In this unit, students will explore the historical impact of colonial regiments, including the Native Police Force, on First Nations' communities in Australia. Students will engage with films, poems, and historical resources to understand the experiences of Aboriginal people during this period. Through reflective activities, discussions, and research, students will critically examine the enduring effects of past policies and laws on contemporary social and cultural contexts, fostering a deeper understanding of Australia's history and its relevance to present-day issues.


Content Warning

This unit contains information and discusses topics that may be very sensitive for many Aboriginal students. Ensure you know your students and families and how this topic might trigger negative feelings. The impact of the horror and trauma of massacres and mistreatment of Aboriginal people is an ongoing experience for Aboriginal communities .

Listening to Custodians discussing this sensitive topic will recall pain for many Aboriginal families and can also be stressful for non-Indigenous people who may be learning about this for the first time. 

It is suggested that careful discussions be conducted with Aboriginal families before this unit is taught. Listen carefully to the thoughts and suggestions of Aboriginal community members and be diligent about the inclusion of these suggestions into the delivery of this learning. It is critical to remember that these acts are still being felt by many Aboriginal families. 

It is important that students are observed carefully during this learning and that they understand it is okay to leave the room if the content is too stressful. Ensure there are other adults present who are willing to assist with this. Also ensure there is a debrief session at the conclusion of the unit of work, and that check-ins will be done at times in the coming days.  SharingStories suggests educators do some research so that they thoroughly understand the topic and how it impacts on Aboriginal people in the present prior to teaching this unit. 



At the heart of Jajoo Warrngara are the communities that lead the work on Country. We would like to acknowledge the storytellers Uncle Alfred Nathan and Uncle Brian Nathan, who have shared their cultural knowledge, and pay our respects to the Elders past and present. 

Uncle Alfred and Uncle Brian are proud Pitta Pitta Elders who hold strong and historical connections to Country and the communities of Dajarra, Boulia, and Cloncurry. Taught by their Great Grandmother Linda, they are the last remaining fluent Pitta Pitta language speakers. 

Uncle Alfred and Uncle Brian have passed these stories down to their families, including their niece Marian Radecker, a proud Pitta Pitta woman who has been instrumental in ensuring they have been shared for educators through Jajoo Warrngara. The family acknowledges their Ancestors, in particular, the resilience of First Nations peoples who overcome adversity and hardship. 

Uncle Brian’s hope is that one day his family will sit around the campfire and speak to each other only in Language, so that it is never forgotten. 



These tailored classroom protocols have been developed by Traditional Custodians and Elders, Uncle Alfred, Uncle Brian and Marian Major. This guide directly relates to the Pitta Pitta community’s knowledge and stories, which has been generously shared with the Jajoo Warrngara team. The teaching resources have been developed in collaboration with the Pitta Pitta community. Pitta Pitta Protocols

Links to Resources

Cultural Protocols

View the teaching protocols for this unit.

Teacher Resources

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Pitta Pitta Elders Uncle Alfred Nathan and Uncle Brian Nathan shares knowledge of The Native Police on their local Country

The Native Police Lesson 1

  • Watch the Pitta Pitta Welcome to Country film by Traditional Custodian, Marian Radecker.  Using the Map of Indigenous Australia | AIATSIS, identify where Pitta Pitta Country is on the map and where your school community is located. 
  • Then watch The Native Police Film to discover the history of the Police Barracks in Boulia, reflecting on the impacts the Native Police Force had on Aboriginal communities across Australia. 
  • Form a yarning circle to discuss the film. Some questions to support the conversation are as follows: 
  1. ​​What were your initial thoughts and feelings about the film? 
  2. What historical events and experiences of Aboriginal peoples were highlighted?
  3. In what ways do you think the history of the Police Barracks in Boulia connects to the broader narrative of Australian colonial history?
  4. What emotions or thoughts did the film evoke in you about the historical injustices faced by Aboriginal communities?
  5. As members of our school community, how can we actively acknowledge and respect the history of Aboriginal people, including the impacts of colonial violence and the role of the Native Police Force?
  6. What steps can we take to ensure that these types of stories and experiences are heard and understood as significant events that have shaped the lives of Aboriginal peoples in Australia. 


  • After the yarning circle, students are to find their own space in the classroom to write a reflective diary entry or a response to film stimulus in their notebooks.
  • Some prompts for their writing could include:
  • How did the films "Police Barracks" and "Pitta Pitta Welcome to Country" make you feel? What emotions did they evoke, and why do you think you had these reactions?
  • What is something new you learnt? How did this knowledge change or challenge your previous understanding of Australia's past?
  • What was the purpose of the Native Police Force? Why do you think the Government thought it necessary to establish a Native Police Force? What skills and knowledge made Aboriginal men suitable for this type of role? 
  • All over Australia, Aboriginal people were taken from their land and forced to places like the Police Barracks. What happened to them when they were taken to the Barracks at Boulia? Why were Pitta Pitta people taken to the Police Barracks? 


  • After the writing session, give students the option to share their reflections with the class. Create a safe and respectful environment for those who wish to share their insights. 

N.B. This could be a very sensitive reflection for many Aboriginal students and they should only share if comfortable to do so. 

Mark as complete

The Native Police Lesson 2

  • Following the last lesson, students investigate the Native Police Force and other colonial regiments. 

Queensland Native Mounted Police

Native Police Corps established - Deadly Story

How unearthing Queensland's 'native police' camps gives us a window onto colonial violence 

Coming to terms with the brutal history of Queensland's Native Mounted Police - ABC News

Native Mounted Police camps, evidence of frontier battles unearthed in Queensland - ABC News  

The role of Queensland Native Mounted Police in genocide | Red Flag 

N.B Cultural Sensitivity

The poem 'Mission to Blacks' uses references of 'jins' for Aboriginal women. Please let students know this is a highly offensive term that should never be used outside of the context of this poem. 


  • Students are provided with a copy of the poem "Missions to Blacks." 
  • In pairs or small groups, students carefully read and analyse the poem, considering the language, imagery, and emotions conveyed.
  • In their notebooks, students answer the following questions: 
  1. What emotions and themes does the poem "Missions to Blacks" convey? 
  2. From whose perspective is the poem written? What is their stance on the treatment of Aboriginal peoples? 
  3. Considering the poem was published in the Cairns Post in 1891, what can you infer about the general attitude and perception of colonists towards Aboriginal people during that time period? 
  4. Identify instances of contrast or irony in the poem. How do these literary devices contribute to the overall message of the poem?
  5. The poem mentions the exchange of bread for stones and the giving of rum in return for jins. What do these phrases symbolise, and how do they reflect the broader theme of exploitation?
  6. The poem uses powerful imagery and metaphors, such as "marked with murderous looking mounds" and "earth he cumbers." What do these metaphors represent, and how do they add depth to the poem's message?
  • Compare the poem's tone and message with the themes discussed in the Pitta Pitta film Police Barracks and the historical context of the Native Police Force on Australia's history. 


  • How do you think exploring such historical perspectives can shape our perception of present-day issues faced by Aboriginal peoples?
Mark as complete

The Native Police Lesson 3

  • In this lesson, students will investigate the lasting effects of colonial regiments , including the Native Police Force, on Aboriginal peoples in Australia. They will also explore the subsequent laws and policies that followed this period in Australian history. 


  • In small groups, students research and analyse specific laws from the late 19th century that impacted Aboriginal peoples and shaped the historical narrative of Australia. Examples include the Protection Acts, Assimilation policies, and the White Australia Policy.
  • Students investigate the intended goals, implementation, and consequences of these policies, recording notes in their notebooks. 


  • What insights did you gain from researching and analysing the laws and policies that impacted Aboriginal peoples  in the late 19th century, and how has this influenced Australia's contemporary social and cultural context?
Mark as complete

The Native Police Lesson 4

  • Following on from the last lesson, students investigate the ongoing impacts of the laws and policies created in the late 19th century. 
  • Students are divided into small groups and assigned a specific period or topic related to colonial policies and laws affecting Aboriginal peoples.
  • They are provided with research resources, including historical documents, books, and reputable online sources, for each assigned topic.


  • In their groups, students create a visual timeline highlighting key events, laws, and policies from their assigned periods.
  • Some resources to support their research: 


  • How might being aware of past government laws and policies influence perceptions of laws today and their potential impact on marginalised communities?


Mark as complete



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