01 June 2008

Palmer River

Call it what you will, that they ate the
gold rush coolies was no secret time
withheld – tasty meat when normal fare
was spare. The feet of many thousands
tramped the valleys where their food
supply was sought; in lieu they merely
caught an easy pigtailed prey, roasted
it on open fires and feasted anyway.

Yet to this day our Histories abstain
from stating facts, demurring episodes
as random acts of grievous memory. Or
were the scenes of natives eating coolie
meat illusions too displeasing – bones in
middens proof of no such thing?
© 12 May 2008, I. D. Carswell

From ‘River Of Gold’ by Hector Holthouse
(The Palmer River gold rush 1870 – 1878)