Cabbage Tree Island - A P Elkin c1941


Personal Archives of A P Elkin University of Sydney Archives Box 11, Item 1/3/25 General Notes on Aborigines - Cabbage Tree Island c. 1941 Notes at start of article 1. Almost all the adults are either very light or only slightly dark in skin colour. Generally speaking, the women are lighter in colour thanthe men. The darkest on the island are old Cook and his unmarried sons and old Jack Kapeen. In addition, the two Kelly men and Robert Moran are dark halfcastes, but incidentally, these three are good workers and acceptable to the outside world. 2. Apart from two dark children, almost all of the children are very near white, though a few have noticable Aboriginal features. Occasionally in one family, eg Robert Bolt's, there are some completely fair and light haired children together with a couple with some Aboriginal features and black hair. 3. There is almost a complete absence of Aboriginal intonation in speech on the island. I have not heard the like elsewhere. Generally speaking, their English is good. Families 1. Ben Roberts, 31 years Eva Bechne, 30 years Richard Roberts, 21 years Roy Cameron, 21 years All good types, work regularly outside and on station if unemployed. Ben Roberts has 3 1/2 acres land, idle 6 years. 2. Jack Cook, 72 years Susan Cook, 66 years Both good types. Six sons 22 - 46 years quarter-caste. Ernest, 34 years, cut 4.7 acres last year, land idle since. Douglas, 26 years, has 6.8 acres cane to cut this year. These men work when inclined or in need of cash. All inveterate gamblers. William Monkland, 54 years, full blood Fair worker, drinks a lot. 3. Frank Marlowe, 36 years, handyman Roslyn Marlowe, 39 years Five children 9 months to 15 years. Fred, 15 years, works satisfactorily on outside employment. 4. Robert Bolt, 36 years Florence Bolt, 34 years Good type, 8 children. Jane, 16 years, has been in employment. Robert, 15 years, in employment until this month. Well disciplined children. Robert Bolt has 5.7 acres land, idle for 6 years. 5. Lizzie Bolt, aged, widow Five children 18 1/2 - 28 years, 3 good types, 2 lazy. 6. Robert Anderson, 25 years Winnie Anderson, 24 years One child aged 18 months. Very lazy. Minnie Cook, 31 years Three children 16 months - 7 1/2 years illegitimate by 3 different men. 7. Maurice James, 45 years Emily James, 39 years Very poor types, mentally deficient. Eight children 18 months - 17 years. Jim Carter, 53 years, fair worker outside. Edward Walker, 19 years Mary Walker, 20 years One child 1 year old. Walker fair worker outside. 8. George Kapeen, 40 years, served in 2 wars Alice Kapeen, 40 years Three children 12 - 19 years. George Kapeen has 3 1/2 acres land and never worked it. 9. Victor Moran, 26 years Madge Moran, 20 years Good types in permanent employment. One child 7 months. This couple now parted. 10. Ted Moran, 23 years Edna Moran, 23 years Good types. Had regular work until 6 weeks ago. 11. Robert Moran, 46 years Elizabeth Moran, 45 years Good types. Three children 2 - 12 years. Moran has 3.6 acres cane to cut this year, 2 1/2 acres next year. Duncan Moran, 34 years 12. James Kelly, 36 years Kathleen Kelly, 27 years Good types and good workers. One child 5 years. Donald Daley, 21 years Good worker and steady. 13. Oswald Rhodes, 30 years Ethel Rhodes, 31 years Very good type. Steady and constant worker and always works here when no work outside. Two acres cane to cut this year. Two acres potatoes, corn and vegetables. Arthur Ferguson, 19 years Steady and good worker. With cane gang now. Wife would be a handicap if off station. 14. Colin Caldwell, 24 years Emily Caldwell, 19 years Average type and fair worker. One child 8 months. 15. Ronald Cook, 27 years Ethel Cook, 24 years Not fond of work and needs watching. Two children 9 months - 2 1/2 years. Henry Cook, 50 years Fair worker. Two acres ground not used. 16. Chris Bolt, 31 years Kate Bolt, 24 years Lazy fellow and worst drinker on island. Worked 9 weeks last year. Three children 8 months - 4 years. Phyllis Anderson, sister of Kate. Kate is ignorant and nervous. 17. Jack Kapeen, 78 years Charlotte Kapeen, 75 years Good couple. Two children 28 and 38 years. Elder returned from last war mentally affected. Younger only fair worker. Lazy also drinks. Betty Caldwell, 14 years Nearly white. 18. Harry Kelly, 41 years Gladys Kelly, 39 years Good worker. Four children 1 - 17 years. Two eldest boys work with father. 19. Leo Bolt, 41 years Kathleen Bolt, 31 years Lazy and drinks earnings, never troublesome. Wife works out and supports home. One child 9 years. Has 6 acres land, idle for some years. 20. Henry Combo, 58 years Florence Combo, 48 years Works own land here, 16.2 acres. Will cut 8 1/2 acres cane this year, 2 acres next year. Five acres mixed cultivation, 1.1 idle. Seven children 8 - 29 years. William, 29 years, has 3.6 acres cane to cut this year. Idles on prospect of same. Stanley, 25 years, has 3.2 acres of cane to cut this year. Not much better than brother. Mrs Mavis Davis (daughter of Combo), 17 years One child aged 8 months. This family is white. Do not work on Station. Paying others to work their cane. 'Employers' not 'workers'. Land allotted but not used No. Name Size Notes 1. Ben Roberts 3.5 acres idle 6 years 4. Robert Bolt 5.7 acres idle 6 years 8. George Kapeen (ex AIF) 3.5 acres never worked it 15. Ronald Cook 2 acres not used 19. Leo Bolt 6 acres idle for some years 2. Ernest Cook 4.7 acres idle since last year H Combo 1.1 acres now idle Land used No. Name Size Notes 2. Ernest Cook 4.7 acres cut last year, now idle Douglas Cook 6.8 acres to cut this year 11. Robert Moran 3.6 acres to cut this year Robert Moran 2.5 acres to cut next year 13. Oswald Rhodes 2.0 acres to cut this year Oswald Rhodes 2.0 acres corn and vegetables 20. H Combo 8.5 acres to cut this year H Combo 2.0 acres to cut next year H Combo 5.0 acres mixed cultivation H Combo 1.1 acres idle William Combo 3.6 acres to cut this year Stanley Combo 3.2 acres to cut this year
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