[office stamp] COLONIAL SECRETARY'S OFFICE QUEENSLAND 650 JAN 20 1884
[written at top] A.L. Morisset reporting his arrival at Dunbar Station on the 5 Inst. State of the country from drought, the partial stocking of country recently by Hungerford, & the finding of (and disposal) the supposed remains of the late Walter Clarke advising that he proceeds North to the Archer River upon finishing his inspection of the country.
Lower Mitchell River
6th November 1883
I have the honour to report my arrival here on the 3rd instant.
The Country through which I have passsed is still suffering severely from the prolonged Drought and ravages by fire, excepting odd patches about 50 miles from here where a few Thunder Storms have fallen. A fine Storm of Rain fell over my camp North of this and coming from the North and Westward four (4) days ago, and I am in hopes that we shall find good grass ahead.
The Horses have suffered from want of feed, but by travelling by Short Stages and careful nursing they are I am happy to say in fair condition.
Every member of my party is in good health and spirits.
I found on reaching here the country comprised in the Holding known as "Dunbar" and in the name of the Messrs Hungerford had been lately partly Stocked with Cattle, and I am now employed in ascertaining the number of same on the Run; from whence they came, – and the date of their arrival here. Up to the present I have only seen about one thousand (1000)
[written in left margin] I would respectfully suggest that this letter be forwarded to the Hon. Colonial Secretary and his attention directed to the paragraphs marked with blue pencil in order that he may decide as to further action – [initialled] 20/12/83
[written under that] BC The Under Colonial Secretary [initialled] 31/12/83
[written under that] Justices[?] to be given to P.M. Cooktown to take Davies' Depostion on arrival [initialled] SWG 24/1/84
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(1000) head; and from inquiry believe they were purchased [in pencil] 6702 M[?]/83 at Taldora on the Flinders River, [in pencil] and reached here only about [in pencil] three (3) weeks ago, via "Creen Creek" and "Vanrook" (Hungerford's).
Upon the date of my arrival it was reported by Cornelius Grace - a Stockman then in charge, that he with another man named James Bourke (also a Stockman) had on the previous day, discovered the Remains of a man together with a quantity of Saddlery near their Camp. I accompanied Grace to the Spot and found what I am fully convinced are [in pencil] the bleached bones of a Whiteman. The remains had been very little disturbed by Grace, and I had a good opportunity of observing minutely the condition and position of the same. Dogs and Birds had made sad havoc of the human remains as well as the Saddlery &c. A very considerable number of the bones being missing, and the leather of the Saddlery gnawed away. Exposure to the weather had also rendered it a matter of great difficulty to identify that which was left.
With me I have the Blackboy "Jemmy" who accompanied Hungerford and Clarke upon their trip to the Archer River &c. from which Clarke did not return. The Boy is very Stupid but
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and unreliable but he appears quite Satisfied with the identity of the Saddlery and a pair of trousers (which I previously omitted to mention) as those last seen by him in possession of Clarke.
I could find nothing to indicate by what means the man came by his death. In the camp I found a case of an exploded "Snider" Cartridge, and a Spear-head made from a piece of Telegraph wire.
The spot referred to is situated [in pencil] South of what is known as "Burn's Crossing" of the Mitchell River, and distant about five miles, and is about 20 yards from a small Shallow swamp - now dry - in some Box Timber on the Southern edge of a Plain extending from, and parallel with, the River.
It was at "Burn's Crossing" the discovery was made some time ago [in pencil] by Burn of the first lot of Saddlery seen in a mutilated condition, and which he is said to have identified as that left in the possession of Clarke.
I have collected the human Remains and packed them as carefully as circumstances admit, and have placed them
together with th in the hands of Grace who discovered him for
[in left margin, beside last paragraph] 2 vertical pencil lines
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for conveyance to and delivery at Normanton, for [in pencil] 6702 M[?]/81 whence he is now departing on his own business, and have written to the Police Magistrate requesting him to take Grace's deposition, and to communicate with you.
I have deemed it advisable to adopt these measures in order that it may be ascertained from skilled opinion if the remains are those of a white man as well as to the height, weight &c of the man when living.
Upon the completion of the necessary examination I respectfully request the Remains - which I am very strongly of opinion are those of the unfortunate Walter Clarke, - may receive decent burial.
The Trousers just mentioned will also be forward [sic] with Grace - The saddlery will be sent to Normanton at an early date by a Dray said to be now en route here with Rations, and to return to Normanton shortly after arrival.
In reference to the latter. I would suggest the advisability of compelling E.A. Hungerford to inspect and depose as to their identity or otherwise - with the property left with Clarke - and that this should be done at as early a date as possible -
[in left margin] 5 vertical lines beside each paragraph
It is most desirable the man "James Burn" should be found and his deposition taken upon his finding of the first lot of Saddlery in the Mitchell River some months ago – and a riding Saddle near the Spot where the human remains &c have so recently been found which Saddle it is said – he asserted was Clarke's own riding saddle. [In margin: "Message No 02 25/?/84"] Also in reference to the track of a Horse he at that same time followed twenty miles South East from the immediate vicinity of the same spot. If this latter statement be true the inference is plainly that it was somebody (Clarke's Blackboy?) making away from the camp wherein the Remains were found – and if it were the Blackboy strenuous exertions should be made to find him – alive or dead. This Blackboy was I believe a native of Port Mackay, known as Dick –
James Burn is in the employment of Hungerford and is now said to be en route hence to the Batavia River from whence it is supposed he will go South on his own business, before returning to Hungerfords stations – He hoped to reach Cooktown before the end of