Site Name Mt Eccles
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Dhauwurd wurrung
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District
Coordinates (imprecise to approx. 250m) -38.086,141.912,0
Date Between 1 Jul 1847 and 31 Jul 1847
Attack Time
Aboriginal People Killed 30
Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed: M more than 30 people, including babies 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 Settlers
Attacker Details A party of settlers
Motive retaliation for killing of a shepherd named Edwards
Type Of Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms
Narrative Three different accounts: 1. According to A. Broughton, the historian of the Mills Family in the Western District, in 1847 a group of settlers guided by a 'half-civilised' Aborigine are purported to have launched a surprise attack at Mount Eccles, a favourite Aboriginal "guerrilla base", and killed more than 30 people and sparing not even babies. 2. Following the killing of a shepherd named Edwards at Allen's station near Mt Napier, an armed party of colonists went out in search of the Aborigines. They came across a group of Aborigines camped at Coles' outstation, some of whom were alleged to have been wearing clothing that belonged to Edwards. The party called on them to surrender and then fired, purportedly in self-defence. As a consequence, at least two Aborigines were shot and others were wounded. Dr John Watton, medical officer in charge of Mr Rouse Aboriginal reserve said that the party "acted under a magistrate's warrant and they say they fired in self-defence". 3. According to James Bonwick who visited the station about a decade later, John Cox organized a hunting party that included the Aborigine, Souwester, "though few in number, mustered in rifles and pistols about fifty shots". The unsuspecting Aborigines were interrupted at their breakfast. "More than thirty are said to have been thus laid low."
Sources Bonwick 1970: 70-1; Critchett 1990: 125; Clark ID 1995: 82; Clark ID 2000: 172. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***