libby connors on the supreme court in mid19c brisbane


Libby Connors,’Witness to Frontier Violence: An Aboriginal Boy before the Supreme Court’, Australian Historical Studies 42, 2 (2011).

In October 1846 a ten-year-old Aboriginal boy witnessed a large scale Aboriginal attack on a station north of Brisbane. Although he survived the attack, the boy had the terrifying experience of observing the brutal killings of his employer and acting guardian and a female station worker. From the very next day he was called upon to relive the attack for the inquest and between 1846 and 1854 he was a material witness, and in some cases the only witness, in one coronial inquest, three committal hearings and three Supreme Court trials of Indigenous men for attacks on Europeans. This paper shows how colonial law was effectively manipulated to suit frontier interests in these years.

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