July 10, 2020


Aim for Excellence

Aboriginal scars from frontier wars

Image: Australian archaeologists have unearthed lots of artefacts from former Queensland Native Mounted Police camps. see...

Image: Australian archaeologists have unearthed lots of artefacts from former Queensland Native Mounted Police camps.
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Credit rating: Flinders College

Hundreds of Aboriginal males who turned native mounted police in colonial Australia carried a considerable stress of duty for regulation and purchase for white settlers in Queensland and other settlements.

A long-running ARC-funded archaeology challenge has turned the lens on the recruitment to the Queensland Native Mounted Police and their element in the violent ‘frontier wars’ – which created long-phrase traumatic impacts on the lives of the Indigenous individuals involved.

“We argue that the massacres, frontier violence, displacement, and the top dispossession of land and destruction of common cultural procedures resulted in each personal and collective inter-generational trauma for Aboriginal peoples,” claims Flinders College Professor Heather Burke in a new short article published in the Journal of Genocide Investigate

“Despite the Australian frontier wars taking position more than a century in the past, their impacts carry on to reverberate currently in a range of unique means, lots of of which are as nevertheless only partially recognized.”

Professor Burke, and Queensland scientists, say formal information show of the background of the Queensland Mounted Police in phrases of its enhancement, its white officers, some day-to-day functions of the pressure, and how lots of individuals had been killed all through the frontier wars.

The short article appears at the ongoing psychological impacts of the historical dispossession and frontier violence.

Primarily based on a lot more than 4 years of study, the Archaeology of the Queensland Native Mounted Police challenge combined historical information, oral and historical evidence from a range of websites throughout central and northern Queensland to have an understanding of a lot more fully the pursuits, lives and legacies of the native police.

It strives to current an alternate viewpoint on the nature of frontier conflict all through Australian settlement, in purchase to initiative new understandings of the Aboriginal and settler practical experience, and contribute to world scientific tests of Indigenous responses to colonialism.

The short article ‘Betwixt and Among: Trauma, Survival and the Aboriginal Troopers of the Queensland Native Mounted Police’ (March, 2020) by Heather Burke, Bryce Barker, Lynley Wallis, Sarah Craig and Michelle Combo has been published in the Journal of Genocide Investigate (Taylor & Francis On the web) DOI: ten.1080/14623528.2020.1735147


The Queensland Native Mounted Police was organised along paramilitary traces, consisting of detachments of Aboriginal troopers led by white officers. It protected the full of Queensland, together with 170 camps, and was explicitly constituted to shield the lives, livelihoods and assets of settlers and to avert (and punish) any Aboriginal aggression or resistance.

This was usually accomplished by way of violence in lots of forms, main Australian historian Henry Reynolds to characterise the NMP as “the most violent organisation in Australian background”.

The project’s new publicly available nationwide database covers the fifty-calendar year background of the Queensland Native Mounted Police (1849-1904) and stories of lots of of the 800 troopers and four hundred officers. It is the only publicly available historical and archaeological dataset of their lives and pursuits. The excavations executed more than the past 4 years had been the to start with archaeological investigations of any native police pressure working anyplace in Australia.


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