Gallery

No Memorial to Dundalli

There are plenty of sculptures and plaques in Post Office Square in Brisbane. The most famous one is of Major-General Glasgow which is the last sculpture made by Daphne Mayo, a well-known Brisbane sculptor. Mayo was responsible for the controversial sculpture on the front of Brisbane City Hall where, on one interpretation, she depicts an aboriginal man prostrate on the ground vanquished by settlers under the watchful eye of the the state.

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Sculptor Daphne Mayo working on the tympanum on the front of Brisbane City Hall. The woman she is working on with her assistant John Theodor represents the state of Queensland.

In Post Office Square there are sculptures dedicated to Banks, Generals, a former Premier, and the fallen dead of world wars and even two nudes.

But there is nothing to commemorate Dundalli who was hung here on 5th January 1855 for leading Aboriginal resistance against British colonisation. Queensland was made a separate colony by Queen Victoria.

However every year local Aboriginal people conduct a smoking ceremony in memory of  warrior Dundalli.

On the 5th Feb 2012 I was standing near then Lord Mayor of Queensland, Campbell Newman, when he declared he would erect a plaque or memorial to Dundalli in Post Office Square but he never delivered on hid promise. Soon after on being proclaimed Premier of Qld Campbell Newman ordered the eviction of aboriginal people from Musgrave Park to make way for the Paniyiri Greek Festival in West End.

Dundalli House

Dundalli House now occupied by Brisbane Youth Service which prefers to call it Windsor House on their Facebook Page.

The modern Post Office square was constructed in 1984 funded by public monies together with contributions from the Westpac Bank which borders the square. It was the site of Occupy Brisbane for two weeks in September 2011. The Lord Mayor had people from Occupy arrested and evicted soon after, no doubt at the behest of the neighbouring Banks neighbouring. More recently it is a place where Brisbane homeless people come and hang out while City office workers eat their lunches.

For those interested in the history, Libby Connors has written an excellent book about Dundalli.

Ian Curr

26th of June 2019

Post Office Square re-opened by Joh Bjelke-Petersen who banned democratic rights in Queensland and sacked 1001 SEQEB workers who refused to be made slaves under labour contracts.

Sculpture dedicated to the banks

Postal workers who died in the carnage that was WWI

Construction Worker leaning up against sculpture of two nudes across the road from Post Office Square

One response to “No Memorial to Dundalli

  1. Aboriginal heroes: episodes in the colonial landscape

    Dundalli
    Dundalli was a Turrwan (Yuggara word for leader), and was educated in Aboriginal law. In 1840-1850, when Brisbane Town began casting off the yoke of military and penal colony rule, the first Australians were coming to the realisation that the new Australians were here to stay. Dundalli was chosen as the Turrwan to conduct restorative justice. He retaliated for the shooting and poisoning of Aboriginal people by settlers. For over 10 years Dundalli attacked settlers, conducted robbery causing serious bodily harm and killed stock. Aboriginal people saw him as a resistance leader, but the new Australians saw him as a criminal and murderer. Dundalli was charged in 1854 and committed to trial for the robbery with violence at German missionary Rev J.G Haussmann’s station in 1845; for the murder of station owner Andrew Gregor and his servant Mary Shannon in 1846; for the murder of sawyers Boller and Waller in 1847; for the murder of fisherman Charles Gray near Bribie Island; and for the murder of shepherd Michael Halloran. He was found guilty of two counts of murder and one of robbery with violence and hanged in 1855, the last official public execution in Queensland. See

    As time passes, the memory of Dundalli has passed out of our conscious memory, but he (along with his actions) has remained in Aboriginal cultural memory. Dundalli is remembered in Brisbane spaces including street signs such as in West Chermside, buildings with his name, as well as government service providers, the Dundalli Youth Services and a plaque dedicated to his memory at the Post Office in the GPO of Brisbane*. Dundalli has left a footprint in both the memory of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

    Dale Kerwin

    See https://www.qhatlas.com.au/content/aboriginal-heroes-episodes-colonial-landscape

    * Please note this is incorrect, there is no plaque to Dundalli in Post Office Square.

    Like

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