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  • Writer's pictureBrian AJ Newman LLB

Understanding Australia's History: The Tragic Massacres of Aboriginal Peoples

Australia's history is marked by numerous tragic events, especially those involving the Indigenous Aboriginal communities during the early periods of European settlement.

The massacres of Aboriginal people are a significant yet heartbreaking part of this history, reflecting the violent encounters and dispossession they faced.

Compiling a comprehensive list of all such events is challenging due to their complex and often unrecorded nature, particularly during the initial years of colonisation.

Some of the more widely acknowledged and documented massacres include:

- Myall Creek Massacre (1838): This occurred in New South Wales, where 28 Aboriginal people tragically lost their lives at the hands of European settlers.

- Waterloo Creek Massacre (1838): Also in New South Wales, this massacre saw the deaths of several Gamilaraay people, with reports on the number of casualties varying.

- Forest River Massacres (1926): In Western Australia, a number of Aboriginal people were killed by a police party.

- Coniston Massacre (1928): Taking place in the Northern Territory, this was the last known officially sanctioned massacre, resulting in the deaths of many Aboriginal individuals.

- Pinjarra Massacre (1834): Occurring in Western Australia, this involved the death of numerous Bindjareb people.

- Appin Massacre (1816): In New South Wales, at least 14 Aboriginal people were killed by European soldiers.

- Kilcoy Massacre (1842): This massacre in Queensland involved the distribution of poisoned flour to Aboriginal people, causing multiple fatalities.

- Gippsland Massacres (1840-1850): A decade-long series of massacres in Victoria that led to the deaths of many of the Gunai/Kurnai people.

- Flying Foam Massacre (1868): In Western Australia, this involved the killing of several Yaburara individuals.

- Cape Grim Massacre (1828): Occurring in Tasmania, a group of Aboriginal people were shot by shepherds.

- Slaughterhouse Creek Massacre (1838): In New South Wales, this event resulted in a significant number of Aboriginal deaths.

These events are not only a sombre chapter in Australia's history but also a reflection of the struggles and adversities faced by Aboriginal communities.

They are remembered in the spirit of acknowledging, reconciling with the past, and respecting the enduring impact these events have had on Aboriginal communities and Australian society.

This remembrance is crucial in our journey towards understanding and healing as a nation.

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