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Aboriginal Massacres - Australia

Numerous massacres of Indigenous Australians were perpetrated during and after the European colonisation of Australia which began in the late 18th lasted until the early 20th century. The massacres were a fundamental element of the Australian frontier wars, and were a major cause in the decline of the Indigenous Australian population.
Massacres conducted by numerous parties involved in the colonisation of Australia, including the British Army, European colonists, and members of the New South Wales Mounted Police, Border Police, Australian native police, Western Australia Police and Northern Territory Police. Most massacres of Indigenous Australians were perpetrated as summary and indiscriminate punishment for the killings of colonists or the theft or killing of livestock. There are over nine recorded instances of mass poisonings of Aboriginal Australians.

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Selecte1Friday, 1 July 1791, 12:00:00 AMJuly 1791 Governor Arthur Phillip wrote in his own journ...
Selecte2Tuesday, 1 April 1794, 12:00:00 AMApril 1794 At Toongabbie an armed party of settlers purs...
Selecte3Monday, 1 September 1794, 12:00:00 AMSeptember 1794 British settlers in the Hawkesbury River ...
Selecte4Friday, 1 May 1795, 12:00:00 AMMay 1795 Conflict in the Hawkesbury region continued andfoll...
Selecte5Tuesday, 1 September 1795, 12:00:00 AMSeptember 1795 In the lower parts of the Hawkesbury, British...
Selecte6Wednesday, 1 March 1797, 12:00:00 AMMarch 1797 After Aboriginal Australians killed two British se...
Selecte7Friday, 1 March 1799, 12:00:00 AMMarch 1799 Henry Hacking was ordered by Governor JohnH...
Selecte8Sunday, 1 January 1804, 12:00:00 AM1804 . Conflicting evidence of eyewitnesses indicated that e...
Selecte9Wednesday, 1 January 1806, 12:00:00 AMMarch 1806 A group of Yuin people, resident to what theB...
Selecte10Monday, 1 January 1816, 12:00:00 AM1816 . Appin, New South Wales#The Appin massacre|Appinmass...
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Aboriginal Fighters




Pemulwuy (also rendered as Pimbloy, Pemulvoy, Pemulwoy, Pemulwy or Pemulwye, or sometimes by contemporary Europeans as Bimblewove, Bumbleway or Bembulwoyan) (c. 1750 – 2 June 1802) was an Aboriginal Australian of Eora descent, born around 1750 in the area of Botany Bay in New South Wales. He is noted for his resistance to the European colonization of Australia which began with the arrival of the First Fleet in January 1788. He is believed to have been a member of the Bidjigal (Bediagal) clan of the Eora people. The Bidjigal people are the original inhabitants of Toongabbie and Parramatta in Sydney.

Pemulwuy lived near Botany Bay. Pemulwuy may have been a carradhy (healer). Pemulwuy would hunt meat and provide it to the food-challenged new colony in exchange for goods. However, in 1790 Pemulwuy began a twelve-year gue>rrilla war against the colonists, which continued until his assassination.

When Pemulwuy grew into manhood he became Bembul Wuyan, which represents "the earth and the crow". According to Indigenous Richard Green, "he wasn't very impressed with the mix of cultures. He preferred that we stayed within our own peoples". Another name for him was Butu Wargun, which means "crow"

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Jandamarra or Tjandamurra (c. 1873—1 April 1897), known to European settlers as Pigeon, was an Aboriginal Australian man of the Bunuba people who led one of many organised armed insurrections against the European colonisation of Australia. Initially utilised as a tracker for the police, he became a fugitive when he was forced to capture his own people. He led a three-year campaign against police and European settlers, achieving legendary status for his hit and run tactics and his abilities to hide and disappear. Jandamarra was eventually killed by another tracker at Tunnel Creek on 1 April 1897. His body was buried by his family at the Napier Range, where it was placed inside a boab tree. Jandamarra's life has been the subject of two novels, Ion Idriess's Outlaws of the Leopold (1952) and Mudrooroo's Long Live Sandawarra (1972), a non-fiction account based on oral tradition, Jandamurra and the Bunuba Resistance, and a stage play


Musquito (c. 1780, Port Jackson – 25 February 1825, Hobart) (also rendered Mosquito, Musquetta, Bush Muschetta or Muskito) was an Indigenous Australian resistance leader, latterly based in Van Diemen's Land. Musquito of the Gai-Mariagal clan, was born in Hawkesbury/Broken Bay region of Sydney.

Musquito engaged in violent raids on British settlements in the Hawkesbury and Georges River areas in 1805. The Sydney Gazette reported that he committed to further raids "in good English"; on 9 June 1805 the colony authorities authorised his arrest.

He was captured by local Aboriginal people in July 1805 and gaoled in Parramatta, but not charged. Governor Philip Gidley King exiled him and a fellow "principal" in the raiding, "Bull Dog", to the convict colony on Norfolk Island.

As part of the evacuation of Norfolk Island, Musquito was sent in January 1813 on the ship Minstrel with other convicts to Port Dalrymple in what was then called Van Diemen's Land. In 1814, Musquito's brother Philip convinced governor Lachlan Macquarie to allow Musquito to return to Sydney, but Musquito remained in Van Diemen's Land.

Musquito worked as an Aboriginal tracker of bushrangers. For his services as a tracker of bushrangers, Musquito was promised repatriation to Sydney by lieutenant-governor William Sorell in 1817, but this did not occur.

By February 1818 he was a servant of the prominent and wealthy settler and entrepreneur, Edward Lord, and some sources say that in October 1818 he helped track and kill bushranger Michael Howe.

Ostracised by the convicts, and disillusioned by Sorell's broken promise to return Musquito to Sydney, Musquito decided to leave the settlement for the bush.

Musquito formed the "tame gang", of 20 to 30 companions, and joined the Oyster Bay tribe (of Great Oyster Bay). In November 1823 and later in 1824, Musquito and the tame gang raided farms on the east coast of Tasmania and killed several stockmen. In August 1824, he was captured and wounded by Tegg (also rendered Teague), an Aboriginal boy.

Musquito was charged with aiding and abetting the murder of a Tahitian farm hand named Mammoa and settler George Meredith's servant, William Hollyoak, at Grindstone Bay, and tried in December 1824 along with a comrade called "Black Jack". Musquito was found guilty of the death of Hollyoak, but not of Mammoa, and was sentenced to death by hanging.The sentence was carried out at Old Hobart Gaol on 25 February 1825.


Tunnerminnerwait (c.1812–1842) was an Australian Aboriginal resistance fighter and Parperloihener clansman from Tasmania. He was also known by several other names including Peevay, Jack of Cape Grim, Tunninerpareway and renamed Jack Napoleon Tarraparrura by George Robinson

Tunnerminnerwait was born on Robbins Island in Tasmania in 1812. He was the son of Keeghernewboyheener. Tunnerminnerwait belonged to the Parperloihener clan of the Aboriginal North West nation in Tasmania. His name means "waterbird". br/>
Tunnerminnerwait spoke English well and was 5'8"(171 cm) tall. He was also known as Peevay (Pevay), Napoleon, Jack of Cape Grim, Jack Napoleon Tarraparrura and Tunninerpareway. His wife was Planobeena (Fanny) who was the sister of Aboriginal leader and freedom fighter Eumarrah.

Tunnerminnerwait grew up on the island of Tasmania, the second European settlement area in Australia after Sydney Cove. Relations between the Aboriginal people inhabiting the island and the settlers became very hostile leading to attacks and massacres. The first massacre of Tasmanian Aboriginal people occurred at Risdon Cove in 1804, when troops fired on a group which included women and children. By 1806 clashes between Aboriginal people and settlers were common and the Cape Grim massacre occurred on 10 February 1828. According to historian Professor Lyndall Ryan, (University of Newcastle) "Tunnerminnerwait had witnessed the Cape Grim massacre in 1828 as an 11-year-old, when a lot of his own people were killed. His whole family had fallen apart as a result."

Tunnerminnerwait first met civil servant George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector of Aborigines, at Robbins Island in June 1830. He worked for Robinson as one of his guides on expeditions around the island from 1830 to 1835. In October 1835 Tunnerminnerwait went with Robinson to Flinders Island, a settlement where the remaining Aboriginal population were exiled. Robinson spoke of him as "an exceeding willing and industrious young man", who was "stout and well made, of good temper, and performed his work equal to any white man". A portrait of Tunnerminnerwait was painted by the convict artist Thomas Bock between 1831 and 1835. It was published in James Fenton's history of Tasmania.

Tunnerminnerwait and Planobeena were among sixteen Tasmanian Aborigines whom George Robinson brought to Melbourne in 1839 with the intention that they would help to "civilise" the Victorian "blacks" when he became Chief Protector of Aborigines at Port Phillip.

Tunnerminnerwait went with George Robinson on a major tour of the Western District from March to August 1841. During the tour they gathered testimonies about frontier violence in the Western District and investigated the Convincing Ground massacre in which between 60 and 200 members of a Gunditjmara clan were killed by whale-hunters at Portland Bay. After his return, Tunnerminnerwait and four others left Melbourne.

In September 1841, Tunnerminnerwait (Peevay) and Planobeena (Fanny) and three others, including Truganini and Timme waged an eight-week campaign of resistance against the European settlement in the Port Philip area. They stole two guns and some ammunition from a settler's hut at Bass River. They robbed stations from Dandenong to Western Port and South Gippsland districts on the outskirts of Melbourne over the next seven weeks. They wounded four white men and killed two.

It took three military expeditions to successfully track and capture them, with the help of native police. All five were captured in November 1841[6] at Powlett River.

They appeared before Judge Willis on 20 December 1841 in Melbourne, charged with murder. The five were defended by Redmond Barry who was the standing Defence Council for Aborigines. Barry questioned the legal basis of British authority over Aborigines who were not citizens and claimed that the evidence was dubious and circumstantial. None of the five people charged were permitted to give evidence in court.

"The press reported the exchanges in the court in this fashion: 'After a good deal of conversation an affidavit being made as to the absence of a material witness, Mr. Croke stated his intention of abandoning the principle charge for murder in consequence of not being able to obtain the witness who was so material. His Honour did not wish that justice should be so administered as to afford murderers to escape the justice of the law: he did not wish such a thing to occur in his district.'"

"If Willis was cited accurately by the press in describing the accused as murderers' before any evidence was led to convict them (and more than one newspaper carried this commentary), then, he seriously misconceived the rights of the prisoners to a fair trial in which their guilt had to be established by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. In those circumstances a robust defence counsel would have submitted that Willis disqualify himself for prejudging the case."

The Supreme Court found the two men, Tunnerminnerwait ("Jack Napoleon Tarraparrura") and Timme ("Robert Timmy Jimmy Small-boy") guilty of the murder of the two whalers, Cook and Yankey at Western Port on 6 October 1841. Tunnerminnerwait was reported as saying that "after his death he would join his father in Van Diemen's Land and hunt kangaroo".

Together with Timme, Tunnerminnerwait was executed for murder on 20 January 1842. They were the first public executions to take place in the District of Port Phillip, the colony to become known as Melbourne.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first people to be hanged by the Government in the District of Port Phillip, in 1842. A total of six people were hanged that year. The six hangings of 1842 remain the only judicially approved public executions in Melbourne's history, giving them particular historical significance.

— Claire Land, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner: The involvement of Aboriginal people from Tasmania in key events of early Melbourne

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were later buried in an unmarked grave on a site that is now home to the Queen Victoria Market.


Windradyne (c. 1800 – 21 March 1829) was an Aboriginal warrior and resistance leader of the Wiradjuri nation, in what is now central-western New South Wales, Australia; he was also known to the British settlers as Saturday. Windradyne led his people in the Bathurst War, a frontier war between his clan and British settlers.

Although only limited information about Windradyne is available, mainly from the contemporary British accounts, it is possible to put together an approximate description of the man.

Windradyne's date of birth is unknown, but on his death in 1829 his obituary in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser—thought to be by his settler friend George Suttor from 'Brucedale Station' north of Bathurst—stated "His age did not, I think, exceed 30 years", thus putting his year of birth at approximately 1800. It is believed he had no children and there are no descendants of his bloodline.

Coe's biography of Windradyne from 1989 states that he was handsome and well built, with broad shoulders and muscular limbs. He had dark brown skin, thick black curly hair, and a long beard. He typically wore a headband, and had his beard plaited into three sections However, Coe's description does not fully correlate with a drawing of a Wiradjuri warrior that is thought to depict Windradyne.

When Windradyne visited Parramatta to meet with Governor Thomas Brisbane in December 1824, the Sydney Gazette (using the British appellation for him of Saturday) wrote that: He is one of the finest looking natives we have seen in this part of the country. He is not particularly tall, but is much stouter and more proportionably [sic] limbed than the majority of his countrymen; which, combined with a noble looking countenance, and piercing eye, are calculated to impress the beholder with other than disagreeable feelings towards a character who has been so much dreaded by the Bathurst settler. Saturday is, without doubt, the most manly black native we have ever beheld—a fact pretty generally acknowledged by the numbers that saw him.

At the same event, another observer wrote that he was "a very fine figure , very muscular ... a good model for the figure of Apollo".

Writing in his obituary, George Suttor described Windrodyne's appearance and character as:

... a man who never suffered an injury with impunity, in his estimation revenge was virtue, his head, his countenance, indeed his whole person, which was admirable formed, was a fine specimen of the savage warrior of New Holland. ... his height was near 6 feet, he was of a brave but impetuous disposition ...

Hostilities between the Indigenous Australians and the British settlers began just a few months after the First Fleet arrived in January 1788, with casualties on both sides occurring as early as May 1788. While the early confrontations generally involved few combatants and were relatively rare, as the British population increased and spread further out from Sydney, they came into contact with increasingly large numbers of Aborigines of different tribes and nations, and the frequency and intensity of the conflicts increased. These conflicts would come to be known as the Australian frontier wars.

For the first twenty-five years of British settlement, the Wiradjuri's land in the central part of New South Wales remained isolated from the settlers due to the intervening barrier of the Blue Mountains. In May 1813 the exploration party of Blaxland, Lawson, and Wentworth found a route across the mountains, essentially by following existing Aboriginal trails. From a peak later named Mount Blaxland, the explorers claimed to have seen "enough grass to support the stock of the colony for thirty years" on the other side of the mountains—the Wiradjuri country.

Later that year Governor Lachlan Macquarie sent his surveyor George Evans to confirm the findings of the explorers, and in 1814 commissioned a road to be built across the Blue Mountains, which was completed in early 1815. Macquarie himself travelled the new road shortly thereafter, and on 7 May 1815 selected the site for the town of Bathurst, thereby opening the region for British settlement.


Yagan (/ˈjeɪɡən/; c. 1795 – 11 July 1833) was an Aboriginal Australian warrior from the Noongar people. He played a key part in early resistance to British colonial settlement and rule in the area surrounding what is now Perth, Western Australia. Yagan was pursued by the local authorities after he killed Erin Entwhistle, a servant of farmer Archibald Butler. It was an act of retaliation after Thomas Smedley, another of Butler's servants, shot at a group of Noongar people stealing potatoes and fowls, killing one of them. The government offered a bounty for Yagan's capture, dead or alive, and a young settler, William Keats, shot and killed him. Yagan's execution figures in Australian history as a symbol of the unjust and sometimes brutal treatment of the indigenous peoples of Australia by colonial settlers. He is considered a hero by the Noongar.

After his shooting, settlers removed Yagan's head to claim the bounty. Later, an official sent it to London, where it was exhibited as an "anthropological curiosity" and eventually given to a museum in Liverpool. It held the head in storage for more than a century before burying it with other remains in an unmarked grave in Liverpool in 1964. Over the years, the Noongar asked for repatriation of the head, both for religious reasons and because of Yagan's traditional stature. The burial site was identified in 1993; officials exhumed the head four years later and repatriated it to Australia. After years of debate within the Noongar community on the appropriate final resting place, Yagan's head was buried in a traditional ceremony in the Swan Valley in July 2010, 177 years after his death.

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Wikipedia - List of massacres of Indigenous Australians
Wikipedia - Australian frontier wars
Wikipedia - Pemulwuy
Wikipedia - Jandamarra
Wikipedia - Tunnerminnerwait
Wikipedia - Windradyne
Wikipedia - Yagan

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