go have being makeing themselves their own Garden and sowing their own fruit and made their own fences and also other things which cannot exprefs now
And up them went to the Sisters to hunt and also for Skins and when where returning from the Sisters we meet two of the Native women and their Names were Flora and Louisa.
You said that God made you and me and the sea the Mountains and the tree and the salt waters the hearts of them shall say to my Soul where is now they God.
Thinks Walter.
Walter George Arthur11

6 October – Another Chronicle -

The people of Flinders Island have learn about God a little but [ignay] much and they are learning to read now as fast as they can but they all run a way into the bush and get sick and they stay they will never come home again no they all say there is to much work for them to do.
The Native woman says to much work to do dig carreing Grafs you all day thats to much carry a little Grafs.
I hope they learn of God and of his jesus christ every day and every night when you are agoing to bed and pray to him that he may blefs you in your hearts you say our father which art in heaven [had] you if like the God that made you knows if you look what God hast told you in the Bible God wont like you Nay God wont like you no more he will cast you from his presents and if and if he did God forbid May they they all love him and that when they die they go to him to be with him for ever
And now my dear friends what was it keept you out so long a time my friends cant you tell what it was keept you out so long why I thank they were looking out for the sick.
the people who are at the settlement they & the commandant use to Give them fing cabbages
You thank that you can find these things upon the top of the [?] Flinders and you thank was you can find the tea and sugar upon tea tree and they can they can find the Backer growing upon the Gum Tree as you have heard the Commandant tell you a long time of God who made sun and moon and stars and the all the living creatures that walketh wherein there is life which you would never do God is not like you or me God is a spirit and a spirit has no flesh and bone a spirit is an invisible beeing who is like unto him there is but one God the God who made you and me until that God would call you or me to an end in a moment of time.
that God who shall judge the in rightousnefs and in the proceeding of time God looked down from heaven to see if there were any one who was nay one that was seeking after God And there was none no not one they were all gone a [astray] and they all lost His love in their hearts
and now my Dear friends if there was a [Gellament] down from Hobart town and ask any people if you where is God in what manner would you answer them you would laught you would you
Now dear friend learn how to love God because when you die you may Go up to God to be with him for ever and sing Glory to God on high and the lamb that was slayn is for us and that to read in His book and understanding it because there is no other to Get to God but by learning out of His book because there is no other book better than His Bible.
Because the bible came from God and if it came God it must be a Good book and those who learn of that book and understand it is a far better thing than into the bush and hunt those things which is not of much Good.
Walter George Arthur Native Youth
Editor and writter12

16 October – next Chronicle

The Brig Tamar arrived
I cant tell get what Brig it is it arrived on the 16th of October but by and by we shall hear all about what things have occured in the Neaghbouring lands and now my Dear friends what was that keept you out so long now you what good what was you doing in the Bush such a time ago in the Bush and now you see what Good have you got by stoping out so long if you had come home sooner along with Alexander you would have plumpudding it was a long time since you first leaft the settlement Thomas Brune sang out and said haillow here comes four Copper Bushmen comeing in from the Bush it will be a long time before the Commandant will let you go again I am certain of that and I went out side of the Commandant Office and I looked towards Mount franklin and I behold the men aploughing in a field that in the Direction of Mount franklin upon 7th of October 1837.
you did not know nothing at all about these ploughing the Ground or any thing at all now you see there is none of the good people alive as these are all dead and gone which I hope is all gone to Glory and when many of you are dead perhaps you mite see them again which have gone before you if that when I die I should like to see my brothers and sisters which have gone before us to Glory And now I seen this afternoon Some of copper colour Native have arrived again to the Settlement and I saw to peoples agoing ashooting and Thomas Brune hast Got a way of Bringing Dogs to the Commandants Office and the clark is always making an mess And I saw Mr Thomas Brune come this morning to get a wheel Barrow and I asked him where was he agoing too boy but he would not take a thing all he was sulky I thank he was Becaus Mrs Clark sent him for the wheel Barrow that was on the settlement and I also saw Neptune scrubbing his Bed tick at the Lumber yard the other evening and the people was told to go to the sawpit for to get some boards and there was no and there was non cut and we Brought home Quartering and has we was come down the Hill we met the sawer on the road Mr Walter asked him how is it that there is no Boards cut He said they said if you all come this afternoon you can have them then and now you heard that you that the has being always tell you not to sleep on the Ground and not sleeping upon the bed Berth and where you have heat all round thats the way to the Grave. may people out of the colony subscribe.
W. Walter George Arthur
Aboriginal Youth& Editor and writer13

17 October – Walter and Thomas visit the womens' cottages and threaten to put them in the paper if they don't clean up.14
18 October – Thomas reports in the Chronicle how Walter holds the paint pot while GAR paints numbers on cottage doors.15
24 October – Walter writes in the Chronicle:

And now my Dear friends I want to tell you and I saw some women carrying woods upon Sunday so I went to ask Mr Clark if it is right to carry wood upon Sunday I dont thank it is right to carrying wood on Sunday no I dont think it is right to carry woods on Gods day no that I am sure it is not right for nay one to do such a things of his day you should not play or work on that day you should not do any thing on God day you not Growl you should not kill the little Robinredbreast or the swallows or the martins for they are God. Gods favourites Birds And also another thing you should not throw about the soap they have to much Mr Clark because when I am about the place I always see plenty of soap laying about I only want to put it down that you all may know that the soap is fine thing to wash yourselves with and yet they dont care for it no they would sooner put on that there clay stuff what they have beein always used and they like it Better then they would have soap to wash they faces And now you see all your houses are getting finished now and you will be all Comfortable and then you will all be playing at all sorts of Games and then you will be amusing yourselves every day and then they will not have to go for wood no more and Grafs to you will like that yes you will like that they will I know that well and on Sunday last week as I was taking a walk around the field two of us we stood and two was me and Washington and Washington said to me why is it that the wheat rise up it selve it dont up by it selve jump up it no but the Great God that would bring you and me to an end in a momen of time
And I seen the Native women and what they was doing I cant tell And I saw a man carrying a ring tail possum And I also saw the Native men at work in the Garden and I thank they at gathering the thistles that was Growing in the garden there was about 10 or 11 there was and I also saw some of the women awalking around the stock yeard and I also saw a running raise between two boys this morning I seen them run as fast as they whould and there names was Teddy and john franklin and franklin and teddy began to fight
And I also saw Charles Clark kill a redbreast.

Walter George Arthur
editor and Writer

28 October – Walter writes in the Chronicle:

And I saw some of the Native women this morning a walking down by the side of the lumber yard and I also saw some women carrying wattles in from the Bush the other day which was for the use of there houses and I heard someboddy say what for you throw away your Bread did not the tell you that you should not throw away your bread but not the Commandant tell you that you should not throw away your bread to the Dogs it is not right that you should not throw away the Good bread to the Dogs and then you Dont have Enought for you selves And now you see now as [produce] food for the use of your Dog And the whale boat arrived on the 27 of October and she Brough Mutton birds 5 hundred Birds And now look here and when I want to tell you all that the Commandant Give you [many] things you ought to thank the Commandant for it and not tak it without thank the Commandant for it.
And I some of the Native women awalking down by the side of the Hill and they [going] wood up upon the hill.
and I saw some the Natives men a climbing up the flag staff there was four or five And I saw Achilles coming down from off up the Hill and he had some wood upon his shoulder And I also saw some men at play in the Bush at Duck stone and after I saw a man five that was playing too and one of them got struck on his right knee and afterwards he fell down and little while after he got upon one leg and hopped on one leg until he Got his Cottage door and he fell down and a man that had Compassion on him and pecked him up and put him.
Walter George Arthur

6 November – Walter writes in the Chronicle:

The Flinders Iyland Settlement is a new settlement altogether and the people of Flinders Island the Native men they go out into the Bush without asking the Commandant first you ask the Commandant may I go out in the bush to hunt. The Commandant perhaps he will let you go the and now my friends you should not go away where at all without asking the Commandant first of all no you Should not do at all you never have seen the white people go away where without asking the Commandant first not there you seen Mr Clark asking the Commandant if he may go to the Grafs tree plains and the Commandant had no objections for him to go to the Grafs tree plains and they went and there was Mr Clark and Mr G A Robinson Doctor Walsh and some of the Natives the weather was very warm Indeed.
The Native people are always swimming and when they were aswimming the Native women said there is a Brig and they said look at the Brig Comeing round Chapel Island and that was like a Brig or else a rockey stone but the women told a lie.
and the Native men was playing and singing about God and Jesus Christ and they were asinging bout there own country song and some of the Native people was shooting swans and Duck and Pelilcans. And Native men was singing Godly song.
Walter George Arthur

13 November – Walter writes in Chronicle:

There was five or six of the Native men went a shooting ducks at the Lagoons when they came home one man Got so Sulky in the [end] which he had Got a Gun in his Cottage and he saw one of native houses Dogs and he went into his house and got the Gun and and Gun had a Ball in it and the Man put the Gun over the waterbut and then he let fire at the Dog and the man missed it and afterwards he got so Angry that he spilled the peoples tea
The Native men were all gone to school and when Native men Came home the Native women told it to the men he would not have done it when the Native men were at home this was done when the Native people was at school and this man stayed at home from school on purpose to do this and that was the reason he did not go to school I think so wha The people had prayers in their houses every night Last week and the week before and singing Hymns what a fine thing it is to singing the praises of God.
Mr Dickinson went to Green island to see about the people wool
The people are to fond of playing marbles too much and will not mind their Books and now you should leave off all your playing off them Marbles that you are all too Lazye to play Marbles you ought to put the marbles by for a little while and by to learn to read and learn about God and his Son

15 November – Walter writes in Chronicle:

And now you all see that all your houses are Getting finishes they will be done in a very short time or so yes they will be done and that very soon And when the houses are all finished I Hope you will have prayers always and when you can learn to read your Books and all mind what your teachers says to you.
And the Native Aboriginal female Pondanarip was Buried on the 14th of November 1837.
And the white men are putting sticks all round the Barly field to make a fence. And now you all see that little Teddy is Got the old man in him. And what is the reason of that because the Devil is in his heart.
The constable was taking a saw and Begain to saw down a large tree and his wife Both together And there was also an Examination of the Native people And the beginning was upon the nineth of November 1837 and the people was a museing them Bull in the ring in the present of the Commandant.
Walter George Arthur
Editor and Writer

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