Distant and disinterested: oversight of northern policing as Colonial Office policy in the 1840s and 1850s

Connors, Libby (2012) Distant and disinterested: oversight of northern policing as Colonial Office policy in the 1840s and 1850s. Australia and New Zealand Law and History E-Journal. pp. 78-95.

Abstract

This article looks at the evidence regarding oversight of policing in the northern districts of New South Wales in the 1840s and 1850s. It argues that Colonial Office policy recognising the rights of Aboriginal people as British subjects was embraced by senior New South Wales officials from the mid-1830s although the capacity to implement it in remote districts was uneven. The article explores how despite being 1 000 kilometres away, Sydney officials through regular circuit court visits, critical newspaper reports and their link in the chain of government all the way to the Colonial Office at number 14 Downing Street, were able to exercise a limited restraint over events on the northern frontier in the 1840s and 1850s. The official recognition of Aboriginal rights acted as an imperfect check on local policing until the approach of self-government resulted in more overtly aggressive violence towards Aboriginal people. It concludes that the contrast in police behaviour in the north before and after self-government in 1856 confirms there were attempts to enact a ‘humanitarian imperialism’ in the 1830s and 1840s in New South Wales; this evidence therefore contributes to historical debates regarding the humanitarian-evangelical movement’s broader impact on colonial policies in this period.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright ownership of the paper is uncertain. Full text of the paper is freely available at the publisher website.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - School of Humanities and Communication
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2013 07:23
Last Modified: 04 May 2016 02:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: police, policing, indigenous, frontier, evangelical movement
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180120 Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/22822

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