#OnThisDay 10 June 1838, at least 28 Aboriginal people were massacred at Myall Creek in northern NSW. The perpetrators of the massacre included 11 convicts and one freeman, John Fleming (who was never captured). Eleven of the group were arrested and tried before Chief Justice James Dowling but were found not guilty. In the second trial only seven were charged. On 30 November 1838 they were found guilty and hanged on 18 December 1838. This was the first time white men were hanged for crimes against Aboriginal people.
This important document is one of the first official reports to the authorities of the atrocity in June 1838 that later became known as the Myall Creek Massacre, in which 28 Aboriginal people were killed.
In October 1836, William Hobbs became an overseer of Mr Henry Dangar’s three cattle stations on the Big River, one of which was on the Myall Creek (near Inverell). As the first person encountering evidence of the incident and formally reporting it, he became one of the main Crown witnesses in the subsequent murder trials in Sydney. Seven men were eventually convicted and executed for their involvement in the massacre. It was the first time a group of white men were hanged for the murder of Aboriginal people, although the murder of the Chief of the Newcastle tribe in 1820 had resulted in the execution of an individual (the convict John Kirby).
Hobbs subsequently had difficulty finding employment in the pastoral industry, but he was appointed Chief Constable, Wollombi and McDonald River from 1847-50, Chief Constable Windsor, 1850-64, Gaoler at Windsor 1864-65; and Gaoler at Wollongong from 6 September 1865 until his death on 8 April 1871.
I beg to acquaint you that about
a month since I had occasion to leave Mr Dangar’s
Station on the Big River for a few days on my
return I saw near the Hut the remains of about
thirty Blacks principally Women and Children
I recognised them as part of a tribe that had
been at the Station for some time and who
had since they first came conducted themselves in a quiet and proper manner, on making
enquiry I was informed that a party of White
Men had come to the Station who after harassing (?)
them had taken them a short distance from My
Hut and destroyed nearly the whole of them.
I should have given information
earlier but circumstances having prevented
my sooner coming down the country
Your Obt Servant