'Great Difficulty in Knowing where the Frontier Ceases': Violence, Governance, and the Spectre of India in Early Queensland

Title'Great Difficulty in Knowing where the Frontier Ceases': Violence, Governance, and the Spectre of India in Early Queensland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMitchell, Jessie
JournalJournal of Australian Colonial History
Volume15
Pagination43-62
Abstract

By the middle of the nineteenth century, being a British male subject was coming to be understood in terms of two key entitlements: the right to govern oneself, and the power to govern others. This was also true - or especially true - at the edges of empire. The notion of the British as a law-making, rights-bearing people came into dialogue with the belief in a global imperial mission, within which the oppression of foreign peoples - and even their destruction along the empire's various frontiers - could be rationalised as part of a process of installing and defending order. This article focuses on the northern districts of New South Wales (NSW), where colonists were already developing their own regional identity and would soon separate to become the colony of Queensland, in the late 1850s. Here, these contradictory yet complementary beliefs about law and subjecthood, independence, conflict and control, took on forms that were especially stark and striking. Queenslanders attained responsible government independent of Britain and NSW in 1859. At this point, settlers had not yet secured most of the land in the north for themselves, the convict era was still quite recent, and conflict with Indigenous peoples was ferocious and ongoing.

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5183907152

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