Site Name Goose Hill - East Kimberley
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Kitja, Worla
Colony WA
Present State/Territory WA
Police District Halls Creek - East Kimberley
Latitude -15.87
Longitude 128.054
Date Between 1 Apr 1888 and 30 Apr 1888
Attack Time Day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 6
Victims Killed Notes 6- 80
Attackers Colonisers: Settlers, Aboriginal guide
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Winchesters, Revolvers
Narrative In September 1888 on what appeared a routine police patrol to investigate horse spearing, PC Graham and others, including his native assistant Banjo, shot and killed Aboriginal people at Goose Hill in the East Kimberley. After rumours circulated that a lot more people were killed more evidence came out. There were five more colonists including a man called Howard and Liddelton with the police party and they had all agreed to launch a punitive expedition to ‘teach them a lesson’ for spearing colonists' horses. Highly ethical police officer Richard Troy charged all the men with murder which caused outrage in the town of Wyndham and there were fears the townspeople would try and break the accused out of prison. Though charged, none were convicted due to ‘lack of evidence.’ When Howard was confronted with the charge of ‘murdering five natives’, he told police that he thought the killings might have ‘blown over’, remarking that ‘I cannot see that I have done much wrong’. To exacerbate this miscarriage of justice it is pos­sible that over sixteen times more Aboriginal people (including women and children) were killed than the ones mentioned. The Sunday Times 16 September 1908 corroborates much of the detail and suggested that ‘as many as eighty natives may have been butchered’. [Summary from Owen, 2016; 236-240.]
Sources CSO, ‘Government Resident Wyndham - Natives (5) shot by PC. Graham & others in April 88. Report,’ File Note G.B. Phillips, Commissioner of Police to Hon. Colonial Secretary, enclosing reports from Sergeant Troy and statements from PC Graham and native assistant Banjo, 2 October 1888, SROWA, AN 24, Acc.527, File 2776/1888; Sunday Times, 13 September 1908: 3; Owen 2016:541-2. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***