Cultures of terror

By Heather Burke In dealing with all savages you must make yourself feared. GeorgE Pearce Serocold (25 December 12857) Frontier conflict in colonies such as Australia was less military and more irregular than the popular conception of warfare, characterised by quick, highly-focused, short-term attacks, non-professional combatants, and a range of changing and temporary alliances between […]

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Murdering Molvo Part II: Beyond History Written by the Victors

By Iain Davidson, Heather Burke and Lynley Wallis In a previous post we described a series of events that occurred in western Queensland (Qld) in 1879, involving the killings of four Europeans by Aboriginal people, and the reprisal massacres carried out by the NMP and local settlers that followed. The story we told was reconstructed […]

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Why Nineteenth Century Frontier Violence is Relevant Today: the Continuing Legacy

By Lynley Wallis, Heather Burke and Bryce Barker From studies on the Armenian genocide to the Jewish holocaust and North American frontier conflict and dispossession (e.g. Ehlers et al. 2013; Harris 2020; Mangassarian 2016) it is now recognised that collective and individual trauma can have a long-term effect on successive generations of people. The most […]

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Murdering Molvo Part I: The Events at Wonomo Waterhole

By Iain Davidson, Heather Burke, Lance Sullivan and Lynley Wallis The nature of historical knowledge is complex, involving oral history, archaeology and (less often than is generally supposed) written documents, many of which begin with some sort of oral telling. Here we outline the historical knowledge of a particular series of events in northwest Queensland […]

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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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One-sided histories

By 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 Boulia Native […]

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Cramming Monkeys

By Heather Burke 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, […]

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The Woolgar Massacre

By Lynley Wallis 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 […]

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