Legislation rammed through parliament by the Goss government earlier this year will operate retrospectively to protect bureaucrats and politicians from public scrutiny. The almost ludicrously entitled Freedom of Information procedures effectively quarantine government rhetoric by excluding outside access to the documentary evidence essential to informed debate on the operations of government.
The last decade of the Mapoon mission, eradicated on departmental orders in November 1963, demonstrates the dangers of such information closures. Official propaganda swamped bitter protest. Critics were easily dismissed as trouble-making radicals. Holding a stacked deck the government had only to sit out the “disturbance”, recite the official version, reap the benefits of the new mines, and wait for the public to forget. But the people of Mapoon did not forget.
Access to departmental files generated at that time now allows a challenge to be mounted against government accounts of Mapoon’s demise as a mission. Careful investigation of documents relating to several key points enables public statements to be measured against covert performance. Had the Presbyterian Board of Missions agreed to transfer the Mapoon people long before the discovery of bauxite took the value of mission land from bedrock to bonanza? Did the merger of Mapoon with Weipa, mooted in the early 1950s, lapse because of church intransigence? Was the government forced to take over Mapoon in June 1963 because the church had let it run down? Had most of Mapoon’s population moved voluntarily to Bamaga on Cape York prior to the closing of the mission, as director Patrick Killoran assured prime minister Robert Menzies and anyone else who inquired? Who was removed by force in November 1963, and was this merely a routine transfer operation?
The early 1950s: the problem of Mapoon
It was always the government’s responsibility to ensure the physical wellbeing of the Aboriginal populations on Queensland’s missions. Annual grants to each mission were supposed to cover rations, housing, schooling, medical attention, water supply, sewage disposal, foodcrop and agricultural production. Church mission boards provided personnel for the practical administration of the communities, overseeing social and spiritual “development”.
In reality the Presbyterian missions, and those run by other denominations, were so critically starved of funds that even subsistence was not assured. At Mapoon, for instance, superintendent George Holmes wrote in his annual report in 1951 that progress had long ceased: “Plant and property are in a state of extreme disrepair, especially the Church and most of the native houses. Some of these are condemned but are still being used…one wonders what we are achieving at Mapoon”. Underfunding stalled work programs adding unemployment to frustration with social conditions. In a petition to the Presbyterian’s General Assembly, Mapoon residents complained about their treatment. They described the mission as “not suitable for a human being to live on” and requested the committee either visit for direct discussions “or send us somebody that will treat us better”. Following formal protests to the Thursday Island office by twelve men from Mapoon, director of the department of Native Affairs Cornelius O’Leary privately admitted that Holmes was “temperamentally unsuited to control the half-caste population…dissension appears to be growing amongst the inhabitants”.
Holmes himself argued that unless there were drastic changes Mapoon would have to be closed. It seems that he was not alone in contemplating the dispersal of Mapoon people through exemptions and relocations at Palm Island, Weipa and Aurukun. There were rumours that the department was also toying with the idea: “I have been told that the D.N.A. were wanting Mapoon half-castes for Bamaga…the people of Mapoon have also heard this…I wondered what was in it?”
Mapoon was not the only northern mission under threat of closure at this time. When the worst drought “in living memory” hit the north in 1953 plans were made to evacuate the mission on Mornington Island where water supplies had completely failed. The department allocated funds and emergency housing commenced at Weipa. But the people of Mornington Island refused to leave without an ironclad commitment that they would be allowed to return. They are determined, wrote superintendent John McCarthy, “to battle out the hardships and to retain their native land”. “Each family has well defined territory and their attachment to that land is marked. Even temporary evacuation is not acceptable to them at this stage”. The mission committee backed the people and the relocation lapsed. This was to become a bitter point in the push to close Mapoon.
The mission committee’s confidence was shaken. All missions were running heavy deficits to cover maintenance, rations, and clothing, rightfully government liabilities. Spiralling post-war inflation and a cyclone which demolished most Aboriginal huts on Mornington Island brought matters to a head. “Do we continue to work in four stations, or abandon one or all of them to the Government, or some other Church community…The question must be faced honestly this year”. All the missions were short-staffed. Holmes and his wife ran a community of over 680 people at Mapoon. In three years seventeen workers and their wives had left but only six replacements had been found.
When superintendent Bill MacKenzie from Aurukun visited Mapoon to speak to the councillors he was amazed when they challenged him directly about rumours to move Mapoon, “I do not know how they knew about this project…to my knowledge it has not been discussed”. The men insisted any move should be to the original mission site chosen in the 1890s by Rev Nicholas Hey. Some families still lived there, they said, and even those living at the mission “still had their old plots of ground which had been allotted to them”. Most of their houses were too decrepit to be moved. Who would pay for replacement iron and timber?
In conversations with the mission committee O’Leary was adamant. There would be no government funding for relocation within the Mapoon reserve. The mission should be closed. The “half-castes” should go to Weipa and the “full-blood” people from Mapoon and Weipa, estimated at one hundred, should be transferred to Aurukun which was to be the centre for cattle production. But the church did not have sufficient revenue even to cover essential food and clothing. Who would pay for the merger of Mapoon with Weipa? they asked. The government did reluctantly find £10,000 to cover outstanding debts of the Presbyterian missions, but it refused outright to increase the annual subsidy until the mission committee submitted a detailed redevelopment policy.
The mid-1950s: financial chaos
The impasse over funding festered through a series of conferences between church and state. In March 1954 minister William Moore stated that Cabinet would not allocate funds if they were not “serving a useful purpose”. There were too many missions, the minister argued, O’Leary had described Mapoon as “hopeless”, and what was now needed was “geography without sentiment”. “We put our own shows in order”, he informed the mission committee, and it was up to them to streamline their operations and come up with an economical plan to make the missions self-supporting. Protestations that it was precisely the deficit in state funding which forced the missions to send all able-bodied men and boys out to pastoral work, leaving insufficient labour for mission projects, fell on deaf ears.
A meeting at Mapoon between committee personnel and mission superintendents finally agreed that Mapoon should be closed and the people moved to Weipa where an “educational training centre similar to Cherbourg” would be established. Amalgamation with Weipa, with 180 adults and a similar number of children, would allow a solid workforce to undertake redevelopment programs. Funding was the problem. In May the committee informed Native Affairs bureaucrats that present levels of expenditure would soon “bankrupt the Church”. No capital was available for construction on the missions, and without government support it would be impossible to implement the merger. At Mapoon, the committee pointed out, some of the buildings and equipment dated from 1891, and it would take £20,000 or £30,000 to make the venture productive. While the wages of those who worked off the mission provided some revenue, the department deducted 5% from single and 10% from married men, paid into the Welfare Fund which operated “for the benefit of Aborigines” statewide. On top of this the missions took 10% towards maintenance of the family. Even so, many men paid for the building materials for their houses, some of which were financed from wartime earnings. And for eight years, remarked Rev Sweet, committee finances had been going backward.
By July the minister had made up his mind. While he was prepared to recommend to Cabinet an immediate allocation of £20,000 to cover further overdue debts with Thursday Island firms who now refused to supply basic foodstuffs to the missions, no other funds would be forthcoming until the committee agreed to close Mornington Island and Mapoon. But Rev Sweet would not commit the church to evacuate Mornington Island, declaring “We have an open mind about the future of it”. The chairman of the mission’s finance board added, “Would they be happy in their minds being shifted from there to the mainland?” This provoked an exasperated attack from O’Leary: “the mind of the Natives is formulated by his Leaders”, he said. At Mapoon, where people seemed agreeable to the transfer, there was now total resistance. “That was because your Superintendent was telling the people you are dragging them out of their homes”, said O’Leary. Unless there was a firm commitment to vacate Mornington Island, declared the minister, the government would not alter existing grants and would not finance its own demands for capital development on the missions, estimated by the mission committee at £40,000 without taking the Mapoon/Weipa merger costs into consideration.
With the government’s liquidation of the debts for mission supplies, Rev Sweet informed minister William Moore that the national Presbyterian Assembly had formally ratified the merger of Mapoon with Weipa “subject to Government co-operation and assistance”. This would entail increased grants to cover running costs and professional staffing, and capital funding for the development program. “The Church cannot contemplate any development without the assurance that the Government will meet the needs of the people requiring rations”, wrote Sweet. “At the present time finance that would help pay an adequate staff that could implement a productive plan, is being spent on the maintenance of indigent aborigines”. But the government had declared it would not increase funding until the capital expansion program was in operation. How can we finance capital development, wrote Sweet, when we cannot even cover ration costs which are the responsibility of the State? Why had the government linked evacuation of Mornington Island and Mapoon with the provision of rations for the indigent? The church had the right to consider mission closures “without pressure” and “without coercion”. Furthermore, he continued, the church’s central Board of Finance now declared it would not honour mission committee debts after August 1954, and if the government insisted that more than 10/- per week should be spent on rations for each child then the government would have to make that money available.
O’Leary conceded ruefully that the church had called the department’s bluff, placing full financial responsibility for capital development programs and for the Mapoon/Weipa merger on the government. If the church could not provide upgraded rations for mission occupants then the government “is morally bound to do so, or take over the Missions from the Church”. But a takeover, he admitted, would be more difficult and more costly than supporting the church. He also acknowledged it was the “recurring drain on [church] revenue for the feeding of the people” that entrenched stagnancy, prevented progress, and fostered hostility. At Aurukun dissatisfaction with appalling conditions had already sparked a near riot and several “young hot-heads” were removed to Palm Island. The government did reluctantly commit itself to cover rations “for aged aborigines, unemployed men and women, and children”, but Rev Sweet also demanded immediate upgrading of annual grants: “Cabinet must decide whether responsibility for feeding and clothing of needy aborigines in particular, together with their physical care and education, rests with the Governments of our nation. If there is no acceptance of such responsibility then the Church must forfeit its trusteeship”.
O’Leary’s calculations show that the government subsidised its Woorabinda settlement of 810 people to the tune of £61,000 per year. Currently the four Presbyterian missions, home to 1354 people, received just £39,500. In short, the state was exploiting the church’s financial desperation as a lever to force alignment with government proposals, refusing any increase in the base subsidy without implementation of capital development and merger plans. Documents show that the subsidy of £40,000 for the 1955/56 year “has no connection [with the] application for “£37,716 for capital development or costs removal Mapoon Weipa”, although £5,000 was earmarked in contingency estimates for the merger. In August the church again declared it could not launch the merger until the government provided finance. The best O’Leary would offer was a supply of timber from the Bamaga sawmill (most of which was diverted to emergency shelter in the Torres Strait islands during a severe gastro-enteritis epidemic).
When mission committee personnel visited Mapoon in August to inform the people of the merger plans, councillor Jackson Mamoose responded that the people unanimously rejected any move. It is clear that Rev Sweet underestimated their resolve: “It is my impression”, he told O’Leary, “that the Mapoon people will put up a token fight only for the retention of Mapoon”. At a September conference with government personnel the church affirmed its intention to proceed with the merger. But the committee insisted the move should be voluntary, arguing that the advantages at Weipa should be made so attractive that the Mapoon people would relocate willingly. A deadline of “two or three years” was set.
Within weeks Rev Sweet was forced to admit that since the start of discussions the Mapoon people had only “one policy…and that is to remain at Mapoon”. And this view had prevailed despite attempts by the committee to stifle dissent, having decided “no good purpose would be solved in allowing the people at that time to express their views”. Sweet now informed O’Leary the committee would not “try and argue the Mapoon people into a move to Weipa”. It was his opinion that only with a constructive policy at Weipa could the people be won over; attitudes should be reviewed as building progressed. For the first time force was mentioned. Are you wavering from your previous position “that neither yourself as the Director, nor the Committee would wish to use force in the implementation of the move from Mapoon to Weipa?” Sweet asked O’Leary.
O’Leary could hardly contain his fury. He sensed another debacle like the aborted Mornington Island evacuation. The church had promised early action on Mapoon, he wrote bitterly, but now said the people had no intention of leaving. Buildings were now dilapidated, all improvements were halted, and there was no teacher. The committee had informed the people that the government would not back the mission and the church was financially unable to do so. Why send timber to Weipa, fumed O’Leary, if the people refused to go? The church must convince the people to leave, he wrote, otherwise “the onus will fall on someone to forcibly remove them, and that onus will not be accepted by the Department of Native Affairs”. But the struggle between state and church to bring Mapoon to submission was thrown into turmoil by new players in the field.
The late 1950s: miners move in
Huge deposits of bauxite had been identified on the Weipa Aboriginal reserve by July 1955. Rather naively the church thought the mining bonanza “will flow into the billabong of all our Missions”. “It has always been tacitly agreed”, wrote the moderator in his address to the General Assembly, “that should discoveries of extensive mineral wealth be found” national importance would require policy decisions “on high Government level”. But all parties – church, government, and mining company Consolidated Zinc – were “emphatic”, he continued, that development should consider “the interests of both white and black Australians”.
A conference between the parties in February 1957 agreed unanimously that the Weipa mission would have to be resited from Jessica Point, and the company declared its obligation “to assist the Mission to lift the standards of living of all Mission Stations” and give “all assistance possible to other Missions such as Aurukun”. It is clear that the church expected to gain benefits for the Aboriginal populations on the Cape York missions, and a list of “basic principles” were set out for “a claim for a capital compensation grant” and for “the guarantee of recurring maintenance expenses”. “These will be the basis of future negotiations with the Government and the Mining Company”, affirmed the moderator. The future of Mapoon, with Conzinc prospecting in the Mapoon/Weipa reserves and Canadian giant Alcan prospecting behind the mission, would now have to be reassessed. But until Weipa’s fate was determined, said the moderator, nothing could be finalised. Meanwhile “sympathy must be felt for the Superintendent and people in such a transient period of frustrating uncertainty”. The Mornington Island question, on the other hand, appeared to be resolved. The government had admitted it could not afford to bankroll relocation and re-establishment of the community.
There seems little doubt that the election of a Coalition government in Queensland in August changed the political equation against the church. The newly renamed Comalco immediately expressed “dismay” at the suggestion of financial input to Aboriginal welfare. “We are anxious to help in the protection and in the educational and material progress of the native population around Weipa”, wrote mining executive Maurice Mawby, “But we do not accept that our financial responsibilities extend as far as the Committee seeks to establish”. Comalco agreed to assist in relocating the Weipa people to Aurukun outside the mineral lease, and agreed to devise “protective measures other than immediate removal” for the Mapoon mission.
But O’Leary had hardened his stance after visiting the northern missions with new minister Henry Noble. He now declared that transfer of people from Weipa to Aurukun was not feasible because both communities opposed the merger. Describing Mapoon as “a pretty sorry story”, he informed his minister that relocation had been agreed in 1953 and “the Government was to find the money”. He claimed that although “the Government found £13,031 and supplied 15,000 super feet of timber” the people refused to transfer. (In fact records show less than half this amount of timber eventually reached Weipa late in 1955.) O’Leary made no mention of the church’s inability to fund the merger and the government’s refusal to do so. And disregarding the policy decision of his own department to halt all development expenditure on the community, O’Leary now expressed disapproval that it “continues to deteriorate”. “The Department cannot close its eyes to the Mapoon situation and the Church has too long postponed any positive action for the rectification of it”. He declared that transfer to the old Weipa site was now “illogical and impracticable and fraught with danger to the health of the people”. Claiming that several Mapoon men had approached deputy director Patrick Killoran to be allowed to relocate near Jardine River on the Bamaga reserve at the top of Cape York, O’Leary urged: “the time is now opportune for a firm decision by the Government on the lines indicated above”.
In fact documents show that this decision had already been taken. In the budget estimates for the 1957/58 year Noble informed fellow Cabinet ministers: “It is reasonably certain that Mapoon Mission will be transferred to another site towards the end of this year”. He also revealed that twice the amount per person was expended on the welfare of Aborigines on government settlements in comparison with the missions. It seemed that the main stumbling block to Mapoon’s forced relocation was Rev James Sweet. In discussions between the minister and the missions committee Sweet had categorically opposed the new plan to evacuate the people from Mapoon to Bamaga “irrespective of the arguments adduced in favour” of such a transfer. O’Leary now threatened to undermine Sweet’s position: “it may be necessary if Mr Sweet continues with his critical attitude of a determined Government policy to publicise many matters with respect to Mission administration” where Sweet had not been co-operative.
In an attempt to pre-empt the relocation to Bamaga Rev Sweet put his case to the minister. He conceded that the committee had agreed upon the wisdom of merging Mapoon with Weipa, but he insisted that the venture could not be initiated “without a test of strength as to the attitude of the Mapoon folk to same”. Five successive superintendents at the mission “warned us of the inflexible attitude of the people against any change”. Even so, it was only after the entry of mining enterprises into the Weipa reserve, bringing “undreamed of factors into the area”, that the committee had resolved to review its policy “in the light of possible developments”. It was necessary to wait until clear and permanent policies from both Comalco and Alcan crystallised. Mapoon folk, he told the minister, were in fact hopeful that they could gain some employment with Alcan as well as developing a cattle industry on the unused portion of the reserve. In view of government policy to tie the future of the Weipa people with Comalco’s development, Sweet asked “would not the interests of the Mapoon folk be linked with the only two productive sources of income and dignified self-support in their own area?”
But O’Leary was determined to close Mapoon and lobbied the minister with his own version of events. Sweet had reneged on a visit to Bamaga in December where, with deputy director Patrick Killoran, he was to examine possible locations for the Mapoon resiting. Now Sweet was asking for delays until mining projects became clear. The reason Mapoon still remained a problem, argued O’Leary, was not because bauxite was discovered at Weipa “but the inability of the Mission authorities to implement the transfer in the face of opposition by the natives to Weipa Mission”, (Sweet had mentioned antagonism towards superintendent Winn at Weipa, and objection to the dormitory system which operated there). O’Leary concluded: “the Committee should be informed that unless it is prepared to move in the manner already dictated then the Government will act accordingly”.
The board of missions now found itself excluded from negotiations with Comalco. The premier and chief secretary’s department took control of the terms and provisions of the impending legislation and introduced the Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation Pty. Limited Agreement Bill (the Comalco Bill) without further discussion. The church could only register a protest “that, before the enactment of the Comalco Bill, the interests of the Mapoon, Weipa and Aurukun Mission Stations and the natives thereof were not fully safeguarded by agreements entered into by Government and Company”. The mission committee later described the Comalco Bill as “a faulty piece of legislation”. “Strenuous representations” were made “to have the interests of the Aborigines acknowledged and safeguarded – but without avail”. Mapoon mission was engulfed in the mining lease, Comalco agreeing to concede temporarily an area of only 480 acres which was to be regazetted as an Aboriginal reserve, excluding the deepwater anchorage at Port Cullen. Significantly, this reduced area was to revert to Comalco “if in the future the land is vacated by the Mission”.
The noose tightens
The government maintained its financial squeeze on the missions. In April 1958 Sweet despaired that the subsidy was again less than requirements: “no one can logically argue that £26 per person per annum is an adequate subsidy even if Child Endowment payments are added with respect to the children”. The degree of official ruthlessness can be gauged by Killoran’s response to an intercepted radio message from Thursday Island which indicated that Mapoon had been “short or out of rations for two weeks”. We won’t discuss supplies at Mapoon, he told O’Leary, but this information “may be of use at some later date”. By July the department was demanding “greater measures of economy” from the missions. Sweet replied wearily that on the present government grant rations for the 760 recipients were already down to 8/- per week. Apprehensive of the massive social and economic implications of the major mining venture on previously remote reserves, and weakened by chronic underfunding, the church for the first time gave serious consideration to the possibility of a government takeover of “temporal responsibility” on its northern missions.
In his report in August new superintendent Garth Filmer wrote of “instability and general unrest” at Mapoon because of the uncertainty and neglect. In part this arose because since passage of the Comalco Bill the mission was no longer an Aboriginal reserve and their major dairy herd paddock was situated within the mining lease. Rev Sweet protested to premier G. F. Nicklin that statements in parliament from the minister of Mines had been “unfactual” with regard to Mapoon’s parlous position, and that “assurances from the Company in writing” were still awaited from Comalco on grazing rights. Rev Sweet also continued to pressure Comalco for a commitment. “Unless the Government has entered into a legal undertaking with the Company to be responsible for the transfer of Mapoon Mission Station to an area outside of the mining lease”, he argued, “then under the terms of the Comalco Bill the Company is legally responsible to do the same thing for the natives at Mapoon as it has undertaken to do for Weipa”.
Sweet now refused to finalise the boundaries of the grossly truncated Mapoon reserve until a decision was reached on the people’s fate. O’Leary merely dismissed the committee’s insistence that resolution of the boundaries was “secondary compared to the question of the policy regarding Mapoon’s future”. Every move by the government “has been counteracted by the Committee”, wrote O’Leary in frustration. Uncertainty at Mapoon did not derive from a policy vacuum but from the committee’s failure to finalise the reserve area, he said. “At present there is no Mission Reserve” and action would have to be taken. Perhaps it was time to remind Mr Sweet, wrote O’Leary, “of the true position over many years with respect to Mapoon and the failure of the Church to implement a progressive policy for it”. In fact a campaign of public criticism was already underway. The minister visited Weipa and Mapoon and declared that living conditions on the missions compared badly with those on government settlements. Newspapers carried extracts from parliamentary debates describing mission conditions as “deplorable…Mission Stations have failed miserably”. There were calls for an official inquiry and suggestions that the state should take over: “Gulf missions were not doing anything for the money the Government granted them” said the member for Carpentaria. Chairman of the Anglican Board of Missions, Rev F. Coaldrake, responded that it was the Queensland government which had failed Aborigines in the north.
At a December conference between the government and the Anglican and Presbyterian mission bodies, both churches pushed for some form of legal title. Without this, they argued, they had no security for investment borrowings, neither did Aboriginal tenants have access to housing loans. The Presbyterians called for mineral leases and mining rights to be vested in Aboriginal trustees to generate essential revenue; and the Anglicans stated their determination to learn from the Mapoon/Weipa struggle and protect their Lockhart River community from a similar exclusion from mining benefits.
Although Comalco offered to make an area available at Port Musgrave near Weipa for the relocation of Mapoon, it denied any obligation to provide fifteen houses for Mapoon residents in the new Weipa village, for which they had allocated £100,000 as recompense for almost total excision of the previous reserve areas. In an attempt to finalise the Mapoon reserve boundaries Comalco now offered to concede 2,900 acres from their mining lease, an offer which the committee finally accepted. But Sweet continued to insist Comalco should make some restitution to Mapoon. It was the company’s arrival in the area which derailed the proposed merger with Weipa, he wrote, and again he denied Comalco’s “reliable information” that the merger had already been aborted because of church inflexibility. Such a claim “is not factual”, wrote Sweet, “and this can be proved by my Committee”. (File copy of a 1962 letter from the acting minister verifies Sweet’s stand. One sentence mentions proposals in the mid-1950s to transfer Mapoon inmates to Weipa, and a neat line cancels the words “but financial considerations and the uncertainty in respect of mining development at Weipa proved a barrier to their immediate implementation”.) For Sweet it was simply a matter of equity: “If the natives of Weipa who are full bloods, should have the opportunity of sharing in the development coming on their own hitherto tribal lands, then the natives of Mapoon who are more advanced because there are more half-castes there, should have the same opportunity”.
Meanwhile the government increased the pressure. Further funding cuts brought the food allowance down to five pence per day, insufficient to meet even the official basic ration scale. When Rev Sweet visited in July he noted that the people “have lost confidence in the white man. They are suspicious of anything that the white man tells them”. There was widespread distrust and prejudice of the committee, the government, and the missionaries, and Sweet now detected a distinct pattern of resistance: “the present Elders and Councillors at Mapoon are a hindrance and not a help to the Superintendent”. While Sweet requested an early indication of government policy, he again emphasised “the known attitude of the Mapoon people…which is very definitely antagonistic towards a move to any other site than one close to the present Mission”. “Even now we have delayed too long”, he concluded.
O’Leary agreed. The church had lost control at Mapoon, he said. People were discontented and distrustful and lacked confidence in the church administration and for this “the Church can be held culpable to a major degree”. But also, he continued, the “cross breed” population at Mapoon were susceptible to “influences not always beneficial to them” because of their “totally different outlook” following associations with whites during the war years. “They are to an extent rebellious against the existent authority and only practical and positive action aimed at remedying the position can satisfy”. No mention of financial deprivation.
Killoran was sent from Thursday Island to assess the situation. Councillor Jack Callope requested on behalf of the people that superintendent Filmer be removed. He also stated categorically that the people wished to remain where they were. Even so, Killoran suggested six representatives be nominated to visit Bamaga and report back on the proposed site. In a barely concealed move to bypass Mapoon leaders, Killoran said these men need not be councillors or elders, and further alleged “their nominees will have full authority of the people to sign proposals for the future of Mapoon”. Killoran assured head office that the people “are looking to the Government for guidance and assistance in the future”. Dr Fryberg, director-general of Health and Medical services in Queensland, accompanied Killoran and revealed that the meeting was extremely volatile. People were antagonistic and anti-administration. The mission was badly deteriorated due to lack of funds, and the people were frustrated that the mission survived only through their own efforts. Housing was bad, health was bad, the water supply was inadequate, and Dr Fryberg advised “action should be taken as quickly as possible as the natives are in a very unsettled state”. This would not be the last time Killoran commissioned a health report as a tactical device to justify departmental rhetoric.
Sweet arrived at Mapoon the day after Killoran’s visit and vehemently denounced his version of the meeting. While it was true people distrusted the church hierarchy, he reported, they were equally disillusioned with the government. Moreover there was absolutely no authority whatsoever “to anyone to sign any agreements”. Filmer had seen Killoran lobbying various small groups but Sweet insisted no decisions could be made without consent of the whole community. Sweet also noted with concern that ex-councillor Jackson Mamoose, recently returned to Mapoon, had now taken over the role of chief councillor and informed people that before he left Thursday Island he had attended “a round table conference with Mr Killoran on numerous matters relating to Mapoon”. Mamoose also reported that Killoran said he could act on behalf of the whole council. Mamoose meanwhile, to the consternation of the committee and the department, began clearing an old outstation site with a view to relocation. Ultimately only three men inspected the Bamaga reserve. They reported that the land “seems as good as” land at Mapoon but that the hunting might be too difficult for the old people who were reliant on bush food until pensions became available, and that near-sea areas were limited. The men concluded: “the Mapoon people should meet to make some definite plan for the improvement of Mapoon during 1960 wherever it may be”. It was hardly a ringing endorsement. As the Presbyterian hierarchy noted, “their impressions of the area were open to different interpretation”.
Since there appeared to be no prospect of Mapoon’s benefitting from mining enterprises the mission committee reluctantly agreed to accept the relocation of most of the Mapoon people “to an Aboriginal reserve on the Eastern coastline”, although they acknowledged that a few might prefer to go to Bamaga or Weipa. It was suggested a conference be held at Mapoon “with a view to obtaining their co-operation for a transfer to a new site”.
In the September conference, attended by Rev Sweet and Pat Killoran, the options were spelled out. The present site was unsuitable as was Port Musgrave; a move to Bamaga would “accelerate the rate of exemption of all Mapoon people”, some of whom would qualify immediately. Farming land “of sufficient fertility and area to guarantee a reasonable living standard” would be available near Bamaga for “families with the promise of exemption”. The present Mapoon reserve would be cut up into cattle holdings with security of tenure and two-thirds of these blocks would be held for Mapoon people and their descendants. The people of Mapoon were unmoved. Initial response “was a unanimous negation of the proposals by the group…it was equally apparent that it was premediated [sic] opposition deliberately planned as a common front to any change”. Even so, noted the conference record ominously, after further consultation some will reach a “willing decision” to leave. In a rather bizarre twist, the record concludes that a suitable memorial could be erected on the vacated mission site with a dedication “to the success attending Government and Mission co-operation in the uplift of aborigines from 1891 – …?”
It was Killoran’s opinion that the “token opposition” would not be sustained once the nine chosen delegates (five of whom were community police) explained to other inhabitants the benefits of the proposed move. While the mission committee accepted the plan, endorsing the government’s control of the new Bamaga station, it cautioned that ex-residents would have to be guaranteed the bulk of the holdings on the vacated reserve. Killoran immediately informed the superintendent Alan Hamilton at Bamaga of his plans “to achieve the dispersal of the population”. He declared that approximately one-third of the Mapoon population of 251 would be given exemptions, one-third could proceed onto small farm or pastoral holdings, and one-third would probably “remain the responsibility of the Department for the next few decades”. A satellite town would have to be erected at Bamaga and advice would be sought from the department of Agriculture regarding pastoral holdings large enough “to sustain a family possibly of aboriginal extraction at a reasonable standard”.
Within six months Killoran had fixed upon Hidden Valley near Bamaga as the site for “new Mapoon”, and estimated costs for 30 cottages, water reticulation, school and aid post, and a crossing of the Jardine River at nearly £28,000. Although the government had managed to find over £8million for harbour and facilities for the new mining town at Weipa, only £3,000 was made available from department’s budget for the Bamaga project. Desperate to make an immediate start on construction Killoran directed that the £2,764 standing in the Mapoon Mission Funds (generated by the 10% levy on mission workers for maintenance) be appropriated. But in submitting his plans to the undersecretary Killoran made two disturbing points: first, that policy on the subdivision of the old Mapoon reserve “be deferred pending establishment of the inhabitants in more suitable accommodation”; and second, that the projected figure of £20,000 from loan funds to finance the new village was now slashed to £12,000 on treasury advice.
In May Killoran radioed Filmer at Mapoon that he would require six to eight men to start clearing and construction at the new site and families could follow as housing was erected. “Would appreciate now your psychological conditions of persons for first group to go forward” he wrote, noting that most available labour was already committed to outside employment. In fact a willing workforce was not so easy to find. Filmer informed Killoran that apart from men in pastoral employment, many others were out crocodile hunting, and some were awaiting the call for more labour by Alcan. “There are other subsidiary reasons” Filmer told Killoran, “the main one being that there is still a fundamental opposition to the idea of the move…The opposition indeed is becoming more organised”. Filmer also suggested that “one or two families” might have to be “forcibly expelled”. Killoran now also notified Sweet that he might have to issue a removal order “to transfer some of the organisers of the opposition”.
As aspects of the department’s anti-Mapoon activities trickled out the official campaign of disinformation intensified. In an unquestioning regurgitation of the government line the Cairns Post wrote that families had been relocating voluntarily to Bamaga for twelve months, and quoted O’Leary’s statement that no-one would be transferred “unless there was a house ready for them”. Internal documents give quite a different slant. While there were sixty people at new Mapoon this included several families from Aurukun, and there were only five completed houses. The other families, wrote O’Leary, “are occupying houses suitable to their requirements”. A newsletter printed by the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement provided a forum for Aboriginal opinion. Indiscriminate exemptions threw mission residents into the general community without employment, accommodation, or social support. They were thereafter cut off from family contact being banished from the mission and the reserve. Anger was expressed at government and church propaganda alleging Aboriginal dependence on mission finances. Jubilee Woodley pointed out he worked as a builder on the mission and was paid 3/- per week. Ex-councillor Jack Callope said that crocodile shooting, station work, and mining jobs were augmented by homegrown fruit and vegetables, fish, crabs, ducks and geese. Beads, flowers, and fans made by the women also raised money. “They are self-supporting and have been for a long time”, he said.
The files hold evidence of a wave of protests from Aboriginal organisations and trade unions about the uprooting of the Mapoon community and the “callous disregard to the basic principles of human dignity”. In response a hurriedly drafted official press release declaring that “the people were consistently consulted as to their view” (no mention that their views were consistently rejected) and “compulsion never operated in the overall policy”, was sent to Rev Sweet for his approval. The official line was that transfer of Mapoon had been decided in 1954, discovery of bauxite was not a decisive factor in discussions over Mapoon’s future, the mission was derelict and rebuilding not a financial option, and that representatives of the Mapoon community had visited Bamaga and declared themselves satisfied with the new location. All at new Mapoon had gone voluntarily and many had written to relatives declaring their contentment. “You can be assured”, concluded O’Leary “that it is not the intention of the Department to force anyone to leave Mapoon Mission against their will”.
The early 1960s: a process of attrition
Administrative control of the northern missions had been transferred from Rev Sweet’s Queensland mission committee in the last months of 1961. All transactions were now handled by Rev James Stuckey from head office in Sydney. Immediately a finite “calendar of events” was formalised, negotiations no doubt facilitated by the warm “Dear Pat, from Jim” relationship between Killoran and Stuckey. Stuckey now suggested a “programme of removal, including approximate dates for the closing of the school and store and for the withdrawal of the Missionaries and the demolition of the Mission buildings”. Either the people should be given exemptions and moved out or they should be transferred to departmental reserves at Cowal Creek, Bamaga, or Hidden Valley. Stuckey saw no necessity to compensate people for their homes. Residence on the Mapoon reserve seemed to have “created no legal personal rights”, he informed Killoran, and “no equity is recognised”. Although the committee had acknowledged in 1954 that homes on the reserve, many funded by the people themselves, cost around £97 to build, he now suggested offering only a token payment for sheets of iron, amounting to less than £15 per house on average.
Stuckey estimated probably 33 families would remain at Mapoon after exemptions. If two homes were built at Happy Valley each month, all could be transferred by June 1963. Preference should be given families with children as this would enable the school to be closed (possibly in December 1962), and the store could be wound down to close mid-1963. “From January 1963”, he submitted, “the Mission will gradually demolish its buildings and transport”. To complete the dispossession “Social Service benefits and personal finances will be progressively redirected through the Department as the people remove from Mapoon”. It must have been music to Killoran’s ears.
But in presenting this plan to the people in May, complete with slides and tapes of “contented” ex-Mapoon residents at Bamaga, “the reply was the same – they would not move”. Stuckey confided his apprehensions to “Dear Pat”: What if work with Alcan is added to crocodile shooting and pastoral work? Since the people had continually been assured there would be no coercion, what would be the legal status of those who stay on after the mission closes? “Incidentally”, wrote Stuckey, conveniently blind to his own plans to close the school and wind down the store, “I warned them if there was neglect of their children, the law would operate and coercion could take place”.
Organisations such as the Cairns-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Advancement League, which circulated a detailed rebuttal of the official propaganda on Mapoon’s deterioration based on first-hand accounts, were dismissed by church and state alike as “communist fronts”. On their own admission, thundered Rev Sweet in a “clarifying” statement, the Queensland Council for Advancement of Torres Strait Islanders and Aborigines and the Advancement League believed in “political agitation”. The Cairns Trades and Labour Council, and other unions which backed Aboriginal activism, were bases for “known Communists”. “It is not true to talk about coercion”, argued Sweet. “We, who are opposed to communism, are not guilty of communist tactics”. Already 100 people from twelve Mapoon families were living in “neat adequate homes” provided “as a gift to each family” from the government.
Interstate letters of protest to the premier forced O’Leary to give a defensive account of the saga. His duplicity is breathtaking. “It is strange”, he wrote, “that if these people were discontented at Bamaga they did not express a determination to return to Mapoon, but the contrary is the case”. O’Leary also damned Aboriginal support agencies. The Cairns Advancement League is a “political and disruptive organisation with no record of any practical helpful action in the interests of coloured people” and any opinions relayed by the League should be discounted. Documents reveal that the department even gave superintendent Filmer permission to “peruse but not censor” all incoming mail in an attempt to break the flow of information and support from Aboriginal organisations to the Mapoon people. Such material, claimed Filmer is “contentious and possible subversive. Mapoon’s disciplinary problems are acute enough without this kind of thing.”
Stuckey meanwhile had raised a new set of concerns over those who showed no sign of “voluntary” relocation. “There are a possible 123 who intend to stay put”, he told Killoran, although with the school now closed some might move for the sake of their children’s education. What is the department’s “attitude” to those who refuse to move? Should we demolish the school? There were probably sufficient children for the people to apply direct to the Education department for a teacher, or would their location on department “territory” preclude this? Demolition of “unrequired property” would shortly begin and the store would be closed from the end of June. But what if Alcan offers work to those still here? “I must admit”, Stuckey reflected somewhat subversively, “that in the back of my mind there is the thought that if the people have enough fortitude and strength of character to stick it out, I would be inclined to say good luck to you, but I can see all the administrative problems in relation to it”.
Stuckey was increasingly anxious that firm action be taken. Counting on people to gradually drift away from Mapoon was problematic, he informed Killoran. People might just play a waiting game and eventually “reverse the present position”. Indeed Filmer had for some time been expelling Mapoon residents to Cowal Creek, and routinely refusing permission for workers and medical patients to return to Mapoon from Thursday Island.
At a conference in May between Revs Sweet and Stuckey and Pat Killoran Mapoon’s demise was plotted. The mission timetable was focussed on the end of June. Foodstocks in the store were already being run down and both the store and the dispensary were to close at that time, after which the government would take over responsibility. But the department was already overstretched with forced relocations of people from missions at Monamona and Lockhart River. At the current building rate housing for ex-Mapoon inmates at Bamaga would not be completed for a further eight months. Killoran was acutely aware of the political fallout. “This will be difficult to justify for the Mission”, he said, “and extremely difficult for the D.N.A.”. While all homes at Mapoon were to be demolished as soon as the occupants moved out, Killoran suggested perhaps native monitors should start a temporary school for the children. Killoran stated he would notify the Social Service department that all child endowment and pension payments be paid directly into departmentally controlled savings pass books to prevent any cash trading. “Incidentally, if children are then neglected removal order would be legitimate and enforced”, he added callously. Queries as to the status of the vacated reserve were brushed aside with the comment, “Plans included in previous submission were that area should be cut up for private holdings 2/3 for ex-Mapoon people”. How did Killoran advise committee personnel to handle to media pressure over Mapoon procedures? “Masterly inactivity”, was the contemptuous reply.
Early in June Killoran confirmed the department would send Charles Turner to Mapoon to help with mopping up operations, although the church was expected to remain in control until Bamaga housing allowed its final closure. In the meantime Killoran sent visiting justice B.J. Scanlan to make a formal inspection and, Killoran remarked, “I rather expect further clarification” of departmental polemic following his return. As anticipated, Scanlan reported shameful conditions on the mission including lack of food and run down shanties which were “sub-standard, unhealthy, unhygienic and overcrowded”. “This housing is in no way fit for persons who occupy the position of wards of the state. The Mission authorities have never constructed any housing”, he continued, and inmates had built all their own huts. Several mothers had expressed concern for the welfare of their children, he reported, and no schooling was available for the thirty-one children. Women were also angry that superintendent Filmer’s wife was causing strife in families by advising mothers they should go to Bamaga where there was schooling and medical help. In general there was an attitude of “passive resistance and non-co operation” with mission authorities and extreme mistrust and suspicion. Chief councillor Gilbert Jimmy lodged a complaint that pensioners were issued rations instead of their cash entitlement. Jimmy also stated that it was known there was no work and no hunting at Bamaga, and the people were quite prepared to run their own community at Mapoon.
This report was to be Killoran’s trump card. The visiting justice had confirmed that mothers and children are wanting to transfer, he told O’Leary, but some of the men “are attempting to intimidate the majority” of those remaining. Stuckey described the report as “the greatest thing that we had in our favour”. With utter disregard for the fact that atrocious conditions had been deliberately engineered through policy decisions, Stuckey said the report was evidence of “the sort of problems we are facing” thereby offering solid ground for decisive intervention. Killoran agreed with Stuckey’s assessment. “Neither he nor I could face the public if we allowed the people to starve”, he wrote hypocritically. I do not “anticipate any difficulties” in closing down Mapoon, he added. Killoran rated Gilbert Jimmy as the “principal trouble” and on the basis of Scanlan’s report Killoran resolved to have him “exempted and send Police to remove him from the Station”. In notifying O’Leary of his intention, Killoran advised him to study the report so that “you will be warned of the position”.
Killoran decided to organise for minister Jack Pizzey to visit Mapoon and confirm his plans, although this would entail stalling for time. And with a view to “possible political repercussions”, Killoran sought ministerial approval for the removal of the “troublemakers”. It was not forthcoming. In fact the government had been greatly embarrassed that the matter of exclusion and expulsion of Aborigines from Cape York reserves “without consultation or compensation” was the subject of a petition to the United Nations through the Federal Council of Aboriginal Advancement. Asked by Canberra for information for an official response in the international forum, Killoran restated the government line: “the majority of the Mapoon residents were already in the process of transfer at their own request prior to any approach for bauxite leases. There remain at Mapoon now only a few folk…”
Following the minister’s visit in August Turner applied for the removal of the chief spokesmen and their families on the grounds that they were “both dominant and influential” and “are retarding others from moving out”. In fact the men had planned an independent outlet to operate when the mission store closed, two ex-teachers were going to provide schooling via correspondence lessons, and with “large sums of money” coming into Mapoon through sales of crocodile skins, Turner suspected the boats collecting the hides might bring supplies with them.
In September the president of Federal Council of Aboriginal Advancement led a deputation to prime minister Robert Menzies requesting federal intervention to terminate the “long persecution of the Mapoon people”. Menzies “pressed strongly the need for an investigation” and contacted the Queensland premier, eliciting assurances from him that the matter would receive his attention. And so it did. Under cover of a federal election, the department had decided to strike.
When a public meeting was held at Mapoon on the 14th of November superintendent Turner was invited. Spokesman Willie Cooktown asked why the mission boats brought no food supplies during the recent shortage. Why, he asked, were people “forced to starve through no flour, sugar or rice?” They had now organised supply of stores through the Advancement League in Cairns, he said, and they would no longer use mission stores. Why were they not allowed access to their child endowment and pensions? Why was the government now taking control of Mapoon when Killoran had previously stated “he had wiped his hands of Mapoon?”
Killoran used the peaceful meeting (Turner described it as “fairly orderly”) as a pretext for action. Turner named the three “disturbing elements” – former councillors Dick Luff, Matthew Cooktown, and John Andrews – and now formally applied for their removal from the reserve. On the same day, Killoran issued removal orders for eleven men and women, and their families, citing “disciplinary reasons” for their forced expulsion. In his covering letter to the Thursday Island police, who were to execute the order, he requested them to liaise with Turner who might “desire other persons also accompany the party”. As previously discussed, he added, take two Torres Strait Islander policemen with you. The deportees can be given exemptions if they do not want to stay at Bamaga, he remarked, but they are not permitted to return to Mapoon. On the boat to Mapoon, courtesy of Killoran’s systematic mind, was also a “work party…to commence demolition of the vacated shanties on the Reserve”. The boat arrived in the night, armed police ordered the families to collect what they could carry, marching them to a mission hut to sleep under guard until the morning, when they were deported. Houses were burned and bulldozed, furniture and household goods destroyed. On arrival at Bamaga, where homes were said to be available, the families were offloaded, as Constance Cooktown later recounted, “like a mob of cattle with no-where to go”.
Neat newspaper clippings on the files give only the government line. “Natives moved from mission…police needed…would have starved there”, advised The Cairns Post, adding that “200 natives have gone quite happily to New Mapoon” during the previous eighteen months. Those remaining were in danger of starvation because “they were incapable of supporting themselves”. “No force had been used…only a show of uniforms had been needed”. Not surprisingly the North Queensland Register also carried the official line: “Police move natives `to save lives'” according to a Native Affairs Department spokesman, with the remaining text echoing word for word, the previous day’s article in The Cairns Post. The Courier-Mail expanded on the rhetoric of starvation, no force, just a show of uniforms, to inform its readers that the mission, established in 1891 “as an `initial contact’ post with peninsular natives” had long since achieved its purpose and was no longer suitable. About 200 people from Mapoon had already “gone happily” to Bamaga, where there was good hunting and fishing, new houses and hospital, and agricultural areas for development.
Internal correspondence, however, gives a different picture. Killoran admitted to Stuckey that only three homes were ready for the “transferees” and “doubling-up” was inevitable. And shortage of space was only one of a series of problems at Bamaga. The site of new Mapoon was windswept and waterlogged. There was rampant unemployment exacerbated by relocation of residents from Lockhart River. For workers, wages were very low and cost of living high, with residents forced to patronise the department-run store notorious for its high prices. Hunting and fishing were poor and Bamaga was locally known as a “hungry place”. All of these factors were routinely denied by the department as it swamped the protests and held to the official line.
In response to public outrage over the evictions and demolitions, Killoran was forced to make a conciliatory visit to Bamaga, visiting ex-residents to assess “any losses they felt were sustained”. As clarification of allegations “of burning houses over the heads of the people or immediately following their removal”, Killoran tendered a statement from one of the Islander police that only empty or “useless” huts had been burned. (On the files, however, there is a copy of a telegram from Mapoon to Killoran: “Every building was being pulled down. All job is complete”) After listing the claims of the few men who approached him, Killoran estimated payment of £12 would cover outstanding liabilities. These people “are happy at the new site”, he declared, and “are continuing to settle in”.
In fact there was continuing agitation to return. Two “holiday homes” had been built by the department to cater for short visits. Not surprisingly these were spurned by the people, a rejection which Killoran claimed publicly as an indication that the old ties were broken. Behind the scenes, however, Killoran conspired to block all links with the old site. Late in 1964, Killoran, now director of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, was informed that Jackson Mamoose intended to apply to Thursday Island magistrate Mr K Kelly for a lease over a block on the Mapoon reserve. His request was denied on the grounds that the area was being developed as a cattle outstation to provide employment for ex-Mapoon residents. Mamoose then applied to Kelly in his position as land agent, an application for the lease was duly registered with the Lands department, and informal tenancy was granted.
Killoran immediately directed the Lands Commission to cancel the tenancy agreement and to block an application by a second ex-Mapoon resident. Please withhold any advice to Jackson Mamoose, he wrote, and keep possession of the letter from the Lands department which he has not yet collected. Return of people to the area was “undesirable in many aspects”, not least because the government could find itself “with an on-going responsibility for administration, maintenance, schooling etc., a situation which it is desired to avoid, if at all possible”. The Lands department complied with Killoran’s instructions, confirming that any future approaches to lease Mapoon land, even that under control of Comalco, would be referred to him for approval. When Mapoon residents lobbied the federal Office of Aboriginal Affairs in 1970 for assistance to re-establish the old community, Killoran alleged the petitions were not genuine because few had asked to visit the site.
Thirty years after Killoran sabotaged legitimate pastoral leases on the old Mapoon reserve to protect the government from financial liabilities, it is not surprising to read that the reborn Mapoon community has developed through federal, rather than state, backing. And that the state government will not sanction the formalised council structure necessary for efficient administration despite repeated requests from community leaders who have been “battling the bureaucracy for basic infrastructure, services and recognition”. State minister Anne Warner rejects the community-generated corporation and justifies government inaction on the grounds that this community must produce culturally-appropriate structures. This will be a “fairly long process”, she says. Once again Mapoon residents are forced to endure substandard living conditions and defective service delivery while government officials play semantics.
Perhaps, once again, bureaucrats and politicians are hoping that application of soothing rhetoric and band-aid solutions will secure indefinite deferment of the problem. Perhaps they are counting on the fact that the general public has scant awareness of the sordid story behind the siege of Mapoon. Protecting bureaucrats and politicians from accountability for public actions by closing all “sensitive” material to scrutiny and debate is one way of escaping condemnation and retribution. After all, much of the material upon which this article is based -namely anything which can be said to have relevance to ministerial and Cabinet actions even where this is not so in fact – would be concealed under the Goss government’s newly amended, retrospectively applied, Freedom of Information procedures. And that, once again, would leave only the “official” version of this shameful saga.
. Queensland Parliamentary Papers, 1902: 1141.
. Presbyterian Archives Correspondence – Aboriginal Missions, 1952.
. ibid, undated petition received 10.10.52.
. Queensland State Archives (QSA) TR254 6G/20 15.6.53 – O’Leary to undersecretary, Health and Home Affairs.
. ibid, 27.9.52 – Holmes to Rev McPhail, secretary Aboriginal and Foreign Missions Committee.
. ibid, 14.7.52 – McCarthy to Cornelius O’Leary, director of Native Affairs.
. Presbyterian Archives, Minutes of the General Assembly, 1953.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 24.3.54 – Minutes of conference.
. ibid, 19.5.54 – conference between mission committee and department of Health and Home Affairs.
. ibid, 26.7.54 – conference minutes.
. ibid, 6.8.54 – Rev Sweet to minister W. Moore.
. Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs (DAIA) OF/6 30.8.54 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. Presbyterian Archives, Minutes of the General Assembly, 1954.
. QSA TR254 1E/58 7.9.54.
. ibid, 18.5.55 – telegram from DNA to Thursday Island office.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 26.9.54 – Sweet to O’Leary.
. ibid, 26.9.55 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. Presbyterian Archives, Minutes of the General Assembly, 1957.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 21.8.54 – Comalco to Rev Sweet.
. ibid, 6.11.57 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. QSA TR254 1E/58 – 11.12.57.
. DAIA OF/6 20.1.58 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. ibid, 31.1.58 – Sweet to Noble.
. ibid, 19.2.58 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. Presbyterian Archives, Minutes of the General Assembly, 1958.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 28.5.62 – Rev Stuckey to the editor Nation.
. ibid, 4.12.57 – quoted in Noble to Sweet.
. QSA TR254 1E/58 11.4.58 – Sweet to O’Leary.
. DAIA OF/6 1.5.58 – Killoran to O’Leary.
. QSA TR254 1E/57 5.8.58 – Sweet to Noble.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 15.7.58 – Sweet to Nicklin.
. ibid, 1.10.58 – Sweet to Comalco.
. DAIA OF/6 27.11.58 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. The Courier-Mail, 7.11.58.
. QSA TR254 1E/57 18.12.58 – conference minutes.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 15.4.59 – Comalco to Sweet.
. DAIA RK:122 30.3.62 – acting minister for Health and Home Affairs to secretary, Anti-Slavery Society for the Protection of Human Rights.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 26.5.59 – Sweet to Comalco.
. QSA TR254 1E/58 16.6.59 – Sweet to O’Leary.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 10.7.59 – extract from report to undersecretary.
. ibid, 20.8.59 – O’Leary to undersecretary.
. ibid, 4.9.59 – information by telephone from Killoran.
. ibid, 9.9.59.
. ibid, 16.11.59 – Killoran to O’Leary.
. Presbyterian Archives, Minutes of the General Assembly, 1960.
. QSA TR254 1E/58 24.5.60 – Sweet to O’Leary.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 – joint observations following visit and discussions at Mapoon 7th and 9th September, 1960.
. DAIA OF/6 29.9.60 – Killoran to superintendent.
. DAIA RK:122 20.3.61 – Killoran to undersecretary.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 16.5.61.
. ibid, 5.7.61.
. Cairns Post, 14.9.61.
. “Mapoon Mission Closure”, FCAA, December 1961.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 28.12.61 – Waterside Workers’ Federation of Australia to minister.
. ibid, 30.3.62 – O’Leary to FCAA.
. ibid, 19.5.54 – conference between Presbyterian mission committee and department personnel.
. ibid, 27.3.62 – Stuckey to O’Leary.
. ibid, 8.5.62 – Stuckey to Killoran.
. ibid, 6.12.62 – Statement by Rev J.R.Sweet on Yellow Circular, “They Made Our Rights Wrong”.
. DAIA OF/6 3.5.63 – O’Leary to director-general of Education.
. QSA TR254 1A/578 3.1.62 – Filmer to O’Leary.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 11.1.63 – Stuckey to Killoran.
. QSA TR254 6D/25 25.3.63 – Stuckey to Killoran.
. ibid, 26.6.63 – report of Visiting Justice.
. ibid, 1.7.63 – memo of conversations between Stuckey and Killoran; and 5.7.63 – Killoran quoted by O’Leary to director-general of Education (Aboriginal affairs came under the umbrella of the Education department after 1957).
. ibid, 13.9.63 – Killoran to secretary, department of Territories, Canberra.
. ibid, 12.9.63 – Turner to O’Leary.
. ibid, 14.11.63 – Killoran to officer-in-charge, Thursday Island.
. The Weekend Australian, 20-21.8.1994.
. 22 and 23.11.63.
. QSA TR254 6G/20 13.12.63 – Killoran to Stuckey.
. The Cairns Post, 27.11.63.
. DAIA OF/6 undated (early August 1964).
. QSA TR254 6G/20 29.4.64 – Killoran to director-general of Education.
. QSA TR254 6D/25 4.1.65 – Killoran to secretary, Lands Commission.
. The Weekend Australian, 20-21.8.94; and The Courier-Mail, 13.7.94.