Site Name Frew River
Aboriginal Place Name Litwelepenty
Language Group Alyawarr, Wakaya, Kaytete and Warumungu
Colony SA
Present State/Territory NT
Police District Port Augusta
Latitude -20.757
Longitude 134.916
Date 24 Jun 1891
Attack Time morning
Victims Aboriginal People: Settler
Victims Killed 20
Victims Killed Notes
Attackers Aboriginal People: Warriors
Attackers Killed 20
Attackers Killed Notes Warriors killed attacking the newly established Frew River Station homestead
Transport Foot
Motive
Weapons Used Spears
Narrative Oral history with Sid Stanes, Alice Springs of Frew River Station: ”They were not there more than 2 or 3 years I don’t think. Had a great stockade round the place. Eventually the blacks hunted them out. They used to shoot the blacks, of course, but there were too many of them…they built this bloody high stockyard right round the place and they had a lot of dogs, Bloodhounds, tied up at night around the place…" Bell noted: "The presence of eight Aboriginal women at the Frew River Station was mentioned by the Adelaide Observer (11 July 1891) as one possible reason for the attack of June 1891 by Alyawarra and Wakaja. Further attacks occurred and by 1896 the ill-fated station was abandoned.’ Eylmann wrote ‘The station dwellers are said to have always treated the Aborigines with the greatest severity and mercilessly shot down every cattle thief they could get hold of. When I was there I found two human skulls in one piece, one which was pierced by a bullet…’. Aboriginal attacks were kept at bay by the ‘ferocity of a large number of kangaroo and blood hounds which were kept inside the pallisades." The Evening Journal reported the event: "So the blacks on the Frew River have made an attack on Mr. Coulthard and his men. This is just what was expected, and as preparations were made for a visit of this sort, I warrant they got a warm reception...an attack such as that which is reported to have taken place on June 24 was fully expected. When the Willowie Pastoral Company took possession the first thing Mr. Giles wisely insisted upon doing—before puttting up any buildings—was to build a barricade consisting of posts slanting outwards. The inside station buildings are inside this."
Sources NTRS 3413 – Londsale, Patricia – Records relating to research interviews with Centralians 1963-1986; Bell, D 1983, p65; Evening Journal, 6 July 1891, p2. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***