# 33705

MURRAY, J. H. P. (John Hubert Plunkett), Sir (1861-1940)

Papua. Offences by natives. Memorandum by the Lieutenant-Governor.

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Presented by Command; ordered to be printed, 3rd June, 1915. At head of title: 1914-15. The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. [Melbourne] : Printed and published for the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia by Albert J. Mullett, Government Ptinter for the State of Victoria, 1915. Foolscap folio (330 mm), stapled, pp 9; a very clean copy.

A short study of crime and punishment in the Territory of Papua under the Australian administration, written by J. H. P. Murray, who had served as a colonial administrator in Papua since 1904 and as its lieutenant-governor since 1908.

‘Murders have always been frequent in Papua, and it is probable that they always will be, for, as I wrote in 1912 (Papua, or British New Guinea, p. 207), “Murder is to the Papuan in his uncivilized state sometimes a duty, sometimes a necessary part of social etiquette, sometimes a relaxation, and always a passion,” and even in his civilized state the blood lust inherited for generations will occasionally assert itself in spit of all precautions, for heredity will sometimes prove too strong for any environment. But it is quite incorrect to say that murders have been more frequent during the period of Commonwealth control, and equally incorrect to attribute the murders of either Europeans or natives to the native policy of the Government, which, in fact, does not differ at all from that instituted by Sir William MacGregor under the imperial regime.

Again, murders by Papuans, like other murders by savage or semi-civilized races, are nearly always brutal and hideous in the extreme, and it is easy, by dwelling upon the details, to cause a cry to be raised for swift justice on the offenders, and to excite the natural sympathy of readers with the victims of such atrocities, especially when the victims are men of their own race and colour. But this sympathy is apt to be misleading, if indignation at the crime comitted leads to a disregard of the great difficulties, in a country like Papua, of effecting the speedy arrest of criminals.’ (p. 5)

Trove locates only two copies (NLA; SLQ)