Site Name Anna's Reservoir
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Anmatjere
Colony SA
Present State/Territory NT
Police District Alice Springs
Latitude -22.585
Longitude 133.139
Date Between 7 Aug 1884 and 7 Sep 1884
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People: Warriors
Victims Killed 15
Victims Killed Notes Dead included Slim Jim, Boko, Clubfoot and Jimmy Mullins, allegedly shot by Trackers.
Attackers Colonisers: Mounted Police
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Spears, firearms
Narrative Harry Figg (stockman) and Thomas Coombes (cook) attacked at Anna's Reservoir Homestead. Attackers crept into Coombes' room and speared him 8 times then set the roof alight. Figg emerged from the homestead, shooting four dead, before being speared between the shoulders. Both wounded and badly burnt, they escaped to a stock camp 50 miles away and survived.Const William Willshire & Const Charlie Brookes, 2 Aboriginal trackers and 4 volunteers (Alec Ross, Harry Price, Summard and McBeth) went in pursuit, reporting they had shot dead four Anmatjere men. Official deaths were eight; Kimber reports 15. Morrison refers to part of the reprisal as the Blackfellow Bones Hill Massacre. Original attack carried out by Anmatjere people in an attempt to drive colonists away from their land. Charles Perkins (1975) wrote at p 19: "The white station owners would go on regular hunts for Aborigines. ‘Instead of having a kangaroo hunt today, we’ll have an Aboriginal hunt.’ They would go out and shoot them, men, women and children. My mother saw this happen as a girl. There are two good examples amongst the many hundreds that one could choose to illustrate the atrocities that were carried out by white society through the police. A massacre took place at an area called ‘Blackfellows Bones’ near Mt Riddock (just north of Alice Springs) which involved the shooting of Aborigines by police. The people who were involved were mainly from Mum’s own family, including her mother, her mother’s sister, and a number of aunts and uncles. Mum’s mother was very young at that time. She managed to escape but her sister was captured. An Aboriginal mother was shot while still bearing a child and carrying another child in her arms. An Aboriginal boy was shot next to her also. There were an unknown number of Aboriginal people killed in this incident which was in retaliation for cattle which were speared by some other Aboriginal people in another area. This incident occurred some time before 1914 and is still vivid in the memory of the old people."
Sources Traynor 2016; 120-121; Kimber http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/1032.html; Nettlebeck & Foster 2007: 16; Wilson 2000: 272; Morrison www.australianfrontierconflicts.com.au; Adelaide Observer, 20 Sept 1884http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160101265; NTTG, 25 Oct 1884 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3156621; Perkins C 1975: 19. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***