Site NameMaiden Hills
Aboriginal Place Name
Language GroupDjadjawurrung
Present State/TerritoryVIC
Colony/State/Territory at the timePPD
Police DistrictGeelong
DateBetween 1 Feb 1839 and 28 Feb 1839
Attack TimeDay
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim DescriptionsAboriginal
Victims Killed6
Victims Killed NotesKilled: M 6 F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Attacker DescriptionsSettler(s)
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed NotesKilled:M F;Wounded:M F
Weapons UsedFirearm(s)
NarrativeIn April 1839, Assistant Protector Charles Sievwright arrested William Allen, overseer on HB Bowerman's Mount Mitchell pastoral run and two convict shepherds, Abraham Braybrook and John Davis at the nearby Learmonth brothers' station at Burrumbeet, for killing and then burning six to eight Aborigines and taking 'every pain to obliterate all traces of the bodies.' (Clark, 1995, p 92) According to Clark (1995, p 92), G.A. Robinson said that the site was at the junction of two creeks 12 kilometres from Bowerman's outstation, and that Sievwright ‘found a small piece cranium under a piece of log’ and that several huts in the district, including that occupied by William Allen, 'had Aboriginal skulls placed over their doors' (Clark, 1995, pp 92-3). 'John Davis and Abraham Braybrook were committed for trial for the killings. However, owing to the lack of corroborating evidence from white men, the attorney general [J.H. Plunkett], refused to prosecute the two men for anything other than the misdemeanour of burning the bodies' and even of that, the men were subsequently acquitted (Robinson Papers cited in Clark 1995, p. 93). According to Chief Protector GA Robinson, the two men, ‘were not wholly cleared of guilt and the public prosecutor recommended that they be turned to the public works’. However, they were returned to Burrumbeet station where Robinson saw Braybrook on 27 February 1840 (Robinson cited in Clark 1998a, p. 180). The Rev. Joseph Orton presented the following summary of Sievwright's report. Dated 17 April 1839: 'Allen, the overseer to Bowerman, had instructed the shepherds at the outstations to inform him immediately any natives made their appearance that he might be prepared for them. On one occasion the natives did come and were quiet and friendly, but the servants having received peremptory orders from Mr Allen to inform him when the natives came, they accordingly did so. Allen immediately ordered his horse to be saddled and rode in search of them and found the natives a few miles from the shepherds' station and warned them not to come near the station' (This incident relates to the massacre of 10-14 Aborigines being killed in July 1838.) ‘Allen left orders again with the shepherds not to allow the natives near. The men, however, said they were peaceable and they were desirous to keep on good terms with them. A short time after this the blacks came to the shepherds hut and under suspicion that they came to rob the hut an affray commenced and from six to eight Aborigines were shot by the white men. The bodies were burned the next day. It appears in the deposition that a native woman was in the hut with the white men. In answer to a question Allen acknowledged that he had ordered the men to protect themselves. Davies, a prisoner, shot most or all. The above is the substance of the depositions and admissions of the implicated parties which is of course the ex parte statement. Allen was bound to appear when called for in recognisance of 200 pounds. In this case nothing more has been done than taking the depositions of the aggressors and murderers. There being no evidence but their own and that of the Aborigines – in the former case the accused cannot incriminate himself in a court of justice and in the latter Aboriginal evidence is inadmissible. Thus these miscreants elude justice and boast in their foul deeds – which accounts for the apparent frankness of their depositions' (Orton 1840-42, 12 January 1841, cited in Clark, 1995, p 89-90).
SourcesOrton Journal, 1840-42, 12 Jan 1841, cited in Clark 1995, pp 89-90; Cannon and Macfarlane 1983, pp 642-643; Clark ID 1995, pp 89-90; 92-93; Clark, 1998, p 192 (Robinson Journals). (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***