Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Richard Harding

Simon Adams’s thesis is that capital punishment was crucial in how the West was won: ‘The gallows were a potent symbol of an unforgiving social order that was determined to stamp its moral authority over one-third of the Australian continent.’ But hanging was discriminatory; it ‘was never applied fairly or impartially in Western Australia’. Adams points to the fact that ‘there were 17 men hanged between 1889 and 1904, all of whom were “foreigners”: two Afghans, six Chinese, one Malay, two Indians, one Greek, one Frenchman and four Manilamen’, but not a single ‘Britisher’. Capital punishment was racist, reflecting the ‘distortions and prejudices of the British colonial legal system’.

... (read more)

Ciara's Gift by Una Glennon & Murderer No More by Colleen Egan

July–August 2010, no. 323

In 1996–97, three young women were abducted from the nightclub area of Claremont in Perth, and murdered. One of them was a young lawyer, Ciara Glennon. Her mother, Una Glennon, has written a memoir of her passage from despair, anger and grief to a mature and rounded understanding of the complexity of the human condition. Her book is a wise and beautiful one – written sparingly, without unnecessary personal embellishment. ‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards,’ she says, quoting Kierkegaard.

... (read more)

The first attempt to settle Western Australia, in 1827, failed. This book brings home that the second attempt, in 1829, was also very fragile and could well have failed. By 1850 there were still only 5900 non-Aboriginal people in the colony. By any measure, this was well short of the critical mass of population needed to sustain development in such a remote and vast outpost.

... (read more)