Wylie in Later Life


Wylie in Later Life

Eyre maintained concern for Wylie over the years and when he heard in 1848 that his “old friend and faithful fellow traveller” was no longer being given rations by the Western Australian Government, he appealed directly to Governor Charles Fitzgerald in a nine foolscap page handwritten memorandum: “His exertions, his sufferings and his good conduct under circumstances of so perilous and trying a nature, I can amply vouch for. May I beg, therefore, to request Your Excellency‘s favourable consideration of his case and at the same time to earnestly solicit that an adequate and permanent provision be made for him, so as to place him beyond the reach of want during the remainder of his days…. Any mark of your Excellency’s favour bestowed upon Wylie I shall look upon as an obligation conferred also on myself.”

John Phillips, who was by then the local Protector of Aborigines, wrote a letter in support of Eyre’s, with a few provisos:

 I would suggest that the allowance should be doubled, as a single ration is not sufficient…. And that he should be well clothed and some employment should be given him, but on no account money (for which he has a great hankering) should be allowed him for he has within the last year or two taken to drinking whenever he has had the opportunity.

I have tried him as a native constable, but from his numerous connections in the district I found his capture of any other natives only led him into fights and affrays amongst them, and therefore I discontinued to employ him in that way.

The rations were reinstated.

Later in 1848, during his service as the Lieutenant Governor of New Zealand, Eyre sent Wylie the gift of a double-barrelled shotgun, of which he was “very proud”.

The last written reference to Wylie by someone who knew him is a comment by John Ramsden Wollaston, the Anglican cleric in Albany. He wrote that Wylie had a “mild and pleasing countenance and great intelligence.”