“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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When Bureaucracies Kill

By Heather Burke Cecil Fulford Hill was 21 years old when he was speared by Aboriginal people near Rannes station in central Qld in 1865. Along with Henry Kaye (1881), George Dyas (1881) and Marcus Beresford (1883), Hill was one of only four NMP officers to be killed while on patrol, although many more were […]

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Shots Fired … But in What Direction and How do we Know?

By Tony Pagels  The role of the Native Mounted Police (NMP) was to control and disperse Aboriginal opposition to ensure European settlement was a success in Queensland (Qld).  This was achieved by the Force having the best available weapons and employing military-type tactics. But when a firearm was discharged 140 years ago how can we […]

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“All Mere Youths” When Taken Away: Recruiting Aboriginal Boys and Men to the NMP Part III

By Lynley Wallis and Heather Burke We have previously written about the processes of recruiting Aboriginal men to the NMP (Recruiting Part 1 and Willing Volunteers?). However, we didn’t have room there to consider another element of the trooper experience: the interpersonal relationships that existed, both amongst the troopers, and between them and the officers […]

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Willing Volunteers? Recruiting Aboriginal Boys and Men to the NMP Part II

By Lynley Wallis, Heather Burke, Bryce Barker and Noelene Cole In an earlier post we considered some of the mechanisms through which Aboriginal boys and men may have been enticed, or forced, to join the NMP. In this post, we consider what is perhaps the most perplexing type of “recruitment” of these men: that of […]

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Recruiting Aboriginal boys and men to the NMP: Part I

By Lynley Wallis, Heather Burke, Bryce Barker and Noelene Cole One of the infamous euphemisms in historical documents relating to the Native Mounted Police (NMP) is “dispersal”. This word has now been convincingly demonstrated to actually refer to the shooting and killing of Aboriginal people (Richards 2008). We suggest here that another euphemism is the […]

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“Taking French leave”: Desertions amongst the Troopers

By Lynley Wallis and Heather Burke The numerous accounts in official records of desertions by Aboriginal troopers lend weight to suggestions that many men did not join the Native Mounted Police (NMP) force willingly. In some cases entire detachments deserted, such as in 1865 when Lieutenant Charles Blakeney had this happen for the second time: […]

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

By Heather Burke [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. […]

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