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mapping colonial policing  history and more

The project initially aimed to consolidate historical information regarding the key aspects of policing a colonial urban centre, Brisbane from 1859 to 1901; it has since expanded to include stories and history of rural policing of Queensland and beyond. Utilising police courts records, police force regulations and manuals the project recreates the daily interactions of the community with the police force as told by actions and words of the participants themselves, captured in sworn and expert witness statements.

The Map

The key digital feature of the project is a nineteenth century interactive searchable map of Brisbane with a focus on 20 central streets, today’s Brisbane CBD. The map is populated with an average of five occurrences per street. By clicking on the street of interest, a visitor can zoom in on the street to reveal details of events such as assaults, assaults on police/ resisting arrest, use of abusive language, larceny and miscellaneous offences, etc. — misdemeanours that are most representative of everyday life and interactions. By recreating Brisbane's historical crime map, it takes visitors along on a beat and let them experience the bustling, and not always salubrious, street life through the eyes of an ordinary city patrol Constable and an average city dweller. 

Queensland Police Museum exhibit

Digital Colonial Brisbane display is now open for viewing. The exhibit features a display of  the ‘tools of the trade,’ records of notable cases, and images of colonial Brisbane. 


Queensland Police Museum

Monday to Thursday 9:00-16:00

QPS HQ Roma Street.


'the good, the bad, and the ghastly'

Follow Digital Colonial Brisbane Blog for stories of colonial Brisbane, Queensland and beyond. Here you will find posts on notable individuals, cases, rules and regulations, and international connections of the local force.