Aboriginal Rock Art and the Native Mounted Police

By Noelene Cole Image making, an ancient and universal human practice, was revolutionised when photography became more portable and affordable in the second half of the nineteenth century. Although it was initially conceived as a means of objectively representing reality, photography was soon recognised as a powerful, persuasive medium of visual communication. Hence, for the […]

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Violent etymologies

By Heather Burke A map is a frail thing, although the politics that underlie its construction and naming practices are not. In 2017 Queensland removed several racist place names from the map, prompting debate over whether memorials to Robert Towns and John Mackay—the namesakes of both Townsville and Mackay—should tell their history more fully, given […]

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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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All for one and one for all

By Tony Pagels Before the development of the centrefire cartridge in 1866, the Native Mounted Police (NMP) were issued with a variety of muzzle and breech loading percussion weapons. This assortment of weapons caused confusion regarding ammunition, so the solution was to arm all personnel with the same weapon (QSA846918 In letter 73/2320). The decision […]

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The Unwanted Arm: Westley Richards 20g Double Barrel Pinfire Carbine

By Tony Pagels This blog tells the story of a weapon purchased in 1867 specifically for the Native Mounted Police (NMP): the Westley Richards breech-loading, double-barrelled, 20 bore, Lefaucheux-action, pinfire carbine (Figure 1). This weapon possessed a number of advantages over the percussion single- and double-barrel, muzzle-loading carbines the NMP were using at the time. […]

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