Site Name Barnadown Station, Campaspe Plains
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Djadjawurrung or Ngurai-illamwurrung
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District Melbourne
Latitude -36.64
Longitude 144.545
Date 9 Jun 1840
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 7
Victims Killed Notes Killed: M 7 to 8, F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Attackers Colonisers: Settler, Stockman
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes Killed: M F; Wounded: M F
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms, spears
Narrative On 22 May 1839, following the report of the killing by Aboriginal warriors of hutkeeper James Neill and shepherd Hugh Bryan at Captain Charles Hutton’s outstation near present day Barnadown on the Campaspe River and their alleged taking of about 700 sheep, Hutton and three men set off in pursuit. They are alleged to have retrieved the sheep at Restdown Plains near present day Rochester, 50 kilometres north of Barnadown (Randell, 1982, p.289). According to EO Randell, historian of the Campaspe Plains pastoral stations, upon Hutton’s return from Restdown Plains, he called on magistrate William Yaldwyn at nearby Barfold Station where a detachment of British soldiers were camped and asked for protection. Yaldwyn refused saying that ‘Assistant Protector Edward Parker was in the district and it was his duty to address the issue and that foot soldiers would be of little help’ (Randell, 1982, p. 289). Another settler, Thomas Thornloe reported the details to GB Smyth, Officer in Charge of the Mounted Police in Melbourne and advised that ‘a punitive expedition should be sent against the natives to teach them a lesson and prevent further outrages’ (Randell, 1982, p. 289). According to the official version of events, ‘a party of mounted police, led by Sgt Dennis O’Leary, under orders from Smyth [and accompanied by Hutton and his overseer James Cosgrove], after 4 days ride, encountered a group of Aboriginal people about 112 kilometres from the place where Hutton’s servants were killed. A pitched battle is alleged to have ensued and at least six Aborigines were killed’ (Cannon & Macfarlane 1983b, p. 668). Assistant Protector ES Parker queried O’Leary’s report: “Hutton had stated privately that nearly forty were killed”, that Captain ‘Smyth’s instructions to O’Leary were “illegal” and there was no evidence that the Aborigines who were shot were “concerned in the murder of Hutton’s men and the robbery of his sheep” (Parker cited in Randell, 1982, pp. 294-5). Parker concluded: “On a review of the whole affair, I can hold but one opinion - that it was a deliberately planned, illegal reprisal on the aborigines, on principles advocated by many persons in this Colony - that when an offense is committed by unknown individuals, the tribe to which they belong should be made to suffer for it” (Parker cited in Randell, 1982, p. 295).
Sources Randell 1982; Cannon & Macfarlane 1983b. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating *