Abstracts – JRAHS Vol 99, Part 1 June 2013

The role of Robert James Ellicott in the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975

Andrew Morrison

Although a relatively junior Shadow Minister in the Fraser Government in 1975, Robert James Ellicott’s views as to the capacity of the Senate to block supply persuaded Malcolm Frazer that he could and should do so. As former Solicitor-General, Ellicott QC’s views appear to have been persuasive in strengthening the resolve of the Governor-General to bring about an early election. Ellicott QC maintains the view that Sir John Kerr should have warned Whitlam of his intentions, but was under no constitutional obligation to do so. He did not subscribe to Kerr’s fear of a race to the Palace, embroiling the Queen in Australian politics.


‘Capital’s Foot Soldiers’: William Kennedy McConnell, Professor Francis Bland and Millicent Preston Stanley Vaughan and the war against the ALP during the 1940s

Warwick Eather and Drew Cottle

During the 1940s capital mobilised in NSW to challenge the Australian Labor Party at elections and defeat its legislative and constitutional initiatives. A large amount of money was spent. Not all of these funds went to the mainstream political parties. A large percentage funded campaigns run by a number of right wing organisations. William Kennedy McConnell, Professor Francis Armand Bland and Millicent Preston Stanley Vaughan led many of these organisations. They acted as capital’s foot soldiers in the battles with the Labor Party.


The accidental suffragist from Australia: Muriel Matters and the political advancement of British women

Steven Anderson

This paper examines the political life of the Australian, Muriel Matters (1877-1969), a prominent suffragist who campaigned for the voting rights of British women in the early 20th century. Most recognised for her involvement in the ‘grille protest’ and an attempt to shower King Edward VII and the Houses of Parliament with handbills from an airship, Matters’ efforts are evaluated in relation to other Australian suffragists agitating for change in England during the period. Considering she became known as the first woman to ever speak in the British House of Commons, Adelaide-born Matters has remained a surprisingly under researched figure in the women’s suffrage movement.


‘Mrs Thunderbolt’: Setting the record straight on the life and times of Mary Ann Bugg

David Andrew Roberts and Carol Baxter

The life and times of the nineteenth century bushranger, Captain Thunderbolt (Frederick Wordsworth Ward), and his Aboriginal accomplice, Mary Ann Bugg, has long been the subject of speculation and misinformation. In this article we trace the evolution and lineage of some of the ideas concerning Mary Ann Bugg, revealing much about the genesis and propagation of myth and the convergence of fact and folklore. With new primary source evidence we can now provide clarity and certainty on a number of issues, as well as cast entirely new light on aspects of her story. The principle points of contention that can now be settled are: Who was Mary Ann Bugg? Did she help Captain Thunderbolt escape from Cockatoo Island? When did she die?


Did Henry Hacking shoot Pemulwuy? A reappraisal

Doug Kohlhoff

The aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy led resistance to the establishment of the New South Wales colony from 1790 until he was shot dead in mid 1802. A sailor on HMS Investigator at that time wrote in his diary that Pemulwuy was killed by the master of the Nelson brig. A conclusion that this ‘master’ was first-fleeter Henry Hacking is not supported by closer analysis. The sailor’s claim is inconsistent with other evidence, particularly the writings of Governor King and his secretary. King’s evidence indicates that two settlers, whose acreage lay in the vicinity of Parramatta, shot Pemulwuy. Whether we believe the sailor or King, we still don’t know who fired the fatal shot.

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