Contested Histories: Robert Towns’ Statue and his Blackbirding Legacy

This paper examines the contestations surrounding the life-sized statue of Robert Towns in Townsville, north Queensland. Unlike many of the cases catalogued by Contested Histories, this statue was erected in recent history--in 2004--with funds from the local council, in spite of instant controversy. Towns was a merchant entrepreneur and ‘blackbirder’, whose ship ‘Don Juan’ brought one of the earliest shiploads of South Sea Islanders from present-day Vanuatu to labour on his Queensland properties in 1863. 

To see the full case study click here.