A Little Bit of Justice – The Drawings of Charlie Flannigan

c. 1860s-1893

Charlie Flannigan was an Aboriginal stockman and jockey who was the first person to be executed in the Northern Territory in 1893.

Flannigan was only in his twenties when he was arrested for the murder of Sam Croker, a station manager at Auvergne in the Northern Territory. His motive was never made clear but it is believed there was an ‘old sore’ between the two men and witnesses reported Flannigan claiming that Croker carried a revolver for the purpose of killing him. Croker had already killed an Aboriginal man some time before.

Research carried out by Library & Archives NT historian Don Christophersen uncovered many fascinating details about Flannigan’s life, including 82 drawings held in the collection of the South Australian Museum that appear to narrate the story of the events leading to his arrest. Presenting themes of racial conflict and the injustice of early Northern Territory society and the judicial system, the drawings provide a rare glimpse into the life of a young Aboriginal stockman in the nineteenth century. The drawings were all completed from memory while Flannigan was imprisoned for 10 months at Fannie Bay Gaol. They are reproduced courtesy of the South Australian Museum.

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