47[“The Penguin’s Cruise”, The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Saturday 06 March 1909, page 17]
THE PENGUIN’s CRUISE.
ABORIGINAL ISLAND HOSPITALS.
THE WORK AT BERNIER.
The Government steamer Penguin returned to Fremantle on Tuesday from a short north-west cruise of far more than ordinary interest. The new development in the Aborigines Department, now under the control of Mr. C. Gale, for the amelioration of the major physical evil of the north-western blacks, who have suffered severely from contact with Afghans, Chinese, Malays, and Japanese, constitutes a new departure in governmental effort on behalf of the vanishing Australian native. Doore[sic] and Bernier Islands, which in continuation of Dirk Hartog form the western shore of Sharks Bay, have been set apart for the segregated hospital treatment, under free open-air conditions of life for the afflicted native. The Doore Island, which will be reserved for male aboriginal hospital buildings, are in process of erection by the Public Works Department employees. On Bernier Island, further north, the buildings, wells, etc., of a former pastoral lessee of the island have been acquired on resumption, and in October last 68 badly diseased lubras were brought from Derby, Wyndham, Hedland, Onslow, and Roebourne, and landed there, where they have since been under treatment by Dr. Lovegrove, with Miss Linehan as matron. The Colonial Secretary (Mr. J. D. Connolly) naturally takes a keen interest in this new departure in effective philanthropy in one of the Departments under his control, especially as the responsibility of adopting the island system of hospital treatment rests upon him as political head of the Department. Since the Penguin had much Government work to do on Sharks Bay, the Colonial Secretary took advantage of her business trip to personally ascertain the progress which has been made and the work accomplished among the aboriginal sufferers, as well as to learn what requires to be done to carry out the scheme on an expanding scale.
There is clear unwillingness on the part of whites to accept any responsibility for the spread of syphilis:
“the major physical evil of the north-western blacks, who have suffered severely from contact with Afghans, Chinese, Malays, and Japanese...”