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John Douglas and the Asian presence on Thursday Island : 1885-1904

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posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by J Hodes
Torres Strait during the colonial era was synonymous with the name of John Douglas, who, as its Government Resident, ruled this remote and far-flung administration. Here was the last great Australian imperialist - devising, implementing and maintaining an administrative apparatus for the region and its people that was paternalistic, benevolent and autocratic. In this task, he was guided by the principles of 'providential duty, the destiny of race, and the other lofty abstractions of late Victorian imperialism. That he was able to rule Torres Strait as a sort of 'constitutional sovereign'2 for the benefit of its inhabitants, according to his own liberal beliefs, tenets and values, possessing unbounded moral and statutory authority,3 was without parallel in Queensland colonial history. While he was aided and abetted in this by the geographical remoteness of Torres Strait, it was also due in large part to his undoubted administrative ability, coupled with his extensive political connections and experience. Douglas brooked no interference in his domain and indeed encountered little, being left largely to his own benevolent devices by his grateful political masters in far-off Brisbane. This chapter will examine his interaction with Asian peoples on Thursday Island, particularly the Japanese, his attitudes towards them, and his impact on their lives. In order to better understand his role and influence, it is necessary to briefly examine his life and career prior to his arrival in the region.
CQUniversity

Categories

Keywords

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Editor

Shnukal A; Ramsay G; Nagata Y

Parent Title

Navigating boundaries : the Asian diaspora in Torres Strait

Start Page

203

End Page

217

Number of Pages

15

ISBN-10

1740760891

Publisher

Pandanus

Place of Publication

Canberra

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Arts, Health and Sciences;

Era Eligible

Yes

Number of Chapters

11

Exports

CQUniversity

Categories

Keywords

Exports