Derham Groves

Dr. Watson Holmes Jackamara

Mudrooroo’s Aboriginal detective Dr. Watson Holmes Jackamara is one of the most interesting characters in Australian detective fiction. He is certainly a lot edgier than Arthur Upfield’s Aboriginal detective Napoleon Bonaparte, although Jackamara owes much to Bonaparte. Jackamara is the subject of an artist’s book that I’ve been working on for far too long now, which I must finish in 2008 (my first New Year’s resolution!). In Mudrooroo’s Christmas story ‘The Healer’ (1991) Jackamara dresses up as Santa Claus (very appropriate for Christmas Day!). Following are four of the seven little linocuts for the artist’s book Dr. Watson Holmes Jackamara (L-R: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Jackamara’s namesakes; Napoleon Bonaparte, Jackamara’s predecessor; Jakamara as Father Christmas; and the unnamed crooked Queensland businessman/politician in The Kwinkin by Mudrooroo):