Crews, convicts and anti-colonial Christians: Aboriginal politics and the Mauritian connection: Thomas and Shadrack James and Jean Phillipe and Fred Maynard

A number of key Australian Aboriginal activists, like Shadrack James at Cumeragunja and Fred Maynard in Sydney and on the coast of NSW, had a direct Mauritian connection. Shadrack’s father Thomas was himself an Indo-Mauritian while Fred Maynard’s grandfather was a Creole Mauritian. Tracing these connections uncovers firstly the active mobility of Mauritians and their involvement in maritime industries but also their entanglement in the colonial convict and indentured labour systems. Just as important, however, they brought with them powerful ideas of independence, racial equality and justice. At times, these ideas were  wrapped in a militant version of Christianity which had little to do with the submissive religion preached by missionaries in the colonies. Drawing on the international research of Professor John Maynard and of Robynne Nelson, a member of the James family, this paper traces the way the ideas which came from Mauritius as well as other places became engaged in the struggles of Aboriginal people in Australia, who used them to create a unique challenge to the British empire.

2 Responses to “Heather Goodall Abstract”

  1. Roland Finette Says:

    I am a mauritian working in an Aboriginal organisation. i would be interested in the above paper and other papers on the topic

    1. heathergoodall Says:

      Dear Roland, there is not yet a written form of this paper but I would be very happy to discuss the content with you further. Just email me @
      I hope to have a written paper by February,

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