The Discipline of Dress: Uniform Buttons and Accoutrements of the Native Mounted Police in Queensland, Australia

Nic Grguric, Heather Burke, Lynley A. Wallis, Noelene Cole, Bryce Barker, Elizabeth Hatte

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Abstract

Clothing is capable of providing a range of insights into aspects of identity, authority, power, and hierarchy. Here we present the results of an analysis of an assemblage of uniform buttons and accoutrements from seven 19th-century Native Mounted Police (NMP) camps in Queensland, Australia. As part of wider colonial structures of discipline and expropriation, the NMP uniform was a powerful symbol of control: over troopers’ bodies, over NMP detachments by officers, and over “wild” and “savage” Indigenous peoples by the NMP. Exploring the history and development of the NMP uniform, its intent in constructing officers and particularly troopers, the indexical qualities it acquired as a symbol of violence and fear amongst Indigenous people, and some of the alternative ways in which uniforms could be worn provides a variety of insights into the role, nature, and experience of the Queensland NMP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-726
Number of pages24
JournalHistorical Archaeology
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Native Mounted Police
  • Queensland
  • uniforms
  • buttons

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