Police file – General – 8th November 1887


The Police File

Roebourne District
Roebourne Sub District
Roebourne Station

I have to report to the Commissioner of Police that on the 27th Oct 1887 I left Roebourne for Roderick McRae’s station Croyden. I arrived there on the 29th Oct and found “McRae” was away at an out station, he however returned on Monday morning to express great pleasure at my visit – he having frequently invited me out.

The first thing which attracted my attention on arrival was when I went into his bedroom for a wash – was a book of “Byron’s” poems lying on his bed and having Thomas Anketell written by “Anketell” himself on the fly leaf. I carefully looked about the place but saw nothing suspicious.

Knowing McRae was a great whisky drinker I was well for him, he conversing very freely on general subjects to frequently mentioning Mr Anketell’s name. He also showed me his album which contains 3 photos of “Anketell” and 3 of “Burrup’s”. He spoke in a very feeling manner about them and nothing in his manner of general conversation could lead any person to consider him a guilty man.

As I had been informed about him talking in his sleep I got him nicely primed with grog before going to bed on two consecutive nights – to [?] my rugs close to him by the verandah to listen to him during the nights – (we both slept outside). He talks during his sleep but only about horses which he has trained.

He pressed me very hard to stay a week or two and take a trip around the station. I had a reliable friend with me [?] Mr J. O. Brown and so that if anything took place I may have a reliable witness. Mr Brown also kept awake during the night to hear if he talks.

“McRae” bears a good name among the natives in his employ. He has 87 employees – he has 4 very old natives averaging 80 years each and he has never got any work from them for their maintenance, the government [?] allowing one of them a small allowance of flour but the A. P. Board have returned his last [?] a refund to pay any more. He talks of sending the 4 infirm natives to the poor house Roebourne. Says he considers it very hard he should be compelled to keep these natives and have never got any work from them, he having only had the station 2 1/2 years.

I noticed particularly among the natives on this station that there were a fine lot of children to young men. From the baby at the breast to boys around 20 years old. I saw no half-castes on the station and McRae informs me he prevented his white servants as much as possible from interfering with the women.

The natives appeared very happy and were certainly better fit than on many stations.

I shall visit him again at an early opportunity.

C. Payne