Raymond Evans – Adjunct Professor & Historian at Griffith Uni and Senior Researcher at UQ
Robert Orsted-Jensen – Historian at University of Queensland
This paper suggests that there is a way to arrive at an approximate, dependable estimate of the number of Aboriginal frontier casualties at the hands of colonial Queensland’s Native Police Force. By using data that provides accurate information on the number and duration of Native Police barracks and camps, the frequency of patrols, the surviving records of clashes and dispersals of Aborigines, as well as reported body counts, it is possible to arrive at a defensible mathematical estimate of the quotient of state sponsored frontier killings across some forty years of frontier interaction 1859-1897. Furthermore, this makes it possible to suggest a better estimate of the total Aboriginal death toll at the hands of both Native Police and settler colonists.
In this account the authors have conservatively arrived at the startling calculation that approximately 65,180 Aborigines were killed in Queensland frontier clashes alone between the 1820s and the 1900s. When the non-Aboriginal frontier death rate is added to this figure, it rises to an aggregate of 66,680 – a number substantially exceeding the Australian combat death rate in World War One.