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Threlkeld provided sentence examples in his various writings and publications as shown in the table below:

Threlkeld Sentences

There were some repetitions, such as the inclusion of the Spelling Book (1836) sentences among those used in the Key (1850). Threlkeld explained that he would at times associate with the local Aboriginal people specifically
with the intention of acquiring vocabulary, and as a consequence some of the sentence throw light on what life was like at the time:

The dog, it is in the canoe.
On account of Wife I was furious.
who has colored thee with red ochre?
Paint her red, to be pretty.
I am sharpening a spear.
On account of the corpse she is crying.
Spear the fish with the spear.
Why do not the women go with the men?
Speak distinctly.
The mosquito is stinging me; piercing.
The horse threw him, or, he was thrown by the Horse and killed.
He is thrashing wheat, or beating wheat.
Mind, lest you break the spade …
How does the snake

Many of the sentences are about going, coming, speaking, as well as beating and dying.

Karree List

The final set of sentences is the Karree list, found amongst the Threlkeld papers in the Mitchell

A 382: Reverend Lancelot Edward Threlkeld papers, 1822-1862

This collection contains letters from, and to, Threlkeld, printed items including his writings, and printed writings or fragments about him. They also include the following vocabularies:

pp. 125-127    Australian Vocabulary, Port Macquarie aborigines
p. 129    Songs of the natives of New South Wales to the north of Sydney
pp. 130-140    Specimens of the Language of the Aborigines of New South Wales to the
northward of Sydney
pp. 141-142    Native Language, Port Essington
pp. 143-144    Native Language, Port Raffles

The Karree list is the one in bold type, pages 130-140.


This set of vocabularies appears to be by the same hand, often featuring a distinctive rendering of
the capital ‘L’ — unlike Threlkeld’s writing.

Threlkeld Sentences

The handwriting suggests the author is not Threlkeld. Besides, there appears to be no record of Threlkeld having anything to do with Port Essington or Port Raffles, which are in the Northern Territory. Port Essington was an early settlement on the Coburg Peninsula in the far north of the Northern territory, and Raffles Bay—not Port Raffles—was nearby. Example


The Port Essington and ‘Port Raffles’ vocabularies in the Threlkeld Papers might have been compiled by one of the figures named in the Wikipedia information. The only one of those who might have visited these two places as well as Port Macquarie (definitely) and Lake Macquarie (perhaps) could be Philip Parker King. However, the compiling the detailed Karree list by P.P. King is unlikely.

There are no other known likely contenders for the preparation, or transcription, of the Karree list, other than perhaps one of his children. There are, however, no records of any of them having written anything.

Jeremy Steele Friday 4 December 2020

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