Site NameWestmoreland Falls, Quamby Bluff
This massacre is part of a group of massacres
Aboriginal Place Name
Language GroupPort Sorell [Pallittore North]
Present State/TerritoryTAS
Colony/State/Territory at the timeVDL
Police DistrictLaunceston
Date26 Jun 1827
Attack TimeNight
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim DescriptionsAboriginal
Victims Killed30
Victims Killed NotesKilled: M 30-60 people; in second incident about 60 people, F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Attacker DescriptionsField Police, Stockmen/Drover(s), Soldier(s)
Attackers Killed1
Attackers Killed NotesKilled: M 1 - William Knight, overseer, F; Wounded: M F
Weapons UsedMusket(s), Pistol(s), Bayonet(s), Blade(s)
NarrativeFollowing the Pallittore killing of William Knight, overseer at TC Simpson’s stock-hut at Dairy Plains on 23 June1827, the Police Magistrate at Launceston, Peter Mulgrave, sent Corporals William Shiner and James Lingan from the 40th Regiment to Gibson's hut at the Western Marshes (Dairy Plains) where he met Constable Williams. Shiners expanded his party to include four stockmen , Thomas Baker, James Cubit, Henry Smith and Thomas White and at the end of day on 26 June they surrounded a Pallittorre camp of six fires at Laycock Falls (Westmoreland Falls) at the base of Quamby Bluff. They waited until dawn to attack and allegedly killed between 30-60 Aborigines.(Laycock in Mulgrave to Co Sec 6 July 1827, TAHO CSO 1/316/7578, p 15-37; Ryan 2008, p. 492). Two different accounts of reprisal killings appeared in the same issue of the Colonial Times (July 6, 1827, p 4). 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 government agent, G.A. Robinson, was in the area in September 1830, stock keeper Thomas Johnson told him that William Knight was known to 'kill Aborigines for sport.' (Plomley, 1966, p 219; 2008, p.254) Historian Shayne Breen (2001) considers that the accounts in the Colonial Times, relate to two separate incidents. The massacre was the first of four carried out by the party in an 18 day killing spree known as the Quamby Bluff massacres.
SourcesTAHO CSO 1/316, 15-37; CTTA, July 6, 1827 -; Breen 2001; Ryan 2008, pp 492-3; Plomley1996, p.219; 2008, p 254. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***