Site NameDarkie Point, Bellinger River
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Place Name
Language Group, Nation or PeopleBaanbay
Present State/TerritoryNSW
Colony/State/Territory at the timeNSW
Police DistrictArmidale
Latitude-30.444
Longitude152.397
DateBetween 1 May 1841 and 31 May 1841
Attack TimeDay
VictimsAboriginal or Torres Strait Islander People
Victim DescriptionsAboriginal
Victims Killed30
Victims Killed Notes
AttackersColonists
Attacker DescriptionsSettler(s), Stockmen/Drover(s)
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed Notes
TransportHorse
MotiveReprisal
Weapons UsedFirearm(s), Musket(s)
NarrativeIn the autumn of 1841, three shepherds on Frederick Eldershaw's outstation on the north eastern edge of New England, were brutally murdered and 2000 sheep taken by Baanbay warriors. In reprisal Eldershaw organised a ‘pursuing party’ of ten men (including Eldershaw, three neighbours and six stockmen), ‘well mounted and accoutred’ and set off with ten days provisions for the south branch of the Clarence River. According to Eldershaw the party was ambushed by fire on at least one occasion, and after several days, they found the Baanbay camp and the sheep towards evening and split their party in two. One group remained hidden near the camp, and the other, with Eldershaw in the lead, moved to a higher ground above the camp of about 200 Baanbay. When they heard a shot fired below, in reprisal for Baanbay warriors killing one of the men, the group above immediately discharged the 'contents of ten barrels' into the camp below. A second volley from below and a third from above 'dealt frightful havoc in their ranks' and 'according to Eldershaw 'some [of the Baanbay] actually dashed themselves in frantic violence to the depths beneath, in utter heedlessness of life.' (Eldershaw 1854, p 73). 'Shot after shot, with curses wild and deep the excited fellows launched at their hated foes - their butchered comrades' blood was that night fearfully avenged.' (Eldershaw 1854, p 73) It is estimated that at least 30 Baanbay were shot. Eldershaw later justified the massacre on two grounds: that it was a 'necessary consequence' of the 'barbarous murders and inhuman "secret" murders, by poison or by some violent remorseless treachery, of which in preceding times I had so frequently heard and read, were now happily abolished'; and that in the aftermath, 'other Aboriginal groups in the district became harmless, tractable and subdued' (Eldershaw 1854, p 74). Eldershaw's account is reproduced in Blomfield 1981, pp 85-91 and Elder 2003, pp 105-117. The site is known as Darkie Point.
SourcesEldershaw 1854, pp 63-74; Blomfield 1981, pp 85-91; Elder 2003, pp 105-117. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating*