Site Name Bowgan Massacre 1 - Corella Creek
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Wanbaya or Warlpiri
Colony SA
Present State/Territory NT
Police District Anthony's Lagoon
Latitude -17.985
Longitude 135.534
Date Between 30 Jan 1892 and 9 Dec 1896
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People: Warriors
Victims Killed 30
Victims Killed Notes More than 30 men, women and children.
Attackers Colonisers: Stockman/Drover
Attackers Killed 3
Attackers Killed Notes George Williamson Clarke (station hand), Charles Deloitte (cook), Thomas Augustus Perry (station owner/manager). Clarke and Deloitte murdered 30/01/1892. Perry murdered 09/12/1897.
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used tomahawk, spears, firearms, rifles
Narrative Aboriginal attackers were station workers. Colonists, led by Tom Perry, were pastoralists/station workers (no mention of police involvement although they were informed of the murders). Station workers Walter and Monkey Boy, and 'Peter' who was a massacre survivor, stolen by Tom Perry and ill-treated until Peter was old enough and killed him. Walter was killed in the massacre. Monkey Boy escaped and died of natural causes. Peter and Karrara were charged with Perry's murder and arraigned in Borroloola. Peter served 10 years in Fannie Bay Gaol for Perry's murder. Perry, who led the reprisals, was the owner of Creswell Downs Station. Gaunt in 1932 described this massacre as 'one of the largest, if not the largest, in the history of the Northern Territory' and said that 'dozens' of Aboriginal people were killed, including 'bucks, lubras and picanninies'. First attack was at Corella Creek; second was at Fish Creek at the head of the Nicholson River. Read & Read put the date at 1910-1920 from their oral histories, but media reports put the murders of Clarke and Deliotte at 30 Jan 1892. Perry's death on 9 Dec 1897 marked the end of the episode, except that Peter served 10 years in Fannie Bay Gaol. Aboriginal oral histories (Read & Read) record: ‘All the old ladies couldn’t run fast enough. Well, those few ladies, mother of this mob... So they shottem, shot all these old ladies. Shottem.’ (and burnt them). Borroloola Police Station Letter Book entry of June 1893 records that GW Clarke (one of the murdered) was in possession of cattle, the property of F Bourke of Fitzroy River in WA.
Sources Read and Read 1991, 26-28; GSNT Record 579; NTTG, 4 March 1892, 3; NTTG, 5 Mar 1897, 3; CE Gaunt 1932, 3; NTRS 2710 . Borroloola Police Letter Books . entry, June 1893; Morrison; Layton and Ucko 1999: 235; Read and Read 1991: 12-16; RAHC; SA Legislative Council Select Committee Inquiry into the Aborigines Bill 1899. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***