Timothy Bottoms; Allen & Unwin, 2013; 288 pages; $32.99 (paperback)
Even to somebody relatively familiar with Australia’s real history — and more used, therefore, to thinking of it as bloodstained rather than merely blemished — Timothy Bottoms’ close examination of Queensland’s frontier comes as something of a shock. Henry Reynolds, Noel Loos, Raymond Evans and others have previously established that Queensland’s colonial frontier was a particularly brutal place. It’s also well known that Queensland’s Native Police force, which operated from 1848 to around 1910 [see p 7], played a notorious role in this. Bottoms’ book, however, establishes in comprehensive and chilling fashion how bad it actually was.