Warning: This site contains material that refers to deceased persons, and colonial records containing language that may be disturbing or offensive to people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

The Native Police Corps of the Port Phillip District (later known as the Colony of Victoria) was one of the first government bodies to employ Aboriginal people.

Tracking the Native Police tells the history of the Native Police Corps from 1837 to 1852 through some of the earliest official records held by Public Record Office Victoria.

The four featured stories link to digital copies and transcripts of these documents, and include many illustrations from the time.

Dana's Native Police Corps (1842-1853)
Western District Clashes (1842-1847)
The Captive White Woman of Gippsland (1845-1849)
Patrolling the Goldfields (1849-1853)

The Native Police Corps was composed mostly of Aboriginal men, recruited at first from the area around Port Phillip Bay but then from further afield. They tried to work together with the government of those who had invaded their lands, and helped to establish British law and order in the District.

Records about the Native Police are a good starting point for learning about the history of the Victorian government's relationship with the first inhabitants of this country. However, while many records and pictures of the Native Police exist, we do not have the stories of the men of the Native Police in their own words. The records were created by people who did not understand Koorie culture and who were trying to replace that culture with another. It is difficult for us to understand the situation of the Native Police as they understood it themselves. We need to read these records carefully if we are to understand this story from all points of view.

The education material asks students to reflect on these stories and the different ways they can be read.

The search page allows keyword searching for particular topics. It also provides information about the records and a list of further reading.

The timeline, glossary and map help to locate events and people in the story.