Graves, everyone must eventually have one whether it be a grand Mausoleum, a simple plot ( with or without a marker ), at sea, or sprinkled over a rose bush in the front yard. However, of those pioneers who died and were subsequently interred before there were cemeteries, [they were] often far from civilisation.

In this young ( but ancient ) land we of the European breed, have buried our dead all over, singly or in groups, later on, a real-estate dealer has sold the land and, "who knows, you may be living with great, great grand mama buried under your house"!! These articles are centered on these unknown dead dotted all over our country-side and often the tales that accompany them, and perhaps inspire readers to investigate the area where they live for early mortuary activities.

The first article is the well known Faithful Massacre on 11th April, 1838: A large mob of sheep and cattle were being overlanded for George and William Pitt Faithful, it appears that a few days previous, several sheep went missing then an aboriginal was seen killing a lamb. Thomas Bently, a servant there, found a cache of 80 to 100 spears hidden in the reeds. The overlanders then ordered the intruders away from camp, they refused to leave and speared John Bass, then began plundering the drays, several of the other overlanders rushed up and fired their guns all four of them. They were hopelessly outnumbered, there being 150 to 200 natives and were forced to flee, then were speared one by one as they ran. First John Hargrave was overtaken; Edward Laycock; John Freeman and William Macon were heard to say "Let us die together", then William Smith was overtaken and killed. The remainder of the party split and ran in two different directions; William Walker and John Brown who struck off to the right and escaped. Daniel Balmain and Michael Welsh struck off for the left, William Read was speared three times, struck several times with a piece of wood and struck repeatedly on the head with a waddy and left for dead, although alive, he died several days later. It would appear that one aboriginie was either killed or wounded. The pursuit of the overlanders was a fierce one, the dead lying over seven miles.

About 10 days later on the 21st April, 1838, Dr. William Bowman and A. F. Mollison's properties N/E of Mt. Macedon had their shepherds attacked and their properties pillaged. A month later Thomas Jones, one of Bowman's shepherds was found speared and disemboweled. Shortly after Mounted Police led by Superintendent John Coppock tracked a party of 50 war-like aboriginies who had stolen sheep from two runs, a pitched battle took place and seven or eight aborigines were shot dead, the sheep were recovered. All was quiet until 12th November, 1838 when at least 400 natives hacked to death George Mould and drove away his sheep N/E of Rutledge and Forster's run on the Goulburn River.

An extract from the Sydney Monitor dated April, 1838 reads: "The mailman informs that the celebrated Black Police of Port Phillip had run away", having taken away the firearms and ammunition which the local authorities of Melbourne had placed in their hands to protect the whites, on their arrival at the Goulburn River bailed up the inmates".

"In executing this very important duty, the Police Magistrate will bear in mind that the black natives of New South Wales are in every respect to be considered subjects of the Queen, and not as aliens against whom the Queen's troops may exercise belligerent rights. No act of indiscriminate reprisal is therefore to be sanctioned against the tribe or tribes which may have been concerned in the late murders, but proceedings are to be adopted similar to what the Laws of England would authorise if any company of depredators or murderers had been guilty of similar atrocities. The endeavours of the police are first of all to be directed to secure the persons of as many individuals concerned in the murders as can be identified, and if any can be secured in this way, the object of the enterprise should be considered as accomplished. The massacre took place on what is now called Faithfull's Creek on the Broken River, west of Benalla.

Contributed by Alfred James Estrada ( PPPG Member No. 882 )

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