Norman Brown, a coalminer engaged in picketing the Rothbury colliery, was shot dead by police in 1929. The Rothbury incident and the police suppression which followed became part of both union folklore and the personal legend of one police officer, William John MacKay, later New South Wales Police Commissioner. This article probes beneath the layers of myth that surround Rothbury and argues that the initial tragedy was largely the result of police incompetence, and that MacKay’s association with the shooting is deeply ironic. The more measured police actions that followed the shootings were Mackay’s responsibility, however, and they had damaging long-term consequences.
Field of Research
219999 History and Archaeology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
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