The Queensland Native Police and strategies of recruitment on the Queensland Frontier, 1849-1901

Burke, Heather and Barker, Bryce and Cole, Noelene and Wallis, Lynley A. and Hatte, Elizabeth and Davidson, Iain and Lowe, Kelsey (2018) The Queensland Native Police and strategies of recruitment on the Queensland Frontier, 1849-1901. Journal of Australian Studies, 42 (3). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1444-3058


Although historians have provided substantial insights into the structure, development and activities of the Queensland Native Mounted Police, they have rarely focused on the complex and sensitive issue of Aboriginal recruitment. A careful reading of historical records, however, identifies several methods, including coercion, intimidation, kidnapping and inducement, as well as 'voluntary' enlistment. It is difficult to identify Aboriginal agency in recruitment processes as the records are entirely one-sided — the voices of the troopers themselves are absent from the archival sources. In this article, we examine the cultural and historical contexts of Aboriginal recruitment — for example, the dire social situations of Aboriginal survivors of the frontier war and the absence of future survival options for the potential recruits. We explore, through the framework of historical trauma, the impacts on vulnerable victims of violence and other devastating effects of colonisation. We conclude that the recruitment of Aboriginal troopers was far from a homogeneous or transparent process and that the concept of agency with regard to those who can be considered war victims themselves is extremely complex. Unravelling the diverse, conflicting and often controversial meanings of this particular colonial activity remains a challenge to the historical process.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online 23 May 2018. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 30 May 2018 06:41
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2018 04:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: Native Mounted Police; recruitment; coercion; desertion; historical trauma
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Funding Details:
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/14443058.2018.1474942

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