Site NameMistake Creek - East Kimberley
Aboriginal Place Name
Language GroupKitja, Worla
Present State/TerritoryWA
Colony/State/Territory at the timeWA
Police DistrictEast Kimberley
Latitude-16.927
Longitude128.242
DateBetween 1 May 1915 and 30 Jun 1915
Attack TimeDay
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim Descriptions
Victims Killed7
Victims Killed Notes7-10
AttackersColonisers
Attacker Descriptions
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed Notes
TransportHorse
MotiveReprisal
Weapons UsedSnider(s), Revolver(s), Winchester(s)
NarrativeIn 1915 Constable John Franklin Flinders reported to Inspector Drewry (who in turn reported it to the Colonial Secretary) that telegraph linesman (and former East Kimberley Policeman) Mick Rhatigan and his two Aboriginal workers, Nipper and Wyne, ‘shot and burned five or six Aborigines’. The ‘charred remains’ of two bodies were found at Mistake Creek and the bodies of five others named ‘Hopples, Nellie, Mona, Gypsy and Nittie’ were found some distance away. (The Advertiser, April 2, 1915, p 8.) This was supposedly in reprisal for allegedly killing Rhatigan’s cow. (Owen, 2016, p 438) The Sisters of St Joseph erected a small monument at the foot of the old boab tree at Mistake Creek to mark the place where the massacre occurred (Monument Australia).
SourcesWAPD, Aboriginal Native Tracker 'Nipper'. From C.of P. SROWA, Cons. 430, Item 1854/1915; Western Mail, April 2, 1915, p18 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44758490; The Advertiser, April 2, 1915, p 8 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5455967/970938; Clement 2003(a), pp 199-214; Clement 1989(b), pp 17-18; Owen 2016, p 438; Ross and Bray 1989, pp 73-5. Monument Australia (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***