The Armidale Chronicle (NSW) Wednesday, July 29, 1925
This article is titled: Man Without a Head FREAK ABORIGINAL
J. T. Cusack writes in Lismore "Star."
"I remember," he states "a blackfellow who lived chiefly about Blakebrook, somewhere about 60 years ago He was under 5 feet' in height, and he appeared as if the head had been cut off, while all the organs usually in the head, were in his chest.
There were two tufts of hair just between his shoulders, and it was the general opinion that the brains were just under this. The eyes were just about where the breasts are in the ordinary being and the nostrils and the mouth were simply holes in the chest. There were two long teeth in the top and bottom of the mouth, but there were no jaws, and he fed himself by simply passing food into the hole that represented the mouth, and which appeared to go into his stomach.
"At the time I saw him he appeared to be about 50 years of age, and was turning slightly grey. He disappeared afterward, and I heard he died at the Brunswick. Afterward, a man named Cavanaugh, who told me that he represented some medical authority in Sydney, came and tried to discover his burial place, so that he could get the skeleton. I went with him to the Brunswick, and we got hold of some old blacks and endeavored to get them to show us where he was buried. I remember him offering a blackfellow £15 for this purpose, but the blackfellow said': "No fear. All about blackfellow go mad, suppose I show you where him covered up. Another blackfellow kill me, suppose me tell you. That fellow been dead good while."
He made a search for some days, but could not find it, there should be some other old hands here who remember this man. Speaking of blacks generally. I remember about the time mentioned that an epidemic of Diarrhoea went through them, and they died in hundreds. Many people lived then where the Carlton Park race course is now and a lot of the blacks were buried around the river bank. When the ground on the bank was plowed, a lot of skeletons were unearthed. I remember one of my brothers had 15 skulls on a string. A black fellow came along one day and took them from him. At the time they died the other blacks tied a vine round their feet and put them into a sheet of bark and took them away and buried them.
"A large number of these blacks were taken behind Murphy's racecourse into the scrub and buried there. I give some aboriginal words and their meanings:— Cabbon (very), Coolah (angry), yowi (yes), mundowie (foot), caradgie (doctor), nangrary (stop), yan (go), wahlo (swear word), cobra (head).
"There was a well-known man Shea, who lived on the spot where in Lismore at that time, Mr. Dr. Coen lives now. I remember that he used to hold church and Sunday School regularly. And at the time I mention flour was unobtainable in Lismore owing to the continued rough weather at sea, and the schooners were bar bound. Mr. Shea heard that there was some flour at Casino, and he walked over there and bought a 50-pound bag for £3, and he carried it to Lismore on his back. He came to my place, which stood where the Freemasons Hotel is now, and gave half of it to my mother for the use of the children. It was a common thing for the district to be short of flour and groceries generally.
In fact, very many people could not afford to buy them at the price they were, and maize was frequently used for porridge and a standard food was maize meal with treacle instead of sugar. Sugar was scarce and dear, and I remember my mother chopping up sugarcane into small pieces and boiling it down till it came to a syrup, and we used this in our tea and elsewhere.