Site Name Murdering Gully
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Djargurd Wurrung or Keeray- Woorroong or Wirngilgnad dhalinanong
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District
Coordinates (imprecise to approx. 250m) -38.249,142.916,0
Date Between 1 Oct 1839 and 31 Oct 1839
Attack Time Dawn
Aboriginal People Killed 35
Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed: M 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
Attacker Details Frederick Taylor, James Hamilton, Broomfield plus a party of shepherds.
Motive Reprisal for stock theft
Type Of Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms
Narrative This massacre was organised in retaliation for the killing of some sheep by two Aborigines on Glenormiston station, near Lake Terang, managed by Frederick Taylor. Having heard the encampment of between 45 and 52 Aboriginal men, women and children from three different clans in the gully on Emu Creek, Frederick Taylor and two squatters, James Hamilton and Broomfield, headed a party of shepherds with the intention of attacking them. As they approached the gully on horseback, the party formed an extended line with Taylor in the centre. They found the Aboriginal people asleep (suggesting that this was a dawn raid) and advanced shouting and immediately fired upon them, killing them all but 12. They afterwards threw the bodies into a neighbouring waterhole. One of the survivors, known as Karn, returned after the killers had left the scene and began to remove the bodies from the waterhole, placing them on the ground four deep, head by head. In the course of this he was discovered by some of the killers, who took him and his wife and child, to Taylor's home station, where he and his family were given provisions so that they would stay nearby and away from the waterhole. The killers then sent a cart to the waterhole and the bodies were brought up to the home station, where they were conveyed to some other waterholes and thrown in. Two further survivors, "Queen Fanny" and her child, were pursued to Wuurna Weewheetch, a point of land on the west side of Lake Mulhen Merri. With the child on her back she swam across to a spot called Karm, below present day Wuurong homestead, and escaped. Another survivor, Gangegamon, saw his wife and child killed. After the bodies were thrown in the creek, the water was stained with blood. Grieving for his wife and child, he remained near the gully for two days. Then Karn and a white man, Watson, appeared and asked Taylor why he had killed so many women and children. Karn, Charles Courtney, James Ranslie and James Hamilton subsequently made some fires and burned the bodies. Two days later, Taylor, Watson and Karn returned with a sack and removed all the bones that had not been consumed by the fires. Taylor disappeared after this incident and apparently went to India but later returned to manage a station in Gippsland. He was replaced by a man named Symonds who took Assistant Protector Charles Sievwright to the scene of the crime in January 1840. Sievwright also interviewed one of the Aboriginal survivors, Tainneague, and decided that between 20 and 30 Aboriginal people had been killed in this incident while Edward Williamson, overseer at the Buntingdale mission, believed that the number was 35. G.A. Robinson was convinced that an entire tribe had been eradicated. Squatter Niel Black bought this run in late 1840 because it was already "cleared out". Many of the Aboriginal survivors sought sanctuary at the Wesleyan Mission at Buntingdale and it is largely through the efforts of missionaries like the Reverend Benjamin Hurst and Francis Tuckfield, as well as Assistant Protector Charles Sievwright and Chief Protector G.A. Robinson, that so much is known about this incident. The next owner of Glenormiston station, Niel Black, mentioned this incident in a letter to T.S. Gladstone, September 9, 1840.
Sources Kiddle 1961: 122; Charles n.d.: 6-9; Clark ID 1995: 105-118. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***