Goodie or Baddie? Frederick Walker, the First Commandant of the Native Police, 1848–1855

By Bryce Barker As can be seen from reading about Stanhope O’Connor, Wentworth D’Arcy Uhr and Thomas Coward, the lives and circumstances of the officers in the Native Mounted Police (NMP) force were complex and multi-faceted. However, many accounts of individual officers often portray them as either ‘genocidal murderers’ or ‘stalwart keepers of peace on […]

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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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The Social Capital of Officers in the NMP

By Heather Burke In the 1960s French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu offered an influential framework for thinking about the social differences between people. Going beyond straightforward economic theory, he argued that there are three forms of capital that enable society to function and to create the social structures under which we all live. These can theoretically be […]

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Who Were the Officers of the NMP?

By Cherrie De Leiuen In a previous blog we discussed the project’s online database, which holds both the archaeological and documentary evidence that has been collected and will be accessible to the public later in 2019. One database category that is explored in more detail in this post is the NMP officers. At present (April […]

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Australia’s Longest Horse Chase: Wentworth D’Arcy Uhr Part II

By Frank Uhr Although the Native Mounted Police (NMP) were primarily tasked with putting down Aboriginal resistance on the frontier, the Force also did various “normal” police duties. These sometimes included road making, gold escort duty, finding lost or missing persons, and tracking down regular criminals. In the 1897 words of the Commissioner of Police, […]

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“I suppose I have had more experience amongst blacks than any other man of my age in this colony”[1]: Wentworth D’Arcy Uhr Part I

By Frank Uhr My name is Frank Uhr, and I am a 70-something historian living in Brisbane, following and thoroughly enjoying the adventures of the Archaeology on the Frontier team as they help open the veil on men who served in the Qld Native Mounted Police (NMP). You see, my great grandfather Wentworth D’Arcy Uhr (Figure […]

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“I am, Sir, &c., Tom Coward”

By Heather Burke Thomas (Tom) Coward was described as many things throughout his life: a ‘thoroughly good explorer’, an ‘experienced bushman’, ‘remarkable and interesting’, tyrannical, irascible, belligerent and domineering. He is one of the better documented NMP officers, chiefly because in his later years he seems to have told his life story to anyone who […]

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