Aboriginal scars from frontier wars

Cortez Deacetis


Impression: Australian archaeologists have unearthed numerous artefacts from former Queensland Indigenous Mounted Law enforcement camps.
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Credit rating: Flinders College

Hundreds of Aboriginal adult men who grew to become native mounted law enforcement in colonial Australia carried a major burden of responsibility for legislation and get for white settlers in Queensland and other settlements.

A lengthy-operating ARC-funded archaeology venture has turned the lens on the recruitment to the Queensland Indigenous Mounted Law enforcement and their component in the violent ‘frontier wars’ – which established lengthy-phrase traumatic impacts on the lives of the Indigenous people today associated.

“We argue that the massacres, frontier violence, displacement, and the best dispossession of land and destruction of classic cultural practices resulted in each particular person and collective inter-generational trauma for Aboriginal peoples,” states Flinders College Professor Heather Burke in a new write-up revealed in the Journal of Genocide Investigate

“Regardless of the Australian frontier wars using put over a century back, their impacts proceed to reverberate nowadays in a variety of distinctive strategies, numerous of which are as however only partly comprehended.”

Professor Burke, and Queensland researchers, say official data show of the historical past of the Queensland Mounted Law enforcement in phrases of its progress, its white officers, some day-to-day functions of the drive, and how numerous people today had been killed through the frontier wars.

The write-up appears to be like at the ongoing psychological impacts of the historical dispossession and frontier violence.

Based mostly on a lot more than 4 years of study, the Archaeology of the Queensland Indigenous Mounted Law enforcement venture mixed historical data, oral and historical evidence from a variety of websites throughout central and northern Queensland to recognize a lot more totally the pursuits, lives and legacies of the native law enforcement.

It strives to current an alternative standpoint on the character of frontier conflict through Australian settlement, in get to initiative new understandings of the Aboriginal and settler experience, and contribute to global studies of Indigenous responses to colonialism.

The write-up ‘Betwixt and Amongst: Trauma, Survival and the Aboriginal Troopers of the Queensland Indigenous Mounted Police’ (March, 2020) by Heather Burke, Bryce Barker, Lynley Wallis, Sarah Craig and Michelle Combo has been revealed in the Journal of Genocide Investigate (Taylor & Francis On line) DOI: ten.1080/14623528.2020.1735147


The Queensland Indigenous Mounted Law enforcement was organised along paramilitary traces, consisting of detachments of Aboriginal troopers led by white officers. It coated the complete of Queensland, such as a hundred and seventy camps, and was explicitly constituted to secure the lives, livelihoods and house of settlers and to stop (and punish) any Aboriginal aggression or resistance.

This was often accomplished by means of violence in numerous varieties, major Australian historian Henry Reynolds to characterise the NMP as “the most violent organisation in Australian historical past”.

The project’s new publicly offered national database addresses the 50-calendar year historical past of the Queensland Indigenous Mounted Law enforcement (1849-1904) and tales of numerous of the 800 troopers and 400 officers. It is the only publicly offered historical and archaeological dataset of their lives and pursuits. The excavations conducted over the past 4 years had been the 1st archaeological investigations of any native law enforcement drive functioning any place in Australia.


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