Site Name Laycock Falls (Liffey Falls)
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Port Sorell [Pallittore North]
Colony VDL
Present State/Territory TAS
Police District Launceston
Latitude -41.686
Longitude 146.777
Date 24 Jun 1827
Attack Time night
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 30
Victims Killed Notes Killed: M 30-60 people; in second incident about 60 people, F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Attackers Colonisers: soldiers, stockmen, field police
Attackers Killed 1
Attackers Killed Notes Killed: M 1 - William Knight, overseer, F; Wounded: M F
Transport Foot
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms, muskets, pistols, blades, bayonets
Narrative Following the Aboriginal killing of William Knight, overseer at T.C. Simpson’s stock-hut at Dairy Plains, a party of six men, including Corporal William Shiner, Thomas Baker, James Cubit, field constable Thomas Williams, William Shiners and James Lingen, surrounded an Aboriginal camp, attacked in the early morning and allegedly killed about 30-60 Aborigines. Two different accounts of reprisal killings appeared in the same issue of the Colonial Times. The first account stated that: “The Military instantly pursued the blacks – brought home numerous trophies, such as spears, waddies, tomahawks, muskets, blankets – killed upwards of 30 dogs, and as the report says, nearly as many natives, but this is not a positive fact.” The second account stated that: “The people over the second Western Tier have killed an immense quantity of blacks this last week, in consequence of their having murdered Mr Simpson’s stock-keeper, they were surrounded whilst sitting around their fires when the soldiers and others fired at them about 30 yards distant. They report there must have been about 60 of them killed and wounded.” The official report of this incident however, said that “between twenty and thirty of their dogs” were killed and one Aboriginal “possibly wounded.” When the government agent, G.A. Robinson, travelled through the area in September 1830, a stockkeeper told him that William Knight was known to “kill Aborigines for sport.” Regional historian Shayne Breen believes that the accounts in the Colonial Times, relate to two separate incidents. Later, Aborigines killed two shepherds initiating another reprisal by Shiner's party.
Sources TAHO CSO 1/316, 15-37; CTTA, July 6, 1827 - https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/679329; Breen 2006: Ryan 2008: 492-3; Plomley 2008: 254. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***