Archibald Meston

Archibald Meston

Name: Archibald Meston

Epoch: Late 19th Century (the \'Long Nineteenth Century\')

Grouping Field: Humanities (Ideas Formatted as Ideas) and Social Science (Models)

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°28\'26.0\"S 153°01\'30.2\"E

Years At Location: 1898-1903

One Historical Setting: Mr. Archibald Meston, Protector of Aboriginals for Southern Queensland, William Street, Brisbane City (1898)

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Archibald Meston was Protector of Aboriginals for Southern Queensland from 1898 to 1903. He could be confused with Archibald Lawrence Meston (1890-1951), educationist, historian and anthropologist, a remote cousin of Archibald Meston. One wonders if the local authority of the Queensland Meston was confused for that of his cousin. Meston was also the Director of the Queensland Government Tourist Bureau in Sydney from 1910.

Impact On Brisbane Society

Archibald Meston’s career was mostly as a journalist, and his alleged scholarship on Aboriginal persons and customs, as well as Queensland geography, was unfortunately grounded in a coarse journalistic mindset (*) rather than the research; not even ‘bad’ imperialistic research of anthropologists in this era. Yet Meston’s ill-considered works became ‘gospel’ through The Brisbane Courier and other Queensland newspapers. In 1895 his Geographic History of Queensland had been published in Brisbane.

*The mindset I am referring to is tell a good story at the cost of factual accuracy and complex theory; the ideal practice of investigative journalism is excluded from the criticism.


Aird, Michael; Mapar, Mandana; Memmott, Paul. Wild Australia: Meston’s Wild Australia Show 1892-1893, University of Queensland, UQ Anthropology Museum, 2015.

Evans, Raymond. A History of Queensland, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Vic, 2007.

Fitzgerald, Ross; Megarrity, Lyndon; Symons, David. Made in Queensland : a New History, Special Q150 commemorative edition, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Qld, 2009.

Johnston, W. (William) Ross. The Call of the Land: a History of Queensland to the Present Day, Jacaranda Wiley, Brisbane, 1982.

Lergessner, James G. The Sacred Ibis: Protector of Aborigines Archibald Meston and Queensland’s Race Relations, J. Lergessner, Woorim, Qld, 2009.

Taylor, Cheryl. ‘Constructing aboriginality: Archibald Meston’s literary journalism, 1870-1924,’ Association for the Study of Australian Literature, vol. 2, 2003, pp.121-139.

Taylor, Cheryl. ‘Romantic Pioneering in the Tropics: Archibald Meston’s Home Life in Cairns, 1882-1888.’, vol 2, No 1, 2003, etropic: electronic journal of multidisciplinary studies in the tropics

Taylor, Cheryl. ‘Prologue to Protectorship: Archibald Meston’s Public Life in Far North Queensland, 1882-1888’, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Vol. 18, No. 11, 2004, pp. 478-491.

Thorpe, William (Bill). “Archibald Meston and Aboriginal legislation in colonial Queensland”, Historical Studies, v.21, no.82, April 1984, pp.52-67.

Thorpe, William (Bill). Archibald Meston and the Aborigines: Ideology and Practice, 1870-1970: an Exploration in Social History, The University of Queensland, Department of History, B.A. Hons. Thesis, 1978.

Walker, Faith. The Reinvention of the ‘Noble Savage’: Archibald Meston and ‘Wild Australia’, Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland Vol.18, no.3, August 2002, pp.130-138.

Image Citation

Archibald Meston. Archive: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. []