Letter from Frederick Walker to the Colonial Secretary regarding an attack of the Native Police

A pastoral superintendent who entered the civil service in southern New South Wales, Frederick Walker gained a reputation for establishing harmonious relations with Aboriginal people.  In 1848 he was appointed by the government to raise a force of Native Mounted Police and after operating in the Macintyre River district, Walker extended his sphere of operations northward to Wide Bay and the Burnett River in 1851.  A poor administrator, Walker began drinking heavily in 1852 and two years later was summarily dismissed from his position.  The force he created continued to operate and when Queensland gained self-government in 1859, Governor Bowen accepted the Native Mounted Police as a necessary prerequisite for pastoral expansion despite its odious reputation for violence.  Three official inquiries into the operations of the Native Mounted Police and its actions against Aboriginal people ignored many documented atrocities and the force continued to operate in Queensland until it was disbanded in 1897.  In a remarkable irony one of the most outspoken critics of the Native Mounted Police during the early 1860s was its founder, Frederick Walker.  In April 1861 Walker detailed an outrage committed by troopers and their European officer on Aboriginal people in the Comet River district of Central Queensland. Despite his report being tabled in parliament no action was taken.


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