Site NameMt Dispersion, Murray River
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Place Name
Language Group, Nation or PeopleKureinji or Dadi Dadi
Present State/TerritoryNSW
Colony/State/Territory at the timeNSW
Police DistrictGoulburn
Date27 May 1836
Attack TimeDay
VictimsAboriginal or Torres Strait Islander People
Victim DescriptionsAboriginal
Victims Killed30
Victims Killed Notes
Attacker DescriptionsExplorer(s)
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed Notes
Weapons UsedFirearm(s), Musket(s)
NarrativeAccording to The Australian, 8 November 1836, p 2, 'We are sorry to be called upon to animadvert upon circumstance attending [Major Mitchell's ] expedition, which, in our opinion, more than counterbalances any advantage the Colony may derive from the results of the journey [to Australia Felix], in other respects; we allude to the Australian Aborigines by the party in question. It appears that Major Mitchell having, or fancying he had reason to apprehend danger from a numerous tribe who followed close upon their tracks for above two hundred miles, laid in ambush with his party in a thick scrub bordering upon the river, sending the bullock-drivers on cracking their whips so as to induce a belief that they had proceeded onwards. The natives having unconsciously advanced into the middle of an ambush, were set upon and fired at, a large number being killed on the spot, and the remainder taking the river, into which they plunged, swimming to the other side, the Europeans firing at and killing several more in the water. It is said that at least thirty were slain; how many escaped with wounds does not appear.' Major Thomas Mitchell wrote to Colonial Secretary McLeay that he divided his group (exploring party) into two parties and that when they attacked, ‘the whole [Aboriginal people] betook themselves to the River – my men pursuing and shooting as many as they could. Numbers were shot in swimming across the Murray, and some even after they had reached the opposite shore, as they ascended the bank. Amongst those shot in the water was the Chief (recognised by a particular kind of cloak he wore, which floated after he went down). Thus in a very short time the usual silence of the desert prevailed on the banks of the Murray, and we pursued our journey unmolested.’ (Mitchell to Colonial Secretary McLeay cited in Milliss, 1992, p 130)
SourcesThe Australian, 8 November, 1836, p 2 -; Mitchell 1839 vol. II, pp 101-2; HRA, I, xviii, p 590-1; Milliss 1992, pp 128-136; Baker, DWA, 'Mitchell Sir Thomas Livingstone (1792-1855)' in ADB, Vol 2, 1967 np (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***