Willshire of Alice Springs by Austin Stapleton
Alice Springs’ Mounted Constable Willshire was tried at Port Augusta in 1891 for murder and honourably acquitted. The crown was widely criticised for the weakness of its case.
Many publications and articles about Willshire have highlighted the charge of murder; only a few have mentioned the honourable acquittal. Consequently, over the years, Willshire’s name has attracted an undeserved degree of notoriety.
This book presents Willshire’s police service record (1879-1908) and reveals his highly-commended contributions to early Australian anthropology via his four books dealing with native vocabularies, dialects and customs. It also gives an account of his constant pleas to Government for assistance in raising the living and educational standards of Aboriginal people.
Austin Stapleton knew Willshire, having once boarded with him and his family for more than a year. This link was preserved for a further fifty years through the constable’s late son, William.