Epigraph: Of the many Aborigines who courageously resisted European settlement, most have now been forgotten, their deeds surviving only briefly in the oral epics sung by their tribal groups around campfires. The legend of Yagan is preserved because of the interest shown by three settlers: Charles McFaull, the editor of the Perth Gazette, who made his name a household word throughout the colony; George Fletcher Moore, the Advocate General, whose published journal provided a professional view of Yagan's character; and Robert Lyon, a mystic with complex and confused motives wavering between genuine sympathy, imperialistic idealism and theological nonsense, who saw Yagan as the epitome of the noble savage...
The legend of Yagan did not end along the banks of the Swan River. The head, brutally hacked from his body, was wedged into a hollow tree stump and slowly preserved in the smoke of gum leaves. After several months the lank hair was combed, a band of possum string was wrapped around the forehead and a pair of red and black cockatoo feathers added for effect. Ensign Robert Dale acquired the trophy and took it to England where it was exhibited as the head of a Swan River Valley Chieftain.
- Neville Green, Broken Spears : Aboriginals and Europeans in the Southwest of Australia.
Author note (Five Bells vol.10 no.4, Spring 2003, p.25): 'sequence...modelled on the devices available in demotic Indian poetry...'