Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
University of Queensland's murky past -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: On Friday, the University of Queensland will celebrate its centenary. Like
every university, it's experienced tremendous growth, from 80 students when it opened to 40,000
today. But unlike the others, the story of the University of Queensland also includes a murder.
John Taylor reports from Brisbane.

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: The University of Queensland is one of the most prestigious and picturesque
universities in the country. But how its main campus came to be on the banks of the Brisbane River
is the stuff of Hollywood - murder, intrigue and redemption.

PAUL GREENFIELD, VICE-CHANCELLOR, UNI. OF QLD: It's an interesting chapter in the university that
not a lot of other universities would have.

JOHN TAYLOR: In the 1800s, the settlement of Moreton Bay, which later became Brisbane, was a tiny,
rough and wild place. But on Monday, 27th March, 1848 residents awoke to news of a brutal murder.

Some people out on the Brisbane River found parts of a body. A forester, Robert Cox, was in pieces
around here at Brisbane's Kangaroo Point. A cook from a nearby hotel was convicted and hanged, but
the police got the wrong man. A local slaughterman, Patrick Mayne, was the murderer and with the
few hundred pounds that he stole from his victim, Patrick Mayne went on to become one of the
settlement's most wealthiest men.

ROSAMOND SIEMON, AUTHOR & HISTORIAN: He butchered this man, robbed him of his money and laid low
for a little while and then produced the money - for a man who was earning ?40 a year with a wife
and one child at that stage, he produced enough money to buy a shop.

JOHN TAYLOR: Dr Rosamond Siemon has written a bestselling book about Patrick Mayne and his legacy.
She's chartered Mayne's beginnings as an orphaned, uneducated farm labourer in Ireland to great
wealth in Queensland. He was even elected to Brisbane's first municipal council.

ROSAMOND SIEMON: He was a good businessman and although we understand that he had some form of
schizophrenia, he was cruel, he was gregarious, he liked to be known, he had a pretty long police
record, mainly for brutality with a horse whip or knocking people about.

JOHN TAYLOR: Her book sensationally revealed that Mayne made a deathbed confession.

ROSAMOND SIEMON: The story of Patrick committing the murder got out almost immediately.

JOHN TAYLOR: His five children were advised not to have families of their own for fear of passing
on their father's sickness. Three went on to struggle with mental illness. The youngest son, James,
became a surgeon, but the children were largely shunned by the community and were subjected to
malicious gossip.

ROSAMOND SIEMON: The community had it in well and truly for the family. I feel very sad for James.
I could have wept with some of the things I read about James. You know, your heart aches for the
man because he withstood everything.

JOHN TAYLOR: James and his sister Mary spent a lot of their time away from public glare in their
grand family home. Inside, their father's initials are on each post on the main stairwell, along
with carvings asking for his soul to be lifted to heaven. Perhaps it was to make up for their
father's sins or a reflection of their own good nature that the two children became generous
philanthropists. Led by James, they bought and donated the land for the University of Queensland's
main campus.

PAUL GREENFIELD: Well their contributions have been fantastic. I mean, James and Mary Mayne in
donating the land on which the St Lucia campus is built. It was assessed at ?55,000 in 1930, but in
terms of its strategic value, it's just absolutely fantastic.

JOHN TAYLOR: Professor Paul Greenfield is the Vice Chancellor.

PAUL GREENFIELD: It is an interesting history, but of course it was not the father who donated the
money to the university, it was the children. And as I said, it may be that James Mayne was
interested in trying to rebuild the reputation of the family. That may have been a motivation.
Again, I don't know that.

JOHN TAYLOR: But the Maynes also had a deeper interest in the university than just land.

Lawyer John Moore helps to manage two trusts set up by James and Mary Mayne before they died.

JOHN MOORE, MAYNE ESTATES TRUSTEE: Their sole purpose is to provide income which is used for the
benefit of the medical school.

JOHN TAYLOR: The trusts have a number of assets, including the Brisbane Arcade in the heart of the
city. And the income from rents here and the other assets all goes to the university.

JOHN MOORE: In the last 10 years, the trusts have given to the university in actual monetary terms
over $20 million. Last year, I think it was a bit over $3 million; the year before that $3.2

JOHN TAYLOR: How long are these trusts going to keep going?

JOHN MOORE: Forever for these purposes. So, beyond my lifetime, beyond your lifetime and beyond the
trustee's lifetime after that.

JOHN TAYLOR: Patrick Mayne, his son James and nearly all of the family are buried in Brisbane.
There are no direct descendants. The Mayne story is a remarkable one that shows that sometimes an
evil act can have good consequences.

PAUL GREENFIELD: I guess life's strange.

JOHN MOORE: It's a thrill to be part of it. As I say, I just wished I could have met them.

ROSAMOND SIEMON: So James did his best.

TRACY BOWDEN: John Taylor reporting from Brisbane.