- View a selected annotated list of records relating to frontier wars and the Native Police.
- View selected digitised records on the ArchivesSearch catalogue—many of these records also have transcriptions.
- Read an essay by historian Dr Jonathan Richards on Queensland’s frontier wars, as documented in the state’s archival collection, providing the historical context of the period.
Queensland State Archives (QSA) holds records that were created or received by Queensland Government departments (sometimes called agencies). The records do not usually express the views of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples.
Records relating to frontier violence exist throughout the archival collection, but mostly reside in records created by agencies involved in establishing the Colony of Queensland, and from 1901, the State of Queensland.
Listed below are the main government departments or agencies that have records referring to frontier violence in Queensland. To see the records of these agencies, click on the “Browse created records” button at the bottom of the agency page.
- Executive Council
- Governors’ Despatches
- Colonial Stores
- Department of Works
- Colonial Architect
- Native Police
- Police Commissioner
- Protectors of Aboriginals
- Chief Protector of Aboriginals Office
- Colonial Secretary’s Office
- Home Secretary’s Office
- Police stations
- Mines and Works Department
- Land and Works Department
- Department of Justice.
The main source of Native Police records in each agency reflects that agency’s part in the constitution and operations of colonial law and government.
The Executive Council files demonstrate the evolution of government policy, and the machinery of control over all branches of the colonial authorities. For instance, the Executive Council approved appointments, dismissals, promotions, retirements, and reductions in rank. Records of the large number of Native Police issues that came before the Executive Council are worth special attention. They tell us which matters were senior appointments, scandals, and dismissals.
The decisions made by the executive arm of the Queensland Government were relayed to the operational forces via the Colonial Secretary’s Office and the Commissioner of Police. General orders, memos and staff files are found in the Commissioner’s records.
After separation from New South Wales in 1859, the administration of Aboriginal affairs was transferred to the Queensland Government. The Colonial Secretary’s Office (and from 1896 the Home Secretary’s Office) was the main department for this task. The correspondence records of the Colonial Secretary’s Office consist of letters and reports covering a wide range of topics including reports from the Native Police, letters relating to ‘outrages’ committed by traditional owners, and requests for Native Police protection.
The Colonial Secretary’s Office, which functioned as the government’s main co-ordinator of important letters, petitions, and executive decisions, forwarded paperwork on to other agencies, including the Attorney General and the Justice Department. Justice Department records include dozens of coronial inquests into sudden and violent deaths of Aboriginal people at the hands of the Native Police, along with associated correspondence and court records.
- The Australian Wars, produced by SBS and Blackfella Films
- The Queensland Native Mounted Police Research Database: Archaeology on the frontier
- The Native Police of Queensland, History Compass
- Native Police, Queensland History Atlas
- Australian Frontier Conflicts: 1788-1940s
- Colonial Frontier Massacres, Australia, 1788 to 1930
- Oscar’s sketchbook, National Museum Australia
- Trove—digitised historical newspapers
- The Secret War, by Jonathan Richards
- Police of the Pastoral Frontier, by LE Skinner
- Exterminate with Pride, by Bruce Breslin
- Invasion and Resistance, by Noel Loos
- Frontier Lands & Pioneer Legends, by Pamela Lukin Watson
- The Way We Civilise: black and white, the native police, by Carl Feilberg
- The Other Side of the Frontier, by Henry Reynolds
- Forgotten War, by Henry Reynolds
- Truth-telling, by Henry Reynolds
- This Is What Happened, edited by Luise Hercus and Peter Sutton
- The Australian Frontier Wars 1788-1838, by John Connor