Site Name Mustons Station
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Djabwurrung or Gai wurrung
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District Portland
Latitude -37.876
Longitude 142.337
Date Between 1 Jun 1840 and 30 Jun 1840
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 8
Victims Killed Notes Killed: M 7 + at least 1 child F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: many
Attackers Colonisers: Settler
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes Killed:M F;Wounded:M F
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Firearms, spears
Narrative According to Ian Clark, in either April or May 1840, Mustons station near Mount Rouse, and leased by Peter Aylward and Augustine Barton, was alleged to have been “attacked” by 300 Aboriginal people who took a number of Aylward’s sheep to the other side of the Serra Range. ‘In June, Aylward took his revenge in an act of reprisal in which seven Aborigines were killed and many others wounded’(Clark 1995, p. 66). RW Knowles, Robert Martin’s overseer at Mount Sturgeon station, was a perpetrator in the massacre as was Robert Tulloh from nearby Bochara Station. On 27 June 1841, Tulloh told Chief Protector GA Robinson that he was one of eight horsemen in the party (which not only included Aylward and Knowles, but also stockman George Robinson (Robinson cited in Clark 1998b, p. 284).
Historian Jan Critchett (1990) examined the depositions each of the men gave on different days on different properties to produce this account: ‘...they came across a large party of Aborigines. Aylward estimated the Aborigines to number nearly 300, Knowles [or Knolles] more than 150, and Tulloh about 500.’ ‘The Europeans, on horseback, fired on them and then retreated’; the Aborigines followed them; as soon as the three men had reloaded their guns, ‘they charged again with the Aborigines fleeing before them. The engagement lasted a quarter of an hour’ (p. 124). Aylward reported that “there must have been a great many wounded, and several killed ... saw two or three dead bodies”. Knowles reported: “Some of the Natives must have been wounded, but I saw none dead” (Aylward and Knowles cited in Critchett, 1990, pp. 124-5).
The overestimation of the number of Aboriginal people the white men attacked and the underestimation of the number they killed, is typical of reports of frontier encounters.
Sources Critchett 1990; Clark 1995; Clark 1998b. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***