Who was Oscar?
Almost nothing is known about Oscar apart from what is contained in a letter written by his overseer Augustus Glissan when he sent the notebook to Dr Charles Bage in 1899. Oscar was only a boy when he was given into Glissan's care: 'This boy I got at Cooktown in 1887 ... the police got him for me and brought him on board the steamer'.
According to Glissan, Oscar was born in around 1877 in the Palmer River region of far north Queensland. It appears that Oscar was badly burnt at a young age and consequently had trouble riding a horse when he first arrived at the station. He also suffered from asthma.
The drawings show that Oscar was aware of the work of those Aboriginal people who worked for the Native Police Corps, and he appears to have come into contact with Chinese miners attracted to the area during the 1870s gold rush.
We may never know what happened to Oscar after he finished his sketchbook. Did he remain on the property? Did he move to another station? Did he die young or live to old age?