The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

Australian Native Police Uniform

Queensland Police Museum - Joy of Museums - Australian Native Police Uniform

This Australian Native Police Uniform belonged to an Aboriginal trooper under the command usually of a white officer.  Australian native police units existed in various forms in the Australian colonies during the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century. The aboriginal troopers were vastly superior in their ability to track down dissidents in the early colonial period of poorly charted and difficult terrain.

The Native Police were a cost effective and brutal paramilitary instrument in the expansion of the British colonial frontier in Australia. Mounted aboriginal troopers armed with rifles and swords escorted surveyors, settlers and prospectors into frontier areas. They would establish base camps and patrol these areas to enforce warrants, conduct punitive missions against resisting local aboriginal groups.

Queensland Native Police

Members of the Queensland Native Police who assisted in the search of Ned Kelly and his gang.

The imperial British method of “divide and conquer” led to a policy whereby  the aboriginals within the Native Police were recruited from areas that were very distant from where they were deployed. Aboriginal troopers, benefited the colonies by minimising both the wages of the police and the potential for aboriginal revenge attacks against white people.

Essential Facts:

  • Title:                       Australian Native Police Uniform
  • Original Owner:   Queensland’s Native Police Force
  • Type:                       1890s
  • Museum:                Queensland Police Museum


“The police are the public and the public are the police.” Robert Peel



Photo Credit: JOM 2) See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons