'We want to say sorry': the historian whose great-uncle led the Coniston massacreHistorians in the News
tags: racism, Australia, Aboriginals
Liza Dale-Hallett has thought deeply about Australia’s colonial history. That’s not because of her profession – she’s a historian – but because her great-uncle Constable George Murray was a killer.
Murray led the Coniston massacre of 1928, one of the later mass killings of Aboriginal people on the frontier, in the Northern Territory.
In August 1928 a white dingo trapper, Fred Brooks, was found murdered on Coniston station. Brooks had been living at a waterhole called Yurrkuru, west of the homestead, and was said to have mistreated one of the Warlpiri women working for him. He was also occupying a traditional Warlpiri soakage at a time of extreme drought, when skirmishes over water and food had been escalating.
In reprisal, Murray led a group of men on horseback. They shot and killed more than 50 men, women and children in at least six sites between August and October that year. Warlpiri, Anmatyerre and Kaytetye people say up to 170 died.
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