Historian Jonathan Richards releases his new book, The Secret War: A True History of Queensland’s Native Police.
Henry Reynolds describes Jonathan Richards’ controversial book, The Secret War: A True History of Queensland’s Native Police, as ‘a major contribution to Queensland and Australian historiography, and to the history of relations between colonists and indigenous people on a global scale’.
The health, housing and employment crisis facing Indigenous people today are a direct result of our white settlement history.
How did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, from all over Queensland, end up being violently forced to leave their homelands and live in these communities?
Why were Indigenous people so terrified of the police, they allowed themselves to be herded into ‘prisons without walls’?
The release of The Secret War is timely given the new Labor Government’s official apology to the Aboriginal people. The Secret War tells the story of organised racial violence and lawful mass murder on the Queensland frontier. For many Indigenous people, white colonisation arrived with the armed men of the Native Police: a brutal force that operated on the 19th-century frontier, killing large numbers of Indigenous men, women and children.
Historian Jonathan Richards has spent ten years researching this contentious subject, picking his way through secrecy, misinformation and supposed ‘lost files’ to uncover and publish the truth. In this first full-length comprehensive study of the Native Police in Queensland, he argues that they were a key part of a ‘divide and rule’ colonising tactic and that the force’s actions were given the implicit approval of the government and public servants, and that their killings were covered up. The Queensland government, which so far has avoided blame due to an absence of direct orders to kill Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, stands responsible for the force’s deployment, techniques and ultimately for its genocidal activities. The Secret War is an authoritative and groundbreaking contribution to our country’s white settlement history.
The Secret War will be launched by Henry Reynolds at Avid Reader, Brisbane, on Wednesday 19th March 2008. Copies of this book are available through University of Queensland Press