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Wild Man

by Alecia Simmonds

In April 2012 a man was shot dead by police on a remote farm in New South Wales called the School of Happiness. The victim, who was high on a cocktail of drugs and who suffered from mental illness, had been threatening attendees of a hippie festival with a crossbow and hunting knife. When the police finally arrived, they tried to subdue him but, ultimately, fatal shots were fired.

In Wild Man Alecia Simmonds follows the coronial inquest into the police killing. She reveals what really happened that night and unravels the web of issues entangled in this fascinating, bizarre and, undoubtedly, tragic case: a cultural clash between hippies and hunters; drug use, violence, masculinity and psychosis. She asks how family members, as well as police, came to work on the frontline of mental health.

About Alecia Simmonds

Dr Alecia Simmonds is an inter-disciplinary scholar in law and history. She has published in national and international journals on the relationship between imperialism and the law of nations in the long eighteenth century in an effort to understand the imperial/colonial foundations of international law. Her current postdoctoral research at UTS focuses on the legal regulation of intimacy in the Australasian Colonies, tracing the development of what we now call 'family law'. Through combining a combination of archival research focusing on litigation, legal doctrinal analysis and ‘history from below’ this project explores how the intimate lives of women and men shaped and were shaped by law.


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