Site Name Mt Cottrell,Werribee
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Wathawurrung
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District Melbourne
Latitude -37.769
Longitude 144.634
Date 16 Jul 1836
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 10
Victims Killed Notes Killed: M W C 10 of the whole clan of 50 -100 F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Attackers Colonisers: settlers, Aboriginal people
Attackers Killed 2
Attackers Killed Notes Killed: M 2 - Charles Franks and Thomas Flinders (Killed 09/07/1836) Multilated bodies found.
Transport Foot
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms, muskets
Narrative Following the discovery of the mutilated bodies of Mr Charles Franks, a settler from VDL and his shepherd, Thomas Flinders on July 9, a party of seventeen men armed with muskets, comprising eight male colonists, four Sydney Aborigines and five 'domesticated' Aborigines from the Port Phillip District (now Victoria), "proceeded in search of the natives whom they supposed to be the murderers of Mr Franks and his shepherd." The eight colonists were Henry Batman, John Wood, David Pitcairn, Mr Guy, Alexander Thomson, William Winberry, George Hollins and Michael Leonard; the four 'Sydney Aborigines' included Bullett, Stewart and Joe the Marine and the 4 Port Phillip Aborigines included Benbow, Derrymock, Ballayann and Baitlainge. John Montagu, the Colonial Secretary in Van Diemen's Land, wrote about the incident to his counterpart in New South Wales on 18 August 1836: "They came up with a tribe, consisting of men, women and children, to the number of about fifty to one hundred, and perceiving upon the persons of some of them articles which were recognised as having belonged to Mr Franks, a rencontre followed. It is not stated however what resistance the natives made, but none of the opposing party were injured, although it is feared that there can be little doubt that ten of the tribe of Port Phillip natives were killed." William Lonsdale, magistrate at Port Phillip from late September 1836, was instructed by the Colonial Secretary in Sydney, to investigate the incident, but none of the perpetrators he interviewed, would acknowledge the 'rencontre' although it was clear that each person interviewed had something to hide. Those interviewed by Lonsdale were: Henry Batman; John Wood; Michael Leonard; William Winberry. Winberry acknowledged that a party went after the blacks and that they were found and 'fired on', and 'several shots were fired', that a child was found 'belonging to the fugitives', but he did 'not see that any of the blacks were killed or hurt'. The murderers of Franks and Flinders were 'Callen and Dundom'. Leonard heard that 'some were wounded' but paid 'no attention to it'.
Sources Cannon 1982: 41-52; Cornwall Chronicle July 30, 1836:2; Boyce 2011: 105-9; Rogers 2016: 275-85. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***