The Australian Sepoys [10 July 1858]

[Editor: An article published in Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer, 10 July 1858.]

The Australian Sepoys.

— We perceive by the Darling Downs Gazette that the sable gentry are continuing their murderous and plundering career unchecked on the frontiers. They are even becoming facetious in wickedness.

A band of black braves have attacked a solitary out-station on the Downs, and after plundering the lonely hut of all the food, bedding, and clothes, they seized the Chinese hut-keeper, and, putting him through a variety of interesting experiments, stuck him up in a corner of the hut on his head. How long poor John continued in this awkward predicament, deponent saith not.

We wonder that it has never struck the ideas of our gentry, who delight so greatly in Chinese immigration, to form a border-police of the flat-faced celestials. Dressed and armed like their compatriot braves beyond Canton, they would be eminently calculated to astonish the natives. It appears that even the sable natives on our frontiers join in the general feeling of contempt against the Chinese, or it would never have entered their particularly thick skulls to display such a proof of it as making one of them stand head downwards.

The border blacks have attacked a Mr Turner, who providentially escaped from them. We gather also from the columns of our northern contemporary that there is every reason for suspecting the Dawson blacks of preparing for another razzia on the scattered white population.

Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (Sydney, NSW), 10 July 1858, p. 2

Editor’s notes:
deponent = a person who gives evidence or testifies, especially regarding a deposition (a statement made under oath and taken down in writing, particularly for later use in a court of law)

John = slang for a Chinese man, as in “John Chinaman” or “Johnny Chinaman”

razzia = a raid carried out for plunder or slaves, especially a destructive raid

sable = a colour that is black, dark, or gloomy (“sables” was an archaic term for garments worn for mourning; “sable” in heraldry refers to black); arising from the colour of dark sable fur, as taken from a sable (a furry mammal, Martes zibellina, which is primarily found in Russia and northern East Asia, and noted for its fur which has traditionally been used for clothing); in the context of the Australian Aborigines, a reference to their skin colour as being black

saith = (archaic) says (third person singular present of “say”)

sepoy = a native of the Indian subcontinent employed as a soldier in the service of a European power, particularly regarding the native soldiers used by the British

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

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