One-sided histories

By Guest Blogger Jacinta Koolmatrie Between 2-9 July 2017 I participated in a Flinders University based field school in Boulia, Queensland as part of “The Archaeology of the Native Mounted Police” project. Fieldwork began on a Monday and started with an introduction by team member Associate Professor Heather Burke who explained what was currently known about the […]

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What’s in a Name?

Naming can be a means of identification, classification, control and transformation. For Europeans, the stability of their names—particularly their first names—is taken for granted. Both first and last names provide an anchor for the individual and connect them to family and place. For Aboriginal people names were much less stable but no less meaningful, often […]

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Archaeological Geophysics: The Future meets the Past

Archaeological geophysics techniques are tools to map, locate and produce images of buried cultural materials and features. There are several different methods that can be used depending upon the presence of different physical properties below the Earth’s surface. Differences between buried cultural materials, such as a pit, wall or burial, and the background soil will […]

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Excavating the Wondai Gumbal NMP camp site

“No man whatever his age, should be left by himself in such a lonely desolate spot.” (From a letter by Lt Francis Nicoll, Commander of Native Police, Condamine district in response to a letter of complaint from a local squatter in relation to accusations of ‘incompetence and intemperance’ at Wondai Gumbal 1857). In 1851 requests […]

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Cramming Monkeys

A large part of our project involves sifting through various sources of historical information for insights into the NMP. One of these sources is TROVE, a repository of historical Australian newspapers from every state and territory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Searching TROVE is dangerous. Each attempt reveals a chain of interconnected events, people and places […]

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Extending the Pumpkin Line

Since writing our post on the possible defensive uses of pumpkins on the Queensland frontier, we’ve come across several more references to carving pumpkins and melons as a means to frighten Aboriginal people away from European camps. One of these accounts referred to it as an ‘old trick’, implying that it was well known and […]

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Wounds of all descriptions: the NMP and medical self-treatment

For many people across Australia in the nineteenth century good health was a precarious state of being. Doctors were few and far between and even visiting a chemist may have been impossible, given the demands of distance and the difficulties of travel. For the Qld Native Mounted Police—deliberately stationed far beyond the boundaries of settlement—medical treatment for […]

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