Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Path to Abolition Print E-mail

path_intro.jpg- A history of execution in Queensland

More than a century after the last hanging in Queensland, the Supreme Court Library is pleased to present a new exhibition which traces the path to the abolition of capital punishment.  Featuring the original gallows beam from the Boggo Road Gaol, the exhibition will open in the Sir Harry Gibbs Legal Heritage Centre in June 2014.


Exhibition launch:  5:30pm, 18 June 2014

Where: Banco Court, QEII Courts of Law, Brisbane

Guest speakers: The Hon IDF Callinan AC QC and Ms Soraya Ryan QC

hangman.jpgAs the first jurisdiction in the entire British Empire to abolish capital punishment for all crimes, Queensland made its opposition to execution clear at an early stage.   Abolition first arose as a topic of intense parliamentary debate in 1899, likely sparked by increasing public unrest and distaste for the practice of execution. Hotly debated in the 1922 Parliament, the Criminal Code Amendment Act received assent by a narrow 33-30 vote and became law on 1 August 1922.

In 1913 at Boggo Road, Ernest Austin became the last person to be executed in Queensland.  Prior to that, in less than a century since the first execution took place in the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, 93 men and one woman swung from the gallows in Queensland.  

As well as examining the public and political intrigue surrounding the history of execution, this exhibition describes the technical process of execution, the legal process, and some key participants: hangmen, prisoners, and politicians.

The exhibition will be launched at an opening event to be held in the Banco Court, Brisbane, on 18 June 2014, with special guest speakers the Hon IDF Callinan AC QC and Ms Soraya Ryan QC.  All BAQ members are welcome, but spaces are limited.  RSVP to librarian@sclqld.org.au. 

For more information about this new exhibition or its launch, contact Helen Jeffcoat, Deputy Librarian, on (07) 3247 5434 or at helen.jeffcoat@sclqld.org.au.

qld_legal_yearbook.jpgThe 2013 issue of the Queensland Legal Yearbook will be available for members this month.  Featuring a consolidated collection of legal speeches and lectures delivered throughout the year, as well as a series of reflective pieces on Queensland’s legal history, the Yearbook is an important reference work for Queensland practitioners.  At more than 500 pages, it also offers a complete and convenient snapshot of the 2013 legal year, including legal personalia records, tributes and court ceremony transcripts.

Anyone wishing to obtain a complimentary copy of the Yearbook should contact librarian@sclqld.org.au.  Stock is limited.

Members can also download a free electronic copy of the Yearbook via the Library’s legal heritage website: www.legalheritage.sclqld.org.au.



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