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Papua Found Guilty

13 January 1926
Papuan Youth, Emil Nolde (1914)

On this day, a Papuan house servant in Australian New Guinea was found guilty of an unspecified sexual offense against a European woman and was sentenced to two years with hard labour and 15 strokes of the cane. The offender was sentenced under the new White Women's Protection Ordinance (1926) , which prescribed disproportionate punishment for Papuans, who could be sentenced to death for rape or attempted rape and life imprisonment for indecent assault. The wife of a planter stated that white women were living in constant dread of molestation by natives. But a European clergyman, who had spent twenty years in New Guinea, said that he was very surprised by the new ordinance because such assaults were actually few and far between.

From John Tully, The Devil's Milk. A Social History of Rubber (2011) p 220