Site Name Spear Gully' Halls Creek
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Jaru, Kitja
Colony WA
Present State/Territory WA
Police District Halls Creek - East Kimberley
Latitude -18.229
Longitude 127.67
Date Between 1 Jul 1886 and 1 Sep 1886
Attack Time Day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 20
Victims Killed Notes 20-100
Attackers Colonisers: Settlers
Attackers Killed 1
Attackers Killed Notes Fred Marriot
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Carbines, Pistols
Narrative Halls Creek gold Miner Fred Marriot was speared to death by Jaru or Kija people. Reports attributed the killing to Aboriginal aggression although the reason for this attack was the miner’s abduction of an Aboriginal woman and keeping of her for sexual purposes. Other oral history accounts state that the miner gave Aboriginal people poisoned flour. A group of Halls Creek prospectors organised a punitive expedition and as Robert Tennant Stow Wolfe, a member of the party, stated: ‘We all went out and dispersed those niggers.’ Aboriginal oral history accounts and private accounts of this incident differ from the official statistics in the numbers of Aboriginal people shot. In Moola Bulla: in the shadow of the mountain, the authors draw from oral accounts and suggest ‘as many as 100 Jaru or Kija killed in reprisal for the killing of Merriott [sic] a miner’. Then there is the private correspondence of a young prospector, George Hales, who wrote that: ‘A number of diggers went out to take revenge. Having bailed up a large number of blacks in a gully who showed fight, they proceeded to slaughter them with repeating rifles. It is certain that a great many were killed, some say at least a hundred.’ [Green 1995: 59.]
Sources Clement 2000: 6; Clement and Bridge, 1991: xiii.; Kimberley Languages Resource Centre,1996:37; WAPD, Report by Sergt Troy from R. McPhee regarding death of Fred Marriot, Derby Police Station, 3 July 1886, SROWA, AN 5, Acc.738/3; . Lamond 1971: 29-30; Owen, 2003 129-156; Owen, 2016: 225-231. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***