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Les Skinner wrote about Queensland’s Native Police 1859-c.1900, 15yrs before Jonathan Richards wrote The Secret War.

Patrick J Collins, author of Goodbye Bussamarai: the Mandandanji Land War, Southern Queensland 1842-1852.

manuscript table.JPG

Les Skinner, the author of Police of the Pastoral Frontier, (UQP, 1975) died before his major work on Queensland’s Native Police 1859-c.1900 was ready for publication. However, his manuscripts (MS’s) for this and an earlier version are at John Oxley Library (JOL). As some data is missing from both, I asked JOL to digitise a meld of the two versions of his intended text: To Protect the Settlers: Queensland Native Police.

Part One of my proposal follows. This draws attention to the unique nature of Skinner MS’s. It also verifies that three of his chapters are essentially about the activities of the notorious Lt Frederick Wheeler and his Native Police troopers when based at Sandgate. A fourth discusses his arrest for the murder of 25-year-old Jemmy, near Clermont. However, Jonathan Richards did not cite one word from either MS when he wrote about these topics. This surely verifies that he does not deserve his on-going self-praise for meticulous research.

Part Two, which is currently being considered by JOL, includes a detailed set of tables to enable a successful meld of the two MS’s. I will publish this online if JOL does not use it as a guide, if they go ahead with my proposal.



A Proposal to digitise L. E. Skinner’s manuscripts:

Frontiers of Queensland Colony

To Protect the Settlers: Queensland Native Police.

JOL Location: OM92-100 Les Skinner Papers, Boxes 9474-9527.


PART ONE:      Why Les Skinner’s Native Police manuscripts at JOL should be digitised.


PP. 3-6             Meet Les Skinner: Queensland’s Foremost Frontier-Police Historian. 
                       Biographical and professional data and relevant publications.


pp. 6-9             My motivation to have Les Skinner’s manuscripts digitised:

                       Jonathan Richards’ published erroneous statements about what Les Skinner had written about Lieut F. Wheeler at Sandgate,
                       and also about his murder victim Jemmy at Clermont. He also ignored content in Skinner’s Police of the Pastoral Frontier.


p. 9                 Jonathan Richards and Skinner’s MS’s at JOL.

                      Richards cited many JOL MS’s but not Skinner’s Native Police MS’s. Did he not locate these? He also did not locate content in
                      Skinner’s Police of the Pastoral Frontier.


pp. 9-10           Skinner’s “Aboriginal Perspective”.

                       Evidence shows Skinner empathised with Indigenous Australians about the “invasion” of their of land by squatters, assisted

                       by Native Police who were really there To Protect the Settlers.


pp. 10-11         So which of Skinner’s MS’s should be digitised?

                       In order of importance, the recommended MS’s are: (i) To Protect the Settlers; (ii) Frontiers of Queensland Colony; (iii) An
                       overview article titled, “Pastoral Frontiers of Queensland Colony”; and (iv) Fitzroy was the Frontier.


pp. 11-12         Six Appendices for: To Protect the Settlers & Frontiers of Queensland Colony.

p. 12                Some hypothetical questions that impinge on possible digitisation.


p.13                 Endnotes for Part One.





  Meet Les Skinner: Queensland’s Foremost Frontier-Police Historian.

24 April 2019

Leslie Edward Skinner, I.S.O., (aka L.E. Skinner), is well known as the author of Police of the Pastoral Frontier: Native Police 1849-59, (UQP, 1975) but he was a prolific writer of Queensland’s frontier history. He was especially interested in the history of Queensland’s Native Police, to which he referred as the “Native Mounted Police” after Queensland separated from NSW in 1859. Details are in his unpublished manuscripts, Frontiers of Queensland Colony and To Protect the Settlers: Queensland Native Police. However, he also published articles about earlier (1842-1848) frontier police forces in future-Queensland, including the Border Police and police attached to frontier benches of magistrates. Details are below.    





















Leslie Edward Skinner, I.S.O., J.P. A.A.S.A.

Crown Solicitor, 1 Jan 1858 – 31 Dec 1962. 1


Skinner was born c.1908 and lived most of his early years in and around Yeppoon and Rockhampton, Queensland. According to Trove records, when he qualified as an accountant on 29.12.1931, he gave his address as C/- CPS Office, Rockhampton. On 26.03.1932, he married Vivian Dagmar McGladdery and later lived at 80 Macrossan Avenue, Norman Park, [Brisbane] Qld 4170. More personal information is at John Oxley Library in his small “unpublished” book, The House at 284 George St, Rockhampton (1973. Other information at JOL includes some personal papers, travel diaries, genealogical data and some correspondence. 2 


Skinner’s career achievements include his becoming: a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1957-63); Solicitor General on 26.10.1962; and Under Secretary of the Department of Justice (1963-73). A month before he retired in July 1973, he was awarded the Imperial Service Order (I.S.O.) for his major contributions to public service. In 1972, the Journal of the RHSQ published his article: “Law and Justice for the Queensland Colony”, which he had read to a meeting of the society on 25 May 1972. However, although Skinner compiled a number of legalistic works, including A Journey of Justice, which he co-authored with other senior public service legal experts P.R. Delamothe and A. Queale, 3 most remain as so-called unpublished manuscripts at John Oxley Library, but some lesser legal articles can be located online. He is, as previously mentioned, primarily remembered for his writings about the Queensland Frontiers in the nineteenth century. He received great acclaim for his 1975 text, Police of the Pastoral Frontier: Native Police 1849-1859, UQP, Brisbane. This much-cited work is, in my opinion, the most seminal text ever written about Queensland’s Native Police force and made available to the public in printed form and, more recently, online by the University of Queensland.


Some historians, e.g. those who were contemporaries of Les Skinner in the c.1965-1985 period, may disagree with the above glowing assessment of his Police of the Pastoral Frontier. For instance, noted historian Henry Reynolds rarely, if ever, cited this or any of Skinner’s works listed below. This was a period of political turmoil in Queensland, when the now notorious Johannes Bjelke-Petersen was either a member of cabinet or the Premier of the state. “Joh” also regularly incurred criticism from academics and opposition politicians, for his treatment of Indigenous Australians and anti-apartheid demonstrators. However, as Skinner was a senior public servant with the Justice Department, his 1973 I.S.O. award, suggests he avoided rocking the political boat. But his works reflect an objective and judicious mind. For instance, in his 1978 article: i.e. “Pastoral Frontiers of Queensland Colony” (see details below), he stated the following about Queensland’s Native Police: 4


It is a pity that the true object of police as keepers of the peace was not included in the early formulation of Queensland’s policy on native police, but in the early years of the colony’s progress the outlook of the community at large did not favour it nor the squatter controlled governments suggest it. …..


While there are records of foul deeds in excess of duty perpetrated by some native Police officers, there is no evidence that the native police force was more destructive of Aboriginal life than the settlers. There is evidence to the contrary.     


Police of the Pastoral Frontier was based primarily on hundreds of archival governmental documents. Accordingly, when it was published, possibly the majority of relevant historians and other history lovers, regarded it as the most authoritative text on the origins and activities of this force. It was not a “cross-over” book. It emphasised “facts”, rather than “page-turning” content, intended to provide high profits to Skinner and UQP. This was also reflected in an absence of secondary sources. Skinner did cite a small number, e.g. C.D. Rowley’s Destruction of Aboriginal Society on pp.396-7, and G.W. Rusden’s History of Australia on p.12 and endnotes, but he did not include a bibliography: just his endnotes and his major archival colonial sources (pp.434-35).


Skinner’s multiple manuscripts, collected together in 50 boxes, plus some published papers, at John Oxley Library, include most of the following, which relate to Queensland’s colonial frontiers. The list also includes significant published articles:

  1. “The days of the squatting acts: districts of Darling Downs and Moreton Bay”, Queensland Heritage, Part 1, Vol 3, No 6, May 1977, pp. 3-24. This details the 1839 establishment of the Border Police force that preceded the Native Police force. It operated on the future-Queensland frontiers in the period 1842-1846.

  2.  “The days of the squatting acts: districts of Darling Downs and Moreton Bay”, Queensland Heritage, Part 2, Vol  3, No 7, November 1977, pp. 16-34. This continues on from Part I above, when Commissioners of Crown Lands Dr Stephen Simpson and Christopher Rolleston were provided with Border Police units in the Moreton Bay and Darling Downs districts respectively.

  3. “The Days of the Squatting Acts: Districts of Darling Downs and Moreton Bay”, Queensland Heritage, Part 3, Vol 3, No 8, May 1978. This continues on from Part II above and covers the disbandment of the Border Police and the provisions of police “attached to the bench of magistrates at each place appointed for holding courts of petty sessions in every district beyond the limits of location”.

    NOTE: Parts I, II and III above are available online at the State Library of Queensland. Significantly, Gordon Reid cited these in his notable work A Nest of Hornets: The Massacre of the Fraser Family at Hornet Bank Station, Central Queensland 1857, and Related Events, (Oxford UP, 1982).


  4. Fitzroy Was the Frontier: Co-authored with A. Quaile, this ten-chapter manuscript records the early days of European settlement north and south of Rockhampton and the Fitzroy River. It is an in-depth regional study that draws on multiple sources and includes some significant Native Police issues (see (v) below).

  5. “The Search for the Sea Belle Castaways on Fraser Island”, Queensland Heritage, Vol 2, No 10, 1974, pp. 3-14. This article overlaps chapter 4 of his unpublished Fitzroy was the Frontier (above). It includes a coverage of some previous involvement of the Native Police commandant, Lieutenant Frederick Walker, and his troopers.

  6. “Pastoral Frontiers of Queensland Colony”, in Settlement of the Colony of Queensland: A Seminar by the John Oxley Library, 1978, (25 pages with 53 endnotes). Skinner’s article briefly covers many of the topics he wrote about in his book-length MS’s in No’s (vii) and (viii) below. Significantly, Timothy Bottoms cited this work in endnote 9, in Chapter 9 of his Conspiracy of Silence, The citation was of an anecdote by Skinner about a massacre of Indigenous Australians by Europeans without Native Police assistance in the Gulf Country. 5

    Skinner’s most significant JOL manuscripts include two book-length sequel-like extensions of his Police of the Pastoral Frontier. Both record the activities of Native Police in Queensland between 10 December 1859 and c.1899.


  7. The first of these was Frontiers of Queensland Colony, a 441-page, 25-chapter text, with six detailed appendices. It was essentially a collection of regional studies, although some chapters were devoted to specific topics, e.g. to the activities and dismissal of the notorious Native Police officer Frederick Wheeler. Skinner presumably compiled this undated manuscript in the late 1970’s or in the 1980’s: i.e. after his Police of the Pastoral Frontier went on sale in 1975. The complete text of Frontier is at John Oxley Library (Box 9477). Unfortunately, the relevant endnotes are no longer available. It appears likely that Skinner adapted these to suit the revised chapters in (viii) below, for which endnotes are available, except for Chapter 11.

  8. Skinner revised the above MS, Frontiers of Queensland Colony, and renamed it To Protect the Settlers: Queensland Native Police, which he extended to 26 Chapters and 516 pages. It also included the six appendices mentioned above. Unfortunately, some of the revised chapters are now missing. However, Skinner’s extensive endnotes allow the identification of the corresponding chapters in Frontiers of Queensland Colony. Relevant corresponding chapters could be used as replacements for the missing chapters. There is though one exception. The endnotes from Chapter 11, “Aboriginal Payback”, are no longer available.

Part II, below, includes a tabulation of the only viable meld of the above two manuscripts.  


Not surprisingly, Skinner was granted life membership of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. This was on 04 November 1988. 6






My motivation to have Les Skinner’s work digitised.


Five years after Skinner’s RHSQ life membership award was granted, when I was searching for works by Les Skinner at JOL on 17 November 1993, a librarian named Shauna ……. told me that she and others were simultaneously cataloguing a large collection of his papers that had recently been deposited at JOL. By whom, I have never learned. Later that day, in Box 8/27d, I came across the MS of To Protect the Settlers (above). During the following weeks, I summarised much of this MS, but I now know from endnotes and page numbers, that it included some chapters from Frontiers of Queensland Colony. It was, at that time, my intention to include data from these files in what became Goodbye Bussamarai, for which I learned a great deal from Skinner’s Police of the Pastoral Frontier.


During years of compilation, I limited this text to the period 1842-1852. As both of the above MS’s dealt with the period 1859-c.1899, I did not draw on them in Goodbye Bussamarai. But I still have the notes I took from them in November 1993 and later. I also listed To Protect the Settlers as an “unpublished” MS in my bibliography. 7 I can therefore state with some authority, that Leslie Edward Skinner was the first historian to have compiled a comprehensive and well-documented, archival-sourced history of Queensland’s Native Police: 1859-c.1900. I.e. it was not Jonathan Richards who did this, although he claimed this honour in his 2005 doctoral dissertation, A Matter of Necessity, and in his 2008 text The Secret War. However, for “commercial reasons”, he withheld his dissertation from the public until late in 2009.


Given Jonathan Richards’ above claims, it is perhaps predictable that he or his publishers would reject my assertion that Skinner compiled the first ever credible book-length manuscript about Queensland’s Native Police during the period 1859-c.1900. However, it is indisputable, by commonly-accepted definitions of the term “publication”, that the State Library of Queensland (or John Oxley Library) published both of Skinner’s relevant manuscripts in c.1993. This was on the first day the public was given access to Les Skinner’s papers at JOL. The following online definition, which does not address copyright, supports this conclusion.


Publication is the act of offering something for the general public to inspect or scrutinize. It means to convey knowledge or give notice. 8


My interest in protecting Les Skinner’s historical legacy did not, however, start when I read Richards’ above claim. It started months earlier, when I read his article, “Frederick Wheeler and the Sandgate Native Police Camp”, which was “peer reviewed” when published in the JRHSQ, V.20. No.3, August 2007, pp.107-122. This included a most-questionable and very inaccurate short Native Police literature review, in which he effectively denied the existence of Skinner’s Native Police manuscripts at JOL, including chapters that Skinner had written about Frederick Wheeler. Richards’ stated on p.107:


While it is true that some good work exists, many previous ‘historical’ writings on the Native Police in Queensland are generally characterised by hearsay and opinionated rhetoric, often based on grossly inadequate primary research. Work by historians Henry Reynolds, Raymond Evans and Noel Loos, it should be stressed, is not marred in this way. Another notable exception is LE Skinner’s 1975 work, Police of the pastoral frontier: Native Police 1849-59, dealing with the force under the New South Wales government. While providing a good overview of the early years of the force, Skinner only briefly mentions Sandgate and Wheeler, and doesn’t fully incorporate an Indigenous perspective. [bold print was added for emphasis].


When I read Richards’ above statement, about “grossly inadequate primary research”, and also what he wrote about Frederick Wheeler and Les Skinner, I perseverated on the following extracts:


While it is true that some good work exists … [and] …. Skinner only briefly mentions Sandgate and Wheeler and doesn’t fully incorporate an Indigenous perspective.


My immediate concern was: Skinner discussed Wheeler’s presence in the 1860’s, at Sandgate, at length in Chapters 4 and 5 of the above MS’s: Frontiers of Queensland Colony and To Protect the Settlers: Queensland Native Police. In fact the whole of both versions of Chapter four, and about half of both versions of Chapter five, were devoted to Wheeler and his troopers’ activities while based at Sandgate. The approximately thirty relevant pages in each manuscript were supported by about forty endnotes from To Protect the Settlers. Skinner extended his discussion of Wheeler at Sandgate in Chapter 12 of Frontiers of Queensland Colony, which is documented by his endnotes for the missing Chapter 10 of To Protect the Settlers. All of this was additional to what Skinner had previously written about Wheeler at Sandgate before December 1859, in Police of the Pastoral Frontier.


Locations for Skinner’s coverage of Lieut. F. Wheeler at Sandgate after Dec. 1859.

Wheeler’s downfall in Skinner’s JOL manuscripts:

In addition to what Skinner wrote in his above chapters 4, 5 and 12/(10), he devoted another chapter to Wheeler’s 1876 downfall and sacking in both MS versions: i.e. Chapter 21 (pp.386-393) in Frontiers of Queensland Colony and Chapter 23 in To Protect the Settlers: Queensland Native Police (pp.466-475). Both chapter versions were titled “The Wheeler Case”. They dealt with Wheeler’s apprehension and related legal actions against him for murdering an Aboriginal man name Jemmy, near Clermont in April 1876. In Skinner’s words from To Protect the Settlers (p.466):

The circumstances surrounding the death of Jemmy are here revealed from the depositions taken at the magisterial examination of witnesses soon afterwards. The evidence is produced in some detail as different versions of the Wheeler case appeared from time to time in publications.


Two pages later, in To Protect the Settlers (p.468), when Skinner was discussing evidence from “Robert McGavin a stockman on Banchory station and residing at Dittley outstation” where Jemmy had been employed. Skinner reported that McGavin had been present when Jemmy’s body had been exhumed. He also stated that “Jemmy was no more than 25 years of age”.


Richards, in his dissertation (pp.68-69), on which The Secret War was based, discussed Jemmy’s age when he died at the hands of Wheeler. After criticising multiple authors, including Raymond Evans, Allan Hillier and Bill Thorpe, who had all published that Jemmy was about ten years of age when he died, Richards praised: “Geof Genever [who] got this simple fact right. He looked at the archival records of his incident while others apparently relied on flawed published works.” 9 Genever had in fact quoted from the evidence of another station hand, Frank Hamilton, who worked with McGavin above, and who agreed with him about Jemmy’s approximate age, which he gave as between 25 and 28. But Genever cited that in his 1996 doctoral dissertation: 10 i.e. about 3-5 years after Skinner’s above chapter, “The Wheeler Case”, was made available to the public at John Oxley Library.


Jonathan Richards and Skinner’s MS’s at JOL.  

So how did Richards justify not citing Skinner’s above error-free discussions of Wheeler? I have no idea. However, when I telephoned him, soon after his 2007 Wheeler article was published in the JRHSQ, and asked him if he had read Skinner’s MS of To Protect the Settlers, which I had listed (p.294) in the bibliography of Goodbye Bussamarai, he simply mumbled a short negative reply. This still intrigues me. For instance, his bibliography for his doctoral dissertation A Matter of Necessity (p.412), lists multiple manuscripts from John Oxley Library, but he cites only one work by Skinner: not a manuscript but his 1975 book Police of the Pastoral Frontier: Native Police 1849-59. This, of course, does not record Wheeler’s activities in 1860 and later. Richards’ The Secret War is similarly limited in relation to Skinner.


The above begs the question: was Skinner’s MS, To Protect the Settlers, based on “grossly inadequate primary research”, as Richards claimed about multiple unnamed but defenceless writers? No! With few exceptions, Skinner cited only primary sources to support what he wrote. So did Richards simply not bother to search the JOL catalogue for relevant works by Skinner? Or did he just dismiss such listings and deny that he knew of them? As I have no verifiable answer to such questions, I will leave it for others to contemplate and to hypothesise. However, I do know that some of Richard’s many errors in The Secret War (2008), suggest he had not even read Skinner’s lauded Police of the Pastoral Frontier closely. Evidence that supports this is in my article, “Richard, Frederick and Robert: Three Militant Walkers in the Maranoa” (p.511). It was published in the Queensland History Journal, in May 2009. 11


Incidentally, none of the authors listed by Richards in his Wheeler article above, for doing “good work” on the Native Police in Queensland, has to my knowledge ever cited one of Skinner’s JOL manuscripts.


Skinner’s “Aboriginal Perspective”.

An important conclusion that can be drawn from the above is: if JOL staff digitise Les Skinner’s significant manuscripts, his many years of devoted archival research will not be wasted. Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians will gain access to knowledge about Queensland’s Native police that is not available elsewhere. For instance, details of where many Indigenous men had lived, before they were recruited as troopers. Also, all troopers are named in the texts and in Skinner’s Appendix F, as they were in his Police of the Pastoral Frontier, but Richards provides no such data in his book or his dissertation. Significantly, readers will be able to word-search these historiographical gems. It does not, however, require a word-search facility to verify that Richards was wrong in his above claim that Skinner: “doesn’t fully incorporate an Indigenous perspective”. This is an example of his destructive, would-be guilt-provoking comments derived from inappropriate versions of identity politics.


Skinner, a highly regarded lawyer, was far too objective to identify with the “settlers” who were taking, or had taken, land from Indigenous Australians. A sense of this is in the title of his most important JOL manuscript: i.e. To Protect the Settlers. To him, as stated in the “Introduction” to this MS, the Native Police force was an “instrument of administration”, … “but no statute had authorised its existence”.

[Its] “principal object was soon shown to be the protection of lawful users of Crown lands from the attacks of Aborigines. The pursuit of that object involved the taking of punitive measures by the corps. The officer faced with the use of those measures determined their extent. Official approval or disapproval of his actions was communicated to him afterwards. It was then only that official policy concerning the circumstances was declared to the officer concerned.” 12


In other words, the Native Police force existed To Protect the Settlers but not Indigenous Australians whose land, according to Skinner, was being “invaded” by those settlers:


Aboriginal tribesmen had opposed this invasion of their hunting grounds, killing squatters, shepherds and others and spearing sheep and cattle. 13


Clearly, Skinner was aware that although European settlers regarded themselves as lawful users of Crown lands, he was also aware that, from an Aboriginal perspective, these Europeans were “invaders”. From his 22-page “Introduction” and elsewhere, there is no doubt that he empathised with both the original land owners and considerate European settlers, but it was the Indigenous people who suffered without protection by the Native Police and possibly most Europeans.


Hopefully the above discussion will assist JOL staff in making decisions about which, if any, of Skinner’s MS’s to digitise. Fortunately, the University of Queensland has already digitised his key book Police of the Pastoral Frontier. Similarly, JOL has already digitised the copies of Queensland Heritage in which Parts I, II & III of “Days of the Squatting Acts: Districts of Darling Downs and Moreton Bay”, were published.  Presumably the same applies to “The Search for the Sea Belle Castaways on Fraser Island”, which also appeared in Queensland Heritage.



So which of Skinner’s MS’s should be digitised?


Presumably the primary objectives, of digitising Skinner’s manuscripts, would be to preserve his Native Police historiography in a readily accessible and searchable form. If so, the appropriate works and their order of priority would be as follows:


  1. To Protect the Settlers: Queensland’s Native Police, including Appendices A–F and the Endnotes for this MS. However, it would be appropriate to replace any missing chapters, with corresponding chapters from Frontiers of Queensland Colony, together with a note of explanation, prior to digitising. 
    NOTE: The only viable meld of chapters from the above MS and Frontiers of Queensland Colony, is provided in Part II, below. For instance: The missing Chapter 9 of To Protect the Settlers, can only be replaced with Chapter 13 (i.e. not Ch 9) of Frontiers of Queensland Colony.


  2. Frontiers of Queensland Colony together with duplicate copies of Appendices A–F. These appendices are equally relevant to both this and the later versions of this MS. It would also be appropriate to draw the reader’s attention to the digitised version of To Protect the Settlers.

  3. “Pastoral Frontiers of Queensland Colony”, in Settlement of the Colony of Queensland: A Seminar by the John Oxley Library, 1978, (25 pages with 53 endnotes). This long article effectively provides an overview of the MS’s in No’s 1 & 2 above. A copy is at JOL.

  4. Fitzroy was the Frontier, as there is a complete and well-preserved MS for this work at JOL, it would be relatively easy to digitise it.


The formats of MS’s No 1 & 2 above: Every chapter in both versions is effectively a complete article. Most are regional accounts of Native Police on one or more frontiers during a specific period. Their contents are presented in chronological order and trace the frontier conflicts between Europeans (with and without Native Police assistance) and the Indigenous landowners. Some specific topics are also described in some detail, e.g. “The Wheeler Case” mentioned above. This approach is coincidentally complemented by maps and verbal content in Timothy Bottoms’ Conspiracy of Silence: Queensland’s Frontier Killing Times.


The Appendices of: To Protect the Settlers (and Frontiers of Queensland Colony).


What is in the Appendices for MS’s No 1 & 2, (which apply equally to both MS’s)?


Appendix A comprises official tabulations of all the Native Police divisions from around Queensland. It includes numerical data for various ranks and also the names of police stations within police districts “at various times 1859-1899”.


Appendix B provides details of how much gold was escorted from gold mining areas by Native Police, to ensure it reached appropriate government departments.


Appendices B, C and D, respectively tabulate all officers, officer-cadets and non-commissioned officers whose names also appear in the text. Skinner compiled the lists “from Appendices to the annual returns of the commissioner of police which are to be found in the Parliamentary Votes and Proceedings of Queensland, (A91, QSA)”.


Appendix F, as stated previously, includes the names and some other details of every trooper who was named in these MS’s from Native Police documents sourced by Skinner.

Note: If digitised, the corresponding word-search facility would obviously allow any person named in the above appendices to be located within the MS’s.


The missing endnotes from Frontiers of Queensland Colony should not be a deterrent.  Some significant history books do not have endnotes: e.g. Henry Reynold’s 1999 text, Why Weren’t We Told? A Personal Search for the Truth About Our History, (Viking Penguin, Melbourne). It does have an index, but digitised texts can be word-searched.


Some hypothetical questions:


Did Skinner complete To Protect the Settlers? Yes. This is certain, as the endnotes for the Introduction and 25 of the 26 chapters are available. It is not known when or why the notes for Chapter 11 went missing.


What happened to the missing chapters from To Protect the Settlers? This is apparently not recorded, but it is possible they were never deposited at JOL. An unknown person, possibly a JOL librarian, melded chapters from both versions and made this meld available in Box 8, at JOL in 1993. Also, in 2018-19, JOL staff, Lynn Meyers and Catherine Cottle, searched the contents of every one of the 50 or more boxes that contain Les Skinner’s papers, but did not locate the missing chapters. They also recorded the contents of each box. 


Note: The meld proposed in this submission is different from others that have been attempted. This meld, in Part Two below, has taken into account that Skinner changed the order of several chapters in the later version. For instance, the missing Chapter 9 from To Protect the Settlers corresponds with Chapter 13 from Frontiers of Queensland Colony. He also combined Chapters 12 and 14 from Frontiers of Queensland Colony to form the missing Chapter 10 of To Protect the Settlers. These and other changes are listed in the tabulated documents herewith in Part Two.


Endnotes for Part One:


  1. The photo of Les Skinner was No 12 in a Crown Law Gallery and was sourced via:

  2. John Oxley Library Catalogue location: Les Skinner Papers, OM92-100, Boxes 9474-9477. Other information may be found in other boxes.

  3. A Journey of Justice by P.R. Delamothe, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, A Queale, formerly Registrar of Magistrates Courts, Depatment of Justice, and L.E. Skinner Crown Solicitor. JOL Catalogue location: Les Skinner’s Papers, OM92-100, Box 9484.

  4. Skinner, L.E. 1978, p.6 and 9, “Pastoral Frontiers of Queensland”, in Settlement of the Colony of Queensland: A Seminar by the John Oxley Library, 1978.

  5. B. Bottoms, Timothy (2013), Conspiracy of Silence: Queensland’s Frontier Killing Times, Allen and Unwin, Sydney

  6. Les Skinner Papers: Box 9474/OM92 100/1 JOL.

  7. Collins, Patrick, 2002, Goodbye Bussamarai, the Mandandanji Land War, Southern Queensland 1842-1852, UQP, Brisbane. Now available online at See p.xxii for my praise of Skinner and p.291 for my bibliographical inclusion of To Protect the Settler. I also cited his Police of the Pastoral Frontier 20 times. I studied this over several weeks.

  8. Publication definition:

  9. Richards, Jonathan, 2005 pp.268-69), A Question of Necessity re Jemmy, doctoral dissertation Griffith University.

  10. Genever, Terence Geoffrey, 1996, p.279, The Road to Lotus Glen, PhD thesis, James Cook University of North Queensland: accessed from

  11. Collins, Patrick (2009), “Richard, Frederick and Robert, Three Militant Walkers in the Maranoa”, Queensland History Journal, Vol 20, No 20, May 2009, pp.457-519. This article includes a discussion of Richard’s erroneous claims about non-existent mistakes in my Goodbye Bussamarai: the Mandandanji Land War, Southern Queensland, 1842-1852, UQP, 2002, Brisbane.

  12. Skinner, L.E. C.1978-88, p.ii in the “Introduction” of To Protect the Settlers, Les Skinner Papers: Box 9474/OM92 100/1 JOL.

  13. As for previous note, p.i of the “Introduction”.


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