CAIA seminar: "Policing the Colonies"


This seminar focuses on policing indigenous and settler populations in diverse locations.

Start Date

17th Apr 2012 9:30am

End Date

17th Apr 2012 3:30pm


Meeting Room 1 (Rm AO33), University of Tasmania, Newnham campus. Previously - QVMAG Auditorium, Inveresk Precinct, Launceston

RSVP / Contact Information

Contact: Toni Sherwood - E:

Papers for this seminar have a particular focus on policing indigenous populations in diverse locations.

Eva Bischoff, Universität Trier, Germany, part of a collaborative research project on “Settler Imperialism in North America and Australia: Modes of Governance and Factors of Land Seizure: White Settlers in Contact with Indigenous Societies in North America (1789-1851) and Australia (1788-1850)” located at the Universities of Cologne and Trier.

Richard Hill, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, currently working on "Policing indigenous peoples: a comparative approach to controlling colonies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries".

Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and Anna Johnston, UTAS, presenting on their current project “Policing the Tasmanian Archive: digitizing and analyzing the Tasmanian Police Gazettes, 1861-1930.” Predating the English Habitual Offender Register by 16 years, this remarkable series of weekly publications disseminated information about arrests and discharges from gaols and pauper institutions.

Lyndall Ryan, University of Newcastle, New South Wales will present a paper that compares the policing of Aborigines on the colonial frontiers of Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, 1826-1851.

Nicholas Clements, PhD candidate UTAS, will present a paper that focusses on the tactic of the campfire ambush, used by both official and unofficial parties, to kill and occasionally capture Aborigines. The paper contends that the majority of Aborigines who died violently in VDL died in these attacks. In the beginning this tactic was predominately employed for gaining access to women, but by 1828 the priority had become expunging the Aboriginal threat. 

Peter Richardson, PhD candidate UTAS, will present a paper about Thomas Perkins, a police officer in various jurisdictions for forty nine years. First appointed as a Constable in Hobart in 1847, he quickly became a Detective Constable, and was regarded as an "energetic young man". He was a police officer at Morven [Evandale] and Longford (1853-1872) and at Bothwell (1872-1896), for most of that time at the rank of Superintendent.

The paper argues that Perkins is an excellent example of an effective law-enforcer who employed all the classic stratagems of nineteenth century policing - surveillance, informers, deal-making and conspiracy - to maintain control and good order in rural Tasmania.

Papers will be of 30 minutes duration followed by 10 minutes for questions.

A draft program will be available shortly.


Presented by     Logo for Centre for Colonialism and its Aftermath