Black Glass: Western Australian Courts of Native Affairs 1936 - 54 by Kate Auty
Between 1936 and 1954, the Western Australian government operated Courts of Native Affairs that heard murder and manslaughter cases where defendant and victim were Aboriginal. These caseswhich, for every other citizen, had the status of Supreme Court trialswere reduced to summary hearings that were largely conducted by amateurs. This investigation explores these little-known courts, along with the silence in which they were buried, and the strategic silences exercised by their Aboriginal subjects. Aboriginal people volunteered multiple and arguably deliberately obfuscating versions of events, establishing false tracks and alternative scenarios of some complexity. Some of these narratives were advanced, dropped, adopted again, and repackaged, and this study looks at them all.
Kate Auty has worked as a lawyer for the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; as a lecturer and project coordinator in the Graduate Certificate in Environment and Heritage Interpretation at the Institute of Koori Education, Deakin University; as a barrister; and as a magistrate.