Banner image from left to right: young indigenous women with European, Aghan and Chinese fathers 1928 (NAA A263 1928)









Source Material for Draft: 

In 1917 Queensland’s Chief Protector, J. W. Bleakley, had announced that "half-castes will now be accepted into the Australian Forces provided they satisfy the medical authorities that one parent was of European origin."

Catherine learns the cruellest irony of all, that Frank’s military pay was controlled by the Aboriginal Protector. At his discretion, he would pass it on to those who had worked for it. This he did not always do – as Frank’s wife Esme learned first hand, when she discovered she could not draw on her husband’s military pay back home. Although this sequestering of wages was rationalised as a form of ‘settlement tax’ covering the cost of their food rations and so on, the unacknowledged reasoning was that Aborigines could not be trusted to spend their money wisely.

Catherine decides to investigate her mother Cecelia’s side of the family. She was born on Palm Island in 1939, her parents being George ‘Salvaggi’ Sibley and Alice Mero. Palm Island was far from an idyllic tropical island – it was a penal settlement. Cecelia’s great grandparents, George Sibley and Annie Ah Sam, were sent there in 1925. Her own parents had met there.

Genealogical records of anthropologist Norman Tindale who travelled around Queensland in the late 1930s, reveal that Annie was the daughter of Tommy Ah Sam, a Chinaman. Like many Chinese immigrants he worked as a cook and gardener in far north Queensland. Catherine journeys to Dunbar Station – where Tommy worked and where the original homestead is still standing. She inspects the kitchen where Tommy would have worked and learns from present-day cook Dan MacIntosh that Tommy would have had to prepare meals for about 100 station hands. It was here that Tommy met Maggie Croyden, an indigenous woman of the Kurdjan tribe, who also worked at the station. n Mount Molloy, Catherine visits the place that Tommy and Maggie’s daughter Annie Ah Sam ended up living with George Sibley. They had five children. Catherine learns that George worked for a local saw mill and as a half-caste was paid directly by the mill. The law at the time dictated that Aborigines could only collect wages via the Chief Protector.

Catherine already knows that he and his family were then sent to Palm Island but doesn’t know why. She discovers that the official reason for this exile, as stated in the Removal Register in the records of the Queensland Government’s Community & Personal Histories Branch, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Department of Communities, was that George "will not sign on to employment; addicted to drink and supplies other Aborigines." With the help of some historical contextualisation, Catherine questions if it was the drink, or more the case that George was an independently-minded man who, in refusing to sign on to ‘employment’ – which in reality meant his wages would be controlled by the authorities – was labelled a trouble-maker, likely to influence other Aboriginal men to do the same?

Looking further into her Sibley roots, Catherine discovers via the English census of 1881 that George Sibley (snr) born in the UK, was a dairy boy in Dorset. In England she learns that George’s life was tough and poverty was rife. He was at the bottom of the social strata with few rights and opportunities. On hearing about free passages to Queensland and the promise of land, he left England in 1883 never to return. Thirteen years later he had son George with an Aboriginal woman called Maggie. It was this George Sibley who was eventually to marry Annie Ah Sam.

 2. 1.1928 Aboriginal camps in the area.
      First is about three miles from Mt Molloy and contains about 8 males,
      6 females and no children. The second is about twenty eight miles
      from Mt  Molloy at Mt Carbine and contains about 12 males, 18 females
      and 3 children.

George Charles Sibley
Birthdate:     circa 1866
Birthplace:     Beaminster, Dorset, UK
Death:     Died October 3, 1924
Cause of death:     Tuberculosis
Immediate Family:     

Son of David Sibley and Sarah Ann O'Neill
Husband of Maggie Daintree and Patricia Henderson Falconer
Father of George Patrick Sibley; Charlotte Patricia Sibley and George John Sibley
Occupation:     Dairyboy, Labourer

Mount Molloy Police Letterbooks 1904 - 1960
      Mount Molloy Police Letterbooks 1904 - 1960
 7. 5.1942  To P of A Cairns
      Half-caste George Sibley. Whereabouts unknown

Queensland Exemption Register 1908 - 1936
Exemption Application Register 1905 - 1935
Chief Protector of Aborigines
Register of Exemption Applications 1908 - 1935
A/58980 Queensland State Archives

NB Names bracketed refer to the same person.

      Christian Name            Surname      Age   Residence          Year
      George                    Sibley        22   Mt Molloy          1914
Croydon Police Letterbooks 1925 - 1964
Minnie was cared for by Annie Ah Sam, H/C, during the confinement. Minnie is the mother of 5 children, the oldest being 18 years

Annie Ah Sam
Birthdate:     estimated before 1964
Death:     (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:     

Daughter of Tommy Ah Sam and Maggie Croydon
Wife of George Patrick Sibley
Mother of George Salvaggi Sibley

Ah Ching,  Philip Henry Victor

Queensland Parliamentary Papers Mixed Marriages 1903 - 1908

Queensland Parliamentary Papers - Chief Protector of Aborigines Annual Reports Mixed Marriages 1903 - 1908 1903 Simaki, a native of Samoa, but resident in Torres Strait over ten years; son of the Samoan missionary teacher at Murray Island; engaged in pearl-shelling; has no intention or desire to return to Samoa; has a house at Naghir (Mount Ernest); is about nineteen years of age, and in a position to keep a wife. The girl, Assau, is a full-blood native of Warrior Island; about eighteen years old; father and mother both living at Yam Island. Henry Lewis, of South Sea Island parents, but born in Queensland. Full-blood aboriginal Pauline, of Mapoon (on the application and recommendation of Rev. N. Hey.) John Martin (European), of Gingerilla Station, Rocky Tait, near Chillagoe. Gin Annie on whose account he had been prosecuted for harbouring. John Page (European), woodcutter. Half-caste Minnie, late of Opalton, but latterly of Winton. Juan Santos, native of Guam. Clara Fabian, whose mother is an aboriginal of Two-Brothers Island (Gabbaree) in the Torres Strait. Ibrahim Ben Mahomet, of Calcutta, twenty years' resident at Thursday Island. Agnes Minjoot, the half-caste daughter of an aboriginal (Coen District) woman by an Indian father, Said Abdurrahman. Ponto, aboriginal ex-tracker, a member of the Yarrabah Mission. Half-caste Minnie, lately in the employ of Mr. Connolly, the Police Magistrate at Port Douglas. Cheery, a South Sea Islander, member of the Queensland Kanaka Mission. Aboriginal Kate. Fred. Peachy (European). Aboriginal Lily, of Glendower Station, Hughenden. Wambi (kanaka), a naturalised British subject, of Gum-Hole Station, Staaten River. Aboriginal Mary. There has been upwards of twenty years' cohabitation, and two children, whom the father is very anxious to legitimate. Domingo Xeromenes, a Filipino, of good character, and many years resident at Thursday Island. Eleanor Roas, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Raymond Roas, a Filipino, by Mary Kass, a Torres Strait Islander (the father consenting). Ah Mat (Mahomet) Pablo, thirty-five, a native of Singapore, diver, resident at Thursday Island. Selini, eighteen (age Authenticated), a half-caste native of Mabuiag (Jervis Island), daughter of George Anker, or Anken, a native of Samoa, by Kerisi, his wife, an aboriginal native of Mabuiag. Robert Athow, thirty-seven, native of Api, Pacific Islands, a boardinghouse-keeper at Thursday Island, and resident in Queensland for twenty-three years. Rebecca, seventeen, native of Errub (Darnley Island), daughter of Gimai, a Darnley Island female native, by Sela, a native of Lifu; both parents consenting. Lucio Rosario, a Filipino, twenty years resident of Thursday Island, and of good character. Sepe, a Murray Islander. George Hooper, half-caste aboriginal, stockman. Aboriginal Polly, of Walgra (out-station of Carandotta). Delamo, a Malayta boy, of Geraldton. Nellie (Nuibra). Urimboh, also a Malayta, Geraldton. Nellie (Dingarra). Macario, a Filipino, of Cooktown. Maggie, of the Starcke River. Pelay, a Filipino, eleven years'resident at Thursday Island, and of good character. Johanna Favian, a Filipino aboriginal half-caste minor. Thomas Fuller (European), timber-getter, Geraldton. Lucy, an aboriginal employee at the Imperial Hotel; it was she that first wrote for permission to marry the man. Charley Ah Sing, Normanton. Helen Ah Sam, a China-aboriginal half-caste; her father consenting. Ah Gim, Chinaman, gardener, Burketown. Minnie, with whom he has been living for upwards of ten years, and who has borne him two children. Mulgobbie, of Malo, New Hebrides, working at Innisfail Plantation. Bearie Gingarra, of Mulgrave River. This couple have been living as man and wife for three years past. Qualla-fare-better, of Malayta, Solomon Islands, working at Innisfail. Nellie Cavoo. These people have been together for one year. Dessemah, of Motlap, New Hebrides, working at Innisfail. Laura Yarringa, of Mulgrave River. Living together for nine years past. They have two children. Gee-arlo, of Santo, New Hebrides, working at Mundoo. Annie Sui-arie. They have been together for five years. Minambeera, of Malayta. Nancy Mara-mere, of Mundoo. Living together for two years past. I refused the applications for marriage with aboriginal females made on behalf of Pimbolo, a South Sea Islander, a member of the Queensland Kanaka Mission, Geraldton, and C.O. Fong, of Fossilbrook, against both of whom there had been convictions for harbouring. A school teacher at Calcifer sought permission to marry a female half-caste, but subsequently changed his mind. 1904 Pirmines Monmarible, Filipino, ten years resident at Thursday Island; of good character. Margarita Maria, of Yam Island. Charles Kowat, native of Rotumah, seventeen years resident at Thursday Island; good character. Wasi (widow), of Darnley Island. W. Buchanan, European, scalper. Half-caste Ada, of Nive Downs. J. Glannan, European. A half-caste minor on Dubbo Downs; conditional on permit from guardian or magistrate being obtained. Fiddle, native of Rotumah, eighteen years in Queensland. Catalina Hoy, widow, Yam Island. Rainbow, South Sea Islander. Lizzie Ke-oola, a Geraldton aborigial. James Stanley, European, scalper. Half-caste Rosey Gordon, of East Woodlands, Maranoa River. William Thorpe, half-caste. Pippa, of Carandotta. William Pitt, son of a Jamaica man and Lifu woman. Mary, of Murray Island. Matthew Spies, carrier. Maggie, of Charleville. John Serovoy Mota (S.S.I.). Lucy, twenty-two years, Mulgrave camp. Harry Warsal Mortalap (S.S.I.). Lucy, nineteen years, Mulgrave camp. Jack Searva Tanna (S.S.I.), Mulgrave. Becca, twenty two years, Nelson. Charles Carrington, European, carrier. Half-caste Ada, of Winton. Willie Pentecost (S.S.I.). Mina White, seventeen years, Bundaberg. A child had already been born to this couple. W.W. Mahoney, European. Topsy, of Boulia. Yellow George, half-caste. Rosey, of Bourketown. The respective local Protectors were informed that there were no objections to the proposed marriages between Johnny Lena (S.S.I.) and half-caste Dolly McFarlane, Pialba; half-caste John McLennan and quadroon Mary Fuller, Gayndah; Albert Howard, European, and half-caste Dina Cameron, Moray Downs; George Carlisle, European, and half-caste Mary Tie, Diamantina; F.G. Carseldine, ex-constable, and half-caste Cissie Tie, Winton. Permission for celebration of marriages was refused in the case of Sam Nabo, kanaka, with half-caste Gertie Bulong, of Gayndah; and W.E. White, European, with half-caste Alice. 1905 Risil, daughter of a Mabuiag woman and a South Sea Islander: Billy Rotumah (S.S.I.), Thursday Island. Declassie, half-caste: Sevivu, a Rotumah man. Thursday Island. Sarah, aboriginal: Burke Attenborough, half-caste. Burketown. Mary, aboriginal: Jimmy Motloff (S.S.I.). Mapoon. Libby Savage, half-caste, of Moa: Charles Corrie, half-caste, Gilbert Islander. Thursday Island. Annie Aboriginal: Joseph Connolly. Normanton. Susie Roonie, half-caste: Bob Dow (S.S.I.). Childers. Mary Gala, half-caste: Bob Rumbo (S.S.I.). Maryborough. Louisa Forbes, half-caste: Charlie Tarrashool (S.S.I.). Childers. Susie, half-caste, of Wide Bay: Bob Ambrym (S.S.I.). Childers. Caroline, half-caste: Willie Api (S.S.I.). Childers. Nelly Sykes, half-caste: Samuel Sullivan (S.S.I.). Thursday Island. Alit, half-caste, Mabuiag native: Jimmy Yevie, Tanna Islander. Thursday Island. Helen, half-caste, of Charlotte Plains: W.B. Hamilton, of Bindebango West. Tangua, half-caste: Nelson, a fisherman. Ayr. Dinah Henry, half-caste: John Ah See, half-caste. Taroom. Toney, aboriginal: Edward Davis, shearer, of Nappamerry. Lucy Bolton, half-caste: John Nip, half-caste. Taroom. Genua, half-caste, a minor: Charlie Wollie (S.S.I.). Thursday Island. Louie Hickson, half-caste: W. Kruger. Winton. Lizzie Sullivan, aboriginal: Thomas Hill. Rockhampton. Ah See, half-caste: Peter Rouse. Deebing Creek Mission. Jessie Pig-Pig, half-caste: Bob Terare, half-caste. Bundaberg. Lizzie, half-caste: Ah Sam. Boulia. My permission was refused in the case of: Rosie, aboriginal, of Noble Island: Pausto Billows, Manila man, of Cooktown. Alice, aboriginal: Charles Ross, a German, of Amby. Maggie, aboriginal: Ah Soon. Burketown. Yambatonga, aboriginal: Tom Solomon (S.S.I.). Archer River Mission. Alice Free, half-caste: N.C. Hood. Claverton. ----, half-caste, of Fossilbrook: Charlie Out Fong 1906 Emily Graham, a half-caste woman, to a South Sea Islander. Childers. Rosie Ann, an aboriginal woman about 30 years of age, to a white man. Duaringa. Beena, a half-caste girl, 19 years, to a Tanna man. Bundaberg. Latta, a half-caste girl, about 17 years, to a Rotuma man. Thursday Island. Baill, a native of Murray Island, about 23 years of age, to a native of Lifu, South Sea Islands. Thursday Island. Mary Ann, a half-caste girl, 22 years of age, to a Manila man. Atherton. Millie, an aboriginal woman, to a South Sea Islander. Mackay. Lavinia, a native of Yam Island, to a Manila man. Thursday Island. Lucy, an aboriginal girl, about 25 years of age, to a white man. Springsure. Nelmarinda, an aboriginal girl, 24 years of age, to a white man. Ingham. Lizzie, a half-caste girl, to a Chinaman. Boulia. Annie Morton, a half-caste woman, to a white man. Mackay. Nida Huggins, a half-caste, to a South Sea Islander. Townsville. Maude Harvey, a half-caste woman, to a white man. Croydon. Rosey Harper, an aboriginal girl of 20 years of age, to a white man. Cairns. Julia Heria, an aboriginal girl of about 25 years of age, to a native of France. Cairns. Fanny White, a half-caste woman, to a white man. Brisbane. Rosie Homarlee, an aboriginal woman, to a South Sea Islander. Cairns. Taom Tierna, a Mabuiag woman, to a Samoan. Thursday Island. Alice, an aboriginal aged 25 years, to a white man. Mitchell. Kitty, an aboriginal, to a South Sea Islander. Townsville. Nellie, an aboriginal, to a South Sea Islander. Townsville. Daisy, a half-caste girl, to a South Sea Islander. Cairns. Eva, an aboriginal girl, to a native of Malay. Normanton. Alice, an aboriginal, about 20 years of age, to a half-caste native of Queensland. Springsure. Sidie Jerry, an aboriginal woman, about 25 years of age, to a South Sea Islander. Charters Towers. Permission to marry was refused in the case of: Maggie, an aboriginal girl, to a Chinaman. Normanton. Katie, an aboriginal, to a South Sea Islander. Ingham. 1907 Nay, a Murray Island woman, to a South Sea Islander. Thursday Island. Nellie, a native of Port Douglas, to a Pacific Islander. Cairns. Lena Solomon, a half-caste, to a Cingalese. Cairns. Bella, an aboriginal, to a Pacific Islander. Nelson, Cairns. Sarah Purcell, a half-caste, to a white man. Croydon. Maggie, an aboriginal, to a white man. Georgetown (1). Maggie, an aboriginal, to a white man. Georgetown (2). Biddy Milwah, an aboriginal, to a native of Malayta Island. Cairns. Barney, a female aboriginal, to a native of Malayta Island. Cairns. Polly, an aboriginal, to a native of Singapore. Cairns. Maggie, an aboriginal, to a native of Mulgrave district. Cairns. Nellie, an aboriginal, to a Pacific Islander. Bowen. Susannah McCauley, to a white man. Hebel, Roma. Dolly Griffith, a half-caste, to a quadroon. Brisbane. Ellen Fitzpatrick, a half-caste, to a European. Charleville. 1908 Female Type District Married To Nation. Rem. Maudie H.C. Cloncurry George Cummins British Langlo Louise A. Mount Morris John Triscott British C. Rosie A. Cairns Peter Malay Nellie A. Cairns Harry Singapore Malay May Davies H.C. Brisbane Albert Malezieaux N. Caledonia Leesy Craig A. Cairns Goon Goo China Nellie Dillon H.C. Longreach Harry Grey --- Maggie A. Bowen --- S.S.I. Maggie Turnbull A. Brisbane Jack Nongfon Rotumah Nina H.C. Bundaberg Joe Ambrym P.I. Maria A. Mapoon Tom Solomon P.I. Mary A. York Island Charley Daley P.I. Jemina A. Rockhampton Alfred Duce --- Ruby H.C. Dunwich Barney Delaney Caboolture Judy H.C. Atherton Charlie Malay Topsy H.C. Springsure James Taylor Europe S.R. Nellie A. Hambledon Jack Ah Mat Malay Fanny A. Atherton Joe Malay Lena A. Atherton Joe Auning Malay Mary Ann A. Atherton Harry Ross Malay Ruby A. Hambledon Charles Ah Mat Malay Gertie Bulong H.C. Gayndah Sam Nebo Tanna Anne Harnet A. Darnley Island Josiah Sela S.S.I. Jessie A. Atherton Jim Abraham Malay Eliza A. Atherton Jim Palmer Melanesia Kitty A. Atherton Taenguin Malayta Matilda Brown H.C. Brisbane Alfred Martin Malayta Maria Cooke A. Darnley Albert Warde F.P.I. Essie A. Murray Island Teetou Rotumah Polly A. Kuranda Podmore Malay Latu A. Yam Island George Kapiere Rotumah Monica A. Emerald Walter Oram European Lucy McCullogh H.C. Brisbane Edward Ruska H.C. Portugese Sarah Ah Quom H.C. Burketown Idunny Chong China (or Sam) Lizzie Tamlin A. --- Goolin Hosien India Bella A. Mulgrave Patchy P.I. Lily A. Yam Island John Wesley Samoa Nina Amos H.C. --- Joe White Morven H.C. Nuncleer H.C. Bedourie George Gorringe Europe Lucy A. Mapoon Bob Ling P.I. Mary A. --- Jome Sweenay Qld. H.C. N.B. A. Aborigine H.C. Half-caste S.S.I. South Sea Islander P.I. Pacific Islander F.P.I. French Pacific Island


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