European Biographies

The names of settlers, predominantly British, who are mentioned in the State Records, are cross-referenced here, along with any other information available about that person. Within each page is a link to the original document wherein that name is mentioned.

Adams, Arthur Reginald
Dr Arthur Reginald Adams was a government medical officer working in the north-west region for many years as a doctor and as resident magistrate. He was a doctor in Collie in 1902 and then moved up to Derby, where he was the only doctor from 1907 – 1910. He was very popular and the townspeople of Derby, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Turkey Creek all signed a petition for his reinstatement in 1910 and again in 1913, at which time he was resident magistrate in Onslow. He was also resident magistrate in Esperance for some years. He finally retired in Onslow in 1940, where he had been resident magistrate since 1933.

Beaumont, William Alexander
William Alexander Beaumont was a master pearler in Broome.

Bischofs, Josef (1878-1958)
Father Josef Bischofs was a German missionary, who arrived in WA in 1905 as part of the Pallotine Mission, who built up the Beagle Bay Mission after the Cistercians left in 1899, and stayed until 1920. He translated the bible into Nyul-nyul and wrote extensively on Aboriginal customs. He was very outspoken in his objection to marriages between Aboriginal women and Asian men.

Brophy, Michael (1858-1923)
Inspector Michael Brophy, born in New Zealand, started his police career in the Kimberley region as a trooper in 1891, before being promoted to Inspector at Kalgoorlie in 1902. He went on to Bunbury and then to Fremantle, before retiring in 1922. While in the Kimberley, Brophy led a punitive expedition which resulted in the shooting of 30 Aboriginal people. Brophy reports that, “‘In all my experience with natives I have never known them to make such plucky and determined fight as those blacks.”
Source: Chris Owen

Buckland, Arthur (1880-1942)
Arthur Buckland was a police officer in the Kimberley region for over twenty years. He married Amy Walker in Derby in 1905. He was officer in charge of the Wyndham Police Station during the Forrest River Massacre incident and his evidence as a witness was used in the subsequent Royal Commission.

Burton, Alfred
Rev Alfred Burton was the superintendent of the Swan Native and Half-Caste Mission. He was criticised heavily in the media, as this 1907 article from the Sunday Times attests with headlines “Another Burton Bomb – The Orphanage Autocrat Reaches the Limit – The Acme of Arrogance and Heartlessness.”

Byass, Thomas Robert
Thomas Robert Byass (1865 – 1928) was a Yorkshireman who emigrated in 1888 with his brother. The two men founded the Bamboo Creek gold mine in the Marble Bar area in 1892. Byass also operated stores and hotels in the region, ran racehorses and became a JP. He married Emma Cavanagh in 1895 in Roebourne and raised a family of six children in Marble Bar.

Cahill, William Patrick (1872-1919)
William Patrick Cahill was a police officer who was stationed in Coolgardie for several years before coming to Meckering, and then went to Busselton, where he was stationed for seven years before dying in the 1918-19 influenza epidemic.

Clifton, Arthur Ernest (1873-1952)
The Clifton family were a prominent settler family in the Bunbury-Australind area. Their family homestead, Rosamel, in Australind, was a large dairy and sheep farm that remained in the family for subsequent generations. The Rosamel property was next door to Parkfield, the family farm of George Canler Rose, who, with other Rose family members, were also pastoralists in the Kimberleys. Furthermore, Arthur’s uncle was Archibald Gervase Clifton, who was the Resident Magistrate and Warden for the Kimberleys Goldfields District between 1892 and 1901, although his wife and four children remained living another family farm, Upton, which was adjacent to Rosamel. Arthur married in 1901 and returned to the family property in Australind.

Crossman, Alan Fairfax (1872-1927)
Alan Fairfax Crossman was a lawyer from England who was farming in Doodlekine for about ten years before going to Hawaii in 1911. He served as a Captain in the Canadian Mounted Rifles in World War I and died in Kenya in 1927.

Cusack,William Henry (1865-1915)
Born in Ireland, by the early 1890s, William Henry Cusack was a jackaroo and blacksmith on Inthanoona Station, 190 kms south of Roebourne. Inthanoona was amalgamated with Tambrey Station in 1892, at which time William became the Station manager, and in 1902 he became joint lease-holder with Henry Meares. William was married to Catherine MacKay, who had previously lived at Mundabullangana sheep station, on the Yule River, about 100 kms south of Port Hedland, with her brothers until her marriage in 1893. When he died in 1915, Tambrey station was taken over by his son Thomas.

Eardley, William (1875-1952)
William Eardley was a Scottish immigrant, born in Glasgow in 1875, who came out to South Australia with his family when he was a child. When he enlisted during the First World War at Broome in 1915, he gave his occupation as “bushman.” He was discharged 1916 on medical grounds, having contracted malaria, but re-inlisted 6 months later. After the war, he married Winifred Maud Robinson in Perth and returned to live in South Australia, where he worked as an overhead linesman and supported a family of 8 children, living in the same house for most of that time. He died in Adelaide at the age of 77, in 1952.

Emo, Nicholas
Father Nicholas D’Emo was a Spanish missionary of the Cistercian Order, who was the first priest at Broome and helped to establish the Beagle Bay Missionary. He arrived in 1895 and remained after the Cisterian Mission left in 1899. He was President of the Broome Filipino Association and employed an Aboriginal woman, who was married a Filipino man, as teacher in the school he established in Broome. After leaving the Cistercian Order, he ran a schooner with other Filipinos and then went on to establish the Lombadina Mission, where he died in 1915.

Hanna, Edward (d.1933)
Edward Hanna was the postmaster at Bremer Bay for two years, where he was named as Protector of Aborigines. Bremer Bay at that time was a telegraph station and depot for rations. Born in Victoria, Hanna was a telegraphist but came to Western Australia with the Mt Magnet gold rush. After prospecting for several years, he returned to his job as telegraphist and worked throughout the Goldfields. After Bremer Bay he was posted to Wellington Dam, Toodyay and Guildford, but it is not known if he continued in his role as Protector.

Hester, Gerald (1864-1929)
Gerald Hester was the son of the first British colonisers of the Blackwood area. His family displaced the Australians living in this area and although the family have a mixed record regarding the treatment of Aboriginal people, Gerald Hester seems to have taken more trouble than most settlers to acquaint himself with their language and adopted a boy, Dampling, in the 1880s. Dampling’s death from a fall in 1891 was recorded and commiserated in the newspaper, which was unusual for that time.

Hester, Matilda
See Logue, Matilda

Hunter, Harry (1865-1941)
Harry Hunter is a controversial figure: he was a pearling master who set up a camp at Boolgin Creek and subsequently lived there.
Item 1909/0025

Item 1909/0035
Item 1909/0046a

Isdell, James (1849-1919)
James Isdell was a pastoralist, parliamentarian, and traveling protector of Aborigines. Although he expresses compassion in his communications in some records, such as his regard for protecting the assets of Turkey in Item 1910/0318, he was more notoriously known for being the instigator of the Canning Stock Route and an “enthusiastic child removalist.” The following quote is from a chapter by Robert Manne, in the book Genocide and settler society: frontier violence and stolen indigenous children in Australian history (2004), edited by A. Dirk Moses:

The most enthusiastic West Australian child removalist in these early days was James Isdell, the former pastoralist and parliamentarian, who was appointed traveling protector for the north in 1907. On 13 Nov 1908, Isdell wrote from the Fitzroy River district to the Chief Inspector, Charles Gale. “I consider it a great scandal to allow any of these half-caste girls to remain with the natives.” On 15 Jan 1909, Gale issued Isdell with the authority to “collect all half-caste boys and girls” and to transport them to Beagle Bay. Isdell expressed his gratitude: “It should have been done years ago.” By May 1909, he was able to report from Wyndham that the entire East Kimberley region had been “cleaned up.”
Isdell was aware that sentimentalists from the south sometimes wrote letters to newspapers “detailing the cruelty and harrowing grief of the mothers.” He regarded such complaints as nonsensical. “Let them visit and reside for a while” in one of the native camps and see for themselves “the open indecency and immorality and hear the vile conversations ordinarily carried on which these young children see, listen to, and repeat.” Isdell did not believe that the Aboriginal mother felt the forcible removal of her child more deeply than did a bitch the loss of a pup. “I would not hesitate,” he wrote, “to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring.” “All Aboriginal women,” he explained in letters to Gale “are prostitutes at heart” and all Aborigines are “dirty, filthy, immoral.” (Moses 2004, 222-223)

Item 1908/0332
Item 1909/0015
Item 1910/0318

Kelly, Joseph Herbert
Joseph Herbert Kelly and George J Scott were gaol warders at Wyndham Gaol. They were partners in a farm, Bokerup, near Cranbrook, but Scott is not recorded as living there. Scott was gaoler at Carnarvon Gaol. Kelly remained on the Bokerup property for some years and is mentioned in various newspaper items between 1911 and 1915.

Landor, Edward Wilson (1811-1878)
Arriving in the Swan River Colony in the early 1830s with his brother, Dr Landor, Edward Landor published a memoir “The Bushman” in 1847 in which he accuses the British government of having occupied the land without the consent or treaty with the Aboriginal owners. Later, however, he was appointed Police Magistrate and was suspended in 1872 by Governor Weld for illegally reducing the charge against influential pastoralist Lockier Burges from murder of an unnamed Aboriginal person to a charge of assault resulting in death.

Logue, Matilda (1865-1956)
Matilda Hester, nee Logue, was married to Frederick Henry Valentine Hester in 1895 and lived at Mallina Station until it was destroyed by cyclone in 1898, at which time it is likely that the couple moved to Abydos Station,  which was owned and managed by her brother Joseph Ephraim Hester, where she remained even after her husband’s death in 1901. It was during this time that Matilda took Lizzie and Millie into her care. In 1903, when Lizzie and Millie were formally indentured to her, she was living at Abydos Station. In 1906, Matilda moved to Bullsbrook and took the two girls with her; she then moved back to the Logue family home “The Camp” in Mornington Mills.
Item 1907/0188

Lovegrove, Frederick Alexander 
Dr Frederick Alexander Lovegrove was the nephew of Dr Thomas Lovegrove, the Principal Medical Officer of WA. He was the medical supervisor on Bernier & Dorre Islands from 1908 – 1910, after which he went to Tambellup, where he was the general practitioner for many years.
See also Item 1909/0009

McCarthy, John
Sub-Inspector John McCarthy had been in the Police Force since 1888. He had gone to Derby in 1905, as a promotion his role in Perth as the police prosecutor at the Perth Police Court. He was well liked by the press for his courteousness, and considered a “zealous and capable” officer. He had served in the North-West, in Marble Bar and Roebourne, between about 1895 and 1900, before returning to Perth.
Item: 1908/0332
Item 1909/0002
Item 1909/0042

MacKenzie, John
Item 1910/0318
From the West Australian newspaper 16 Mar 1910
Mr John McKenzie, who was killed on Frog Hollow Station, was also an old identity in the district. He had been a stockman, but by hard work had attained a position of some affluence and was a partner with Messrs Cranwell and Yates in a station adjoining Alice Downs. His age was about 53

McNaughton, John
Dr John McNaughton was appointed by the State Board of Health as the medical officer for Peak Hill in 1903. He was made a Justice of the Peace in Peak Hill in 1908. He was frequently in conflict with local settlers due to his vocal disapproval of the way Aboriginal people were treated and gave heavy penalties for crimes of violence against Aboriginal woman in the Peak Hill court.
Item: 1908/0966

Meagher, Gerald Shenstone (1864-1937)
Gerald Shenstone Meagher was a sheep farmer at Condinup farm, on the upper Blackwood River. His father had been a convict and was involved in a number of civil disputes in the Bassendean area in the early 1880s, and declared bankrupt in 1891, at which time Gerald Meagher was living in the North-West. In the late 1890’s Meagher was a hotel keeper in Port Hedland, which might account for this Aboriginal boy coming from that area. In 1906, as a sheep farmer at Condinup with 1000 acres and 2000 sheep, on the Blackwood River, he was appointed as a magistrate and justice of the peace for the Blackwood region.
Item: 1909/0013

Moss, George
George Moss was an influential, master pearler who employed many Asians – principally Japanese, Manillamen (Philippino), Koepangers (Timorese) and Malays – on his pearling fleet in Broome.
Item: 1909/0010

Muggleton, Samuel (1855-1910)
Sam Muggleton, born in NSW, he went to Queensland for 15 years before coming to Western Australia where he lived for 20 years as a stockman and then pastoralist at Frog Hollow, where he worked his stock with John McKenzie and Turkey, an Aboriginal woman from Borroloola in the Northern Territory. Frog Hollow had a reputation for “kindness to Aborigines” in that the workers had some degree of autonomy on the station. More about Sam Muggleton here.
Item: 1909/0042
Item: 1910/0318

Oakley, Alfred
Alfred E Oakley was the manager, then owner of Mt Phillip Station. In a 1927 interview with Oakley, the newspaper reported, “When Mr Oakley first penetrated the wilds of the northern country, as they then were, the natives were very numerous and treacherous. In those days no white man thought of going to bed without his revolver in close proximity. Today, however, there is hardly an aboriginal to be seen.”
Item: 1909/0016

Olivey, George Sydney (1863-1937)
George Olivey was the first Travelling Inspector for Aborigines, appointed in 1899 to make a grand tour of the state with the aim of ensuring that the policies of the Department for Aborigines, under Chief Protector Henry Prinsep, were being complied with. He continued in this role until 1902. Born in Sydney to a British military family (his father was Lieut-Col Sir Walter Rice Olivey), he came to Western Australia in about 1887 and was part owner of Annean Station, near Nannine until 1909. He then farmed at Clonbinane, near Busselton until 1911, after which he became the Rabbit Inspector at Northam for the Dept of Agriculture.
Item 1900/0363

Pickering, William George (1869-1953)
Born in England, William Pickering was an architect who tried his hand at farming near Busselton between 1905 and 1918, before giving up and returning to his profession. He designed many hotels and buildings in the southern wheatbelt region. Pickering was the Country member for Vasse in WA Legislative Assembly 1917-1924.

Pilmer, Richard Henry (1866-1951)
Item 1909/0015
Item 1909/0046a
Richard Henry Pilmer was a controversial policeman stationed in the north-west for many years. Born in New Zealand, he came to Western Australia as a surveyor in 1891, joined the police force in 1892, stationed in the north-west until 1899, during which time he gained a reputation as a violent and aggressive policeman, infamous for his use of a cat-of-nine-tails with Aboriginal prisoners. In 1897, he was a part of the police force trying to capture the Bunuba resistance leader, Jandamarra, and shot him in the hip. He enlisted in the Boer War and on his return in 1901, as a non-commissioned officer, he was so disliked by his men that when he landed in Fremantle he was pelted with potatoes, dough, and ink as he walked down the gangplank, which led to his nickname “Pelted Pilmer.” He was then stationed at Collie but was so unpopular that the townspeople made a petition to have him removed. Pilmer then was posted to the Goldfields region until about 1911, when he was the leader of a punitive expedition on the Canning Stock Route, leaving from Leonora. Here is a newspaper item from the West Australian, June 9, 1901:

Ex-Policeman Pilmer
A Little of His Past
Pelted Pilmer, of the returned contingent is an illustraion of the way they manage things in the West. He was formerly employed in the Nor-West to bring in runaway niggers with chains round their necks for the squatters to try them. As the squatters owned the niggers, they would receive severe penalties and, perhaps, flogging was the chief. Pilmer did the flogging when nobody else would. He flogged 30 in one batch and received 10s per head for his labors. The ordinary cat-o’-nine tails would not satisfy him. He got a broom handle and fastened nine bullock hide strips with knots in them to both ends. The knots were about six inches apart. With this he flogged the blacks at the triangles and brought flesh and blood with every blow. He boasted that he worked so hard that he had to rub himself with eucalyptus afterwards, he was so stiff. Then he made a profit out of feeding his chain gangs of niggers, for whom he charged 7s per head per day, while he gave them nothing but kangaroo and flour water for food. This was how he made his money in the Derby district.

Prinsep, Henry Charles (1844-1922)
Chief Protector of Aborigines 1898-1907

Scott, George
Joseph Herbert Kelly and George J Scott were gaol warders at Wyndham Gaol. They were partners in a farm, Bokerup, near Cranbrook, but Scott is not recorded as living there. Scott was gaoler at Carnarvon Gaol. Kelly remained on the Bokerup property for some years and is mentioned in various newspaper items between 1911 and 1915.

Smith, George
George Smith and his wife Jennie were working as overseer and matron at Manunka Mission in South Australia, but due to drought conditions the mission failed to become self-sufficient and the Smiths lost their jobs there. Failing in their efforts to relocate to the North-West, they went on to Singleton Mission.

Spry, Edward James (1871-1944)
Edward Spry was a policeman in the Gascoyne Junction region from 1898 to 1910, and was made a Protector of Aborigines in 1906. He continued to work in the North-West at Port Hedland and Broome until 1924, when he transferred to Katanning as the Protector of Aborigines for that district. Spry was at Boulder Police Station from 1928-1933, when he transferred to Fremantle. When he retired in 1937, after 42 years of service, his career was eulogised in the Perth Mirror newspaper.
Item 1909/0028A
Item 1909/0029A
Item 1909/0029B

Strapp, James Edward (1866-1954)
James Edward Strapp, born in Toowoomba, Qld, held positions as a policeman in Perth, Mt Gould, Cue, Nannine, Bridgetown.

Timms, Harry Oliphant (1870-1942)
Harry Oliphant was born in Victoria, son of a station owner, and came to WA with the Coolgardie gold rush in 1893. With A R Richardson, his wife’s father, he was joint owner of Mardie Station, near Roebourne, before moving in 1909 to develop a stud sheep farm in Gnowangerup. He was a JP in Roebourne until 1909, and was “remembered as a man among men – kindly and genial – an honourable gentleman.” However, he was clearly condescending in his attitude towards Aboriginal people, whom he referred to as “niggers.”

Troy, Patrick (1851-1916)
Patrick Troy was a policeman, appointed Travelling Inspector from 13 December 1894 to 1896. Troy then worked as a magistrate in several places in the goldfields, later becoming Warden and Resident Magistrate at Kalgoorlie.
Item 1468/1884

Walker, William
William Walker was a police constable at Wiluna, who was also designated as a Protector of Aborigines. The conflict of interest arising from being both a police officer and a “Protector” was apparent even in those days, as attested by the following newspaper item:

Police Constable William Walker is entitled to write himself “protector of aboriginals” at Wiluna, in addition to his other duties. Walker has recently been charged with torturing his own black tracker by chaining him up for a night by the neck, a subject that might certainly be held to warrant some official investigation. But even allowing that is at present an “ex-parte” statement, isn’t it absurd that a constable should be appointed a deputy-protector of natives at all? In his former capacity it is his duty to put the fear of the white man’s law into the heart of our black brother Bill and to keep it there. It is his business to hunt the natives out of the town as much as possible, to shoot the native’s mangy dogs, to pursue and arrest the native for the numerous offences which that unfortunate person is mainly occupied in committing. In his latter capacity he is expected to physic the sick native, to clothe the naked one, to feed the old and infirm. It is likely the unsophisticated aborigines will go to zealous constables like Walker for succor, for relief, for protection? His very name strikes fear into their souls. His very presence in the neighbourhood is an inducement to them to cut and run. [Sunday Times 06.10.1907]

Wilkinson, Robert
Item 1909/0046a
Robert Wilkinson was the owner and publican of the Bangemall Hotel. He found a large gold nugget while prospecting at Bangemall in 1904 and in 1905 was granted a license for the hotel with Mr Ayliffe. In 1912 the license was contested by the police because of the “ruinous and dilapidated” state of the building: “There were holes in the roof and with every fall of rain a part of the walls of the rooms came away…There was no accommodation and no beds, and travellers had to camp outside.”

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