Site NameElkedra
Aboriginal Place NameImperrenth
Language GroupAlyawarr
Present State/TerritoryNT
Colony/State/Territory at the timeSA
Police DistrictAlice Springs
DateBetween 1 Jan 1889 and 31 Dec 1897
Attack TimeNight
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim DescriptionsWarrior(s)
Victims Killed40
Victims Killed NotesWarriors seeking to drive out pastoralists
Attacker DescriptionsPastoralist(s)
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed Notes
Weapons UsedRifle(s)
NarrativeIn her PhD thesis (2006) on the life of Alexander Donald (Pwerle) Ross, Whitebeach interviewed a descendant, Don Ross, who said: 'Old Frank MacDonald, old Scotsman, was with [the other] mob, with the Coulthards, those brothers. They went to Elkedra, that mob. A thousand cattle each, I think they had. Frank MacDonald worked out there at Elkedra for a while. Alyawarr lived out there. They’d kill you, all right, so they [white cattlemen] used to shoot them [Alyawarr]. He [Frank MacDonald] used to see them coming down with the firestick. They were looking for him, to kill him. And I said, "Did you shoot at ’em’?" He said, "Did I? I threaded the bastards, just like putting thread through a needle". He got through the lot, he reckoned. He stopped a while [at Elkedra], then drifted away from there. He was gone by the time Riley and Kennedy had Elkedra' (Ross cited in Whitebeach, p 175). Groom, cited in Bell (1978, p 36, fn 12), said: ‘In the 1880s, the Willowie Pastoral Company took up the lease at Elkedra. The station was abandoned after an incident with the local Aborigines which convinced the manager that he was not welcome within their country.' William (Billy) Coulthard was the Manager of Elkedra in the Frew River region for the Willowie Pastoral Co. Trish Lonsdale's oral history interview with Bill Riley (Reel 3) includes: 'He [Billy Coulthard] was greatly impressed with the Frew River and the reason they left there was the blacks were too bad and any cattle they did not kill – and they did not kill them to eat, either…The blacks were trying to hunt them out of the country. In fact, old Billy [Coulthard] had more boomerang marks on him than any blackfella I have seen. The blacks were trying to murder them. …The reason they left there was on account of the blacks…they sent in a report to their company and there was only one thing to do and that was to start to shoot, but the Willowie Pastoral Company decided that rather than resort to murder they would abandon the whole project. It would be something inside of four years that the whole thing would last.'
SourcesNT Archives Service, NTRS 3414, Trish Lonsdale Collection, Reel 3, Bill Riley; Bell, 1978, p 36; Whitebeach, 2006, p 175; Luke, 2019 (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***