William Nichols, the NMP and the Murder of Aboriginal People at Irvinebank in 1884

By Lynley Wallis In an earlier blog post I wrote about the challenges of finding contemporary physical evidence of deaths from the colonial frontier, and why such efforts are often akin to looking for a needle in a haystack (cf. Litster and Wallis 2011). Despite this, there are some rare instances where the specific location […]

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Moments of Red

By Heather Burke When I imagine the Australian “outback” I think of the paintings of Tom Roberts or Frederick McCubbin and the relatively restrained colour palette they used to represent the landscape. While certainly complex, these colours are relatively dull and reflect the olive greens, straws, ochres, purples and blues of eucalypt, grass, rock and […]

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Building an Online Database about the Native Mounted Police

By Lynley Wallis As 2018 draws to a close (though we do have one more Christmas themed blog post to come…) we thought it was time to let you know about another initiative of our Native Mounted Police (NMP) project: an online database that we are hoping (or planning … we’re not sure which is […]

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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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Recruiting Aboriginal boys and men to the NMP: Part I

By Lynley Wallis, Heather Burke, Bryce Barker and Noelene Cole One of the infamous euphemisms in historical documents relating to the Native Mounted Police (NMP) is “dispersal”. This word has now been convincingly demonstrated to actually refer to the shooting and killing of Aboriginal people (Richards 2008). We suggest here that another euphemism is the […]

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“Taking French leave”: Desertions amongst the Troopers

By Lynley Wallis and Heather Burke The numerous accounts in official records of desertions by Aboriginal troopers lend weight to suggestions that many men did not join the Native Mounted Police (NMP) force willingly. In some cases entire detachments deserted, such as in 1865 when Lieutenant Charles Blakeney had this happen for the second time: […]

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

By Heather Burke 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 […]

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