Evidence of 250 massacres of Indigenous Australians mapped
Indigenous Australians Evidence of 250 massacres of Indigenous Australians mapped
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were killed until at least 1930, often with police sanction, researchers say
There have been as many as 500 massacres of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. And mass killings occurred well into the middle of the 20th century, researchers have said.
The disturbing revelations were released by the University of Newcastle on Friday as part of the second stage of its online massacre map, which now covers frontier violence that occurred from the arrival of the first fleet in 1788 to the colonisation of the Northern Territory, South Australia and remote Queensland up to 1930.
The map now details about 250 massacres that meet strict criteria of standards of proof, covering every state except Western Australia.
The estimated death toll from those incidents is about 6,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and fewer than 100 colonists, with an average of 25 Indigenous people killed in every massacre.Map of massacres of Indigenous people reveals untold history of Australia, painted in blood Read more
The lead researcher, Prof Lyndall Ryan, said that she believed the upda ted map only listed about half of the massacres that took place on the Australian frontier, and that the real figure was closer to 500.
âMost Australians have been brought up with the view that the settlement of Australia was largely peaceful,â she said. âThis map turns that on its head.â
Ryan said massacres in the early 20th century were even more deadly than those a century before, and many had either the clear involvement or tacit approval of police.
âThey are more carefully planned,â she said. âMore people are killed in each incident. And massacre has become a professional business.â
The most recent incidents included on the map are the Coniston massacres, which occurred between August and October, 1928 on and around Coniston Station in the NT. It is often referred to as the last known massacre of Indigenous Australians, although Ryan says that will prove incorrect.
The murdered were Warlpiri and Arrernte people. The first massa cre was a punitive police expedition, a reprisal for the murder of dingo tracker Fred Brooks, who had abducted the wife of a Warlpiri man.
A police party killed more than 50 people over the course of a few weeks. A short time later, after Warlpiri allegedly attacked and wounded a man named Nugget Morton on the Lander River; another massacre was conducted by settlers. More than 60 Warlpiri and Arrernte died.
âI am surprised at the number of times that we find that the state is present in something, or condoning it, or turning a blind eye,â Ryan said. âI had not expected to find that. Although it is what Aboriginal people have been saying forever â" I have had to learn to listen a little more closely.â
The map was first published in August 2017 and detailed events up to 1872. A third block of research, including WA and expanding the reference area from 1788 to 1960, will begin soon.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, Ryan says. They hav e received more than 400 submissions, mostly from locals and historical societies who are keen to share their own records.
It is a significant shift from the âhistory warsâ of the 1990s, when accounts of massacres were heavily disputed as part of a broader debate on how to frame Australiaâs national identity.Massacres and protest: Australia Day's undeniable history Read more
âI think during the history wars 15 years ago, people were saying things like âthatâs just a storyâ,â she said. âNow we can show that the evidence is undeniable. Itâs widely corroborated. It comes from a clear range of sources. And people want to help.â
However Ryan said there were some massacres that took place in New South Wales which she still cannot verify, because those who may have information or source documents are still unwilling to talk.
âI suspect the cone of silence is still in operation along the Hunter River, and I suspect in other parts of NSW,â she said. âThey are not disclosing what they know.âTopics
- Indigenous Australians
- Northern Territory
- Western Australia
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