'A female slave in Queensland? Gender, consent, protection and the law in the trans-Pacific frontier', Australian Historical Studies conference 2021

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


In this paper I consider a complex 19th-century legal case, where a perpetrator was put on trial and a Pacific Islander woman could speak in her own right under oath in a colonial court. This may seem, at first glance, to be a triumph of the law over the persistence of slavery, the violation of human liberty, and the erasure of consent through physical violence, as was suggested by the sensational news headlines. However, as I show, the conditions in which consent could be freely given by a female Pacific Islander labourer in Queensland at this time in 1884 were far from simple.
Period2 Dec 2021
Held atUniversity of New South Wales, Australia, New South Wales
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Colonialism
  • Slavery
  • Pacific
  • Queensland
  • gender
  • law