’70 or 80 Natives Attacked the Party while Travelling’: Understanding the Spatial Dimension of Conflict on the Frontier

Archaeologists are obsessed with space. Not the kind you can look up and see at night, but something more earthly—the physical relationships between things that can be transformed through measurement into a variety of maps and plans. Geographic information systems (GIS) are only the most recent way to capture and collect such spatial information, but […]

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Piecing together the officers’ list: the value of obituaries

We’ve written before about how useful TROVE’s digitised historical newspapers can be as a source of information unavailable anywhere else. The latest demonstration of their value was in the discovery of the names of two white officers of the Native Mounted Police who were previously unknown to us: Walter Pickering and Edward Mostyn Webb Bowen. […]

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‘Empty’ settler landscapes on Aboriginal Country

By Alyssa Madden When Europeans began expanding into Queensland Aboriginal people were—politically speaking—”invisible”. This invisibility was deeply ensconced in national ideological frameworks, including Terra nullius and the exclusion of Aboriginal people from the census. Historically, Australian First Nations peoples were largely ignored, or relegated to the status of being part of the landscape. In contrast, […]

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‘Exceptional, reward well deserved’: crescents and beads?

In certain parts of Queensland it was the discovery of gold that was the main driving force behind the expansion of Europeans into the traditional lands of Aboriginal people. This was certainly the case in parts of Cape York Peninsula (CYP), where the discovery of the Palmer River goldfield in 1872 resulted in an estimated […]

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Aboriginal Women and the NMP

The black police … seemed to have full license to kidnap and ravish the women of the first tribe they came across after a depredation had taken place. Frequently I have seen them tie young gins* — yelling and struggling — to the backs of their horses and carry them off after a dispersal, after […]

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All buttoned up: archaeology in the outback

By Guest Blogger Uschi Artym Why are there so many buttons? And what were all the metal tags used for? (see Figure 1.) These were just two of the many questions asked by Flinders University students and archaeologists between 3-9 July 2017, who were at the time taking part in an ‘Indigenous Archaeology Field School’ in western […]

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Currency Lads and the Native Youth: mapping early white identity in Queensland

Through examining the spatial data shown on historical maps associated with the Native Mounted Police (NMP), in conjunction with archaeological evidence, many aspects of the early Qld frontier can be examined. Race relations, Aboriginal displacement, early white settlement, and even the politics of colonial identity can be investigated. During archival cartographic research into the NMP one […]

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