Statistics

The following statistics relate to frontier massacres of 6 or more people only and are subject to change as more information becomes available. Other factors affect the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations such as disease, loss of land, abduction of children, control of movement, and combined flow on effects to the community.

All figures are conservative estimates. These statistics are indicative and are minimum estimates based only on the data collected as part of this project, and are not estimates of the full extent of frontier massacres. It is likely that more frontier massacres occurred than were reported and recorded and for which we can find evidence. Frontier massacres were often covered up and, while we only include massacres with some supporting evidence, the details of accounts can vary and be imprecise. Future research may reveal more information.

Colonies changed their borders over time such that the present day states, or parts of them, may have been in a different colony at the time of the massacre.

Colonial Frontier Massacre Totals

Total Massacres414
Massacres of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people401
Massacres of Colonists12
Massacres of Others1
Massacres of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people by Colonists395
Massacres of Colonists by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people12
Massacres of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people
(These are included as being directly related to frontier conflict, while other indigenous conflicts are not included.)
4

Colonial Frontier Massacre Victims

Total victims of frontier massacres 11153
Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders victims of massacres by Colonists 10934
Colonist victims of massacres by Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders 152
Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islander victims of frontier massacres by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders or Others
(These are included as being directly related to frontier conflict, while other indigenous conflicts are not included.)
61
Colonist victims of frontier massacres by Colonists or Other
(Other conflicts and crimes among colonists in well established settlements are not included as they are not directly related to the frontier.)
0
Other victims of frontier massacres committed by Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders, or Colonists 6

Other Statistics

Maximum victims in a single frontier massacre 300
Slaughterhouse Creek, Gwydir River (corroboration rating of one asterisk) and Thouringowa Waterhole, Bulloo River, Bullawarra, Thargomindah (corroboration rating of two asterisks) each have 300 victims. Massacres with the highest number of victims that have a corroboration rating of three (ie: most certain), are Skull Hole, Mistake Creek, Forsyth Ranges and Arafura Station with an estimated 200 victims each.
Maximum colonists killed during a frontier massacre 26
This is the 'Maria' massacre, Coorong.
Frontier massacres before 1860 200
Massacres before 1860 were mostly in the southern part of Australia.
Frontier massacres from 1860 on 214
Massacres after 1860 were mostly in the northern part of Australia.
Average victims of frontier massacres before 1860 23
Massacres before 1860 were mostly in the southern part of Australia.
Average victims of frontier massacres from 1860 on 31
Massacres after 1860 were mostly in the northern part of Australia.
Groups of massacres 18
Groups of massacres (such as where an expedition rides over an extended period of time committing massacres in different places) were intended to eradicate an entire group of people from an area.
See the Introduction and Groups.
Groups of massacres 57 massacres were part of a group of massacres.
See the Introduction and Groups.
Average victims of groups of massacres 39
See the Introduction and Groups.
Frontier massacres involving agents of the state in the attack 207 or 50%
'Agents of the state' includes: Border Police, Crowns Land Commissioner, Explorers, Field Police, Foot Soldiers, Government Officials, Military, Mounted Police, Native Police, Aboriginal Trackers, Police and Soldiers.
Victims killed in frontier massacres involving agents of the state in the attack 5293 or 47%
'Agents of the state' includes: Border Police, Crowns Land Commissioner, Explorers, Field Police, Foot Soldiers, Government Officials, Military, Mounted Police, Native Police, Aboriginal Trackers, Police and Soldiers.
Frontier massacres involving civilian attackers 262 or 63%
'Civilians' includes: Aboriginal, Hutkeeper(s), Manager(s), Overlander(s), Settler(s), Shepherd(s), Stockkeeper(s), Stockmen/Drover(s), Whaler/Sealer(s), Warrior(s), Sailor(s), Convict(s), Servant(s), Japanese Pearler(s), Chinese Miner(s), Indentured Labourer(s), Torrese Strait Islander(s), Makassan, Overseer(s), Aboriginal Assistant(s), Aboriginal Guide(s), Pastoralist(s), Miner(s) and Vigilante/Volunteer(s).
Victims killed in frontier massacres involving civilian attackers 7700 or 69%
'Civilians' includes: Aboriginal, Hutkeeper(s), Manager(s), Overlander(s), Settler(s), Shepherd(s), Stockkeeper(s), Stockmen/Drover(s), Whaler/Sealer(s), Warrior(s), Sailor(s), Convict(s), Servant(s), Japanese Pearler(s), Chinese Miner(s), Indentured Labourer(s), Torrese Strait Islander(s), Makassan, Overseer(s), Aboriginal Assistant(s), Aboriginal Guide(s), Pastoralist(s), Miner(s) and Vigilante/Volunteer(s).
Frontier massacres where type of colonist is not specified 26 or 6%.
Victims killed in frontier massacres where type of colonist is not specified 438 or 4%.
Frontier massacres involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander attackers 17 or 4%.
Victims killed in frontier massacres involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander attackers 207 or 2%.

Graphs

The tables relating to these graphs are below.

Change Over Time

TASNT
VICQLD
SAWA
NSW

Total Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Total Victims of Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Average Victims by Decade and by State

Proportion of Victims

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
Colonists

Total Victims by Present Day State and Territory Borders

(Colony boundaries changed over time and do not correspond to present day borders.)

Total Victims by Colony at the Time of the Massacre

(Colony boundaries changed over time and do not correspond to present day borders.)

Tables

Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Decade1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s1900s1910s1920s1930s
Australia023339428427384440501214160
TAS00112740000000000
VIC000001134400000000
SA0000017100030000
NSW0222101522621011000
NT00001000117202469110
QLD000003201531261431100
WA00001811406194450

Victims of Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Decade1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s1900s1910s1920s1930s
Australia01437375651170210067710851480167712884022773440
TAS002017369240000000000
VIC000001958025400000000
SA00000673150001200000
NSW01417201467965441422640068000
NT000030000105139897483132282840
QLD00000376744519349274662061100
WA00002011271511502223947538600

Average Victims of Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Decade1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s1900s1910s1920s1930s
Australia07121214282525293442263420220
TAS0020171460000000000
VIC0000018241400000000
SA0000061015000400000
NSW07910155325241340068000
NT000030000103049315225260
QLD00000123430303633761100
WA0000201471529037211910120

Frontier Massacres Between 1780 and 1930 in Australia by Current State and Territory Borders

AustraliaTasmaniaVictoriaSouth AustraliaNew South WalesNorthern TerritoryQueenslandWestern Australia
Est. Total Massacres414334912648911453
Est. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres1099543010431881751309534301058
Est. Colonist victims of massacres1520826814960
Est. Average Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres27.4213.0321.7317.0927.7935.9932.0619.96
Est. Average colonist victims of massacres12.6708.0026.008.007.0013.710

Frontier Massacres Between 1780 and 1930 in Australia by Colony at the Time of the Massacre

AustraliaVan Diemen's Land (Tasmania)Port Phillip District (Victoria)New South WalesSouth AustraliaQueenslandNorthern TerritorySwan River ColonyWestern AustraliaVictoria
Est. Total Massacres41432451038277183504
Est. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres1099541098929172797231445657100154
Est. Colonist victims of massacres152083640680000
Est. Average Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres27.4212.8122.4829.4635.8631.7025.3319.0020.0213.50
Est. Average colonist victims of massacres12.6708.009.0013.3317.000000