In 1817, the Sydney Gazette carried a report on the annual “Congress” of the Parramatta Native Institution, established in 1814 by William and Elizabeth Shelley in the western reaches of Sydney, on the east coast of the Australian continent. The Congress was an annual event in which Aboriginal schoolchildren, dressed in white and led by Mrs. Shelley, were paraded around the grounds of the Institution. While the Shelleys had designed the ceremony primarily as a means of engagement with local Aboriginal people,1 the event was also of interest to the local settlers who gathered to watch the spectacle. It was, the Gazette wrote,

grateful to the bosom of sensibility to trace the degrees of pleasure which the chiefs manifested on this occasion . . . one in particular turning round towards the governor, with emotion, exclaimed “Governor-that will make a good Settler-that’s my Pickaninny!”—and some of their females were observed to shed tears of sympathetic aff ection at seeing the infant and hapless off spring of their deceased friends so happily sheltered and protected by British benevolence.2