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Archibald Meston Archibald Meston i(A9669 works by) (a.k.a. Archie Meston; A. Meston)
Also writes as: Maroogaline ; Ramrod
Born: Established: 26 Mar 1851 Towie, Aberdeenshire,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 11 Mar 1924 Brisbane, Queensland,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1859
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Queensland newspaper editor, explorer and amateur ethnologist who had a lifetime interest in Aboriginal culture and the languages of the indigenous people, Meston spent his childhood on a farm near Ulmarra in the Clarence River district of New South Wales but most of his adult life in Queensland. He worked initially as a sugar boiler and farm manager in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. He married Margaret Frances Prowse Shaw on 22 August 1872 while employed as a solicitor's clerk in Sydney. From 1878 to 1883 he represented Rosewood in the Queensland Legislative Assembly. Following editorial appointments with the Ipswich Observer, the Toowoomba Chronicle and the Townsville Herald, he came to Cairns early in 1882 as editor of the Cairns Chronicle. This was the beginning of a six-year tropical interlude in which he sought to further his career through regional politics and investments in the sugar industry, then undergoing its major expansion in the north. Meston's public life in Cairns began promisingly when he led the lobbying to secure the rail connection to the Atherton Tableland for the Barron Valley route and was elected Chairman of the Divisional Board. However he did not succeed in reactivating his career in politics. Between 1889 and 1904 he led four expeditions into the Bellenden Ker Ranges.

Meston's 'Report on the Aboriginals of Queensland' was the basis of the Aboriginal Protection Act of 1897, the law which regulated Queensland's indigenous people into the 1970s. As Southern Protector until 1903 he helped to establish the system of reserves provided for by the Act. His actions as Protector, especially in respect of the Fraser Island Reserve, were controversial. With an interval in Sydney from 1909 as Director of the Queensland Intelligence and Tourist Bureau, Meston continued in Brisbane as Government consultant and free-lance journalist until his death from tetanus on 11 March 1924.

Meston's many publications over his fifty-year career as a journalist helped to shape attitudes to Queensland and its indigenous people within and outside the State.

Collections of cuttings of Meston's numerous contributions to newspapers and periodicals are kept in the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Many are missing publication details and are thus not indexed in Austlit.

Most Referenced Works


Last amended 4 Feb 2014 18:31:18
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