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 Massacres423
Massacres of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people410
Massacres of Colonists12
Massacres of Others1
Massacres of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people by Colonists403
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 11282
Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders victims of massacres by Colonists 11039
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 223
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 30
Massacres after 1860 were mostly in the northern part of Australia.
Groups of massacres 19
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 59 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 213 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 5382 or 48%
'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 273 or 65%
'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 7898 or 70%
'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 22 or 5%.
Victims killed in frontier massacres where type of colonist is not specified 348 or 3%.
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
Australia023339428427404542501316170
TAS00112740000000000
VIC000001133400000000
SA0000017100030000
NSW0222101523621011000
NT000010001172124711120
QLD000003201533271531100
WA00001811406194450

Victims of Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Decade1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s1900s1910s1920s1930s
Australia01437375651170210067711231504169812884172983540
TAS002017369240000000000
VIC000001957765400000000
SA00000673150001200000
NSW01417201467965701422640068000
NT0000300001051310047483282492940
QLD00000376744519729514722061100
WA00002011271511502223947538600

Average Victims of Frontier Massacres by Decade and by State

Decade1780s1790s1800s1810s1820s1830s1840s1850s1860s1870s1880s1890s1900s1910s1920s1930s
Australia07121214282525283340263219210
TAS0020171460000000000
VIC0000018241400000000
SA0000061015000400000
NSW07910155325241340068000
NT000030000103048314723250
QLD00000123430293531761100
WA0000201471529037211910120

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

AustraliaTasmaniaVictoriaSouth AustraliaNew South WalesNorthern TerritoryQueenslandWestern Australia
Est. Total Massacres423334812659411853
Est. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres1112443010171881777315634981058
Est. Colonist victims of massacres1520826814960
Est. Average Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres27.1313.0321.6417.0927.7734.6831.5119.96
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 Massacres42332441048681193504
Est. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres1112441096329432862238245257100154
Est. Colonist victims of massacres152083640680000
Est. Average Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims of massacres27.1312.8122.4029.4334.9030.9423.7919.0020.0213.50
Est. Average colonist victims of massacres12.6708.009.0013.3317.000000