A list of Aboriginal natives tried and convicted before the Supreme Court of NSW

A list of all Aboriginal natives tried and convicted before the Supreme Court of NSW between May 1824 and Feb 1836 records that of 21 names, 16 (76%) are known to be from the Brisbane Waters area. This is when conflict is at its most intense. Although not considered as citizens, they are tried in Colonial courts under British law. There is strong public debate during the 1830s regarding the legitimacy of trying Aboriginal natives in an English court, when the defendants are unable to understand the proceedings or the language.

The impact on the local community of the removal of these men must have been significant and have had a fundamental bearing on the social structure of local people. Administrative records reveal that during the 1830s, a group of young Aboriginal men were arrested and sent to Sydney for trial for mainly unstipulated offences. They received sentences including incarceration in Sydney gaols or deportation to Van Diemen’s Land (Whip um up, Little Dick, Charlie Muscle/Myrtle, Little Freeman, Leggamy, Major, Currinbong Jemmy, Toby). Some were condemned to be hanged (Monkey, Tom Jones, Mickey Mickey, Charlie Muscle/Myrtle, Hobby, Charley). Charges laid ranged from “putting in fear” to murder. 16 of the 21 people in the list below (some replication) were mentioned in the local magistrates’ registers: Jacky Jacky, Little Dick, Whip em up, Monkey, Charlie Muscle (Myrtle), Little Freeman, Leggamy, Major, Currinbong, Jemmy and Jack Congo Murrell. (Blair, 2000, 13-14)