Coniston Massacre remembered

p2437 Kimber Dick (1709) 450Dick Kimber (at right), Central Australia’s outstanding historian, wrote this series in late 2003 and early 2004.

 

It is now a treasured part of our early story archive, which we started when the News was still published as a printed paper. Appearing in parallel with it, our online edition is one of Australia’s first newspapers on the web.

 

Now the Alice Springs News, in its 26th year of publication, is published exclusively online.

 

As you will see, the lay-out in our early archive is very basic. All main stories from each weekly print edition appeared in a single file – so you’ll need to scroll down to find Dick’s instalment.

 

The material is copyright Dick Kimber and the Alice Springs News Online.

 

2568 Coniston BullfrogThe images here, from top, are: Bullfrog (Japanangka) • Murray’s prisoners Akirkra and Padygar who were taken to Darwin in October 1928 charged with the murder of Fred Brooks but both were discharged, not guilty • Constable Murray, wife and son Eric • A painting courtesy of National Museum Australia by M. Joseph between 1974 and 1977 when she was a student at Yirara College in Central Australia. Source: Central Land Council brochure.

 

Under the title Time to tell the truth! the land council is marking the 90th anniversary with a purlapa (traditional songs and dances), and students from remote communities will perform a song about the massacres, at 10am on Friday at Yurrkuru (Brooks Soak).

 

 

REAL TRUE HISTORY: THE CONISTON MASSACRE. Part One.

 

TENSIONS RISE AS LAND IS PARCHED. Part Two.

 

FRED BROOKS’ KILLING SPARKED THE MASSACRE. Part Three.

 

“I TOLD THEM TO SCATTER”. Part Four.

 

CENTRE’S ROUGH FRONTIER JUSTICE: REVENGE MURDER, WRONG MAN DIES. Part Five.

 

2568 Coniston Akirkra and PadygarPOSSE STARTS ITS MURDEROUS WORK. Part Six.

 

WILSON WARNS: CHUCK HIM DOWN SPEAR! NO MORE YOU CAN BEAT HIM RIPULLA POINT 303! Part Seven.

 

WOUNDS ARE AS FATAL AS BEING KILLED ON THE SPOT. Part Eight.

 

“OLD MURRAY MOB SHOT THE WRONG MAN”. Part Nine.

 

“I SHOT THE ABORIGINAL WHO WAS STANDING OVER ME, IN THE HEAD. THE OTHERS WERE STILL BELTING ME.” Part Ten.

 

“DID THEY SHOOT IN SELF-DEFENCE?” “NO! THEY SHOT ‘EM LIKE A DOG.” Part Eleven.

 

LITTLE GIRLS CAPTURED: “DON’T LET US GO. HE WILL SHOOT US AS HE DID THE OTHERS.” Part Twelve.

 

“WAS EVER A BATTLE FOUGHT IN WHICH 17 WERE HIT AND ALL DIED?” Part Thirteen.

 

‘THEY NEVER GOT OFF THEIR HORSES. THEY SHOT THEM DOWN IN COLD BLOOD.’ Part Fourteen.

 

1929 WHITEWASH: “THE SHOOTING WAS JUSTIFIED”. Part Fifteen.

 

ALL OF OLD GEORGE’S FRIENDS AND RELATIVES WERE SHOT. THE ONLY SURVIVOR WAS GEORGE. Part Sixteen.

 

2568 Coniston Constable Murray

CONSTABLE MURRAY, STAFFORD AND OTHERS SAW THAT VENGEANCE WAS DONE: MANY BLACKS WERE SHOT. Part Seventeen.

 

CONISTON: CAN WE MAKE A JUDGMENT? Part Eighteen.

 

 

 

 

 

2568 Coniston painting

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Frank Baarda
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:48 am

    @ Kathy: I attended the 90th anniversary.
    A descendant of the Murray family made a beautiful speech which was received in the same spirit in which she gave it.
    There was virtually no rancour or animosity evident.
    It was all about telling and acknowledging what happened.
    Kathy, there was no “wallowing” in the past.
    As for Dick Kimber, he’s a historian (and a good one at that), and that is what historians do – they study and tell the past.

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  2. Kathy
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Besides being a tragic event for both parties in the attack of the white settlers and the fight with the Aborigines, all is part of the past, not a blame game for the future generations as this is being made into and publicised.
    No one was in the right and we should learn from the past mistakes and move on, not wallow in the past.

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  3. Scotty
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Constable Murray was a hero. If you look back at the times they lived in and what was required, he did what was needed.
    Wish he was here nowadays. Alice Springs would be a better place.
    Respect Constable Murray.

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  4. Denise Brooks
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Fred Brooks did not have a brother named Charles.

     

    ED: Margaret Friedel provided the following response: Dick makes it clear in Part 5 that Charles was not Fred’s brother, although Aborigines thought they were brothers because the surname sounded the same.
    The first few sentences of Part 5 provide the Aborigines’ perspective. Then Dick says: “But what of Fred Brooks’ brother, the policeman?
    Charles Edward Brookes (not Brooks) was born in Adelaide on 1st August, 1847 … ” and goes on to give detail about Charles Edward Brookes.
    About a third of the way down the article, Dick then says: “Whatever the case, Mounted Constable Charles Brookes was not the brother of Fred Brooks, but the confusion is understandable.”
    I trust this clears up any misconceptions.

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  5. John Bell
    Posted August 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    If anyone can be trusted to write an open, objective and sympathetic historical comment on the Conniston massacre, it is Dick Kimber.
    I take my hat off to this man.
    I have had the great honour to know Dick as a friend for 48 years. As many of us have.
    If Dick did not invent the word “integrity”, he has certainly lived the word every hour of every single day that I have known this great lad in the Alice.
    And Dick actually DID kick 10 goals 4 for Melanka against Pioneers, that unforgettable day in footy history! I was lucky enough to be there. A witness to a Legend.

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