Site NameAttack Gap
This massacre is part of a group of massacres
Aboriginal Place NameUnclear
Language GroupAnmatyerr
Present State/TerritoryNT
Colony/State/Territory at the timeSA
Police DistrictPort Augusta
DateBetween 7 Aug 1884 and 7 Sep 1884
Attack TimeDawn
VictimsAboriginal People
Victim DescriptionsWarrior(s)
Victims Killed150
Victims Killed NotesReprisal for the wounding of Figg and Coombes at Anna's Reservoir
Attacker DescriptionsStockmen/Drover(s), Police, Vigilante/Volunteer(s)
Attackers Killed0
Attackers Killed Notes
Weapons UsedFirearm(s)
NarrativeSid Stanes, discussing the Anna's Reservoir attack, continued his story in respect of reprisals that followed: ‘Out at Attack Gap, that is at Temple Bar Creek goes through that hill. The blacks had been sticking up cattle and had attacked Figg and Coombs…Those blacks were all the same tribe. Those in pursuit were out scouting and they found out that this mob was up on the hill, camped up on the top of the hill. They went and waited until they woke up in the morning, first one got up and stretched on the skyline. They were trapped and the whole lot were shot as they could not get away’ (Trish Lonsdale Collection, Reel 22, Side 2, p b10). Both Anna's Reservoir and Attack Gap were under lease by the Willowie Pastoral Company, which was managed by William (Billy) Coulthard. It is likely that this party was headed by Coulthard. Kimber (1991, p 14) wrote: ‘Another attack, and follow up punitive expedition, occurred 15 kilometres south west of Alice Springs at a site later known as Attack Gap. An old mate of mine, the late Walter Smith, told me that the Aborigines had attacked a supply waggon, driving off the teamsters (they cut the traces and rode the waggon horses into Alice Springs) and then taking all of the supplies. This immediate success was short-lived, for the largest party of whites ever assembled then rode out. One of the patrol members was later to recall: “[We] went a bit too far. It was the biggest fight we ever had up here. 'We made a tidy mob when we all got together...about twenty all told - eight or nine cattlely men, some of the chaps from the Overland Telegraph an' a mob of police from the Alice. The 'nigs'...poor devils...met us at the top of the valley.. [We] rounded 'em up on that razorback hill over there. Then we let go. We ran a cordon round the hill an' peppered 'em until there wasn't a 'nig' showing...Poor devils...There must have been 150 to 170 of 'em on that hill and I reckon that few of 'em got away...But what could we do? We had to live up here. That was the trouble of it”.’
SourcesSid Stanes, Trish Lonsdale Collection, NTRS 3414/Part 1; Kimber, 1990; Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, 2002 . (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating***