Alfred Davidson

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Alfred Davidson
Born(1812-06-21)21 June 1812
Siston Parish, Gloucestershire, England
Died(1881-11-07)7 November 1881
New Farm, Brisbane
OccupationPottery owner, commission agent, investor and Pioneer of Compassion (humanitarian)
Years active1864-1879
Spouse(s)Phoebe Georgiana Simmonds
ChildrenPhoebe Georgina Davidson (1850-1919), James Madgwick Davidson (1851-1920), Amy Elizabeth Davidson (1857-1927)

Alfred Davidson (1812-1881) was a Pottery owner, commission agent (unspecified), a Protestant Christian, a Queensland Pioneer of Compassion (humanitarian) and the Queensland representative of the British Aborigines Protection Society.

Alfred Davidson was born in Siston Parish, Gloucestershire, England on 21 June 1812 and he died in New Farm, Brisbane on 7 Nov 1881, aged 69. He was son of the landed proprietor of Warmley House, George Madgwick Davidson and his wife Elisabeth Francis.

Following the death of his wife Phoebe Georgiana Simmonds, Alfred Davidson, the former proprietor of renowned ‘Warmley Tower Potteries’ in Gloucestershire, migrated to Queensland. He arrived to Brisbane on board the Light Brigade on 18 May 1863 as a 50-year-old widower and single father of three children, two daughters and a son. His motives for migration are not known, but he settled as a commission agent in Fortitude Valley from where he seemingly spent most of his time engaged in humanitarian aid and Christian (Anglican) mission amongst Melanesians and Aborigines in Brisbane and Moreton Bay district.

Davidson was outraged at the general attitude towards indigenous people in Queensland and eventually made a name for himself as an outspoken and abused humanitarian and representative in Queensland of the much despised ‘Exeter Hall’ and the ‘Aborigines Protection Society’ in London. Frequently abused by fellow settlers he continued tirelessly to argue for the humanity of indigenous people and against what he saw as continued abuses of the human rights of Islanders and Aboriginal people.

He was characterised, by Agent General, later Premier of Queensland, John Douglas (Queensland politician), as "a very excellent man". Henry Reynolds described him as "a persistent and passionate advocate for justice for the aborigines" and "an unrelenting opponent of the Pacific Island labour trade." "Between September 1869 and his death in 1881", Reynolds wrote, "he scanned the colonial newspapers, wrote letters to them himself as well as to the government, lobbied politicians and governors" and dispatched a total of 36 letters to the London-based Aborigines Protection Society, all on behalf of indigenous people in Queensland.[1]

Alfred Davidson, the potter, was grandfather to Sir Alfred Charles Davidson, once the general manager of the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac Bank).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Reynolds 1998, p102-3.

References[edit]

  • Ørsted-Jensen: Robert: The Right To Live - the Politics of Race and the Troubled Conscience of an Australian Journalist (yet unpublished Dr thesis and manuscript) chapters 4 and 6.
  • Reynolds, Henry: This Whispering In Our Hearts, Sydney 1998, chapter 5, p102-5, 108.

External links[edit]