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Massacre at Myall Creek: The trial that defined a nation Paperback – 1 August 2017
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'Fascinating reading.' Weekend Australian
'A considered and elegant work.' Bookseller and Publisher
One of the most shocking murder trials in Australia's legal history, and the tribulations of the prosecutor who conducted it.
In 1838, eleven convicts and former convicts were put on trial for the brutal murder of 28 Aboriginal men, women and children at Myall Creek in northern New South Wales. The trial created an enormous amount of controversy because it was almost unknown for Europeans to be charged with the murder of Aborigines. It would become the most serious trial of mass murder in Australia’s history.
The trial’s prosecutor was the Attorney General of New South Wales, John Hubert Plunkett. It proved to be Plunkett’s greatest test, as it pitted his forensic brilliance and his belief in equality before the law against the combined forces of the free settlers, the squatters, the military, the emancipists, the newspapers, and even the convict population.
From the bestselling author of Kidnapped and Eugenia, Murder at Myall Creek follows the journey of the man who who arguably achieved more for modern-day civil rights in Australia than anyone else before or since.
Praise for Murder at Myall Creek
‘The Myall Creek massacre is a stain on our nation’s soul, with the only positive note being that the law brought the evil perpetrators to justice in a key trial that was a foundation stone for the integrity of our legal system. This wonderful book brings that trial, and the marvellous prosecutor, John Hubert Plunkett, back to life.’ Peter FitzSimons
‘A much needed and appreciated historical insight into the profession of a man who gained respect through the colonial era of Australia and his fight for justice through the law for my people, the Kamilaroi.’ Aunty Noeline Briggs-Smith OAM, Aboriginal researcher
About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Australia (1 August 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1925533484
- ISBN-13 : 978-1925533484
- Dimensions : 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 86,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I had a rough knowledge of the massacre at Myall Creek but reading the material of the trial proceedings written by a Crown Solicitor in Mark Tedeschi made it all so much more vivid.
For trial Prosecutor and Attorney General of New South Wales John Hubert Plunkett it tested his prowess, his value/belief system of 'equality before the law' and his forensic brilliance in 1838. While a talented and interesting man I think he would have been hard work socially. Plunkett went on to carve himself a memorable career in the antipodes. This case was his stellar achievement.
The book made me angry as it makes very clear the inequalities between our First Nation's people and the white people who invaded Australia. The fact that 30 years ago a report was released about Aboriginal deaths in custody and most of the recommendations were not implemented and we are now up to approximately 450 deaths with 5 in the last month - not much has changed if you look more broadly.
The responses and social mores of this period leave you in no doubt where the land lay. Colonisation of Australia as initially a penal settlement and subsequent emancipists, military, free settler's under the banner of a British Commonwealth, was never going to have a good outcome for Australia's inhabitants but regardless of which of the European countries made claim to the Great Southern Land I doubt the outcome would have differed.
If you like your history, with a bit of courtroom drama, you appreciate the pitfalls of colonisation and you know how ugly some humans can be. This is a book for you.
Overall a well researched and written book about a very ugly part of Australian history that was not a one off in terms of the event but a singular event in which the jury finally got it right.
Absolutely worth the read and I will be reading Tedeschi's other offerings.