Domestic ‘forts’ in frontier wars

Domestic ‘forts’ in frontier wars

Heather Burke, Ray Kerkhove, Lynley Wallis, Bryce Barker & Cathy Keys, ‘Nervous Nation: fear, conflict and narratives of fortified domestic architecture on the Queensland frontier,’ Aboriginal History Vol. 40 (2020), pp.22-52.

Colonists’ fear of retaliation by the Aboriginal peoples whose traditional lands they had forcibly dispossessed manifested itself in domestic defensive strategies across Queensland. This article presents an analysis of accounts drawn from a range of sources of 97 domestic structures across Queensland with claims for defensive features. Although suggesting that fortified domestic structures were more common than previously envisaged, the review indicates that defensive features were usually minimal – holes in walls and barrable doors, windows or other ports of entry – reflecting the often expedient nature of the structures themselves. Accounts of fortified domestic structures peak in the decades following Federation and through both World Wars as the newly minted Australian nation explicitly engaged in nation-building and constructing the ‘glorious pioneer’ narrative. Read more.

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