The Day They Burned Mapoon:A Study of the Closure of a Queensland Presbyterian Mission

Wharton,Geoffrey Stephen (1996). The Day They Burned Mapoon:A Study of the Closure of a Queensland Presbyterian Mission Honours Thesis, University of Queensland Department of History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Wharton,Geoffrey Stephen
Thesis Title The Day They Burned Mapoon:A Study of the Closure of a Queensland Presbyterian Mission
School, Centre or Institute University of Queensland Department of History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1996
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Clive Moore
Total pages 126
Language eng
Subjects 2103 Historical Studies
Formatted abstract

The controversial closure of the Presbyterian church's Aboriginal mission station at Mapoon in 1 963 has attracted considerable media attention over the past thirty years. Much of the criticism has focussed on possible links between the grant of bauxite mining leases by the Queensland government and the destruction of Mapoon. This thesis examines the roles of the church, the government and the mining companies in the mission’s demise.

The Introduction explains the parameters of the thesis research and reviews the literature on Mapoon's closure. Chapter One presents the Mapoon community, then discusses the incident in November 1 963 when Aboriginal residents were forcibly removed from Mapoon by police under a government order. The chapter also introduces the principal agents alleged to be responsible for the closure.

Chapter Two examines Mapoon mission's foundation, the relationship between the church and the government and some of the long-term causes of the initial decision to close Mapoon. Church and state negotiations and the Aboriginal residents ' resistance to the closure policy during the late 1 950s and early 1 960s are examined in Chapter Three. The development of the Australian aluminium industry and the church’s attempts to gain financial benefits from mineral royalties are the subject of Chapter Four. Chapter Five looks at the impact of the bauxite mining companies on Mapoon. The Conclusion re-examines the issues raised in the thesis, sets out the limitations of the research conducted and discusses some implications for future study.

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