In a recent article, Russell Jackson, delves into whether there is any truth in an 1895 Chicago Tribune story about the involvement of a pioneer of Australian Rules Football, Tom Wills, in reprisals after the 1861 Cullin-la-ringo massacre. 

Jackson’s story: “Experts add weight to discovery that sporting hero Tom Wills participated in mass murder of Indigenous people”, appeared on ABC News online on 19 September 2021.
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The Cullin-la-Ringo massacre, also known as the ‘Wills Tragedy’, took place north of Springsure, Queensland on 17 October 1861. Horatio Wills (father of Tom Wills) and 18 other men, women and children died in the attack–allegedly the largest massacre of colonists by Aboriginal people in Australian history.

Colonists’ attacks on, and retribution against, many First Nations people, even when they were innocent of any violence or theft, took place in Queensland and elsewhere in the Australian colonies (later States and Territories) in the 18th, 19th centuries and into the 20th century, as First Peoples defended Country against invaders who had come, not just to visit, but to stay, uninvited. Believing the land to be “terra nullius” (belonging to no-one), the majority of the intruders would not recognise Aboriginal sovereignty, despoiled traditional water sources, hunted and drove away native animals that were often food sources, destroyed sacred sites, damaged and destroyed large parts of the land that they fenced, and brought dreadful diseases to which Aboriginal people had no immunity.