Rewriting history: The Commandant

The victors write history. This is why the day we ‘celebrate’ Australia is the anniversary of the day Captian Philip of the First Fleet planted the British flag at Sydney Cove. The day is also Invasion Day. As a white person of German (and other) heritage, I have to acknowledge my family’s role in taking land from the people of the Wakka Wakka nation. I have an education and comfortable lifestyle on the moderate wealth produced from the soil and water of land that was stolen.

The Jinibara are the traditional owners of where I live now and the place Captian Patrick Logan was allegedly speared and killed. Captain Logan was the commandant of the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement (aka Brisbane). He is described as having a ‘distinguished military career’ and one could argue he was a casualty of the South East Queensland Land Wars.

Jessica Anderson’s book from 1979 fictionalises the early days of the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement from the point of view of Logan’s wife’s fictional sister Frances.

Logan’s legacy is contradictory – sometimes described as Queensland’s founder but at the same time notoriously strict to the point of cruelty. He ‘explored’ and ‘discovered’ and has a city, river, and major highway named after him.

We never really see through Logan’s eyes, he remains somewhat of a mystery in this meticulously researched novel. Instead through women, such as Logan’s wife Letty, and the fictional Frances, Anderson explores the consequences of authority, incompetent bureaucracy, and military rule on the women, the convicts, and aboriginal people who are both on the fringe and at the centre of the story.

What interests me is how the death of Logan continues to be told nearly 200 years later. In the nearby township of Esk, this plaque gives no context – it upholds Logan as a legend and his murder unprovoked, the work of unpredictable savages rather than an act of resistance.

I assume this is the creek where Logan died. Lesser know than Logan River but significant to his death, and there is also a bridge named for him.

Letty Logan had to fight for 13 years to get a widow’s pension from the Army. I would like to see something named for her.

The Pocket Bookclub raged against a book of literary cocktails that only included quotes from men. We embarked on a cunttail project, inventing a cunttail for every book we read in 2022. We made a literary cunttail book! What’s wrong with the word cunt? Nothing

Literary Cunttails 2022 is hand-drawn by Miriama and includes every recipe. Get a free copy.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.