Site Name Geike Gorge (2), West Kimberley
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Bunuba, Nykina, Goonyiyandi
Colony WA
Present State/Territory WA
Police District Fitzroy Crossing - West Kimberley
Latitude -17.069
Longitude 125.158
Date 19 Nov 1894
Attack Time Day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 30
Victims Killed Notes 30-50
Attackers Colonisers: Police
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Snider, Winchesters, Revolvers
Narrative In December 1896 Chief Protector of Aborigines George Marsden reported that PC Spong and his native assistants ‘struck a camp of eighty buck natives, in full war paint with cow tails hanging all over them. These natives, each of which had one or two gins with him carrying spears, commenced throwing their spears.’ The police dispersed them, Marsden wrote, with ‘the loss of some twenty bucks. Since then they have never attempted to rush the station, but have kept well back in the hills. Since the beginning of ‘operations’ against Jandamarra in November 1894 the police parties had recorded killing at least eighty Aboriginal people (with an unknown and possibly larger number killed in ‘dispersals’) and an undisclosed number had been killed at Oobagooma and Liveringa. A survey of the police bush patrol diaries of Inspector Lawrence, Sub Inspector Ord and PCs Pilmer, Nicholson, Chisholm, Spong and Freeman show an almost complete breakdown of proper police process. The diaries of Spong and Chisholm, contain almost no information but in most of the other diaries, police report the party shooting at any Aboriginal people they came across, with their native assistants doing much of the shooting. The whole exercise appears much more like a military operation than policing. [Summary from Owen 2016; 326-30.]
Sources Aborigines Protection Board, ‘Correspondence, Report for the Secretary of the Aboriginal Protection Board of Western Australia from Mr George Marsden on Oobagooma Cattle Station, 21 December 1896’, SROWA, AN 1, Cons. 495, Item 44; WAPD, ‘Capture of Wild Natives in the Oscar and Barrier Ranges’, 26 January 1895, SROWA, Cons.430, File 3548/1897. See telegram from Inspector Lawrence to Commissioner of Police, 5 January 1895; The West Australian, Tuesday 8 January 1895: 2; Western Mail, 12 January 1895: 3; Clement and Bridge 1998: 47-79; McGregor 1985: 100-122; Pederson 1995; 132-142; Owen 2016:315-330. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***