Site Name Kunderang Brook Upper Macleay River Valley
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group
Colony NSW
Present State/Territory NSW
Police District
Coordinates (imprecise to approx. 250m) -30.948,152.188,0
Date Between 20 May 1840 and 31 May 1840
Attack Time Daylight
Aboriginal People Killed 24
Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed: M 24-36, F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Non-Aboriginal People Killed 0
Non-Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed: M F; Wounded: M F
Attacker Category Military / Settler / Stockmen
Attacker Details Sgt Freer, 1 stockman plus three horsemen from Mr Steel’s run at Towel Creek and an Aboriginal guide. Entire group armed and on horseback.
Motive Reprisal for stealing cattle.
Type Of Motive Reprisal stocktheft
Weapons Used Muskets
Notes
Narrative On 10 June 1840 the Sydney Herald reported that ‘Sergeant Freer, travelling from New England down the bed of the Macleay River with a large flock of sheep, and having one afternoon at a crossing place missed 370 of them, he returned to search, accompanied by a stockman and a mounted Black. The latter soon discovered that the stock had been driven in the direction of the mountains by the Blacks. After following the tracks for about 8 miles, they came to a precipitous rock, where they turned down a creek, on the sides of which they discovered from 200-300 Blacks busily engaged in roasting mutton. The instant they perceived Mr. Freer and his party they took to their spears and boomerangs, retiring to the ranges, but on discovering the weakness of their pursuers, endeavoured to surround them, threatening them and abusing them in tolerable English while daring them to … come on. The party being badly armed, Sgt Freer prudently retired, and travelling all night he reached a station of a Mr Steel (evidently Towel Creek) where he was furnished with the assistance of three horsemen. Upon returning to the place he last saw the Blacks, here they found the remains of about 60 sheep and 3 yards most ingeniously constructed. Following their trail, Mr Freer and party proceeded about 12 miles up Kundering Brook, where they found the Blacks had turned across the Mountains. Continuing the trail, the party ultimately found the Blacks in the act of preparing a meal of mutton and upon being fired upon they speedily decamped, but without 220 sheep which were still alive.’ It is stated that the owners of the sheep were Messrs. Betts and Panton, who were at the time occupiers of Long Flat station on the Macleay River. Henderson, 1851: vol.2, p.5 states that ‘two to three dozen men were slaughtered’.
Sources SH June 10, 1840 - https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/1523969; Henderson 1851: vol.2, p.5
Corroboration Rating ***