The Many Meanings of ‘X’

By Tony Pagels The annotation ‘XXX’ can have numerous meanings. For centuries illiterate people have used an ‘X’ in place of a signature on contracts and agreements, or to make their mark. This was a regular occurrence in depositions given by illiterate workers to Native Mounted Police (NMP) officers, as well as by many of […]

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When Bureaucracies Kill

By Heather Burke Cecil Fulford Hill was 21 years old when he was speared by Aboriginal people near Rannes station in central Qld in 1865. Along with Henry Kaye (1881), George Dyas (1881) and Marcus Beresford (1883), Hill was one of only four NMP officers to be killed while on patrol, although many more were […]

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‘To be Seen and Not Heard’: Children and the NMP

By Lynley Wallis and Heather Burke Given the work with which they were routinely engaged, it is hard to reconcile the idea of a Native Mounted Police camp replete with happy children scampering through the bush, bursting with laughter. But in many cases this must have been a relatively common occurrence since, as we noted […]

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‘My Darling Lis’: John Kenny’s Letters to his Wife Eliza

By Heather Burke We’ve written before about specific NMP officers who were eulogised in later life (Piecing together the officers’ list and Stanhope O’Connor). In reflecting on the various episodes in long and sometimes highly eventful careers, such accounts tend to portray these men as figures from a “Boy’s own” tale: full of adventure, exploration […]

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