Sunday, April 27, 2008

life sentence on Rotto

Here’s at least one name to put to the more than 3000 Aborigines who were imprisoned on Rotto. We came across The Boundaries of Colonial Criminal Law in Relation to Inter-Aboriginal Conflict, which mentions the case of Weban:

'The focus moved to the rural settlements with the apprehension and subsequent prosecution of Weban, before the Court of Quarter Sessions in April 1839. Weban (Weeban) had been indicted for killing an Aboriginal child named Yellelan who had been living in a house in the Upper Swan, under the particular care of a settler named Eliza Shaw.

'The issue of jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter was not raised. However, the case attracted the attention of the editor of the Perth Gazette. He reported the Advocate General’s explanation to the jury. that the relationship between the murder of Yellelan to previous inter se conflict had led to Weban killing Yellelan in retaliation, the act being a ‘final determination of all differences arising out of the several murders’. In answer to the charge, Weban responded by saying that Weenat’s party had killed his brother and that Tomigin had told him to kill the child in revenge for that act.

'Weban was found guilty but his sentence of death was commuted to transportation to Rottnest Island for life.'

On a happier note, don’t forget about degraded dune revegetation next month. Conservation volunteers will assist Rottnest Island rangers from May 5 to 9. But Conservation Volunteers Australia warn: “CVA adopts a ‘dry’ policy on all projects, and no alcohol will be permitted on site.”

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