“By savage hands his steps were stayed!”: life and death on the Percy Isles, 1854

Rowland, Michael J. (2020) “By savage hands his steps were stayed!”: life and death on the Percy Isles, 1854. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 124. pp. 63-79.

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Abstract

In October 1854, the ketch Vision arrived at Middle Percy Island off Mackay on the central Queensland coast. The botanist Walter Hill, naturalist Frederick Strange and crew members went ashore. Hill went off with three Aboriginal people while the crew stayed behind with six others. When Hill returned, he found the crew except Dalaipi (an Aboriginal crew member) dead. Nine Aboriginal people were later captured and sent to Sydney to be tried for the killings. They appeared before the Water Police Court in Sydney before the court ordered they be sent back to the Percy Isles, though they appear not to have made it beyond Port Curtis. The death of Strange was widely reported in newspapers across Australia and was portrayed as a clash between the “heroic explorer and scientist” and the “untutored savage”. The events on the Percy Isles and further contacts on islands off the coast of central Queensland occurred from a time of limited hostile contact through a period of growing shipping movement, to a time of more substantial and lethal contact involving the Native Police. Contact events on the central Queensland coast reviewed here provide insights into reasons for initial limited hostilities on the offshore islands prior to increasing hostile and lethal conflict on mainland coastal and inland frontiers.

Item ID: 63807
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0080-469X
Keywords: Queensland, Percy Isles, Indigenous-European Contact, Frederick Strange
Copyright Information: © 2020 Royal Society Queensland. All Rights Reserved. Copyright: Papers published in the Proceedings are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence. Individual articles may be copied or downloaded for private, scholarly and not-for-profit use. Quotations may be extracted provided that the author/s and The Royal Society of Queensland are acknowledged. Queries regarding republication of papers, or parts of papers such as figures and photographs, should be sent to the Secretary of The Royal Society of Queensland (rsocqld@gmail.com). The right to charge fees for reproduction is transferred upon publication to and retained by the Society. http://www.royalsocietyqld.org/proceedings-124/
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2020 22:16
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450107 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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