eCite Digital Repository

'Military Police', Bushrangers and the Struggle for Order in Van Diemenís Land 1803-1826


Petrow, S, 'Military Police', Bushrangers and the Struggle for Order in Van Diemen's Land 1803-1826, Law and History: Journal of the Australia & New Zealand Law and History Society, 1 pp. 77-109. ISSN 1177-3170 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Australian and New Zealand Law History Society

Official URL:


Before the formation of professional police forces, the military was used in Britain and its empire to deal with disorder and crime. In the penal colony of Van Diemen's Land, the military was also used as a police force to suppress violent bushrangers who terrorised settlers and plundered their property. Although this article argues that the military were crucial to imposing order in Van Diemen's Land, it also argues that the use of the military was problematic because soldiers and their officers challenged law and order, and sometimes committed crimes themselves as they had done in Britain and her colonies. This article contributes to broader debates about whether policing structures and practices in the colonies reflected English or Irish models, or local innovations, and concludes that the highly centralised and coercive Irish military model of policing was adopted in Van Diemen's Land in the first two decades of British settlement.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Archaeology
Research Field:Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Petrow, S (Professor Stefan Petrow)
ID Code:98817
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-03-04
Last Modified:2015-08-11
Downloads:12 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page