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1820 sydneygazette

New Year's Day:
1 January 1820.

HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR and COMMANDER in CHIEF, accompanied by Mrs. MACQUARIE, arrived in Town from Parramatta this morning.

The Annual Assemblage of the Native Tribes under their respective Chiefs took place at Parramatta on Tuesday last (the 28th of December), agreeably to the invitation of HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR.

This meeting was not altogether so numerously attended as on the former occasion, owing, as was reported by the natives themselves, to the excessive heat of the weather, which had prevented several of those belonging to the more remote tribes from proceeding on their journey. — We noticed, however, some tribes who had travelled from far distant parts, whose general appearance and peculiar style of ornaments distinguished them from those inhabiting the country on this side the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean.

There were altogether between 210 and 250 of different tribes, ages, and sexes, who were abundantly regaled with roast and boiled beef, bread, potatoes, puddings, and plum cakes, diluted with a proper proportion of spirits made into punch. The interest universally excited in behalf of these unoffending children of nature, rendered the present assemblage a scene eminently entitled to the colourings in description which a humane heart, under the guidance of an able head, would be willing to afford it. The numerous spectators, Ladies and Gentlemen, who had resorted to Parramatta from every part of the Colony on this occasion, cannot fail to convey and impress this sentiment far more powerfully than the language of recital, and imagination must therefore supply the deficiency.

HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR, we are sorry to remark, did not appear sufficiently recovered from his late severe indisposition to be as circumstantial and minute in his enquiries among the tribes as on former occasions; yet, with his usual lively and anxious solicitude, HIS EXCELLENCY went repeatedly round the circle formed by the natives, and made such observation as circumstances suggested. The GOVERNOR was accompanied by his LADY, and the Officers of his Staff. Among the spectators we saw His Honor the LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, the Honorable the COMMISSIONER of ENQUIRY, and Mr. Secretary SCOTT; the Honorable the JUDGE ADVOCATE, the JUDGE of the SUPREME COURT, the Assistant Chaplains from Sydney, Liverpool, and Castlereagh, the several Patronesses and Members of the Native Institution, the Magistrates, and many other Civil and Military Officers; together with some Gentlemen lately arrived from England and India.

The heat of the day was too intense to allow of a very particular examination of the native children belonging to the Institution; but their writing and drawings were publicly exhibited, and excited alternate emotions of admiration and applause; after which the children passed round the circle, and received the affectionate embraces of their parents and friends, all of whom beheld with a gaze of admiration, and apparently of gratitude and delight, the improved personal appearance of the little ones, who were neatly and uniformly dressed in the English manner; but what their parents must have felt at finding their children's progress in writing and drawing, as an earnest of their advancement to civilization, can better be conceived than described. The specimens produced of their drawing were received with evident symptoms of the highest pleasure and astonishment.

After this ceremony had passed over, the children of the Institution retired to their School in the same order they had arrived, marching in pairs of two and two, the females foremost, all, under the direction of their teacher.

About two o'clock in the afternoon the entertainment closed, and the sable visitors retired in the greatest harmony, each tribe under its own chief, all in high spirits, and confessedly much pleased with the liberal manifestation they had enjoyed of the good will and protection of this Government, and the urbanity of heart displayed by the British people towards them.

Sydney Gazette 1 January 1820 p.2d-3a.

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