National Archives of Australia
Series F68 Item A19
Protector Aboriginals Alice Springs
Copyright P J Mackett 2015
1941 - Koop v Geesing
Firstly there is the charge supported by Section 59 of the Aboriginal Ordinance
which places the onus of proof on the defendant.
The charge is supported by the opinion of expert and experienced persons
from their observation.
On the other hand a great deal of evidence has been adduced as to the pedigree
of the defendant. A portion of it has been given as facts personally known to
the witness but many important matters have been based on common repute or
It appears to me that the facts testified to have tended to support the general
I have summarised the evidence in the case as under :-
Mother - no evidence presumably aboriginal.
Father - Binfield - Topsy states Mary who is deceased told her that Binfield
was her (Mary's) father. Topsy and Mrs Chong state
Binfield was a white man.
Mrs Chong states Mary told her that Binfield was her father.
Ballingall states Binfield had told him that Mary was his daughter.
Norman Jones - considers Mary had white blood.
Ballingal - when he saw Mary in 1898 she was light in colour and he considers from
his experience she had a mixture of black and white blood. It appeared
to him that at Alice Well Mary lived with Binfield under his care and
protection and not with the blacks.
Mrs Chong - states that she knew Mary well and that Mary was a Halfcaste also that
Mary always lived with whites and not with blacks.
Mrs Geesing - states that there was a family belief Mary was a halfcaste and that she
remembers Mary living with the Smiths and Evans at Arltunga.
Topsy Smith - states that Mary was known as Mary Binfield, that she was very fair in
appearance and looked to have a white parent.
Father - Mrs Chong states Mary who is dead told her that a white man named Creek was
Topsy states that Mary who is dead told her that a white man named White was
Ballingall states reputed at the Peake where there were 20-25 persons living
that Topsy was the daughter of White. He presumed all people knew.
Mother - Mary - Mrs Chong knows Topsy was the moher of Mary.
Mrs Geesing states there was a family tradition that Topsy was
N. Jones states at Arltunga it was generally understood that Topsy was
the daughter of Mary.
Constable Hamilton from appearance would say that Topsy was not more than half white.
Johannsen classes her as a Halfcaste and does not think it possible that she has more
than half white blood.
Koop & Kennett - Mrs Geesing's statement to them that her mother (Topsy) was a halfcaste.
Evidence of Other Witnesses
N. Jones does not think it possible to tell definately from appearance.
Ballingal - with his experience does not claim to be able to tell from appearance alone.
Mrs Geesing states there was a family belief that Topsy was a quadroon.
Topsy states that she was married to Bill Smith at Arltunga although she is unable to give particulars
and no marriage certificate is produced. She did not have any children before she married him.
Norman Jones states that she lived with Bill Smith there and raised a family of eight children.
Ballingal also knows she lived with Bill Smith at White Range.
There is no suggestion that she lived with anyone else although Mr Johannsen from his experience
of one visit stated that they lived after the manner of blacks. This however is disputed by
Mr Jones' evidence.
Father - Bill Smith Topsy's evidence of marriage also that Smith was father
of Mrs Geesing
N Jones evidence that Topsy lived with Smith and he reared
the family. Also that Mrs Geesing is the dead image of Smith
in features and walk.
Topsy states that Bill Smith was a white man and N Jones
states he was a Cornishman.
Hamilton - common repute Smith was father of Mrs Geesing.
Mother - Topsy Hamilton - general reputation Topsy was other of Mrs Geesing.
Topsy states Mrs Geesing is her daughter.
Mrs Geesing states her first remembrance is of Arltunga where
she lived with Bill Smith and Topsy whom she understood to be
her parents and with other children whom she understood to be
her brother and sisters.
She also believed she was an octaroon.
Constable Hamilton's opinion from his observation and opinion that her mother was a halfcaste
and from observation of Mrs Geesing considers she is a quadroon.
On the evidence submitted I feel satisfied that Mrs Geesing is an Octaroon and therefore dismiss the charge.