Breakfast Creek Raids 1850s-1870s
Aboriginal groups still remember Breakfast Creek as a type of ‘front line’ in their battle against encroaching settlement. The large and prosperous camps had been commented upon as early as 1824 by Oxley and Cunningham. Leaders such as Yilbung, Commandant, Dalaipi, Dundalli, Billy Barlow, Harry Pring and Tinkabed were all visitors here.
In 1852, 40 warriors raided Mr Bullocks’ home, destroying crops. They then joined a party of 200 to attack Cash’s property further north. A large party of settlers and eight mounted police responded by attacking the camps but were bogged and found the camps empty on their arrival. They nevertheless burnt down and destroyed what they could.
Between 1856 and 1867 there was continual harassment, raids and robberies by Aboriginal groups here, resulting in a series of punitive attacks by settlers. In 1859 five police destroyed the camps and killed and injured at least two of the over 100 residents. In 1861, riotous Aborigines drove off drays and robbed travellers, resulting in Constable Griffin and two mounted police making a raid and arrests. In 1862 there was another “dispersal” by Constable Griffin and one trooper. In 1865, two Constables were attacked, in revenge for which the camps were again burnt down. In 1867, some 15 Aborigines stole one boat and ransacked another (a cutter). Sub-Inspector Gough conducted the fourth burning of the camps. Similarly, in 1874 mounted police dispersed the occupants.
Figure 2: the 1850 petition of residents at or near Breakfast Creek, pleading for police protection
Figure 3: the tight roadway (an Aboriginal pathway) along the Hamilton Reach. The usurping of important transport routes close to large encampments goaded conflict