Cultural conflict in text and materiality: the impact of words and lead on the northwest Queensland colonial frontier, Australia

Iain Davidson, Heather Burke, Lance Sullivan, Lynley A. Wallis, Ursula Artym, Bryce Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The “Frontier Wars” in Australia were a series of conflicts carried out at different times and places by various military and civilian actors between 1788 and c1938. One of the principal agents in this violence in the colony of Queensland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the paramilitary Native Mounted Police (NMP), who were tasked with protecting settlers from Aboriginal resistance. This paper examines written and oral accounts of frontier conflict between settlers, Aboriginal people and the NMP in northwest Queensland and places them into the context of the archaeological evidence from an NMP camp site. It thus emphasizes the different types of stories that arise from different sources of historical knowledge and how oral histories transformed into print interact with oral histories of subaltern peoples. Investigation of the archaeology of related sites suggests that they refer to events at a quite different scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-740
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Archaeology
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • colonial Australia
  • frontier violence
  • historical archaeology
  • Native Mounted Police
  • oral history

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