Monday, December 28, 2020

Six Tasmanian Aborigines killed unlawfully in 1827

The killer was a livestock handler so it seems probable that the Aborigines came to attention for cattle stealing, a grave offence in those days

It is important to note that the killing was illegal -- not part of any official policy. It would in fact have been prosecuted if it became known. So it was no evidence of the "genocide" that some Leftist historians assert. It is in fact evidence against that

A soldier's diary disintegrating in Ireland's national library has revealed disturbing evidence of an undocumented massacre of Aboriginal people in Tasmania in the colony's early years.

The diary belonged to Private Robert McNally, posted to Van Diemen's Land in the 1820s, and records in gritty detail colonial life and encounters with settlers and a notorious bushranger.

But it's his account of his part in the cover up a massacre of men and women on March 21, 1827, near Campbell Town in the Northern Midlands, that stunned University of Tasmania history professor Pam Sharpe.

Searching the National Library of Ireland catalogue for documents about settlers, Professor Sharpe found a note referring to "two volumes in bad condition" of a soldier's writings.

Unearthed, the diaries were identified as the work of McNally, an Irishman who served in Ireland, India, Sydney and Van Diemen's Land, Professor Sharpe told ABC Radio Hobart.

Professor Sharpe said she approached the find with low expectations, but that soon changed when she got her hands on the first of two notebooks. "I didn't hold out much hope that it would be interesting, but I opened it and it was absolutely fascinating," she said.

What she read prompted Professor Sharpe to divert her research funding to have the handwritten entries digitised. Efforts are underway to conserve what remains of a second McNally volume in poor condition.

"It is extremely unusual, very valuable, and completely worth diverting my research to investigate because some of these things aren't on the record about Van Diemen's Land," Professor Sharpe said.

She said the diaries recounted McNally's time with the infantry from 1815 to 1836. "He gets to Van Diemen's Land around about the time that Governor [George] Arthur comes — 1825. He's here for three years," Professor Sharpe said.

"The critical thing is that it's the only diary of an ordinary soldier that anyone has found for colonial Australia."

Professor Sharpe said she was disturbed to read McNally's account of the aftermath of a deadly confrontation between a livestock handler named Shaw and local Indigenous people on the Sutherland Estate.

"McNally doesn't actually see any Aboriginal people for the first few months, but then he is involved in some alarming episodes," she said.

"He was called to [the scene of] a massacre that my researchers and I can't find any other evidence of."

McNally wrote:

"A man of the name of Shaw came to me with information that he had killed six of the natives, two of which was woman.

"I advised him to say no more about it but keep it as a secret as he would be called to an account before a justice. He took me to the place where I saw him make a bonfire of these bodies."

A lot of violence perpetrated against Aboriginal people happened in remote areas of Van Diemen's Land and many incidents were not recorded, Professor Sharpe said.

"It is horrific, absolutely awful, but unfortunately it is probably the story of what happened to a lot of Aboriginal people in the 1820s," she said

The University of Newcastle's Professor Lyndall Ryan, who created an online map of massacres in Australia, said there were lots of massacres that never came to light.

"Most of them were carried out in secret. If you were caught, you would be hanged," Professor Ryan said.

'Colonials hid massacres'

Heather Sculthorpe, chief executive of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, said any new information would need to be substantiated.

"It will be exciting if there is new information, but we do need it to be historically verified," she said.

"There has been a lot of work done on the history of Tasmania, but of course there is more to be found.

"The way that colonials would have written about massacres would have been hidden."

Professor Sharpe said she had only had four hours to examine the McNally diary before returning home to Hobart. She hadn't even seen the second volume, because it was covered in mould and deemed too fragile.

But the research continues.

"After a lot of effort, and the involvement of the Irish ambassador to Australia, the National Library of Ireland is now conserving [the second volume]," Professor Sharpe said.

"It is undergoing an enormous restoration process in the Marsh's Library in Dublin, where they're experts on 18th century paper conservation."

According to his diary, McNally witnessed another famous event in Tasmania's history.

Matthew Brady was known as the "gentleman bushranger" and one of his most audacious actions was the capture of the entire township of Sorell, near Hobart, in November 1825.

His "gentlemanly" attributes included rarely robbing women and fine manners while stealing from men.

"To start with [McNally is] chasing Matthew Brady, who more or less held the whole island to ransom," Professor Sharpe said.

"I mean, Brady and his gang are running rampant.

"Robert is part of the military force trying to capture him and they have an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter at Sorell jail and Brady gets away yet again.

"That's quite a famous episode, so it's just fantastic to have a very close and detailed account of this."

Immense drinking and women trouble

Professor Sharpe said the McNally diary also documented the minutiae of colonial life.

"There is a lot of everyday detail, including what they wore, what they do all the time and all the drinking they do, which is immense," she said.

"He recounts his liaisons with women. We have a lot of quite explicit detail of his affairs, which I hadn't expected of an early 19th century journal.

"He really struggles with forming relationships with women."

Signs of authenticity
Professor Sharpe said McNally was born in the 1790s and died in 1874 in Ireland.

She said she had strong indications the diary was McNally's own work and not that of an amanuensis, or person employed to take dictation or copy other people's experiences, which was common at the time.

She said the library conservator had established the diary was very early 19th century handmade paper.

"We've been able to fact check against military records, newspaper reports and so far, Robert McNally is where he says he is," Professor Sharpe said.

"We know that writers of military memoirs sometimes put themselves into the spotlight, as Albert Facey did in A Fortunate Life when he gives a description of the beginning of Gallipoli, when we know he wasn't there.

"In the McNally diaries there is quite a famous incident in Ireland called the Churchtown Burnings and Robert says he is nearby but not actually there.

"This gives us confidence that, when he gives himself a central role in the Sorell jail hold-up by Matthew Brady a few years later, he was actually there, and he did what he describes."

Robert Hogan is working as a research assistant on the diaries, and has found Private McNally's service record in the British National Archives.

"The information he gives in the journal is consistent with military history," Mr Hogan said.

"I found that he joined the 96th Regiment in 1816 and when they disbanded in 1818 he moved immediately to join the 40th Regiment.

"His length of service in each place is consistent with what he says in his diaries."

WA doctors call for more 'humane' quarantine with access to fresh air after woman flees

Doctors in Western Australia have called for a more “humane” quarantine system with access to fresh air after a woman who described her experience as “traumatic” fled hotel quarantine and was later found by police.

Jenny Maree D’ubios hadn’t completed mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving from overseas when she absconded on Saturday morning. WA police found her overnight at Rockingham hospital, south-west of Perth. She has been charged with failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Management Act.

WA’s acting premier, Roger Cook, said D’ubios, who described her quarantine experience as “traumatic” on social media, had since returned a negative Covid-19 test result.

D’ubios on Facebook said she wanted a “non-toxic safe place to quarantine”, while also making several conspiracy theory claims.

The Australian Medical Association’s WA president, Dr Andrew Miller, said the hotel quarantine system needed to be more “humane”, with fresh air available to prevent people from trying to flee.

He also wants a “transparent and open” explanation of how the state’s quarantine system is working. “The quarantine seems to be a bit of a voluntary thing just now and the hospitals are overloaded,” Miller told reporters on Sunday.

“We know there are going to be uncooperative people, we know mistakes are going to be made, but in my job we have to have systems in place that make up for that, otherwise people die.

“Now unfortunately that’s also the case with hotel quarantine ... so there’s lots of work to be done because Covid is not taking the Christmas/new year period off.”

D’ubios was refused bail in Perth magistrates court on Sunday, the ABC reported, and was remanded in custody until 4 January.

Cook said the woman, who arrived in Perth from Madrid on 19 December, faced a maximum penalty of $50,000 or 12 months in prison.

While in hotel quarantine she had regular contact with an on-site medical, health and wellbeing team, he said, and was twice taken to Royal Perth hospital for medical assistance.

People quarantining in other states have shared similar experiences, describing a lack of fresh air and dirty rooms.

A woman who only wanted to be identified as Sophie and who is quarantining in a hotel in Chippendale in New South Wales told Guardian Australia that she had entered quarantine healthy but was now unwell, with allergies and back pain. She sent photos of her bed linen to Guardian Australia, which had red and brown stains on it.

Sophie said the rooms were not being cleaned, and some people had resorted to asking their loved ones to drop off vacuum cleaners and cleaning products.

“I asked the hotel to provide me with a vacuum cleaner but they said no, because I might contaminate it,” she said. “It is so unhealthy to live in a room which is not vacuumed, had no fresh air, and no ability to clean surfaces unless you call someone and ask for spray.”

She said medical staff at the hotel accused her of having obsessive compulsive disorder after her complaints about the dirty linen and dust, and encouraged her to take allergy tablets and sleeping pills.

“This system is designed to punish and humiliate, there is no other explanation,” Sophie said. “There is utter chaos and lack of coordination between government, police, ADF, the hotel, caterers and health care workers and it is infuriating.

“There is no oversight to ensure the different parties work efficiently together.”

In Victoria, a man was arrested in Melbourne after also escaping hotel quarantine, because of “anxiety”, he said. He was arrested by four police officers outside the Holiday Inn hotel on Saturday afternoon.

The man told the Melbourne radio station 3AW he didn’t believe he needed to be in the facility. He claimed he had returned from NSW in time to avoid compulsory hotel quarantine.

“I know it was wrong ... But I had told the medical staff, my anxiety is going to take over and I can’t control myself, and I’m just going to go out and try to leave until I’m forcibly stopped,” he said.

‘100 per cent’ COVID cure being produced in Australia

A vaccine said to be “100 per cent” effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 is coming soon, with the government increasingly confident of its ability.

A vaccine already being produced in Australia is “100 per cent effective” in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 infections, new data shows.

The federal government is “confident” it has backed the right COVID vaccine as data to be released in Australia shows the Oxford/AstraZeneca-developed jab is as effective as the already approved Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs.

Australia has thrown its weight behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50m doses to be manufactured in Melbourne by pharmaceutical company CSL and almost 4m of those doses to be delivered to Australia in January and February.

Until now the precise efficacy of the jab was yet to be determined through clinical trials.

But AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said new data would show the vaccine would be just as effective as the already-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that protect 95 per cent of patients. And it would be “100 per cent effective” in preventing severe illness.

“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” Mr Soriot said.

Senior UK government officials expect the drug watchdog will approve the vaccine before Thursday, kickstarting the rollout of the jab to 15m vulnerable people in Britain.

Unlike the US, Britain and Canada which slashed red tape to fast-track vaccines, the Australian government plans to roll out the vaccine in March.

“Before any COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use in Australia, it will be subject to the well-established and rigorous assessment and approval processes of the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Mr Hunt’s spokesman said.

“The rollout of the vaccine in Australia will be guided by the Medical experts of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.”

The UK government regards the Oxford vaccine as the one that would transform the fight against COVID, as it can be stored in a fridge and costs $A3.50 a shot.

The Pfizer vaccine, of which Australia has ordered 10 million doses, has to be kept at temperatures of -70C and costs $A26 a dose.

Australia poised to fight back against Chinese trade war by AXING a lucrative university research agreement

Australia could be set to strike back at China as the two nations continue to engage in an ugly trade war, as ministers consider scrapping a widely-touted research agreement.

The ongoing deal, signed off in 2015, sees grants of up to $200,000 handed out to Victorian universities and companies to share research and data.

But the agreement could be axed by the federal government, ending the deal with China's Jiangsu province which sees intellectual property and new product development shared across the two nations.

Relations between Australia and China have dramatically soured since Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic from its source in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in April.

In a seemingly tit-for-tat response, a furious China has imposed a raft of trade measures on Australian products from barley to beef, recently adding timber to the list.

There are mounting fears the Victoria-Jiangsu Program for Technology and Innovation Research and Development could not be in the best interests of Australia's national affairs.

According to The Age, recent legislation introduced by the federal government in December sees the Commonwealth able to cancel agreements with foreign powers if the deals are perceived as harmful.

Dr Paul Monk, the former head of China analysis in Australia's Defence Department, said the current Jiangsu deal could see Chinese government officials blatantly take advantage of Australia.

'For this deal to be getting promoted by the Chinese government, there is likely to be something we can provide that they want – otherwise they would do it themselves,' he said.

'So we must ask: what [intellectual property] do we bring to the table that they are seeking?'

The current terms of the Jiangsu deal see a number of Australian entities frequently travel to the region for research and development in sectors such as aerospace, biotechnology and medicine.

Former Trade Minister Simon Birmingham recently lodged an official complaint with the World Trade Organisation in relation to Beijing's conduct in the ongoing trade dispute Australia and China.

'We have a series of different actions that China has taken during the course of the year and each come with slightly different criteria for how you might respond at the WTO,' he said earlier this month.

'The application of pressure on [markets] in the Chinese system where businesses within China are state-owned enterprises, being discouraged from purchasing Australian goods [is one].

In May this year, China imposed 80 per cent tariffs on barley, prompting an official complaint to the WTO from Mr Birmingham this month.

Australian wine also incurred 212 per cent import taxes in November, following months of trade intimidation against beef, lobster, timber, lamb and even coal exporters.




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