Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wzw2p Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-27T15:27:25.440Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Women on the South-East Queensland Frontier

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

Get access

Extract

A typescript of a woman's diary deposited at the Mitchell Library in the 1970s contains some intriguing exchanges for the historian of the frontier. The diarist is unnamed — never a good omen for a primary document — but the uneven entries and the diary's passing mention of some of the people on Durundur Station from October 1842 to May 1843 give it the weight of authenticity. Our informant, ‘the wife of an employee of the Archers’, arrived on the station in October 1842, only six months after the north had officially been opened for free settlement and only a little over twelve months since David Archer had established this pastoral lease. She had arrived as part of a group of fourteen labourers and mechanics sent from one of the Archer estates in Scotland, and settled on one of the few stations to establish good relations with the traditional owners of the region. Her employer was among the more religious of the Archer brothers — a renowned family of Queensland pastoralists — and he was much taken with the idealism of the Evangelical movement. He refused to hunt the Dalla of the Blackall-D'Aguilar Ranges from their country and was determined to build peaceful relations with the traditional owners.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Notes

1 Extracts from a diary, 17 Oct 1842–14 May 1843 Made on Durundur Station by the Wife of an Employee of the Archers During a Visit by Dr Ludwig Leichhardt’, TS with MS additions, ML Document 1825, Mitchell Library (hereafter ML).Google Scholar

2 Constance Campbell Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland (Melbourne: Lloyd O'Neil, 1975 [facs of 1904 ed.]), 26, 119.Google Scholar

3 Evans, Ray, ‘“Don't You Remember Black Alice, Sam Holt?”: Aboriginal Women in Queensland History’, Hecate 8.2 (1982): 7–21. Also published in Ray Evans, Fighting Words: Writing on Race (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1999).Google Scholar

4 For an example of recent citation, see Shaeffe, Stephen, ‘A Tragic Injustice: The Trial of Kipper Billy and Billy Horton’, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland 19.5 (2006): 837.Google Scholar

5 This critique draws on the work of Karen Martin, a Quandamoopah woman and QUT-based academic, and a paper she presented to the ‘The History Wars: Factious Fiction or Fictions Facts?’ symposium, Indigenous Studies Research, QUT, Kelvin Grove, 27 September 2006: Karen Martin, ‘“Isn't It Time They Learned to Behave Properly?” Writing and Righting the History of Aboriginal Regulation of Non-Aboriginal Outsiders’.Google Scholar

6 Evans, Ray, The Mogwi take Mi-an-jin: Race Relations and the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement 1824–42’, in Fisher, Rod (ed.), Brisbane: The Aboriginal Presence 1824–1860 (Brisbane: BHG. 1992), 7–30; Rod Fisher, ‘From Depredation to Degradation: The Aboriginal Experience at Moreton Bay 1842–60’ in Fisher, Brisbane: The Aboriginal Presence 1824–1860, 31–47.Google Scholar

7 See, for example, Whalley, Peter, An Introduction to the Aboriginal Social History of Moreton Bay, South-East Queensland From 1799 to 1830, BA Honours dissertation, University of Queensland, 1987.Google Scholar

8 Watson, Pamela Lukin, Frontier Lands and Pioneer Legends: How Pastoralists Gained Karuwali Land (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1998).Google Scholar

9 Clendinnen, Inga, Dancing With Strangers (Melbourne: Text, 2003).Google Scholar

10 Clendinnen, Dancing With Strangers, 146–51, 159–67.Google Scholar

11 See Les Hiatt's summary of the anthropological debates on the status of women in Hiatt, L.R., Arguments About Aborigines: Australia and the Evolution of Social Anthropology (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1996), 57–63.Google Scholar

12 Meston promoted himself as an expert on Queensland traditional owners and their culture, and the Petrie family feared that he was undermining Tom Petrie's reputation in favour of his own later-acquired knowledge and experiences. See Mark Cryle, ‘Introduction’, in Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, xxiv–xxvi.Google Scholar

13 Dornan, Dimity and Cryle, Denis, The Petrie Family: Building Colonial Brisbane (Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1992).Google Scholar

14 Gaiarbau gave the name of his people as ‘Jinibara’, but I have generally used the term Dalla’ as it and ‘Gubbi Gubbi’ are the names by which the traditional owners of the Blackall Ranges identify today. Where possible, I have used FAIRA's names for traditional owners, but the missionaries’ nomenclature does not always match today's, and historic terms are retained to minimise confusion.Google Scholar

15 Gaiarbau's story of the Jinibara tribe of South-East Queensland (and its neighbours). Collected by L.P. Winterbotham. MS 45/MS 429, AIATSIS.Google Scholar

16 Uniacke's narrative of Oxley Expedition 1823, cited in J.D. Lang, Cooksland in North-Eastern Australia (London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847), 410.Google Scholar

17 Account of a Fight Among the Natives of Moreton Bay Witnessed by John Finnegan’, cited in Lang, Cooksland, 411–15.Google Scholar

18 Petrie, Tom Peirie's Reminiscences, 46.Google Scholar

19 Account of a Fight Witnessed by Thomas Pamphlet’, cited in Lang, Cooksland, 410–11, 413–14.Google Scholar

20 Colonial Observer, 21 October 1841.Google Scholar

21 Such was the eagerness of all to listen to what was spoken on such occasions, that whenever any one was heard to speak in that way after the evening meal had been taken, we scarcely could get any information from our neighbours or guides of the cause of the quarrel.Colonial Observer, 21 October 1841.Google Scholar

22 Journal of the brethren Niqué & Rodé who were itinerating among the natives at Umpie boang from the 12 of March to the 31st 1842, entry for 25 March, Lang Papers ML.Google Scholar

23 Colonial Observer, 28 October 1841.Google Scholar

24 Colonial Observer, 21 October 1841. Emphasis in original. This report also included discussion of a man's great concern for his sick wife; other references to spousal affection or concern are at Colonial Observer, 11 November 1841 and ‘Mission Diary’, entry for 15 January 1842, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

25 Hiatt, Arguments, 67–71 covers the debates concerning benefits to mothers-in-law of the bestowal system.Google Scholar

26 Wogan was welt known in Brisbane and Ipswich, and featured regularly in newspaper reports after 1842. He may have been an elder since the missionaries referred at times to the ‘Wogans’ meaning a number of other men who may have been his tribal or biological brothers. It is not clear from any of the accounts whether he was Yaggera, Turrbal or Ningy Ningy, and his ready movement between Girkum, Toorbal and Brisbane indicate the high level of interaction between the Brisbane, Ipswich and Bayside peoples. For other references to Wogan, see Colonial Observer, 14 October 1841; 28 October 1841; 18 November 1841; Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 1846; Lang, Cooksland, 398–99.Google Scholar

27 Monday, 7–Tuesday, 8 March 1842, Extracts from the Diary of the German Mission to the Aborigines at Moreton Bay from 25 December 1841 to 13 of May 1842, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

28 Gaiarbau's story, collected by Winterbotham. MS 45/MS 429, AIATSIS, 29–30.Google Scholar

29 21 December 1840, Moreton Bay Book of Trials, Series ID 5646 Item 869682, Queensland State Archives (QSA).Google Scholar

30 Mission Diary, entry for Saturday 13 November 1841, Lang Papers, ML: Journal of the brethren Eipper and Hartenstein who resided among the Natives on the Pine River from 4–11 November 1842, entry for Wednesday 9 November 1842 & PS, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

31 See Gaiarbau's story, 16–19, 35–38.Google Scholar

32 Petrie gave the name of the fern as bangwal’ or ‘bungwal', the missionaries 'danggum’. See Petrie, Tom Perries Reminiscences, 318; and Mission diary, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

33 Colonial Observer, 14 October 1841.Google Scholar

34 See Finnegan's account of his party's eating and hunting patterns on their journey to and from a fight 45–50 kilometres south of Bribie Island in 1823. Account of a Fight among the Natives of Moreton Bay witnessed by John Finnegan’, cited by Lang, Cooksland, 411–15.Google Scholar

35 Diary for the year 1840: January, entry for 19 January, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

36 Diary, entry for Saturday 20 [November 1841], Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

37 Gaiarbau's story, 79.Google Scholar

38 There is no complete set of station diaries or journals for their expeditions. The mission event, have to be reconstructed from the published diaries and journals in the Colonial Observer 1841–42 and the remaining correspondence in the Lang Papers, ML. See the entries for 22, 23 and 24 August 1841, Colonial Observer, 28 October 1841; entry for 14–20 August, Colonial Observer, 11 November 1841.Google Scholar

39 Journal of the brethren Niqué & Rodé, Lang Papers ML.Google Scholar

40 Journal of W. Schmidt during a journey to Toorbal made with A Rode from 28 December 1842 to 6 January 1843, entry for 29 December, Lang Papers ML.Google Scholar

41 Gaiarbau's story, 43–45.Google Scholar

42 Gaiarbau's story, 52.Google Scholar

43 Petrie, Torn Perries Reminiscences, 29–30; see also Uniacke in Lang, Cooksland, 408.Google Scholar

44 Gaiarbau's story, 51–55; Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, 29–30.Google Scholar

45 Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, 32.Google Scholar

46 Diary for the year 1840, entry for Monday 13 January, Lang Papers ML.Google Scholar

47 Colonial Observer, 21 October 1841 Dunkely is also mentioned by Lang, Cooksland, 123.Google Scholar

48 Journal of W. Schmidt, entry for 1 January 1843, Lang Papers ML.Google Scholar

49 The missionaries also referred to him as the ‘King of the Ninge Ninge’. See Mission Diary, entry for 4 April 1842, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

50 References to them fighting on behalf of Deciby, accompanying one another to fights or co-hosting the missionaries on their journeys to Toorbal, are in the following mission records: Mission Diary, entry for 10 November 1841, entry for 9 March 1842, Lang Papers, ML; Colonial Observer, 28 October 1841.Google Scholar

51 Gaiarbau's story, 30, 129.Google Scholar

52 Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, 60.Google Scholar

53 Steele, J.G., Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland and the Richmond River (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press. 1984), 148.Google Scholar

54 Diary, entries for 27 December 1841, 11 January 1842, 15 January 1842, 4 February 1842; Journal of the Brethren Niqué & Rode, entries for 16 March and 25 March 1842, Lang Papers, ML.Google Scholar

55 Both Petrie and the missionaries noted disputes over a man as the source of women's fights: Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, 163; Colonial Observer, 21 October 1841. However, quarrels over marriage partners were also a cause of men's intertribal clashes: see Gaiarbau's story, 129; Moreton Bay Free Press. 27 December 1853 and 10 January 1854.Google Scholar

56 Finnegan, cited by Lang, Cooksland, 412.Google Scholar

57 Both cited in Lang, Cooksland, 403, 407.Google Scholar

58 Moreton Bay Courier, 17 June 1848.Google Scholar

59 They were led by Burra, the brother of Mickaloe, who may have been ‘Yanmonday's people’ (i.e. Undambi), although Mickaloe was usually identified as being from Wide Bay. For the attack as an aspect of traditional law, see Libby Connors, ‘Traditional Law and Indigenous Resistance at Moreton Bay 1842–1855, Part IT, ANZLH E-Journal 2006, Refereed Paper (11): 1–14. For Mickaloe's trial and sentencing, see Libby Connors, ‘Sentencing on a Colonial Frontier Judge Therry's Decisions at Moreton Bay’, forthcoming. For Walker's account of the shipwreck and attack, see J.H. Walker, The Wreck, the Rescue and the Massacre: An Account of the Loss of the Barque. Thomas King, on Cato's Reef. Hew Holland, in April 1852 (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1875) and Raphael Cilento, Captain Walker's Marathon (Brisbane: Boolarong, 1986).Google Scholar

60 Walker, The Wreck, 43–46.Google Scholar

61 Walker, The Wreck, 56.Google Scholar

62 Connors ‘Traditional Law’: 5 & 7; MBC, 17 January 1852; 7 February 1852.Google Scholar

63 MBC, 19 June 1852.Google Scholar

64 Connors, ‘Traditional Law’, 6–7.Google Scholar

65 Knight, J.J., In the Early Days: History and Incident of Pioneer Queensland (Brisbane: Sapsford, 1898 [2nd ed.]), 337; Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, 175; A. Meston, ‘Back in the Fifties’, Daily Mail, 21 January 1924: 9.Google Scholar

66 MBC, 13 January 1855.Google Scholar

67 Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences, 216–18; Welsby, Thomas, The Collected Works of Thomas Welsby, Volume II (Brisbane: Jacaranda, 1967), 388–89.Google Scholar