Mount Dispersion, site of a massacre of Aboriginal people in 1836, has been recognised as a Declared Aboriginal Place. The gazettal, on 24 April 2020, of the site gives it legal recognition and protection as a significant site under New South Wales law.

On 27 May 2020, 184 years ago, a surveying party led by Major Thomas Mitchell, fired on Aboriginal people as they swam for their lives across the Murray River. At least seven Aboriginal people were killed. The real history of what led up to the massacre and what actually happened on that day is not clear because Mitchell’s account raises many questions. He faced an executive council inquiry when he returned to Sydney. His  version does not include a recounting of these events from the perspective of the Aboriginal survivors. It is time 184 years later that their descendants are given the opportunity to right this wrong.

Mount Dispersion Cairn. Image: Monument Australia.
Aboriginal Elders want a marker at the site of the true location of the massacre. Mutti Mutti Elder, Barry Pearce, called for the Mount Dispersion Massacre Site’s true history to be known so that there is “recognition and acknowledgement that there was a frontier war and that Aboriginal people did fight for their country”. Read more about the history of Mount Dispersion:,_New_South_Wales

Details of the Aboriginal Place declaration for Mount Dispersion Massacre Site can be found at:

Government Notices 1513 NSW Government Gazette No 85 of 24 April 2020


Planning and Environment Notices


Mount Dispersion Massacre Site Aboriginal Place

Pursuant to section 84 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, I, the Special Minister of State, Minister forthe Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts, Vice-President of the ExecutiveCouncil, being of the opinion that the place known as Mount Dispersion Massacre Site is, and was, of specialsignificance to Aboriginal culture, declare the lands described in schedule “A” as an Aboriginal Place.

The values for which Mount Dispersion Massacre Site Aboriginal Place has been assessed as being significant to Aboriginal culture include, but are not limited to, the site of a colonial massacre during which at least sevenAboriginal people were killed by Major Thomas Mitchell and his men on 27th May 1836, and the sacred association with the Great Warrior (or Hunter) and the Cod creation story concerning the creation of the MurrayRiver.

The Hon. Don Harwin MLC
Leader of the Government in the Legislative CouncilSpecial Minister of State Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts, Vice-President of the Executive Council

Signed at Sydney this 12th day of March 2020

Part of Lot 192 DP 760808, County of Taila, Parish of Matalong, Shire of Wentworth, being the hatched areashown in the following diagram of approximately 2.05 hectares

Page updated 17 April 2024