From Trove - National Library of Australia

The Advertiser Wednesday 23 November 1932
(Incident occurred in 1910)
A Gin And Her Chaperon

In the account I published of Horace Page's visit to The Granites 21 years ago, mention was made of an exciting encounter the party, led by Tom Creer, had with aborigines on the 800 miles return trip from Tanami to Oodnadatta. Horace Page walked the whole way.

In his story to me Horace Page says:—"We had travelled over hundreds of miles of country without ever seeing more than a couple of blacks at any one time. We had grown careless, and lulled into a false feeling of security, thinking the country too poor to support a mob. However, a day or two later, emerging from a very thick scrub, against a gale or wind, we came right on to a little native woman and her chaperon, a very small boy. A child usually chaperons these married ladies when they go out a walking—on the principle I suppose that little pigs have big ears. However, the ears were not big enough on this occasion. The two were so busy digging out yams that the first they knew of us was a camel leaning over their heads. There was a hope less gasp only from them, and with their legs and arms clasped tightly round the butt of a tree they looked like two native bears almost dead with fear. We camped for dinner, and persuaded them to join us, but the food was strange to them, and they did not eat much. Tom Creer got out a box of presents that the original party had brought along, and the lady was decorated with bracelets of gold, and immense stones of rubies and sapphires, Gold chains encircled her neck and several small mirrors were hung about her so that to judge her by jewellery alone she was a very wealthy person. At a snap of the thumb and second finger, the sign for water, she snapped back and pointed in the direction we were travelling, so we all went along together, our newly found friends, both, of course, in the altogether, tripping merrily alongside of me. They had perfect confidence in us."

Camp Of Wild Blacks
Horace page continues:—"Before we knew it our Trilby led us right into a big camp of women. The young women and children hid under the bushes like quail, the old women uttered piercing yells and shrieks. They jumped as high as a kite, and waved their yamsticks. Then came a ringing 'Yak Hi,' 'Yak Hi.' and a mob of men came rushing in on us. The old men only appeared to have spears. They came boldly on, the spears poised ready to throw. The young men had boomerangs and kylies ready to throw. Lord, how they yelled, and with the women screaming there was a devil of a row. My big Colt revolver was in the tucker box. It was too heavy to carry in the daytime, but I slept with it under my head at night. The other two had been amusing themselves shooting during the morning, and Tom Creer, I think, had both rifle and revolver empty, but Charlie Carter had a bullet left in each. Jack, the black boy had a double-barrelled gun loaded in case of a turkey showing up, and I was scared that he would shoot. Charlie threw me his revolver, for they, of course, were up on the camels, but they put them down, and we all stood quietly together, except Jack, who was calling: out "Look out, look out you fellers, they'll throw spears directly. A moment later they were on us."

Saved By A Dwarf
Horace Page goes on:— "A very tall, bony old man, a long way over 6 ft. high, led them. It gave one a queer feeling as to what was to happen. The old chap came straight for me, and throwing one arm round me, and grasping his spear short, he started haranguing the rest. The point of the spear at times came too close to the last button on my waistcoat to be pleasant. The other old men closed round, keeping the young fellows off. The latter evidently wanted to wipe us out. There we surged and were pushed about as though we were in a rough football match. Now and again I could see the other two having a rough time, but I was too busy watching my old savage's spear to pay much attention to them. This jostling went on for a considerable time, and we were feeling that we had had enough of it when the old women joined in, bringing our lady friend with them. They evidently were in our favor and pointed out her adornments. Trilby made a great speech, telling them all how she had been treated. Then came a queer little dwarf, whom I had not seen before, a little Lord Fauntleroy with long curls hanging down his back. He was an ambassador of some sort, and belonged away down south. Our Jack could talk his language, so gradually the excitement died down. What might easily have been a tragedy has past, and our enemies became our friends, and now in place of taking us out they were only too glad to help us in any way they could."

Harry Lewis