Site Name Bowgan Massacre 2 - Nicholson River
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Warlpiri
Colony SA
Present State/Territory NT
Police District Anthony's Lagoon
Coordinates (imprecise to approx. 250m) -17.970,137.160,0
Date Between 30 Jan 1892 and 9 Dec 1896
Attack Time Colonists - 2 x day (1892); 1 x night (1896). Reprisals during the day (1892).
Aboriginal People Killed 30
Aboriginal People Killed Notes More than 30 men, women and children.
Non-Aboriginal People Killed 3
Non-Aboriginal People Killed Notes George Clarke (station hand), Charles Deloitte (cook), Thomas Augustus Perry (station owner/manager). Clarke and Deloitte murdered 30/01/1892. Perry murdered 09/12/1897.
Attacker Category Aboriginal attackers were station workers. Colonists, led by Tom Perry, were pastoralists/station workers (no mention of police involvement although they were informed of the murders and Inspector Foelsche ordered Lance Corporal Power at Borroloola to inv
Attacker Details Station workers Walter and Monkey Boy, and 'Peter' who was a massacre survivor, stolen by Tom Perry and ill-treated until Peter was old enough and killed him. Walter was killed in the massacre. Monkey Boy escaped and died of natural causes.
Motive Reprisal.
Type Of Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Aboriginal attacks: 1 x tomahawk, 1 x spear, 1 x rifle. Colonist reprisal: rifles.
Notes Peter and Karrara were charged with Perry's murder. Peter, a child who survived the massacre and was kidnapped by Perry who treated him appallingly, was sentenced to 10 years in Fannie Bay Gaol, which he served before returning to station work in the bush. Perry, who led the reprisals, was the owner of Cresswell Downs Station.
Narrative Gaunt in 1932 described this massacre as 'one of the largest, if not the largest, in the history of the Northern Territory' and said that 'dozens' of Aboriginal people were killed, including 'bucks, lubras and picanninies'. First attack was at Corella Creek; second was at Fish Creek at the head of the Nicholson River. Read & Read put the date at 1910-1920 from their oral histories, but media reports put the murders of Clarke and Deliotte at 30 Jan 1892. Perry's death on 9 Dec 1897 marked the end of the episode, except that Peter served 10 years in Fannie Bay Gaol for it. Aborginal oral histories (Read & Read) record: ?All the old ladies couldn?t run fast enough. Well, those few ladies, mother of this mob?.So they shottem, shot all these old ladies. Shottem.? (and burnt them). The issue is not mentioned in the Government Resident's Report to the Parliament of South Australia for 1892.
Sources Read and Read 1991, 26-28; GSNT Record 579; NTTG, 4 March 1892, 3; NTTG, 5 Mar 1897, 3; CE Gaunt 1932, 3; NTRS 2710/P1 Borroloola Police Day Book - Memo, Foelsche to MC Power - 12 March 1892; Morrison www.australianfrontierconflicts.com.au; Layton and Ucko 1999: 235; Read and Read 1991: 12-16; RAHC https://www.rahc.com.au/sites/default/files/documents/community_profiles/Minyerri%20Community%20Profile.pdf. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***