Monday, 19 June 2017

THE BLOODY FRONTIER


http://www.australianfrontierconflicts.com.au/index.php/conflicts/chronology/qld

I have been looking at the above website which details the list of massacres of Indigenous Australians in my home state of Queensland. Many are focused from 1860 onward in the northern region of the state which is where I was born and raised. It's a sobering and heart- breaking read.
 If you don't know much about Australian history, Indigenous Australians were locked in conflict with Europeans soon after settlement in 1788. It is estimated that the pre-1788 population of the Indigenous people across Australia was between 500,000 to 750,000. At the start of the twentieth century, the population had been markedly reduced to about 93,000 due to European diseases, massacres and conflict.
Why I took particular interest in this website, is that it mentions the cattle station of Grosvenor Downs as an area of conflict in 1868. No details are mentioned.
I knew that Grosvenor Downs belonged to my great grandfather, John Clark and prior to that his half-sister, Isabella Clark and her husband, Alexander McDonald. John Clark later gave the station to his daughter as a wedding present.
I was hoping that my family weren't involved in such a heinous crime. Further research indicated that in 1868 a Frank Bridgman owned the cattle station. It was sadly a massacre of local Indigenous people; sixty in total.  No reason is given why this massacre occurred. I can only surmise that a European or cattle were speared causing the settlers to retaliate.  
Sadly, it was not an isolated incident. The list of conflicts between Indigenous people and Europeans in Queensland goes right up to 1929.
 It is history that was conveniently overlooked. I don't think that should be the case anymore.