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Palm Island

Through a Long Lens

Palm Island by Joanne Watson
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In November 2004, Mulrunji Doomadgee’s tragic death triggered civil unrest within the Indigenous community of Palm Island. This led to the first prosecution of a Queensland police officer in relation to a death in custody.

Despite prolonged media attention, much of it negative and full of stereotypes, few Australians know the turbulent history of ‘Australia’s Alcatraz’, a political prison set up to exile Queensland’s ‘troublesome blacks’.

In Palm Island, Joanne Watson gives the first substantial history of the island from pre-contact to the present, set against a background of some of the most explosive episodes in Queensland history.

The repressive regimes were under the guise of protectionism. But police control continues, and there is a continuing failure to address the causes of ongoing Indigenous disadvantage.Palm Island, often heart-wrenching and at times uplifting, is a study in the dynamics of power and privilege, and how it is resisted.

Aboriginal Studies Press; March 2010
256 pages; ISBN 9780855757434
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Title: Palm Island
Author: Joanne Watson
 
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Excerpt

Contents

Acknowledgments v
Foreword ix
Illustrations xiv
Abbreviations xv
Maps xviii

Chapter 1 Sorry Time 2004: ‘A Duty to Protect Everyone on the Island’ 1
Chapter 2 Out from ‘the Big Swag’ 17
Chapter 3 Kenny’s Time: From Carpet Snake to Hull River Reserve Country 24
Chapter 4 Curry’s Time: ‘A State of Constant Apprehension’ 36
Chapter 5 The 1930 Rampage: ‘As Straight as A Gun Barrel’ 55
Chapter 6Gribble’s Time: ‘Fiscal Restraint’ 76
Chapter 7 Fantome Island, Phantom Welfare 92
Chapter 8 Bartlam’s Time: ‘We Couldn’t Tolerate Any More’, the 1957 Strike 102
Chapter 9 Whistleblowers’ Time: ‘A Certain Paradise for Certain People’ 121
Chapter 10 Campaign Time: ‘Heady Days’ 135
Chapter 11 The Inquest and its Aftermath: ‘Our Day in Court’ 146
Conclusion Calling Palm Island Home 157

Notes 162
Bibliography 180
Index 197