Dr Yorick Smaal, distinguished historian talks about how same sex attracted boys like my brother Randall have been punished by prisons, schools & mental hospitals.

Dr Yorick Smaal

My guest in this Episode of Remembering Randall is Dr Yorick Smaal, a distinguished historian and senior lecturer in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University, who has won numerous awards for his research.

Listen to the podcast here

Yorick is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London). He is currently the Treasurer of the Australian Queer Archives and deputy director of the Harry Gentle Resource Centre, a digital initiative on early Queensland people and places, including a forthcoming dictionary of biography.

Yorick’s research investigates histories of sexuality and sexual violence and the institutions that shape these experiences. Today I ask him about his forthcoming book, Boys, Sex and Crime to be published by Routledge in the coming year.

Yorrick also reflects on the difficulties of accessing archives that protect powerful institutions from accountability. Nevertheless he points out that story telling, cultural narratives and projects like this one, Remembering Randall, add important stories to public knowledge about the histories of Wolston Park Mental Hospital.

Selected References Dr Yorick Smaal


Smaal, Yorick, ‘Boys, sex and crime: The politics of prosecution and protection in England and Australia, 1870-1930.’Routledge (forthcoming 2023).

Smaal, Yorick, Sex, soldiers and the South Pacific, 1939-45: Queer identities in Australia in the Second World War. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 250pp+xvi.

Edited collections

Smaal, Yorick, Andy Kaladelfos and Mark Finnane (eds), The sexual abuse of children: Recognition and redress. Monash University, 2016. 224pp+iv.

Willett, Graham and Yorick Smaal (eds), Intimacy, violence, and activism: Gay and lesbian perspectives on Australasian history and society. Monash University, 2013. 208pp+xiii.

Book Chapters

Smaal, Yorick and Mark Finnane, ‘Flappers and felons: Rethinking the criminal law and homosex in interwar Australia, 1920-1939.’ In Sean Brady and Mark Seymour (eds), Same-sex relationships in History: International Perspectives since 1789. Bloomsbury, 2019, 83-93.

Smaal, Yorick and Graham Willett, ‘Conduct unbecoming: Homosex, discipline and military cultures in the Second World War.’ In Andrew Goldsmith, Ben Wadham and Mark Halsey (eds), Criminologies of the military. Hart, 2018, 167-88.

Finnane, Mark, and Yorick Smaal, ‘Some questions of history: Prosecuting and punishing child sexual assault.’ In Yorick Smaal, Andy Kaladelfos and Mark Finnane (eds), The sexual abuse of children: Recognition and redress. Monash University, 2016, 7-19.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Boys and homosex: Danger and possibility in Queensland, 1890-1914.’ In Shirleene Robinson and Simon Sleight (eds), Children, childhood and youth in the British world. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 221-36.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘“Indecent and indecorous” behaviour: The police and homosexuality in turn-of-the-century Queensland.’ In Yorick Smaal and Graham Willett (eds), Intimacy, activism and violence: Gay and lesbian perspectives on Australasian history and society. Melbourne: Monash University, 2013, 56-73.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Sex in the Sixties.’ In Julie Ustinoff and Shirleene Robinson (eds), Australia in the 1960s: People, power and politics. Cambridge Scholars, 2012, 69-94.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Dad and Dave come to town: Mr Entwhistle and male homosexuality.’ In James E. Bennett and Rebecca Beirne (eds), Making film and television histories: Australia and New Zealand. IB Taurus, 2012, 215-19.

Smaal Yorick, ‘Friends and lovers: Social networks and homosexual life in war-time Queensland.’ In Yorick Smaal and Graham Willett (eds), Out here: Gay and lesbian perspectives VI. Melbourne: Monash University, 2011, 168-87.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Revisiting Queensland’s war-time sex panics: Moral alarm, male homosexuality and policing public space.’ In Robyn Lincoln and Shirleene Robinson (eds), Crime over time: Temporal perspectives on crime and punishment in Australia. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2010, 111-41.

Smaal, Yorick and Clive Moore, ‘Homophobia in fin de siècle Queensland.’ In Shirleene Robinson (ed.), Homophobia: A history. Sydney: Federation, 2008, 63-85.

Journal Articles Peer Reviewed

Kaladelfos, Andy, and Yorick Smaal, ‘Sexual violence and male prisons: An Australian queer genealogy.’ Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 3, 1 (2019): 349-64.

Finnane, Mark, and Yorick Smaal, ‘The Prosecution Project: Using crime records to access family and other histories.’ Queensland Review, 25, 1 (2018): 89-101.

Willett, Graham, and Yorick Smaal, ‘“A Homosexual institution”: Same-sex desire in the army during World War II.’ Army Journal, X, 2 (2013): 23-40.

Smaal, Yorick, “It is one of those things that nobody can explain”: Medicine, homosexuality and the Australian criminal courts during World War II.’ Journal of the History of Sexuality, 22, 3 (2013): 501-24.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Historical perspectives on child sexual abuse. Part 2.’ History Compass. 11, 9 (2013): 715-26.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Historical perspectives on child sexual abuse. Part 1.’ History Compass, 11, 9 (2013): 702-14.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘“Keeping it in the family”: Incest in colonial Australia.’ Journal of Australian Studies,37, 3 (2013): 316-32.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘The “leniency problem”: A Queensland case-study on sentencing same-sex offences, 1939-1948.’ Women’s History Review, 12, 5 (2012): 793-811.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘“An imbecility of body as well as mind”: Common law and the sexual (in)capacity of boys.’ Criminal Law Journal, 36, 4 (2012): 249-51.

Smaal, Yorick, ‘Coding Desire: The emergence of a homosexual subculture in Queensland, 1890-1914.’ Queensland Review, 14, 2 (2007): 13-28.

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