80th Anniversary of the Coniston MassacrePrint Page Print this page

The monument was unveiled on the 80th anniversary of the last recorded massacre of Aboriginal people.  It features rocks from various sacred sites was constructed by CDEP workers from Ali Curung. On the 20th August 2008 at Athimpelengkwe (Baxter’s Well) it was unveiled to commemorate those killed at this site in 1928 during the Coniston Massacre.

The site consists of two large rocks which represents two senior men from Athimpelengkwe who were killed during the massacre. The English name ‘Baxter Well’ because the well was named after Harry Baxter, who was once in charge of well sinking and maintenance in Central Australia.

The Coniston Massacre was a series of reprisals conducted against indigenous Australians in response to the killing of Frederick Brooks of Coniston Station in 1928. 

On 7th August, 1928, two men of the Warlpiri tribe killed Frederick Brooks of Coniston Station after claiming he had unlawful use of one of their women. Brook's aboriginal assistant reported the killing and the Government Resident , Mr Carwood,gave Mounted Police Constable Murray licence to deal with the culprits as he saw fit. Constable Murray led separate patrols in August, September and October intending to bring to justice the aborigines responsible for the killing.

News travelled fast and soon reports of aboriginal killings were surfacing in newspapers across the country. Outcry from the public, humanitarian societies and missionaries forced the Government at the time to appoint a Board of Enquiry to investigate the murders. In an official inquiry it was estimated that 32 members of the Warlpiri tribe were killed during these patrols though the Warlpiri stated that between 60 and 70 people lost their lives. The two aborigines charged with the murder of Brooks were acquitted by a Darwin Court.


Address:East of Willowra, Baxters Well
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -20.96827
Long: 133.54193
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:07-August-1928
Actual Event End Date:07-August-2008


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 20th August, 2008
Front Inscription
This memorial was built by the Kaytetye and Walpiri descendants of people who were shot at this place, Athimpelengkewe, in 1928 by a police party. The police were looking for who attacked Nugget Morton at Boomerang Waterhole on the Lander River.

The people shot here were doing a ceremony for Jarra Jarra country and Errwelty country and did not know about the trouble. The rocks on top of this memorial came from Pirli Yampa in Errweltye and a Yaniningkurlang / Wapaljarri place in Jarra Jarra.

We want to remember them always.

‘And my poor fella, they bin make business for Jardiwarnpa. Then Murray ran into them…. bin shot. They didn’t know about that trouble’.  Johnny Nelson, February 2007

‘They were all widows now who lost their men. They took the group of young kids back from that country, and those kids were raised by stepfathers’.  Peter Horsetailer, April 1991
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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