For information on the people mentioned below, please refer to the “Characters” page.

In late 1837 two white men were killed at George Bowman’s station and later two more were killed at one of John Cobb’s stations. Both sets of murders were reportedly carried out by Aborigines in retaliation for attacks by whites on their camps. Following reports of these incidents reaching Sydney, and under pressure from the squatters to do something about the “:atrocities” and ”outrages” of the Aborigines, the acting Governor, Lieutenant Colonel Snodgrass dispatched Major James Nunn to the district to “suppress these outrages” by the “blacks”. Nunn led a group of over twenty troopers to the Liverpool Plains district in January of 1838. Once he reached the area, Nunn enlisted the assistance of approximately twenty local stockmen swelling the group to over forty. (The actual numbers often varied from day to day and area to area.) Together they rode around the district attacking and often killing any Aborigines they could find.

On Australia Day, 26th January 1838, fifty years after the establishment of the colony, Major Nunn and his band attacked a large group of Aborigines (reported to be up to two hundred) camped by a lagoon at what became known as Waterloo Creek. Definite information on how many Aborigines were slaughtered that day is not available and reports vary from twenty to over one hundred. The same lack of definite information also relates to the numbers of Aborigines Nunn and his band killed during their campaign but suffice it to say that given they had over forty heavily armed men on horseback, the many Aboriginal camps they attacked would have been unable to provide significant resistance and therefore large numbers of Aborigines are believed to have been slaughtered.

After Nunn returned to Sydney, the local stockmen continued to follow the pattern of raids established by Nunn in an effort to drive the Aborigines off the land. Large groups of stockmen from neighbouring stations would band together and ride around the district attacking Aboriginal camps.

In May of 1838 a group of approximately forty five Aborigines from the Weraerai tribe (part of the Kamilaroi nation) had been camped for a few months at McIntyre’s station which had been established on their traditional tribal land. The convict hut keeper at the station, Andrew Eaton had offered them protection from the marauding bands of stockmen. As the stockmen’s raids got closer though Eaton felt the Weraerai would be safer moving to a more “out of the way” location particularly since they had no spears which was apparently a condition of them being “protected” on McIntyre’s station. Charles Kilmeister from the Henry Dangar’s Myall Creek then invited them to his station with the offer of protection. The Weraerai accepted his invitation and set out for Myall Creek in mid May.

Overlooking the Myall Creek Station from the ridge to the west of the huts.

The stockmen’s huts in 1838 were on the site of the current homestead in centre-right of this photo

When the Weraerai arrived at the Myall Creek station, William Hobbs, the station superintendent, was absent but the Aborigines were welcomed by Kilmeister. When Hobbs returned to the station he initially was angry with Kilmeister for inviting them and wanted them to leave. However, Kilmeister convinced him to let them stay.

Generally harmonious relationships developed between the Weraerai and the “whites” on the station. In many similar situations across the colony where Aborigines lived on cattle and sheep stations such relationships involved the exchange of Aboriginal women’s sexual favours for “protection” and food. The Aborigines became dependant to some degree on the “whites” for their food since they had been required to surrender their spears and therefore couldn’t hunt their usual larger game. It should be noted that in Aboriginal culture there was a very different attitude to sexual relationships to that in much of society today. An Aboriginal man would sometimes “lend” his wife to a friendly visitor if the wife agreed. It was a gesture of friendship and generosity. What caused much conflict on the frontier was when “whites” simply took and raped Aboriginal women.

At Myall Creek it would appear there was some degree of agreed swapping of women for food and “protection”. George Anderson, the convict hut keeper, is known to have had a sexual relationship with an Aboriginal man’s wife, Ipeta. How many of the others on the station were involved is unknown but it is likely this was at least a part of Kilmeister’s motivation in inviting them to the station. Hobbs, it seems, may have known nothing about it.

The relationships between the Aborigines and the “whites” were generally very good and they spent a lot of time together. The Weraerai camp was immediately adjacent to the two station huts. One of which was Hobbs and the other was shared by the three convicts and two Aboriginal stockmen, Davey and Billy. The “whites” often spent the evenings by the Weraerai camp fire, singing and dancing while the Weraerai spent time in and around the station huts. Young Charley became a particular favourite of Hobbs while Anderson was given his own nickname of “Jackey Jackey” by the Weraerai.