Site NameMt Napier
Aboriginal Place Name
Language GroupWulluwurrung or Djabwurrung or Gai wurrung
Present State/TerritoryVIC
Colony/State/Territory at the timePPD
Police DistrictPortland
DateBetween 1 Jul 1847 and 31 Jul 1847
Attack TimeDay
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim DescriptionsAboriginal
Victims Killed30
Victims Killed NotesKilled: M 2 or as many as 30 people F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: unspecified
Attacker DescriptionsSettler(s), Stockmen/Drover(s)
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed NotesKilled:M F;Wounded:M F
Weapons UsedFirearm(s), Pistol(s)
NarrativeAccording to Ian Clark (1995, p 82), following 'the killing of a shepherd named Edwards' at Allen’s station near Mt Napier in July 1847, a 'hunting party' of colonists went out on a reprisal mission. They ‘came upon’ a group camped at Cole's outstation, some of whom were alleged to have been 'wearing clothing that belonged to Edwards.' The party called on 'them to surrender and then fired, purportedly in self-defence. As a consequence, at least two Aborigines were shot' (Clark, 1995, p 82) and others were wounded. According to A. Broughton, the historian of the Mills Family in the Western District, 'a group of settlers guided by a half-civilised Aborigine [Souwester] are purported to have launched a surprise attack on a camp of Aboriginal people at [Mt Napier], a favourite Aboriginal base, killing more than 30 people and sparing not even babies' (Broughton, 1980, p 32). Dr John Watton, the medical officer in charge of Mt Rouse Aboriginal station said that the party 'acted under a magistrate’s warrant and they say they fired in self-defence' (Robinson cited in Clark, 1995, p 82). However, when historian James Bonwick visited the station about a decade later, he found that ‘John Cox [Cole] organized a hunting party, including an Aboriginal man, Souwester, [and] though few in number, mustered in rifles and pistols about fifty shots’ and that ‘the unsuspecting Aborigines were interrupted at their breakfast' and 'more than thirty are said to have been thus laid low.’ (Bonwick, 1970b pp 170-171.) Further research indicates that Mt Eccles and Mt Napier are the same incident and the actual site is possibly located at Buckley Swamp on the eastern side of Mt Napier.
SourcesBonwick, 1970b, pp 170-171; Broughton, 1980, p 32; Clark ID, 1995, p 82. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating**