Site Name Sturt Creek - East Kimberley
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Tjurabalan, Walmajari, Jaru
Colony WA
Present State/Territory WA
Police District Halls Creek - East Kimberley
Latitude -19.558
Longitude 127.68
Date Between 1 Oct 1922 and 31 Oct 1922
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 12
Victims Killed Notes 12-20
Attackers Colonisers: Police
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes
Transport Horse
Motive Reprisal
Weapons Used Rifles, Incineration
Narrative According to oral testimonies passed down within dozens of local families, and backed up by handwritten diaries of the time, a police party toured the area on horseback in October 1922 searching for an Aboriginal man named Banjo, who was thought to have murdered pastoralists Joseph Condren and Tim O'Sullivan as Sullivan had taken his wife, Topsy. In the first subsequent massacre at Kaningarra between wells 48 and 49 on the Canning Stock Route a police punitive expedition came across an encampment where Aboriginal people were cooking camel meat, and kept shooting into it until they ran short of ammunition. Those who survived were led off and tethered by neck-chains to a site called the 'Goat Yard' at Denison Downs. The second massacre soon after, took place at the former Denison Downs homestead on the Sturt Creek Station, in a site referred to as Chuall Pool where many Djaru, together with Walmajarri, were slaughtered. The victims were the survivors of the Kaningarra massacre. Subsequent archaeological evidence has proved the evidence of incineration of human bones at this site. Grant Ngabidi recalls the first incident - ‘Four Halls Creek Policemen and three other white men came out. Someone told them who the two blackfellas were and they went low down looking among the bush people. They told them, 'Oh big mob there, longa billabong, longa Wolf junction', and they sneaked up. There may have been about twenty or thirty police boys too. They did not tie them up or take them to the jail house; they murdered the whole lot of them, shot them all: Balgo mob, Sturt Creek mob and Billiluna mob; women, piccaninnies, dogs, old people, young people, middlesized people — finished them. I was there when it happened but they did not shoot me because I came from this other way and I was a stockman.’ [Shaw, 1981:47.] Monument erected at Sturt Creek in 2011.
Sources Smith, 2000, 62-74, http://theconversation.com/oral-testimony-of-an-aboriginal-massacre-now-supported-by-scientific-evidence-85526; .Shaw, 1981; 47. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***