For many Aboriginal people, white colonisation arrived with the armed men of the Native Police: a brutal force that operated on the 19th-century frontier, killing large numbers of Indigenous people.

Native Police detachments - mounted Aboriginal troopers led by white officers - would surround Aboriginal camps and fire into them at dawn, killing men, women and children. The bodies were often burned to destroy the evidence.

Historian Jonathan Richards has spent ten years researching this controversial subject, picking his way through the secrecy, misinformation and supposed 'lost files'.

In this first full-length comprehensive study of the Native Police in Queensland, Richard argues that they were a key part of a 'divide and rule' colonising tactic, used with equal success elsewhere in the British Empire; that the force's actions were given the implicit approval of government and public servants; and that their killings were covered-up. The Secret War is an authoritative and groundbreaking contribution to our country's white settlement history.