A Wiradjuri child at Moreton Bay

Connors, Libby (2010) A Wiradjuri child at Moreton Bay. Queensland History Journal, 20 (13). pp. 775-787. ISSN 1836-5477

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As a 10 year old, the Aboriginal boy, Ralph Barrow, witnessed a large scale Aboriginal attack on Forgiue Station on the upper Caboolture River to the north of Brisbane in October 1846. Although young Ralph survived the attack, he had the terrifying experience of observing the brutal killings of his employer and acting guardian, Andrew Gregor, and a female station worker, Margaret Shannon.

From the very next day the young boy was called upon to relive the attack for the coronial inquiry held by the police magistrate at the station and over the next eight years the boy had the misfortune to be called upon to give testimony against five Indigenous men in numerous committal hearings and trials related to this mass attack.

Ralph's role in the criminal justice system is rare since children were not always regarded as competent witnesses and even more so because of his aboriginality. As the only witness familiar with many of the Indigenous men in the vicinity of the station and Brisbane, however, his testimony was invaluable for those whites demanding strenuous action against the Indigenous community.

This paper seeks to reconstruct Ralph Barrow's life story in order to fully understand his role in a number of criminal trials held in Brisbane in 1846-54 and the extensive political pressure brought to bear on this young witness which led to him being gaoled for a week in 1851 at the age of 15.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source. 'Copyright in the text of each paper published in the Journal remains with the author.'
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2010 07:01
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2014 04:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: indigenous; childhood; frontier; criminal justice; Queensland history
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180120 Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940403 Criminal Justice
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/7067

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