Territory Stories

The citation : Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society



The citation : Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society


Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society Inc


Citation; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Citation






Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Northern Territory Police Historical Society; Northern Territory Police Force; History; Police; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society Inc

Place of publication





v. 7 no. 6

File type



1839-3918; 1839-390X


Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

e.~t"'"e<f ~ ..,. It"?" 2 on foot. Shirley gave them nearly all the water. Wednesday morning -About 6:30am we struck tracks about 14 miles for Rees Well. All the horses were done, so we left them. Shirley, George Phillips and two boys proceeded on foot. I sent the boy with me to bring back water from the crab holes and Shirley sent the other. We proceeded along the tracks for about a mile. I was in the lead when it became very hot. I struck a little patch of scrub and camped for the day. The others did not come up to me. Wednesday evening - I came to my senses about dark, and started on the tracks. I made about 3 miles and was having a rest when I heard a voice calling about 200 yards from me. Going over I found poor Shirley under a little bush. He said he came there to die, as he could not walk. I asked him if he knew anything of the others. He said only George, who was under a bush about 300 yards away and whom he thought was dead. r did not go as Shirley could not go with me, and I was afraid I could not find him. While we were talking we heard a cooee, and I answered it. Hussey came up, saying he had been camped close all day, but unable to come, and that he thought Rees and Arthur were behind somewhere and he believed them to be dead. Hussey and I decided to push on at once and tried to persuade Shirley to come with us. The poor fellow -tried to walk and fell, so we were compelled to shake hands and leave him. Hussey and I walked on very slowly. us . I made the scrub about 8am, and was then 6 miles from the well. I managed to stagger on about 2 miles when I fell down and recollect no more until I was aroused by my boy pouring water over my head. He managed to get me along to within about 2 miles of camp when he left me in the shade and went for more water. I got into the camp about 5pm on Thursday. I had a good drink, wash and sleep and with the boy started after Hussey. Friday morning - We went about 4 miles back when I knocked up, and the boy also. Cooeed for about half and hour but on receiving no reply we re~ed to the camp, starting here about 9, being very thankful for my escape. I think the reason for my standing longer than the others is that I wonld not drink horse blood, which the others did whenever a horse knocked up. Can you kindly procure me warrants to bury the bodies, as I can do so from here and also recover some of the things, as rain had fallen yesterday and today. I could not easy with the thought that the bodies of the poor fellows I have found such good mates ar,e being tom about by dogs and birds'of prey. To the Superintendent of Telegraphs. Adelaide via Skinner. Alice Springs Sorry to report that all the police party except myself and a black boy died from thirst on Wednesday last. Also all the horses. Have walked 50 miles with nothing to eat since Sunday. Please instruct Mr Abbott to send a man with two spare riding horses, also a pocket instrument, Thursday morning - We reckoned foolscap, pencil, pick, shovel, we had I I miles to go. We travelled tomohawk. and rope to lower bodies on until sunrise and could see scrub into grave~. Let him send me a little ahead of us about two miles distant. nourishing food, such as rice, When Hussey lay down, I begged cornflour, froit and lime juice and also him to get up and not remain on the a box of pills, blanket, towel, short, plain to die in the sun. He only went trousers, tobacco and matches. Also about 200 yards further when he lay two billies, plates, knife, fork and fly, down again. No persuasion would and some cartridges. I have none. am very week, tired and wet ough. I know where the bodies' of Shirley and Hussey are lying - about 15 miles from the last water. Arthur Phillips and Rees further back. Please let the party get here tonight. - AM Giles, survivor, Police party, Attack Creek. To the Superintendent of Telegraphs. Adelaide 9pm Line just workable, but there is a very heavy leakage, and it may go again at any moment. There is very bad news of the police party who started in search of Readford. I have not yet had full particulars, but believe the whole party with the exception of Giles and the blackboy have perished for want of water. Mr Giles left the Trooper Shirley about 15 miles from Attack Creek apparently completely exhausted, but as there is a thunderstorm about the vicinity there are some hopes of him surviving, but the rest of the thunderstorm about the vicinity there are some hopes of his surviving, but the rest of the men, viz, J Rees, J Hussey, G Phillips and A Phillips were left without hope of recovery. Mr Giles and the black boy walked in 50 miles to Attack Creek. A party from Powell's Creek left this morning to assist Mr Giles with instructions from Mr Johnston to travel day and night. The above information I received from Mr Bowley at Tennant's Creek.. Immediately communication is restored I will speak to Mr Jolmstone at Tennant's Creek and get any otller particulars they have and wire same to you. - J Skinner, Alice Springs. To AM Giles. Attack Creek Fearfully shocked to hear of sad disaster, but I thanked God to hear of your safety. Relief has been sent to you. Run no further risk. Hope you will reach Tennant's Creek safely. Let me know how you and the poor black boy are. Please give me the names and addresses of the nearest relations of the other poor fellows, if you know them. C Todd Postmaster General and Superi~tendent of Telegraphs. induce him to move. I was Please let the party start at once, as I compelled to leave him under a little 804,,,<<e,{ ." ~ <1 Volume 7, No 6 - December 2001, Page 3