Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Well That Matthew Flinders' Men Dug
My four wheel drive host Blunty says 'There's a well here that the explorers dug.'
He pulled into a camp behind the sand dunes. 'It's around here somewhere.'
Someone had set up their own cubby of branches and a fireplace in that sheltered bit of forest on the edge of the prickly country. No well.
'Well, maybe not. But I saw it around here. It's somewhere close.'
I said I'd see him down the track and started walking for the beach.
The dogs followed me, panting, short of water after grabbing branches for an hour on the back of the ute in 30 degrees.
Blunty caught me up and we all jumped in and he found it then, because he'd been there before,
Seven days after visiting Kinjarling, Flinders dropped into Doubtful Island Bay.
"On 30 December, (1801) Flinders ordered his marines onto the beach to be 'exercised' in the presence of a group of Aboriginal men who had become constant visitors and 'friends at the tents of the strangers'. Flinders noted 'the red coats and white crossed belts were greatly admired' by the men, as he believed they resembled 'their own manner of ornamenting themselves.' ... "
Tiffany Shellam, Shaking Hands on the Fringe, University of Western Australia, 2009, p.18.