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Photographs supplied by Emma Warren

The gates of Ceduna cemetery have initials MH on them and commemorate Mary Hattam who was murdered in 1958. The gates were erected by public subscription. Mary Hattam's grave is on the left just four rows in from the gates.

On December 19, 1958, Gieseman`s carnival arrived in Ceduna, South Australia. One of the itinerants working in it was a young Aborigine of the Aranda (Arrente) tribe, Max Stuart. Stuart set about buying alcohol and drinking heavily. The following afternoon, an eight-year-old girl, Mary Hattam, went missing. Later that night, her body was found. She had been raped and murdered. After a tip-off, the police arrested Stuart, interrogated him for many hours, and obtained a confession. It was this confession, supported by the evidence of Aboriginal trackers that they had found Stuart`s footprints near Mary`s body, that clinched the Crown`s case. He was sentenced to death.

In every State of the Commonwealth, the newspapers covered each step of the case. As the press campaign continued Stuart became little more than a pawn in the game. The attack was turned against the Liberal Government of the State and its Premier, Thomas Playford and South Australia was said to be a `hanging State` dominated by bloodthirsty country-folk. A Royal Commission was established to enquire into allegations that new evidence had been found and that this would prove the conviction to be wrong. One of the appeals was carried as far as the Privy Council, and heard by the Law Lords of the United Kingdom. The case was discussed in many parts of the world, and the campaign eventually succeeded in having South Australians condemned by Asian countries as persecutors of coloured people. Rupert Maxwell Stuart was found guilty of the crime and his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.


Address:Decres Bay Road & Smith Road, Cemetery, Ceduna, 5690
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.133792
Long: 133.674728
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Gates
Monument Theme:People
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au