Site NameCorella Creek, Bowgan (1)
This massacre is part of a group of massacres
Aboriginal Place NameUnclear
Language GroupGarawa, Yanuwa
Present State/TerritoryNT
Colony/State/Territory at the timeSA
Police DistrictAnthony's Lagoon
DateBetween 30 Jan 1892 and 9 Dec 1896
Attack TimeDay
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim DescriptionsWarrior(s)
Victims Killed30
Victims Killed NotesMore than 30 men, women and children.
Attacker DescriptionsPastoralist(s)
Attackers Killed3
Attackers Killed NotesGeorge 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.
Weapons UsedFirearm(s), Rifle(s), Tomahawk(s), Spear(s)
NarrativeSee also Nicholson River massacre. The 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 an 1892 reprisal massacre survivor, stolen by Tom Perry and ill-treated until Peter was old enough to kill him. Walter was killed in the massacre from which Peter was stolen. Monkey Boy escaped and died of natural causes. Peter and Karrara were charged with Perry's murder and arraigned in Borroloola. Peter served ten years in Fannie Bay Gaol for Perry's murder. Perry, who led reprisals from 1892, was the owner of Cresswell 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' (Northern Standard, February 19, 1932, p 3). The first attack was at Corella Creek and the second was at Fish Creek at the head of the Nicholson River. Read and Read (1991, pp 26-28) put the date at 1910-1920 from their oral histories, but media reports put the murders of Clarke and Deloitte at 30 Jan 1892. Perry's death on 9 December 1897 marked the end of the episode, except that Peter served ten years in Fannie Bay Gaol. Aboriginal oral histories 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)’ (Read & Read, 1991, pp 26-28). Borroloola Police Station Letter Books 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.
SourcesRead and Read 1991, pp 26-28; GSNT Record 579; NTTG, March 4, 1892, p 3 ; NTTG, March 5, 1897, p 3 ; Gaunt, 'The Tragedy of Bowgun [sic]', Northern Standard (Darwin) 19 February 19, 1932 p 3; NTRS 2710 – Borroloola Police Letter Books – entry, June 1893; Morrison ; Ucko & Layton 1999; RAHC ; SA Legislative Council Select Committee Inquiry into the Aborigines Bill 1899. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***