Butterabby GravesPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Erich Nussbaumer

Butterabby Graves is a site of conflict where the Wajarri and the Nhanhagardi/Wilunyu peoples attempted to resist pastoralist expansion. The site contains the grave of James Rudd who was killed by aborigines and the graves of five aboriginal men who were hanged for the spearing of Thomas Bott who later died from his injuries.  In 1973 a Mullewa farmer, Albert Keeffe, arranged for a huge granite rock to be erected on the infamous site.

The deaths followed a classic conflict over limited food and water resources, violence was inevitable and the two white men died in separate incidents in 1864. The five aboriginal men Wangayakoo, Yourmacarra, Garder, Charlacarra and Williacarra were arrested for the spearing of Bott who died from his injuries in Geraldton hospital. They were sent to Perth for trial, found guilty and sentenced to death. They were taken back to Butterabby and hanged near the scene of the crime as an example to other tribesmen.

James Rudd was found dead outside the door of his hut and on the 27th October 1864, Mumbleby, Belo and Beeja-Beeja were arrested about 160kilometres east of Butterabby for Rudd's killing. The prisoners had in their possession flour and clothing belonging to Rudd. On 6 January 1865, Mumbleby and Belo were charged with the murder of James Rudd. Mumbleby was convicted of the manslaughter of Rudd and sentenced to life imprisonment. Belo was acquitted of the crime.
Butterabby is representative of many sites, recorded and unrecorded, where conflict occurred due to the displacement of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands through the establishment of agricultural and pastoral properties. Today Butterabby Graves is highly valued by the Mullewa community. It is also recognised by Aboriginal communities through their oral tradition as a site where five of their people were executed and is listed in the Aboriginal Heritage sites register.


Address:Mingenew Road, Proceed until you reach the sign: 'Gravestones - Butterabby', Mullewa, 6630
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.6725
Long: 115.516111
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event STart Date:22 -February-1864
Actual Event End Date:28-January-1865


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1973
Front Inscription

“In these graves lie James Rudd speared here at Butterabby 23 Sept., 1864.

Also Garder, Wangayakoo, Yourmacarra, Charlacarra, Williacarra, natives sentenced in Perth and hanged here 28 Jan., 1865, for the spearing of Thomas Bott at Butterabby, 22 Feb., 1864.”

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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