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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The Music of objects

By Heather Burke A soundscape is made up of the natural and human-made sounds that help to define an environment or a place. Although we tend to consider some sounds as “noise” — usually those things we find undesirable within our own cultural frame of reference, including other people’s preferred forms of music — all […]

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Uniform Buttons of the Native Mounted Police in Queensland, 1852–1904

By Nic Grguric The stranger turned round and revealed a rather prepossessing face, and I noticed a row of glittering buttons, which at once proclaimed the native police officer (Queenslander, 25 January 1879, p.109). A considerable assemblage of uniform buttons were recovered from the archaeological fieldwork carried out at six Native Mounted Police (NMP) sites […]

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Seeing the wood and the trees: culturally modified Cooktown ironwood trees at Lower Laura (Boralga) Native Mounted Police camp, Cape York Peninsula

By Noelene Cole, Lynley Wallis, Heather Burke, Bryce Barker and Rinyirru Aboriginal Corporation A day after setting up camp near the dray track which connected Cooktown to the Palmer Goldfield in south-east Cape York Peninsula, Sub-Inspector O’Connor and 24 troopers of the Native Mounted Police (NMP) were attacked by ‘daring and war-like’ Aboriginal land owners […]

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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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Glamping: Native Mounted Police Style

By Uschi Artym ‘Disgraceful’, ‘comfortable’ and ‘respectable’—these were some of the words used to describe the Diamantina, Jundah and Boulia Native Mounted Police (NMP) camps by contemporary visitors. Scant historical documentation remains on just how NMP camps were laid out and what they looked like, so wondering about what constituted a ‘comfortable’ camp, or distinguished […]

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On Her Majesty’s Service

By Alyssa Madden Policing and communications were both crucial in enabling the mostly European settlers to establish themselves in the ‘Sunshine State’ in the nineteenth century. The Qld Native Mounted Police (NMP) were tasked with protecting settlers from Aboriginal resistance, while the early telegraph system linked both the remote detachments with senior officers stationed elsewhere, […]

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Self Provisioning at Boralga

By Leanne Bateman Food rations were an important lifeline for the occupants of Native Mounted Police (NMP) camps, but it was often a tenuous lifeline at best. The cost of rations was a problem for the government, who had to constantly justify the existence of the NMP force to the taxpayer, who frequently complained that […]

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