Richmond River Massacre - Massacres - East Ballina Massacre

East Ballina Massacre

In 1853-4, at an area close to the present day East Ballina Golf Course, the Native Police killed between 30 and 40 Bundjalung people, including men, women and children while they slept, and many who got away were badly wounded.

It is believed that some Aborigines from north of the Tweed River had murdered some Europeans and that the murderers had fled south towards the Richmond River.

On the night prior to the raid, the police contingent which included both Native Police trackers and European troopers, stayed at James Ainsworth's father's Public House, 'The Sailor's Home'. At 3 am the following morning the Native Mounted Police patrol rode out to where between 200 to 300 tribes-people lay asleep in camp. The Arakwal East Ballina clan of the Bundjalung Nation had a camping ground on the slope of the hill facing the valley near Black Head. The troopers and trackers surrounded the camp and opened fire at close range. After the carnage, the Native Mounted Police patrol then headed north towards the Tweed River.

The matter was reported to the NSW Government but no action against the perpetrators was taken.

When the Aboriginal survivors eventually returned to the camp, they sought no reprisals and took no revenge against the Native Police trackers and European troopers involved in the massacre.

There is an Aboriginal oral tradition that tells stories of escape, of people who were shot and were laid to rest in the forests north of the camp, and of those who were driven off the cliff at Black Head.

There is a belief that some victims of the massacre were never buried, their bodies being either dumped off the cliff at Black Head or abandoned on Angels Beach.

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