Saxe Bannister publishes his observations on Aborigines

Former attorney-general of NSW, Saxe Bannister publishes his observations on Aborigines of NSW and events near the Hunter River:“Justice towards [Aborigines] on our part has never been thought of…English rules…render it exceedingly difficult to cause the law to be put in force against murderers and other heinous wrong-doers towards the natives; and when…conviction has been obtained, the government has sympathized too much with the oppressing class, and too little with the oppressed, to permit justice to have its course. About 1799 several white people committed a murder…near Windsor, on the Hawkesbury, and were convicted. The case however, was referred to England, and the culprits ultimately escaped the punishment due to crime. In 1812, a committee of the House of Commons…noticed the unequal dispensing of justice between white people and natives…In [1826] a black man was shot in cold blood at the stake by the soldiers upon Hunter’s River; and other outrages of a like nature in the same district were necessarily stimulated by the illegal proceedings of the Governor of the Colony. The administration of the law being then…taken out of the proper channel, the natural consequence was, the commission of the most cruel barbarities by inferior persons. The whole transactions relative to the military execution on Hunter’s River, in 1826, and the trial in 1827, of Lieut. Low, ought to be laid before Parliament…if all the…facts are correctly stated…they present…points of the greatest importance to every reflecting mind:- (1)That the natives have a keen sense of justice. (2) That if assured of justice being done by us, they will repress their dispositions to do it in their own way. (3) That by activity and firmness justice may be carried into effect. (4) That the partial influence of local white feelings prevents the execution of justice by us. (Bannister’s Humane Policy; or Justice to the Aborigines, London, 1830, Appendix 5, quoted in Blair, 2003, 131).