When Thornhill first meets Thomas Blackwood in London, he owns a lighter called the River Queen, which has a false bottom for stealing cargo. Thornhill runs into him later in New South Wales, where Blackwood is not only making his fortune honestly, he has also received a full pardon and owns land on the Hawkesbury River where he makes rum. Blackwood is a quiet and private man who speaks in riddles when he speaks at all. He tells Thornhill that when dealing with the Aborigines, he has to remember that nothing is free: if a person takes something, they must be willing to give a little in return. Thornhill learns the extent of this when he goes to speak to Blackwood about the natives living on his own property and discovers that Blackwood lives on the very edge of his lagoon and doesn't venture into the forest because the natives told him to stay by the river. Thornhill also learns that Blackwood has an Aboriginal lover and the two have a child, and that Blackwood has learned the native language to communicate with them. Blackwood despises men like Smasher and Sagitty, who deal violently and cruelly with the natives. He avoids them whenever possible and eventually attacks Smasher for speaking violently about the natives. After the massacre, Thornhill’s second oldest son, Dick, goes to live with Blackwood and ferry rum up the river for him. Thornhill visits him occasionally after the massacre, but never sees the woman or Blackwood's child again.