Preliminary Findings

This information on this site is provisional and may change as a result of ongoing research. Please refer the list of sites that have been suggested for addition and review.

Prevalence

Eastern Australia – settler massacres of Aboriginal people were widespread across the colonial frontier. Between 1794 and 1872, there are least 150 recorded massacres of Aboriginal people in Eastern Australia and six recorded massacres of colonists. It would appear that almost every Aboriginal clan experienced massacre.

How were the massacres carried out?

Weapons

Colonists: swords, pistols, muskets, bayonets, carbines, repeating rifles. There are 5 cases of poisoning in Victoria and 6 cases in NSW/Qld.

Aboriginal People: spears, waddies, hatchets.

Preliminary Statistics

The following figures relate to massacres of 6 or more people only and are subject to change as more information becomes available. Other factors affect the history of Aboriginal populations such as disease, loss of land, abduction of children, control of movement, and combined flow on affects to the community. Please read the Introduction to understand these figures. Note that borders of the colonies did not always match the present day states. In particular present day Queensland was part of NSW until 10 December 1859.

For recorded massacres between 1788 and 1872 in eastern colonies of Australia:

Eastern AustraliaVan Diemen's Land (Tasmania)Port Phillip District (Victoria)New South WalesQueensland (from 1859)
Est. Total Massacres17241546214
Est. Aboriginal people killed in massacres313953710541380157
Est. Colonists killed in massacres7218151029
Est. Average Aboriginal people killed in a massacre of Aboriginal people18.6813.1019.8922.6213.08
Est. Average Colonists killed in a massacre of Colonists10.7507.009.0013.50