Griffith University Visiting Fellow Dr Henry Reese explores the life of Joseph Vos, his fascination with the phonograph and his 1895 trial in Brisbane. Captain Vos allegedly used a phonograph to induce several people from the island of Malaita in the Solomon Islands to board his labour-recruiting barque, the ‘William Manson’, in the early 1890s. Upon their return to Queensland, Vos and several crewmen were arrested and tried for kidnapping. The trial galvanised Queensland society in 1894 and 1895 and contributed to a growing opposition to the indentured labour trade. Henry’s presentation attempts to reconstruct, through archival records and recordings, the soundscape and context of this moment in colonial Queensland history.

Click here to view QSA Talks: “The Blackbirder and the Phonograph”