Men in Blue (and Red): A Brief History of the Qld NMP Uniform

[The Native Police] are clothed in a uniform of blue with scarlet relief, armed with Snider rifles, drilled in semi-military fashion (Brisbane Courier, 15 June 1878, p3). From the start of the Native Mounted Police (NMP), the uniforms worn by officers and troopers were a central element of their structure and presence. The lure of […]

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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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Snake Buckles on the Frontier

By Leanne Bateman For centuries regalia manufacturers have adopted elaborate designs for belt buckles, some of which were often imbued with symbolic meaning. One such design is the symbolic depiction of a serpent on belt clasps. Over the centuries this design has proven to be very popular, and is considered to typically represent the dual […]

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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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Piecing together the officers’ list: the value of obituaries

By Heather Burke We’ve written before about how useful TROVE’s digitised historical newspapers can be as a source of information unavailable anywhere else. The latest demonstration of their value was in the discovery of the names of two white officers of the Native Mounted Police who were previously unknown to us: Walter Pickering and Edward […]

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‘Empty’ settler landscapes on Aboriginal Country

By Alyssa Madden When Europeans began expanding into Queensland Aboriginal people were—politically speaking—”invisible”. This invisibility was deeply ensconced in national ideological frameworks, including Terra nullius and the exclusion of Aboriginal people from the census. Historically, Australian First Nations peoples were largely ignored, or relegated to the status of being part of the landscape. In contrast, […]

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