Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cairns and Yarrabah, 1891 - 1911

This article investigates the relationship between Cairns,  a country town in Queensland,  and Yarrabah, the nearby Aboriginal Mission, from 1891-1911. This association is analysed through a variety of contemporary sources, charting its growth, development and gradual improvement in race relations.

Cairns, in Far North Queensland, was first settled in 1876 as a port for the Hodgkinson Goldfield, a new field west of Cairns.  Despite the best efforts of the Aboriginal inhabitants in the area, the fledgling settlement survived  and prospered, having 2 460 residents by 1891.[1]

The impact on the Aboriginal inhabitants was catastrophic.[2]  By 1891, just 15 short years after the founding of the town, they had been dispossessed of their lands and forced to subsist in fringe camps under appalling conditions.  The Cairns Post of 20 January 1892 describes conditions at one such camp.   It was located on the Hop Wah road (now Mulgrave road), less than one kilometre from the Cairns Post Office and inhabited by 100 men, women and children.  Tobacco and opium usage were rife.  There were disease ridden dogs and an influenza epidemic was ravaging the community. This article also mentions that a group of white men had recently set fire to several gunyahs in the camp.[3]

Reverend John Gribble of the Anglican Church arrived in the district in 1891 looking for land on which to start a mission, leading to the eventual formation of the Yarrabah Mission.  In his report to the Queensland Colonial secretary he stated that the:

Barron and Kuranda Blacks were succumbing to white exploitation and that they were no longer regarded as dangerous although the settlers take every precaution.[4]

Gribble was the driving force behind the establishment of Yarrabah and it is probable that without his enthusiasm it would never have been established.[5]    In 1891 he gained approval from the Diocesan Council of North Queensland to establish the mission. [6]   He returned to North Queensland in 1892, landing at False Bay on 17 June,  the site of the present community, and taking formal possession of the 51 200 acres.[7]  The mission was originally named the Bellenden Ker Mission, but was later changed to Yarrabah.[8]  The first few months were very difficult and were marked by poverty and ill-health for Gribble.  He died in 1893 and his son, Ernest, who arrived in October 1892, took over the running of the mission and remained until 1909.[9]

From the outset financial difficulties  plagued the mission.  At the end of 1893 the North Queensland Diocese ceased support and Gribble was forced to turn to the Australian Board of Missions for meagre financial assistance.  From 1908  the Diocese again contributed to the upkeep of the mission.  After 1896 the government provided a small subsidy.[10] 

Initially Aborigines,  ignoring the work of John Gribble and his three helpers, were slow to come to the mission.[11]    On 12 December 1892, 30 people led by Menmuny, an Aboriginal leader,  came to Yarrabah seeking a camp site.[12]  Gradually more and more people came into the mission and by 1895 there were 112 people living there.[13]

Yarrabah came to be regarded as a model mission by the government and church authorities, and rapidly became a home for displaced Aborigines.[14]   After the introduction of the Aborigines Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act  in 1897, the population grew rapidly as Aboriginal people were rounded up and sent to Yarrabah against their will.[15]   By 1910 only 60 of the 300 residents were local people, the remainder having been committed by the State.[16]

After what had happened in the district since 1876 to the Aboriginal inhabitants, and after the strenuous calls for reserves  as:

The only chance of safety for the nigger is to place the greatest possible number of miles between himself and civilization.[17]

one would have thought that the establishment of a reserve at Yarrabah would have been greeted with enthusiasm.  Such was not the case, however.  The following discussion of the town's reactions to the mission and its founder, Rev. John W. Gribble, is based on the Cairns Post  and the Cairns Morning Post for this period as well as the opposing view from the Cairns Argus.[18]

The news in 1891 that a mission was to be established in the Cape Grafton region south of  Cairns was greeted with alarm by the majority of Cairns residents.  Criticism was directed more to the church itself and the mission’s founder, Gribble, than to the setting up reserves  for Aborigines per se.  Establishing a mission to rescue Aborigines was seen to reflect poorly on the treatment of Aborigines in the district.  This accusation the local community rejected with absolute and utter contempt.  The attacks on Gribble were vicious and personal in nature, highlighting problems faced by Gribble in his previous missionary work in Western Australia.  It was felt  that he and his fellow missionaries were naive and idealistic in their knowledge and understanding of  the local Aboriginal population.[19]  The Cairns Argus presented a different view.  It attacked the Cairns Divisional Board for its opposition to the mission, noting;

The Cairns Divisional Board has deliberately ranged itself on the side of the enemy.  It has appealed to the Minister of Lands to curtail the area granted in this district as a reserve for Aborigines, and it has formally expressed its aversion to the establishment of a local mission station.[20]

The paper went on to further note that there was more than enough land for everyone and the Board was being churlish and unreasonable.  The paper strongly supported the establishment of the mission on the grounds that:

We owe the blacks more than contemptuous annual alms of blankets can repay.  In New Zealand, where the natives are more warlike, the government buys its land.  Here it steals it.  The transaction is defensible, no doubt, by various comfortable theories of the survival of the fittest and the divine right of English ascendancy.  But these theories would taste very differently if applied in our case by more powerful aliens[21]

Before establishing the mission Gribble made a visit, at his expense,  to the district to investigate possible sites.  The comments in the local press set the tone for attitudes towards the proposed mission.  The Cairns Post ran a series of six lengthy articles under the title Mission to the Blacks, from 30 June 1891  till  28 October 1891,  authored by one ‘G.T.B.’  Some quotes from the first article are instructive as to the stance taken towards Gribble and his missionaries.  “Nobody guesses that the preacher as a rule knows about as much of his ebony brother as he does about pre-historic man”;  “Comet-like visitors to the North Queensland Blacks”;  “Belongs to that dear old sainted and richly subsidised institution, called the Church of England”; “King Billy of the Inlet, having probably the possessor of more brains than his teachers, will likely enquire ‘how many religions white fellow got altogether’” and,  most damningly, the first article concludes:

While ministers of religion are sent away to lotus-eating regions to convert the blacks ... just as if centuries of instinct can be wiped away in an instant by the magic of a creed that a savage has no capacity for understanding.  As well (try) endeavour to teach the sacred ibis to use a rifle, or an alligator to play
the piano.

In later articles this writer supported the concept of reserves, as long as they are government run in a manner that ensured there was no contact between the races.  He saw these reserves  as “something [that] can be attempted to make their passage to the silent sea as pleasant as possible”, for;  “even the best means taken to improve the nigger can only result in ultimately improving him off the face of God’s earth”.[22]

In the formative years of the mission these attacks took on a more self-righteous tone as Gribble struggled to attract converts and make the mission financially viable.  It was only after his death in 1893, when the mission was taken over by his son Ernest,  that the tenor of the newspaper reports began to slowly improve.  Another strong reason for the opposition to the mission can be gleaned from a report in the Cairns Argus, before the mission had commenced,  where it was said that selectors “naturally do not want to see their cheap labour busily engaged in singing hymns and learning collects”.[23]

There was consternation when it was announced that 80 square miles of land in the Cairns district were to be reserved for a mission.  The Cairns Divisional Board wired a protest to the Minister for Lands and the Cairns Post fulminated against it, asserting  that:

There is confidence at present between the selectors, bushworkers and others and the blacks in the district

and that a reserve was “not wanted in any shape or form”.  The editorial believed that one of the strongest arguments against the establishment of a reserve was that:

In this district there are several different tribes, who, if brought together, would fight like Kilkenny cats, only more so.[24]

The government did appoint the Crown Land Ranger of Herberton to report into the matter but the Cairns Post was dismissive of a government official  reporting into a matter sanctioned by his department.  There were veiled threats that separation for North Queensland would become inevitable if the concerns of the Cairns Divisional Board were not heeded, but nothing came of this.[25]

The Cairns Argus was far more conciliatory, even allowing Gribble space to explain how the mission would not in any way be inimical to the interests of the settlers.  He stressed that he would not endeavour to influence any Aborigines working for settlers to come to the mission.  The paper  pointed out that it was not Gribble’s mission at all, but that he was merely an agent for the Australian Board of Missions.[26]

Further vicious attacks followed in the Cairns Post of November 1892 and January 1893.[27]  The paper ceased publication shortly after, recommencing as the Cairns Morning Post in June 1895.  The tone of the reporting on Yarrabah was now markedly different.  There were several reasons for this, including the change of owner, the death of Gribble and his replacement as mission manager by his son Ernest.  The mission was no longer seen as a threat to the settlers.  It  was not depriving them of Aboriginal labour and was seen to be fulfilling a need in providing shelter, clothing and food  for those who would otherwise congregate in fringe camps around Cairns.  From this time onwards the only criticism of the mission occurred when the residents of Cairns felt that it was failing in its duty to Aborigines or was not doing the right thing by them when it came to feeding and clothing them.  This was best illustrated when mission residents absconded to Cairns, mainly because of inadequate rations and incessant agricultural toil.  On such occasions the press was very supportive of the Aborigines concerned and  criticised the authorities for not adequately supporting the good work of the mission.[28]

It is instructive to look more closely at the initial opposition from the Cairns Post to the setting up of the mission by Gribble.  The paper was owned by  Frederick  Thomas Wimble, a wealthy, well-connected individual with substantial business interests. He arrived in Cairns at the end of 1882 to exploit foreseen commercial opportunities in the nascent sugar industry.[29]  For this dream to be realised it was essential that Kanaka labour be employed in the canefields.  Wimble was actively involved in campaigning for its  continued use.  He was a large scale land speculator, buying up many properties in the Cairns district.  He successfully campaigned for the building of a railway line from Cairns to Myola.  In 1883 he founded the Cairns Post newspaper with the first issue appearing on  May 10. 

His desire for progress and development for the Cairns district led him into politics.  He campaigned for the Liberal Party on a platform advocating railway construction, mining, eventual separation and central mills, or as Jones put it;  “Something for everyone”.[30]  He was elected to parliament for the seat of Mulgrave and held the seat from 5 May 1888 to 29 April 1893, and during this period tirelessly campaigned, through his newspaper,  for progress and development.

It was Wimble who in late 1888 first proposed the idea of an Aboriginal reserve in the Cairns district.  He called for the proclamation of a reserve of 200-300 acres in the Barron Valley where Aborigines could be collected, preserve their traditional bush life, helped by being taught animal husbandry and cultivation of the land and could, if it were so wished, be available for hire by the settlers.[31]  He was appalled by the later suggestion of a reserve in the Yarrabah district comprising not 200-300 acres, but 51 200,  whose residents would not be available for employment purposes.

The Yarrabah land had extensive timber reserves that would be locked up if  the area was given over to a mission.  Land that was considered potentially valuable for the running of cattle would not be available, thus inhibiting progress.  Wimble, through his paper, led the campaign to prevent this happening.  The Cairns Argus, the rival newspaper, supported the opposition National Party and each paper habitually attacked the other.  Although begun in 1890, the Cairns Argus was  a continuation of an earlier paper, the Cairns Chronicle, which first appeared in January 1885.  The great depression of 1893, known as “the bank smash”, forced the Cairns Post  to close.  Wimble left Cairns for Melbourne and his paper was acquired by the proprietors of the Cairns Argus who absorbed it into their paper.  In 1895 the Cairns Morning Post was founded by E. Draper and Co.[32]  The Cairns Post’s opposition to the mission thus reflected that of its owner.[33]  The Cairns Argus presented a different, more sympathetic view while the Cairns Morning Post was different again, not being connected in any way with the other two papers.  This explains why the reporting was so very different after 1894 and was probably a more accurate representation of the views of the Cairns’ citizens than that which appeared in the Cairns Post for the period 1891-1893

In 1897 Gribble was congratulated for his efforts to make the mission self-supporting by supplying paw paws to the Cairns Preserving Works.  The press almost appeared proud of the mission, noting that:

The Yarrabah Mission is an institution which has hitherto kept modestly in the background, but it now bids fair to prove an example to all other Aboriginal missions in Australia, and the head of that mission is to be congratulated upon the prospects which are now opened up, and which are entirely due to his own exertions.[34]

Tributes also flowed from the Commissioner of Police, W. Parry-Okeden after a visit to Yarrabah in 1898[35] as well as from the Bishop of Carpentaria, who described the enterprise as “one of the most remarkable instances of successful mission work in modern times”.[36]

The press was not above using Gribble for its own ends.  In an attack on the Aborigines Protection Bill of 1897 the paper complained about how Gribble was forced to separate children from their parents and remove them to Yarrabah, as was required under the Act.  However its high moral tone and passionate entreaty on humanitarian grounds were undermined by its noting that the Act:

Is not only a serious menace to human liberty, but an unwarrantable interference with commerce.[37]

By 1904  reporting was becoming increasingly favourable.  Commenting on a performance by the Yarrabah Brass Band in Cairns,  the Cairns Morning Post was moved to comment that:

To those who have been accustomed to regard the Australian Aboriginal as a wretched specimen of humanity so far as intellect and fixity of purpose is concerned, no greater surprise could have been experienced than to have encountered the Yarrabah Brass band ... playing in perfect time and tune.[38] 

In the same year the public were asked to donate goods for the Yarrabah residents for Christmas as:

The piccaninnies especially are looking forward to the festive season with great glee, and it would be a pity to disappoint the little chaps.[39]

 The public was also informed that the printers at the Yarrabah printing press produced work that reflected “the utmost credit upon the young printers”.[40]  It could be argued that the tone of reporting adopted by the Cairns Morning Post  was patronising in the extreme.  The Press seemed to be continually surprised when Aborigines performed tasks that equated with the white man’s view of civilisation, such as playing music in tune and in time or doing an honest days work at the printing press.  That these activities posed no threat to the residents of Cairns was probably further encouragement for extolling these virtues.  If the Yarrabah residents had called for “land rights” in 1904 they most certainly would have received a very different reception from the Cairns Morning Post.

A further factor in the improved race relations and reporting on the mission was the resignation of Edmund Roth as the Chief Protector.  He was appointed as the first Northern Protector of Aboriginals in 1898.  Based at Cooktown, his main brief was to the prevent the exploitation of Aborigines, particularly in employment and marriage, including the regulation of indigenous employment in the beche-de-mer industry.[41]  He was possessed of a strong personality and administrative drive, which made him an effective Protector, but this was to lead to his undoing as his initiatives brought him into conflict with politicians, settlers and the press, while his humane treatment and respect for Aborigines was viewed in a hostile light by local business interests.[42]

In 1904 he was appointed Royal Commissioner to look into the conditions of Aboriginal People in Western Australia and in the same year was made Chief Protector of Aboriginals for all Queensland.  During his absence in Western Australia a public meeting was held in Cooktown to try and prevent his return to the state.  Accusations against him included  having acted immorally, taking indecent photographs, and of having sold ethnological specimens to the Australian Museum in Sydney.[43]  But the real reason for the protest meeting and subsequent petitions was because of Roth’s determination to protect Aborigines from  unscrupulous employers.  This determination saw him  blamed for the collapse of the beche-de-mer industry.[44]  A parliamentary investigation was held into the allegations and Roth was found innocent of all charges.

Despite his innocence being proven, political attacks continued unabated and Roth in May 1906 resigned (as from 10 August) on the grounds of ill health and left Australia four months later. [45]  The Cairns Morning Post had been one of his most trenchant and longstanding critics and his resignation was “hailed through the north, with the utmost satisfaction”,[46]   Curiously his departure was a major factor in improving  attitudes to  Aborigines in general and the mission in particular as residents no longer had Roth to denounce their attitudes or stymie their attempted exploitation of Aboriginal workers.  With the appointment of Richard Howard as his successor the tenor of the public debate over “native policy” cooled considerably.[47]

Notwithstanding the improvement in reporting by the Cairns Morning Post, Gribble accused the paper of being antagonistic to the Yarrabah Mission.[48]  The paper refuted this, praising the work of the Missionaries but noted that:

What we have opposed is the forced detention of Aboriginals and half-castes where suitable food is not provided by the Government.  The mission is doing all that lies in its power.  It has done wonders, but how far will a paltry grant of £400 - 500 go towards properly feeding, educating, housing and clothing over 300 people?  Our contention has always been and is that if the Government does so detain these Aboriginals, then it has a right to at least give them the same considerations as it extends to its criminal prisoners.[49]

This comment encapsulates the paper’s (and presumably its readers) ideas towards the mission and its treatment of Aborigines.  The distinction between the missionaries trying to ”civilise” Aborigines and the failure of the government to provide adequate funding for this is critical, as will soon be seen when the events of 1910 are discussed.  In a few short  years the mood towards Aborigines and the mission had completely changed.  From being fearful of Aborigines and terrified of their being protected by naive missionaries, the community now felt pity for their indigenous compatriots and anger that their government was not providing sufficient funding for the mission to care for them in a manner the community felt was appropriate.  In some ways the attitudes of the citizenry of Cairns in the early twentieth century were more sympathetic than would be the case today.  No doubt close proximity to the massacres and deprivations and conquest was still clearly remembered.  It would take almost another century before one could hide behind the black Armband View of History and wash one’s hands of these matters.  Important, too, in shaping our forebear’s concerns was the widely held view that the Aborigines were a doomed race, who would die out before the white man’s superior civilization.  Those who posed no threat to us and would shortly die out could be pitied without fear of the  consequences

That attitudes towards the mission had changed dramatically by many of the settlers are best illustrated by a letter to the Cairns Morning Post by “An Old Queenslander” in 1907.  This letter is so instructive of these changing attitudes that it is worth quoting in full:

 Cairns is full to overflowing with visitors all on pleasure bent.  There are some 300 Aboriginals and half-castes at Yarrabah mission and in reading their report I notice they want clothing and many necessaries for the successful carrying out of their noble scheme.  We took their country from them, their planting and fishing grounds, and in return gave them what?  All our vices and little else.  Surely some of our visitors could afford a little to help to clothe and feed this remnant of the original holders of the North until they are self supporting, as the Rev. Gribble and his staff are trying to make this Yarrabah.  He has done what no man in Australia has ever done before - proved there is more in the Aboriginal than we old timers dreamt of.  Any charitably disposed Christian of any denomination might help this noble work by sending to Rev. Gribble their mite.[50]

The lack of support from the government to allow the mission to undertake its work came to a head in 1910.    A report had been written by the Cairns Police Magistrate,  P. G. Grant, on his investigation into  unsatisfactory conditions at Yarrabah, namely that there was a shortage of meat and food and some of the Aboriginal girls living there appeared almost white.  He reported that the people appeared healthy, suggested that the mission should be devoted to children and the aged and that there were a number of girls and young women:

Who were for the most part of white blood and who should not be allowed to remain at the mission but would be better placed in domestic service.[51]

The Bishop of North Queensland retaliated by pointing out that the apparent white people were the result of sending half-caste girls into domestic service in Cairns![52]

This report was taken up by the Home Secretary, Mr  J. G. Appel, who proposed an inquiry into the mission.   Carried out by Chief Protector Howard, the inquiry found that the mission residents complained bitterly of the lack of food and found there appeared a general desire to get away from the mission.  He further found that there was no efficient supervision,  woeful management, no real effort to provide medicine or produce food, great carelessness was shown in allowing so many boats to be lost and the financial picture was not encouraging.  He suggested that if Yarrabah was managed on practical lines it could be a viable venture.[53]  The Archbishop of Brisbane responded by pointing out that the mission had been built out of nothing and that its purpose was only to raise the moral and spiritual level of the Aborigines.[54]

In May 1911 the Home Secretary inspected Yarrabah to find it cleaned up somewhat since Grant’s report, but no cultivation done, for which he blamed the ignorance of the Superintendent and not the bad seasons,  which included a cyclone in February 1909 that demolished most of Yarrabah’s coconut, banana, lemon and orange trees in.[55]  Appel’s report was seized as a starting point for an open airing concerning everything controversial in relation to the mission.  The dispute was eventually resolved at a conference attended by the Home Secretary and a committee appointed by the Anglican Synod that included the Bishop of North Queensland and the Mayor of Cairns.  It was agreed at this meeting that the present superintendent of the mission be transferred as the first move to more practical management.[56]

The Cairns Post followed this matter in great detail, reproducing all the various reports and subsequent replies (including those of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals, R. B. Howard, Bishop Frodham of the North Queensland Diocese,  the Superintendent of the Yarrabah Mission and the Archbishop of Brisbane),  that flowed over the next 12 months as the various parties traded allegations and counter allegations.  As the issue hotted up the Cairns Police Magistrate was forced to state that he was not “prejudiced against the mission”.[57]

The Cairns Post reported the whole issue in a neutral and impartial manner, but as the parties continued trading accusations and counter accusations even it became fed up, stating on 21 June 1911 that:

This paper is just about full up of Yarrabah and the lengthy telegraphic reports of the tin-pot controversy in connection therewith.[58]

It is interesting that the Cairns Post did not take sides, as it was usually very quick to state its position on every other matter.  Jones perceptively suggests that this was because Cairns people had cast aside their crusading role and were quite happy to have  Yarrabah cope alone with the Aboriginal for them.[59]  It is notable how uninvolved the press and its readers were on this issue.  While reporting the events in full, the Cairns Post offered little comment and very few letters to the editor on this matter were published.  The town appeared almost apathetic in the row between the government and the church.  Their Aboriginal problem had by now become an issue for someone else.

This article has explored the relationship between Cairns and Yarrabah between 1892-1911.  It portrays the conflict between settler and Aboriginal on the frontier that was Cairns in the late nineteenth century; how this was won by settlers, leading to the establishment of a mission to tend to the vanquished, who were confidently expected to soon die out.  This arrangement was vehemently opposed by Cairns folk, fearing it to be an unsavoury and lasting reflection on their actions that had caused this state of affairs in the first place, as well as locking up the economic potential of the land upon which the mission was situated.  As the mission became established and Aboriginal violence against settlers less common, negative feelings towards the mission were ameliorated as it was realised that the mission was taking care of their Aboriginal problem for them.  Feelings of guilt and remorse contributed to their support of the mission in  an inverse proportion as the Aboriginal threat receded.  As time went by support for the mission became more acceptable and less necessary to display openly, as  Yarrabah became a normal fixture of the landscape.

One can  illustrate this attitude with a contemporary account.   Richard Dyott, an Englishman visiting Australia and writing under the pen name Wandandian, made extended visits to Yarrabah in March 1908 and  August 1910.  On his return to Cairns  and Kuranda from Yarrabah in 1910 he was moved to write on the different living conditions experienced by the Aboriginal residents.

The next day we bade farewell to this happy spot (Yarrabah) and went back to Kuranda, passing on our way some of the wild blacks in their dirty camps.  The contrast was, to say the least of it, impressive, and made us feel sure that anyone who is not a hardened bigot and opposed to all missionary efforts, could not help admitting that this mission was highly beneficial to its inhabitants.  One could not do otherwise than at once compare the dirt, squalor and filth of the camps with the cleanliness and brightness of mission life, and contrast the sullen faces of the former with the cheerful countenances of those living in the latter.  One has only to put all feelings of bias aside for one moment and all the cant which defends the so-called liberty of the poor black, to see with clearness and certainty that he is far better cared for, far happier, cleaner and more intelligent under the light rule of a mission reserve than he is in his native state.[60]

[1] Queensland.  Journals of the Legislative Council, vol 17, part 2, 1892, p. 317
[2] For a full account of what transpired in the way of race relations in the district between 1876 and 1891 see Jeremy Hodes, Conflict and Dispossession on the Cairns frontier to 1892, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland vol 16 no 2, p. 542-554
[3] Cairns Post 20 January 1892, p. 2
[4] J. Gribble,  Summary of the Report of Rev J.B. Gribble ..., 1891, p. 1
[5] L. Hume, Yarrabah Phoenix:  Christianity and Social Change in an Australian Aboriginal Reserve. Brisbane, University of Queensland, PhD Thesis, 1989, p. 79
[6] L. Hume, “Them Days:  Life on an Aboriginal Reserve 1892-1960”,  Aboriginal History vol 15 no 1, 1991. p. 5
[7] L. Hume, Yarrabah Phoenix:  Christianity and Social Change in an Australian Aboriginal Reserve.  p. 81.  Cairns Argus 17 June 1892, p. 2.   Yarrabah is some 40 minutes by road from Cairns, but in the early days, before the road was built, the only access was by boat, a trip of 1-2 hours from Cairns.
[8] The name was changed to Yarrabah when Ernest Gribble took over in 1893
[9] L. Hume, “Them days:  Life on an Aboriginal Reserve 1892-1960”,  Aboriginal History vol 15 no 1, 1991.  p. 5
[10] Ibid.,  p. 6
[11] They were Pearson, Willie Ambryn (an Australian South Sea Islander) and Pompo Katchewan (An Aboriginal youth).   Hume, Yarrabah Phoenix:  Christianity and Social Change in an Australian Aboriginal Reserve., p. 81
[12] D. Rapkins, Major Research Topic on North Queensland History.  Cairns, James Cook University, 1994, p. 9.  See also Dorothy Jones, Trinity Phoenix.  Cairns, Cairns Post, 1976,  p. 316.  Menmuny later to be  known as King John Barlow
[13] L. Hume,  “Them Days:  Life on an Aboriginal Reserve 1892-1960”,  Aboriginal History vol 15 no 1, 1991 p. 6
[14] Ibid., p. 6-7
[15] L. Hume,  Yarrabah Phoenix:  Christianity and Social Change in an Australian Aboriginal Reserve., p. 88-90
[16] K. Evans,  Missionary Effort Towards the Cape York Aborigines, 1886-1910:  a Study of Culture Contact. Brisbane,  University of Queensland.   BA Hons. Thesis, 1969, p. 89
[17] Cairns Post 20 January 1892, p. 2
[18] The Cairns Post commenced on 10 May 1883 and continued until 20 May 1893, when it was bought out by the Cairns Argus.  It was resurrected as the Cairns Morning Post from 6 June 1895 with a new owner and changed its name back to the Cairns Post on 6 July 1909.  The Cairns Argus commenced on 29 July 1890 and continued until 21 January 1898.  There were several other papers during this period, such as the Cairns Daily Times (October 1899 – February 1900) but most were short lived and few copies have survived
[19] It is interesting to note that the Cairns Post led the vicious criticism while the Cairns Argus  (which ceased publication in 1898), was content to merely record the facts.  In this connection see The Cairns Argus 10 May 1892, p. 2,  where a strongly worded editorial called for the proposed establishment of the Mission to be given a fair go, stating, “At all events, let them have a trial.  We plead for fair play for the side of the Angels”
[20] Cairns Post 20 January 1892, p. 2
[21] Ibid.
[22] Cairns Post 17 October 1891, p. 2
[23] Cairns Argus 19 February 1892
[24] Cairns Post 16 March 1892, p. 2.  The paper again cast doubts on the ability of the proposed Mission to convert Aborigines, stating “True, the Revd. Gribble has one convert to his credit, the Minister for Lands, but he would find it easier to convert the whole Cabinet, the members of both the legislative Chambers, and all the editors in Queensland, than one Cairns blackfellow”
[25]Cairns Post 4 June 1892, p. 2 and June 11, 1892, p. 2
[26] Cairns Argus, 10 June 1892, p. 3
[27] Cairns Post 16 November 1892 and 14 January 1893, p. 2
[28] See the Cairns Morning Post 14 July 1903, p. 2, for an example of this.
[29] A. Martin,  “Ink in Veins of Cairns Pioneer”,  Passages of Time. Cairns, Cairns Post, 1995, p. 59
[30] Jones, p. 231-232
[31] Ibid., p. 313
[32] J.  Collinson, “More About Cairns - the Second Decade, 1886-1896.  Press and Pulpit”, Cummins & Campbell’s Magazine, July 1940, p. 59-60
[33] Wimble’s opposition to the Church of England run mission is ironic in that he himself was a member of this church!
[34] Cairns Morning Post 8 July 1897, p. 5
[35] Cairns Morning Post 20 December 1898, p. 5
[36] Cairns Morning Post 26 October 1900, p. 3
[37] Cairns Morning Post 31 October 1902, p. 2
[38] Cairns Morning Post 5 January 1904, p. 3
[39] Cairns Morning Post 20 December 1904, p. 2
[40] Cairns Morning Post 18 February 1905, p. 2
[41] B.  Reynolds,  “Roth, Walter Edmund (1861-1933)”,  Australian Dictionary of Biography.  Vol II:  1891-1939, 1988,  p. 463
[42] Ibid.
[43] K.  Khan, Catalogue of the Roth Collection of Aboriginal Artefacts from North Queensland.  Volume 1.  Sydney, Australian Museum, 1993, p. 14-15
[44] Jones, p. 346
[45] Reynolds, p. 464
[46] Jones, p. 345-347
[47] It is interesting to get a contemporary account from the other side.  Mjoberg, writing in 1912, noted that Roth  “found in the end that the atmosphere became unbearable and those in high positions, too narrow-minded and prejudiced for him to be able to continue his work.  he turned his back on the ungrateful country and, instead, gave his services in a similar field to other continents where he was met with sympathy and appreciated for his very worthwhile work”  (Eric Mjoberg.  Amongst Stone Age People in the Queensland Wilderness.  Stockholm, Albert Bonner, 1918, p. 136).  Howard later went the same way, resigning over plans to set up a mission on Mornington Island. (Ibid.).
[48] Cairns Morning Post 18 September 1905, p. 2
[49] Ibid.
[50] Cairns Morning Post 10 September 1907, p. 5
[51] Cairns Post 4 May 1910, p. 5.  Jones, p. 350
[52] Jones, p. 350
[53] Ibid.  This situation had developed after the resignation of Mission Superintendent Ernest Gribble in 1909
[54] Ibid., p. 351
[55] Ibid.  Cairns Morning Post 16 February 1909, p. 3
[56] Jones, p. 352
[57] Cairns Post 29 June 1910, p. 3
[58] Cairns Post 21 June 1911, p. 4.
[59] Jones,  p. 353
[60] Wandandian,  Travels in Australasia.  Birmingham, Cornish Brothers, 1912, p. 150-151