Collection of Australian Native Police buttons and ammunition

Made in England, United Kingdom, Europe, c. 1850-1890.

Artefacts relating to the history of the Aboriginal Native Police forces are very rare, most not having survived. This collection of uniform buttons, carbine balls and bullets, all collected from Native Police camp sites in Queensland, is therefore of great importance. The donor recovered these items from sites of Native Police camps thus giving them a precise location. All the buttons either feature the letters VR or the Victoria Crown, and all but one were made in England by the best known uni...

Summary

Object No.

2011/82/1

Physical Description

Collection of buttons and ammunition used by the Native Police. The thirteen circular metal buttons vary in size and design, however all referring to the reign of Queen Victoria, either depicting a crown or the initials VR or both, in raised embossed designs. Ammunition includes three spherical lead carbine balls and two brass percussion caps from a Potts & Hunt double barrelled carbine, a bullet cartridge from a .577 Snider-Enfield carbine and a brass cartridge casing for a .442 cartridge used in a Webley centre fire revolver.

Production

Notes

All the buttons were produced in Britain, except one (2011/82/1-10) which was made in Australia by D. Jones & Co, a Sydney retailer founded 1837, now known as David Jones, who also made buttons used by the NSW Volunteer Rifles, 1860-70.

Hebbert & Co London were one of the major military equipment suppliers of the 19th century, making uniforms since 1840, swords and truncheons for police, buttons for British Volunteer forces, Queensland forces, equipment to New Zealand in the 1860s, and was one of the major suppliers to the Confederate forces during the American civil war. (Peter Tait & Co, Limerick, Ireland was the other).

Wikepedia reports that .442 Webley, also know as .422 Revolver Centre fire, was a British centrefire revolver cartridge, introduced in 1868. It was widely used in the British Bull dog, a popular type of solid frame pocket revolver introduced by Philip Webley & Son of Birmingham, England, in 1872. The gun was widely copied, and was designed to be carried in a coat pocket. (/17)

Made

c. 1850-1890

History

Notes

'All of the items were collected during the 1980s-1990s. Many sites have since been unwittingly destroyed. Precise dates of establishment are sometimes difficult to make with accuracy. Tenders might be called but the buildings erected at a later date. Conversely a camp could be used for a temporary camp and a permanent camp established later. Thus artefacts could pre or post date the years noted.' quoted from research by the donor.

Places where objects were found:
Owanyilla is between Gympie and Maryborough on the single-track rail line that runs up the Queensland coast to Cairns. Also known as Coopers Plains. The camp was established c. 1856-57, closed 1860s (possibly 1863).
Bungil Creek is south of Roma, also known as Euleotha. The camp was established c. 1859 and closed possibly 1862.
Banana is west of Gladstone on the Leichhardt Highway. The camp was north of Banana and was established and closed c.1860s.
Wondai Gumbal is near Yuleba on Tchanning Creek. The camp was established c.1851 and closed c.1859.
Spring Creek is south of Springsure, which is south of Emerald on the 60. The camp was known to have been occupied between 1862-1867.
Laura is inland from Cooktown on the Peninsular Development road. The camp was to the north of Laura, established c. 1876 and closed 1894.
Highbury is on the Mitchell River in Far North Queensland, not far from the Bourke Developmental Road.

The Snider Enfield carbine fired a British Black powder metallic cartridge which fired a .577 lead projectile. Early models used a cartridge made of paper with a metallic base, and the later ones were made from drawn brass.

A .442 Webley, also know as .422 Revolver Centre fire, was a British centrefire revolver cartridge, introduced in 1868, widely used in the British Bull dog, a popular type of solid frame pocket revolver introduced by Philip Webley & Son of Birmingham, England, in 1872. The gun was widely copied, and was designed to be carried in a coat pocket (Wikepedia).

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Mr Simon A Whiley, 2011

Acquisition Date

13 September 2011

Cite this Object

Harvard

Collection of Australian Native Police buttons and ammunition 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 November 2018, <https://ma.as/397127>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/397127 |title=Collection of Australian Native Police buttons and ammunition |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 November 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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