Site Name Bedford Downs (2) - East Kimberley
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Kitja, Worla
Colony WA
Present State/Territory WA
Police District East Kimberley
Latitude -17.311
Longitude 127.467
Date Between 1 Jan 1924 and 31 Dec 1924
Attack Time day
Victims Aboriginal People
Victims Killed 20
Victims Killed Notes 20-30
Attackers Colonisers
Attackers Killed 0
Attackers Killed Notes
Weapons Used Rifles
Narrative In April 1924 at Bedford Downs Station a massacre occurred. This massacre is recorded in Aboriginal oral history. Kija Elder Dottie Watby describes how, in response to the killing of a valuable bullock, Kija and Worla people were forced to cut wood. They were then given damper (bread) that was poisoned. After they were poisoned (as Dottie stated, they ‘drop down’) managers and stockmen from adjacent stations, including a notoriously violent man named Jack Carey and adjoining station owners, started shooting everyone. She remembered that they ‘Killem all dem blackfellas, family for us mob.’ Then: ‘Right, dem bin gettem dat wagon, gettam dat donkey and pullem la fire. They loadem in big pile like dat and chuckem allawood, chuckem, chuckem, chuckem, kerosene, chuckem kerosene, Dey bin light dat fire – terrible.’ [Ross and Bray 1989: 56-59.]
Sources Ross and Bray, 1989: 56-59; Clement,1989: 4; Ryan 2001: 63, 65–8; Kimberley Language Resource Centre, 1996: 101–9; Owen 2016: 439-440. (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating ***