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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The Pumpkin Line

Fear is one of humanity’s most basic emotions. Defined as the response to an immediate, objective threat, fear is different to anxiety, which is a reaction to an anticipated, subjective threat that can be either real or imagined (Bourke 2003:126). Research into how fear and anxiety come together to influence behaviour suggests that threats to […]

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The Woolgar Massacre

Historians such as Noel Loos, Henry Reynolds, Ray Evans and Timothy Bottoms (amongst others) have demonstrated convincingly that there was substantial conflict on the colonial Queensland frontier. One such instance was a series of killings that occurred on the Woolgar goldfield in 1881, following the death of Sub-Inspector Henry Kaye of the Native Mounted Police. This blog post explores […]

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