Site Name Maiden Hills
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Djadjawurrung
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District
Coordinates (imprecise to approx. 250m) -37.446,143.735,0
Date Between 1 Feb 1839 and 28 Feb 1839
Attack Time
Aboriginal People Killed 6
Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed: M 6 F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Non-Aboriginal People Killed 0
Non-Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed:M F;Wounded:M F
Attacker Category Settler / Overseer
Attacker Details William Allen, HB Bowerman's overseer at Mount Mitchell and two convict servants, Adam Braybrook and John Davis.
Motive
Type Of Motive
Weapons Used
Notes
Narrative

Assistant Protector Sievwright arrested William Allan, overseer on H.B. Bowerman's run at Mt Mitchell, and two convict shepherds, Adam Braybrook and John Davis at the Learmonth brothers' station at Burrumbeet, for killing and then burning 6-8 Aborigines and taking "every pain" to obliterate all traces of the bodies. The site was on the junction of two creeks, 12 kilometres from Bowerman's outstation. Sievwright found a small piece of cranium as evidence. He also reported that several huts in the district, including that occupied by William Allan, had Aboriginal skulls placed over their doors.

Davis and Braybrook were committed for trial for the killings. However, in the absence of corroborating evidence, the attorney general J.H. Plunkett, was unable to prosecute the two men for anything other than the misdemeanour of burning the bodies, and the men were acquitted.

The Rev. Joseph Orton presented the following summary of Sievwright's report.

Dated 17 April 1839:

Allen, the overseer to Bowerman, had instructed the shepherds at the outstations to inform him immediately any natives made their appearance that he might be prepared for them. On one occasion the natives did come and were quiet and friendly, but the servants having received peremptory orders from Mr Allen to inform him when the natives came, they accordingly did so. Allen immediately ordered his horse to be saddled and rode in search of them and found the natives a few miles from the shepherds' station and warned them not to come near the station. (This incident relates to the massacre of 10-14 Aborigines being killed in July 1838.)

Allen left orders again with the shepherds not to allow the natives near. The men, however, said they were peaceable and they were desirous to keep on good terms with them. A short time after this the blacks came to the shepherds hut and under suspicion that they came to rob the hut an affray commenced and from six to eight Aborigines were shot by the white men. The bodies were burned the next day. It appears in the deposition that a native woman was in the hut with the white men. In answer to a question Allen acknowledged that he had ordered the men to protect themselves. Davies, a prisoner, shot most or all.

The above is the substance of the depositions and admissions of the implicated parties which is of course the ex parte statement. Allen was bound to appear when called for in recognisance of $200. In this case nothing more has been done than taking the depositions of the aggressors and murderers. There being no evidence but their own and that of the Aborigines – in the former case the accused cannot incriminate himself in a court of justice and in the latter Aboriginal evidence is inadmissible. Thus these miscreants elude justice and boast in their foul deeds – which accounts for the apparent frankness of their depositions (Orton 1841: January 12).

Sources Orton 12 Jan 1841; Cannon 1983: 643; Clark ID 1995: 89-90; 92-3. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***