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1818 sydneygazette

Description of the Annual Aboriginal Feast Day:
1 January 1818.

On Thursday last, the 1st instant, His Excellency the Governor held his usual annual Meeting of the Native Chiefs and their Tribes at Parramatta. His Excellency was pleased to express himself much gratified by the very improved, decent, and orderly appearance of the several tribes assembled on this occasion; and remarked with great satisfaction that they seemed to have laid aside that degree of reserve which heretofore went to bespeak a want of confidence, probably resulting from a consciousness of having in some instances not altogether merited the kindness and protection thus extended to them. The number assembled was from 140 to 150, and perhaps would have been still greater but for the circumstance of the Meeting having been deferred for four days beyond the period it had heretofore been fixed for; and with which, from their scattered and distant situations, they could not be made acquainted in due time. The Children in the Native Institution were conducted by their Tutor to the Meeting, where their interview with their parents became a most interesting spectacle, and afforded unbounded satisfaction to a very numerous and respectable assembly, invited thither by the novelty of the scene.

The Committee then proceeded to examine the children of both sexes (16 in number), and were highly gratified with their progress in reading and writing, and particularly with the attention the little females paid to their needle-work; thus bringing to the expanded mind of the Philanthropist and the Christian the peculiar advantages of an Institution founded on such liberal and praise-worthy principles.

Sydney Gazette 3 January 1818 p.2b.

Description of the annual Aboriginal Feast Day at Parramatta and the presentation of indigenous children attending the Parramatta Native Institution. Normally these events were conducted on 28 January to commemorate the first arrival of the Macquaries in NSW in December 1809, however the proceedings for 1817 were in fact deferred until 1 January 1818.

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