Site Name Murdering Gully, Mt Emu Creek
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Djargurd Wurrung or Keeray- Woorroong or Wirngilgnad dhalinanong
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District Geelong
Latitude -38.249
Longitude 142.916
Date Between 1 Oct 1839 and 31 Oct 1839
Attack Time dawn
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 35
Victims Killed Notes Killed: M F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Attackers Colonisers: Settler, stockmen
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes Killed:M F;Wounded:M F
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms
Narrative According to Clark (1995), this massacre was organised by Frederick Taylor, manager of what is now Glenormiston Station near Lake Terang, in reprisal for the killing of some sheep by two Aboriginal men. In October 1839, Taylor heard that between 45 and 52 Aboriginal people from three different clans were camped in the location now known as Murdering Gully on Mount Emu Creek. Taylor and two neighbouring squatters, James Hamilton and Broomfield, set off with an unknown number of shepherds including Charles Courtney and James Ranslie with the clear intention of slaughtering the Aboriginal people. The party appear to have waited until dawn to attack the camp and, according to Clark (1995, p. 107): ‘As they approached the gully on horseback, the party formed an extended line, with Taylor at the centre’ and then attacked, ‘killing the whole group except 12’ and ‘threw the bodies into a neighbouring waterhole’ which was soon ‘stained with blood’. Courtney, Hamilton and Ranslie appear to have been given the job of collecting and burning the bodies and afterwards Taylor, Watson and Anderson collected the remains in a sack (Clark 1995, pp. 108, 117). When news of the massacre started to leak out, according to Neil Black the next owner of Glenormiston station, Taylor “ran off from a fear that he would be apprehended and tried for murdering the natives” (Neil Black cited in Clark 1995, p. 111). In January 1840, the new overseer at Glenormiston, ‘a man called Symons’ took Assistant Protector Charles Sievwright to the massacre site. Sievwright interviewed at least one of the survivors, Tainneague (Lewra), who told him that Broomfield, Hamilton and Taylor were involved in the massacre and that between 20 and 30 Aboriginal people were killed (Clark 1995, pp. 110, 116-117). The overseer at Buntingdale Mission, Edward Williamson in a deposition made before Sievwright on 30 December 1839, stated that the number killed was 35 (Williamson cited in Clark 1995, p. 115). According to biographer Margaret Kiddle, Niel Black who bought Glenormiston in late 1840, mentioned the massacre in a letter to T.S. Gladstone, brother of British MP, W.E Gladstone, September 9, 1840 (Black cited in Kiddle 1961, p. 122).
Sources Kiddle 1961; Clark 1995. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***