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Parliament's history comes to life with a Most Unusual Volume, 6 September 2007

A “Most Unusual Volume” was on display at the Queensland Parliament today when the Acting Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, John English, launched a publication which uncovered an intriguing mystery linking the Queensland Parliament and Napoleon.

The book, ‘A French General and A Scots Colonel – A Most Unusual Volume and The Search for its Authorship’ details research undertaken by its author Emeritus Professor Kenneth Dutton which solved the mystery of an unidentified 1839 diary held by the University of Newcastle.

The diary has now been identified as belonging to Queensland’s first Usher of the Black Rod of the Legislative Council and first Parliamentary Librarian, Colonel Charles Gray.

Mr English said that Professor Dutton’s research had drawn attention to an important figure in the history of the Queensland Parliament.

“I am grateful to Professor Dutton for bringing the story of Colonel Gray to life and providing us with this intriguing history of a man who served the people of Queensland during the birth of this state,” Mr English said.

Mr English said that prior to Colonel Gray’s service at the Queensland Parliament he had led a distinguished military career receiving the Waterloo medal for his part in defeating Napoleon at Waterloo.

“As well as holding office during the first Parliament of Queensland, Colonel Gray was an important public figure in Ipswich, serving as its Police Magistrate for 12 years,” Mr English said.

“I understand that Colonel Gray’s funeral which was held in Ipswich in 1873 attracted the greatest public attendance of any funeral held in Ipswich up until that time.

Mr English welcomed some of Colonel Gray’s descendants to the book launch which was held today in the Legislative Council Chamber at Parliament House.

“Colonel Gray and his wife Jane had seven children and their descendants, many who attended the launch today, have contributed valuable knowledge and information to Professor Dutton’s research.

Deputy Speaker John English and Professor Hutton

An Unusual Volume