Site Name Murderers Flat
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Dhauwurd wurrung
Colony VIC
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District Portland
Latitude -38.07
Longitude 141.83
Date Between 1 Jan 1850 and 12 Jan 1855
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 6
Victims Killed Notes Killed: M 6 unspecified F unspecified; Probable: M unspecified F unspecified; Possible: M unspecified F unspecified; Wounded: unspecified
Attackers Colonisers: Settler
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes Killed:M F;Wounded:M F
Transport Horse
Motive Opportunity
Weapons Used Firearms
Narrative According to Ian Clark, ‘this massacre is significant in that knowledge of it has survived through Aboriginal oral history’. Reconstructing the oral records, Clark believes that the incident ‘probably occurred in the early 1850s’ and took place at a site ‘known to the Kerup gundidj (more commonly known as the Kerreupjmara) as Murderers Flat,’ Darlot’s Creek, Lake Condah Mission (Clark 1995, p. 52). Aboriginal, Rose Donker, has recounted what she knows of the massacre: ‘My grandmother was Hannah Mac Donald [later Lovett]. When she was small she walked with her brother Alfred and her mother from Macarthur to Condah Swamp. My grandmother was carried on her mother’s back. They were looking for some place to live. They came to the Condah Swamp and there they found other Aboriginal people and families living there. There was a massacre there and they hid with their mother in the reeds until the fighting was over and then they headed off looking for somewhere safe. We were always told that Murderers Flat was where the fighting was.
‘They were taken in and lived on the Condah Mission. I then understood they lived there as children, then as time went on they grew up there’ (Donker 1985, p. 18). According to Savill (cited in Clark 1995, p. 52): “In Jo Sharrock’s reminiscences of Lake Condah … he refers to ‘Harelip’ Johnny Dutton, who claimed to have been one of the few survivors of the ‘Murdering Waterhole Massacre’, as a small boy. He hid in the water among the reeds”. That suggests this is a reference to the same massacre recorded by Donker (1985).
Sources Clark 1995; Donker 1985. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating **