Commemoration ceremony, Myall Creek Massacre Memorial, Bingara, New South Wales, Australia, 10 June 2017 Photo: Jane Morrison

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Although there are some memorials to conflicts that took place on the Australian frontier and to the people who were involved in them, the majority of the people who took part and the places where confrontations, killings and massacres took place, are not recognised. Compared to the many war memorials across the country, dedicated to the fallen in wars in which Australians have participated overseas, the lack of memorials to frontier conflict is a very sad indictment of the level of knowledge, understanding and compassion of governments and Australians generally about, and for, the people who gave their lives on the Australian colonial frontier.

Types of memorials
While memorials are often statues or monuments, they can come in many different forms such as books, films, gardens, graves, paintings, plaques, poetry, song or sites. Some memorials commemorate Aboriginal peoples who inhabited certain places before the arrival of colonists in 1788, but do not honour those who gave their lives in the defence of homelands from 1788 onwards. Examples of types of memorials follow.

Forest Refuge: A memorial to Aboriginal people who gave their lives in frontier conflicts around Buderim, Queensland is located in the Buderim Forest Nature Refuge. Links to information about this memorial can be found below under Queensland listings.

New South Wales
Memorials to Dave Sands: While legendary boxer, Dave Sands, was not a hero of the frontier wars period, he was a warrior of the boxing world, inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1988. There several different kinds of memorials to Dave Sands (1926–1952), born David Ritchie at Burnt Bridge Mission near Kempsey, New South Wales. The types of memorials to Dave Sands are:

You can read more about Dave Sands at: and in the Australian Dictionary of Biography at:

William Ferguson: Although also not an Aboriginal warrior on the colonial frontier in the sense that he fought in armed combat against colonists, Aboriginal politician and unionist, William (Bill) Ferguson (1882–1950), worked tirelessly for Aboriginal rights in New South Wales. He also championed the freedom of Aboriginal people from the oppression of the Aboriginal Protection Board from the 1900s until his death in 1950. Read more about him in the Australian Dictionary of Biography at: Funding for a William Ferguson Memorial Statue, to be erected at Dubbo, New South Wales, is being sought through Go Fund Me at:

Monuments honouring explorers and colonists highly controversial
As holding Australia Day on 26 January has become a big issue, in some states, like New South Wales, statues honouring Europeans have become controversial also, even damaged by people who do not believe explorers like Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook and invading colonists should be honoured. Christoper Knaus and agencies tell more in their story, dated 26 August 2017, ‘”No pride in genocide”: vandals deface Cook statue in Sydney’s Hyde Park’, The Guardian online at:

In Fremantle, Western Australia, back in 1994, Aboriginal people did not vandalise a highly offensive statue, but added a counter-memorial to it (see Counter-memorial, Fremantle under Western Australia below). While he has decried the vandalism of the Cook statue in Sydney, renowned journalist Stan Grant, among others, has also weighed into the argument, calling for the history of Cook to be corrected: ‘Correct Captain Cook history says Stan Grant’, NITV 22 August 2017. Read more at:

The issue of honouring British explorers, like James Cook, and colonists, who, from 1788, gradually dispossessed First Nations, continues to be very divisive, often because the majority of Australians know little or nothing about our history. How many know, for example, that First Peoples have been here for millennia–for at least 65,000 years, if not 80,000 years, according to archaeologists? (‘Australian dig finds evidence of Aboriginal habitation up to 80,000 years ago’, Helen Davidson and Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian, 20 July 2017, at:

Commemoration of 250th Anniversary of Cook’s First Voyage to Australia
The controversy surrounding the truth of Australia’s history and honouring explorers and colonists is about to become even bigger with the announcement in the Federal Budget, handed down on 8 May 2018, of $48.7 million over four years for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first voyage to Australia. Concerned Australians and those living in difficult circumstances like many in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, might ask why do we need to spend so much honouring a man who actions were partly responsible for the later dispossession of possibly 1 million or more First Peoples? Could these funds be better spent on other programs such as support for programs initiated and run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples themselves? Most of the funds allocated will be spent in 2017–18, including a $25 million Australian Government contribution to the government of New South Wales for the Kamay Botany Bay National Park 250th anniversary project in Sydney.

On 28 April 2018, in the lead up to the Budget, the Turnbull government announced that $50 million is to be spent on the redevelopment of Botany Bay, the first landing place of the British First Fleet in January 1788 that heralded the arrival of colonists. Read more in Nick Sas’s story, updated on 29 April 2018: ‘Botany Bay site’s $50 million redevelopment, including James Cook statue, set to transform historic site’ at:

The development is to include a new ‘aquatic monument’ honouring Cook, the English explorer who ‘took possession’, without the consent of the original inhabitants, of the east coast of Australia at Bedanug or Bedhand Lag (Possession Island) on 22 August 1770. Researcher Graeme Taylor has delved into the history of what actually happened at Bedanug Island that day. In his article, ‘Stirring the Pot of the Dead Cook’, at:, Taylor finds a number of problems with the ‘official’ histories of Cook’s ‘possession’. This event does raise questions about the legitimacy and legality of the existence of ‘Australia’ the nation state.

Captain Cook takes formal possession of New South Wales, 22 August 1770,
from the painting by JA Gilfellan, c. 1859, Wikimedia Commons

Too few Australians it seems, including politicians, know or even care about whether Australia is really a legitimate nation state under British and international law–there are many hints, for example in the Mabo 2 judgments, that it is not. You can read a lot more about this issue on the Sovereign Union website at:

Northern Territory
The Gurindji Walk-off at Wave Hill Station in 1966 came about not only because of poor wages and working conditions, but as a result of the killings, maltreatment and massacres of Aboriginal people by pastoralists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A book, Yijarni: true stories from Gurindji country, Erika Charola and Felicity Meakins eds, AIATSIS, 2016, tells  stories of these events in Aboriginal languages and in English. Read about the launch of the book in August 2016 at:

William Cooper: 
Influential activist and unionist William Cooper was a Yorta Yorta man born on the Murray River, Victoria in 1860. A memorial statue in the Queen’s Gardens, Shepparton, Victoria was dedicated to him on 27 March 2018, 77 years after his death. You can read more about William Cooper himself in Diane Barwick’s entry on him in the Dictionary of Australian Biography at:

Western Australia
Counter-memorial, Fremantle
In 1994, in a ‘counter-memorial’, First Peoples at Fremantle, Western Australia, added their point of view to a controversial, offensive ‘Explorers’ Monument’ that originally commemorated the leader of a punitive expedition at La Grange that killed up to 20 Aboriginal people. Read more about this story, ‘The controversial statue that was added to, not torn down or vandalised’ by Vanessa Mills and Ben Collins, ABC Kimberley, 29 August 2017 at:   

Lists of Memorials Relating to Australian Frontier Conflicts

Below are links to websites relating to memorials throughout Australian States and Territories, to some known conflicts between colonists and Australia’s First Peoples. This list, that was first created in 2015, is being expanded as more information becomes available.  Please let us know about any memorials or monuments, already existing or proposed, that are not included in the list below. Please also let us know of any broken links through our online email Contact facility. 



Aboriginal Memorial plaque
Mount Ainslie near the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

This plaque commemorates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans of wars in which Australians have participated overseas. There is no national memorial at the Australian War Memorial to First Peoples who died in Australia’s colonial frontier conflicts. You can read more about this plaque and the annual commemorative ceremony for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans at:

The Aboriginal Memorial (Poles Memorial)
National Gallery of Australia

Parkes Place
Parkes, ACT

Links here:–memorial-poles-memorial-


Appin Massacre, Cataract Dam, NSW

Links here:

Battle of Richmond Hill monument

177 Grose Vale Road
St John of God Hospital
North Richmond, NSW

Links here:

Bluff Rock Massacre monument

New England Highway
Tenterfield, NSW

Links here:

Cameraygal People monument

Woodford Street
Woodford Bay
Longueville, NSW

Link here:

East Ballina Massacre site plaque and cross

Shelly Beach Road
East Ballina, NSW

Links here:

Hospital Creek Massacre monument

Hospital Creek, Goodooga Road, 15 kms from
Brewarrina, NSW

Links here:

Mount Dispersion Massacre Site

A cairn recording a violent incident between surveyor, Major Thomas Mitchell’s party and Aboriginal people in May 1836 is located on Tapalin Mail Route Road, Midway between Mildura and Robinvale, Mount Dispersion, New South Wales.

The New South Wales Government declared the actual site of the massacre, in which at least seven Aboriginal people were killed, as an Aboriginal Place on 27 April 2020 in the lead up to the 184th anniversary of the killings. News and details about the declaration are on the News page under Mount Dispersion recognised as a Declared Aboriginal Place, posted on 4 June 2020.

Myall Creek Massacre Memorial

Myall Creek, Delungra Road, 20 km north of
Bingara, NSW

Links here:

Reconciliation Plaque

(Honouring Aboriginal and European people who gave their lives in Australian frontier conflicts)
Allyn River Road, Mount Razorback,
10.3 kms north-west of Gresford, NSW

Link here:

Windradyne’s Grave plaque

Brucedale, Suttor property
1361 Sofala Road
Bathurst, NSW

Links here:


Coniston Massacre monuments

Baxters Well
East of Willowra, NT

Link here:

Brooks Soak

Mount Denison Road
NW of Alice Springs, NT

Links here:

Dhakiyarr Wirrpanda & McColl memorial

Foyer, Supreme Court
9 Smith Street
Darwin, NT

Link here:

Stapleton & Franks Memorial

Barrow Creek Telegraph Station
Stuart Highway
Barrow Creek, NT

Links here:


Frontier Wars Installation

Beulah Community
Lindsay Road
Buderim, QLD

Links here:—the-battles

Hornet Bank
Fraser Family Memorial

Hornet Bank Road
Hornet Bank Station
Taroom, QLD

Links here:

Battle Mountain (Mount Remarkable) memorial

Kalkadoon/Kalatunga Memorial
20 kms south-west of Kajabbi, QLD

Link at:—kalkatunga-memorial

Jackey Jackey Memorial

Bamaga Airport
Bamaga, QLD

A memorial to Galmarra (Jackey Jackey), companion to Edmund Kennedy on his disastrous 1848 expedition to find a possible site for a northern Queensland port. Link to more information on Monument Australia at:

Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi People memorial

Corella Creek
Barkly Highway
23 kilometres west of Cloncurry, QLD

Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi People memorial
Barkly Highway
23 kms west of Cloncurry Queensland
Photo: Eleanor Gilbert, 31 May 2018

Closeup of plaques showing damage from vandalism. Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi People memorial, Photo: Eleanor Gilbert, 31 May 2018

More information at:

Mary Watson memorial

Charlotte Street
Cooktown, QLD


Multuggerah memorial plaque

Duggan Park, Leslie Street
Toowoomba, QLD

Links here:

Wills Massacre Cairn

Lake Maraboon, Cullin La Ringo Road
Springsure, QLD

Link here:


Frank Hawson memorial

Kali Grove, Hawson Place,
Port Lincoln, SA

Links here:

Maria Massacre monument

Maria Monument
Apex Park, East Terrace
Kingston SE, SA

Link here:

Waterloo Bay, Elliston memorial

Little Bay Clifftop Drive
Waterloo Bay, Elliston, SA

Links here:


Memorial plaque to Truganini, Bruny Island

Truganini is perhaps one of Australia’s most famous Aboriginal people, at one time believed to be the last Tasmanian. Bruny Island, one of the small islands off Tasmania, has a memorial plaque to her. Truganini, Tunnerminnerwait’s wife Planobeena, and Pyterruner, were tried in Melbourne, Victoria in late 1841 as accessories to the murders of two whalers at Cape Paterson, Victoria. They were found not guilty. Tasmanian warriors Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyhenner were condemned to death for the whalers’ murders and hanged in Melbourne early in the morning of 20 January 1842. In December 2013 Melbourne City Council voted unanimously to erect a memorial in Melbourne to the men, once seen as common criminals rather than as freedom fighters defending their land and the very existence of their culture and nations. In 2016 a memorial to Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyhenner was designed following consultations with Victorian and Tasmanian Aboriginal communities. One newspaper article summarises their story and how they were not allowed to give evidence in court. Read more at


Aboriginal Massacres memorial stone

Bank Street
Port Fairy, VIC

Links here:

Aboriginal Memorial

High Street
Orford, VIC
A memorial stone and plaque to Aboriginal people who lost their lives in the Orford area of Victoria. Link here:

Aborigines of Port Phillip monument

Information Centre, First Settlement Site
Port Nepean Road & Leggatt Way
Sorrento, VIC

Links here:

Battle of Yering monument

Yarra Flats Billabongs
Melba Highway
Yarra Glen, VIC

Links here:

Dan ‘the Cook’ Dempsey memorial stone

Orbost, VIC

Links here:

Faithfull Massacre memorial

Kent Street
Lake Benalla
Benalla, VIC

Links here:

Konongwootong Quiet Place

Konongwootong Reservoir
Konongwootong, about 11 km north of Coleraine, VIC

Links here:

Manna Gums Frontier Wars Memorial Avenue

Malmsbury–Daylesford Road
Daylesford, Victoria

The first of its kind in Australia, this Avenue of Honour was opened on 16 July 2021 at the conclusion of NAIDOC Week, the theme for which was “Heal Country”. The memorial provides an opportunity to honour the loss of lives, sacrifice and suffering of First Peoples during frontier conflicts in Australia. Healing Country and Healing People are inseparable. Acknowledgment of the suffering of Aboriginal people is a first step along the road to acceptance of Australia’s history and people working together for a better future for all.

Manna Gums memorial avenue sign, Hepburn Shire Council, Victoria

Link here:

Massacre Hill memorial

5 kilometres west of Peterborough, VIC

Link here:

Mount Dispersion Cairn

Mount Dispersion
Tapaulin Mail Route Road
Midway between Mildura and Robinvale, VIC

Link here:

Mount Dispersion Plaque

Aboriginal Keeping Place Museum
Shepparton, VIC

Link here:

Memorial to Maulboyhenner and Tunnerminnerwait

Cnr of Victoria and Franklin Streets
As mentioned above, the Melbourne City Council unanimously voted for a memorial to Tasmanians Maulboyhenner and Tunnerminnerwait. Opened in September 2016, the memorial is a first step in recognising Victoria’s brutal past. Read more at:

Wombeetch Puyuum grave and memorial to Aborigines

Camperdown Cemetery, Cemetery Road,
Camperdown, VIC


Butterabby Graves

Mingenew Road, 15km S of
Mullewa, WA

Link here:

Chipper’s Leap monument

Padbury Road, Greenmount Hill
Greenmount, WA

Link here:

Flying Foam Massacre monument

Burrup Peninsula
Dampier, WA

Link here:

Injudinah Massacre plaque

Explorers Memorial
The Esplanade
Fremantle, WA

Link here:–massacre

Kakenarup Memorial
15 kms from Ravensthorpe

Memorial to those who died around Cocanarup in the early years of colonisation.

Link here:

Michael Tobin grave
Canning Stock Route near Well 40,
Tobin Lake

Link here:

Mistake Creek Massacre monument
Warmun (Turkey Creek), WA

Link here:

Mowla Bluff Massacre monument

Geegully Creek
Mowla Bluff, WA

Link here:

Peter Chidlow and Edward Jones memorial tablet

Gillet Road and Buckland Street
Northam, WA

Link here:

Battle of Pinjarra Memorial Park

McLarty Road
Pinjarra, WA

Link here:

Sturt Creek massacre site memorial

Kimberleys, Western Australia
Link here to story about the Sturt Creek massacre and the memorial descendants erected in 2011:

Yagan Memorial Park

West Swan Road and Great Northern Highway
Belhus, WA

Link here:

Yagan Square, Perth, WA

Yagan Square that opened in Western Australia’s capital, Perth on 3 March 2018, is already being called ‘the heart of Perth’. A nine-metre tall statue of Yagan honours the famous resistance fighter who defended Noongar lands in the early days of the Swan River colony. The statue was created by Noongar artist, Tjyllyungoo Lance Chadd in collaboration with Trish Robinson and Stuart Green. The work is titled ‘Wirin’–the Noongar word for ‘spirit’ that represents the sacred eternal force of creative power that binds all life on Boodja (Mother Earth). Rangi Hirini’s story about Perth’s new Yagan Square cultural area was aired on NITV News on 22 February 2018, Read more at:

First compiled by Jane Morrison July–August 2015, updated 25 July 2016, 24 October 2016, 7 November 2017, February 2018, May 2018.