Australia’s “Gaza War”

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by Neil Godfrey

. . . . Then came Cullin-la-ringo.

After a long journey from Victoria with his family, servants, stockmen, wagons and over 7000 thousand sheep, Horatio Wills pitched his tents by the Nogoa River in early October 1861. Eight months earlier, “the perfect state of peace” on the Nogoa had been shattered by Lieutenant Patrick. More violence had followed in the months since as Patrick went about his work. . . .

[But let’s not get distracted with details of history lest some of us, God forbid, suspect I write with winking approval of what happened to the Wills family and household.]

The Willses were not to blame for any of this but, as the paper pointed out:

The blacks, like their civilised invaders, confound the individual with the race; that, in common with all people, whether savage or half-civilised, they exact the penalty from the first of the adverse nation who falls into their hands. In war, this course is sometimes followed by belligerent States, professing to rank with civilised nations. Indeed, the principle of reprisals is nothing else than punishing the innocent for the guilty.

The family had been at Cullin-la-ringo for ten days when about a hundred Gayiri men and women descended on their camp and killed them all in broad daylight. Among the nineteen dead were seven children. Though they had many guns to defend themselves, the only shot fired in the attack was from Wills’ revolver. His head was nearly severed. Bodies were left scattered among the tents. . . .  News of the killings at Cullin-la-ringo broke around the world. It remains the bloodiest massacre by blacks in the history of Australia.

“An uncontrollable desire for vengeance took possession of every heart,” [Queensland Governor] Bowen told the Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Bowen had no quarrel with such “just chastisement”. All over the north, settlers and Native Police rode out to kill. Scrubs and mountains were scoured. Blacks were shot and driven over cliffs. The Rockhampton Bulletin reported the clashes with something like delight.

The Native Police overtook the tribe of natives who committed the late outrage at Nogoa, and succeeded in driving them into a place from whence escape was impossible. They then shot down sixty or seventy, and they only ceased firing upon them when their ammunition was expended.

Those who sought shelter in Rockhampton – “the little town of mud and dust” – were driven back out into the bush to be shot. As it was after Hornet Bank, blacks were executed hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime. Runs on the Comet, the Nogoa, the Dawson and the Mackenzie were stripped of Aborigines. About four hundred are thought to have died in the weeks after Cullin-la-ringo, but that is no more than a cautious guess. The Yiman, Wadjigu, Gayiri and Darumbal peoples were nearly wiped out.


After Cullin-la-ringo there was no hope left of reining in the Native Police. Vengeance was blessed. No limits were set on the awful powers of the force. More than ever, the government placed the highest value on the energy of its officers and their discretion – in both meanings of that slippery word: judgement and secrecy. Nowhere would the occupation of Australia prove bloodier than here, and no instrument of state as culpable as the Native Police. Slaughter was bricked into the foundations of Queensland.

  • Marr, David. Killing for Country: A Family Story. Black Inc, 2023. pp 249-253

The above took place a little more than twenty years after one of the earliest settlements in Queensland, the idealistic mission station named Zion’s Hill.

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Neil Godfrey

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2 thoughts on “Australia’s “Gaza War””

  1. Hi Neil and other readers

    Thanks for sharing.

    The memory is still there, but not so clear as I get older. I was with my father visiting property owners of ‘Retreat’ or ‘The Retreat’ near Mungindi, it was probably about doing some fishing or shooting on the property. (I have fond memories of staying there in the shearing sheds with my Grandfather when he visited and did some fishing in the Barwon River, nice Murray Cod and Golden Perch.)

    So, the owner ducks inside and then brings out a human skull with a bullet hole in the side. He found it on the property, and explained that the police were not interested as there was a lot of that sort of thing in the area … the Terra nullius doctrine I was indoctrinated with in school was merely a polite fairy story for the shielded public, and like pretty much all the false and generally heavily idealised history and world view I was taught … I believed it far too much and far too deeply. The truth was gunshots to the head of the original owners of Australia.

    I had a school kid fight at Mungindi public school, with a Zane Cubby. I only later, very much later, learned that the Cubbies were the leaders that united many original tribes and defeated the first NSW armed attempt to take and rule their land in North Western NSW. There I was, at school with the historical leaders children and I didn’t even know a true history of the area or the of the original people I went to school with.

    I think it was Neils Peter Lemche, I remember being quoted as stating that people don’t know history they are given a History. (I certainly didn’t know real history but was given a History. Capital H indicating philosophical Idea in contrast to empirical fact.) I observe that the falsification of History has progressed to the scripting and enacting of staged h/History to create a h/History philosopher/kings have planned and are gradually unfolding to create the beliefs and mental world views desired in the general population.

    Earlier today I heard on a vid how it wasn’t Rabinical Jews that came up with the notion of returning to Israel but that it started with powerful interests outside of the major Jewish groups. Of course this is just hearsay as I don’t claim this to be true, merely if true it fits the notion of history being planned and made to happen according to a script. … and this seems to have been going on for millennia using planning in Plato.

    (It’s impossible that Jesus and Peter walked on water, the physics is impossible … so to, the current official narrative underpinning the terrorist legislation, touted as real history, when in fact it is just as impossible as the Jesus/Christian tale used to found the dark ages – the physics is impossible.)

    Some things are still the same. Trust the official narratives and sources, at great peril. They include the current universal (i.e. Catholic) position. It was an ex British PM, that I heard was involved in feeding it out that it was time for the Jews to go back to the promised land and so it seems much history (now) being played before many eyes … is not an organic—natural human affair but a philosopher/king script being acted into philosophical History, with a capital H, but seen for real! It’s a far more powerful philosophical spell than the Jesus fabrication, the sacrifice and blood is our own and that of our families and we see it for real – the camera doesn’t lie after all.

    It would be nice to do school again with a more true knowledge of the Cubby family and knowing a truer history of the Australia and world we live and move and have our being in. But that water has gone under the bridge and the new generation is being taught new false stories. I was brought up Christian and Australian … glad to say free of both forms of philosophical indoctrination, both Platonic in nature and very powerful deceptions.

    About 10 years ago I had a website ‘real-morality.org’. I dedicated some pages to historical revision of Qld history regarding the waging of a territory war in which more Qld originals were killed than Australians died in WWI – based on conservative statistics done by Uni of Qld researchers on remaining official records of the Qld Mounted Police military units and their ‘dispersing’ of original peoples for colonisation by Europeans.

    The main thing I know about history/History is that I don’t know history except that History is a philosophical story crafted to shape world view. The response quoted above “An uncontrollable desire for vengeance took possession of every heart,” I view as likely a desired response … but it it is something true in reality and not just a literary creation? How would I know? I do know that the leaders of society and media are currently in cahoots for a fresh universal (Catholic) orthodoxy and it seems to have been that way since Plato and the Flavians in Rome. Ned Kelly supposedly had the last words of “such is life” well I echo the sentiment with ‘such is western society’.
    As I lost my Christian beliefs and left Christian society I have lost my western society beliefs and disassociate myself with it. It is not possible to stand true on false bases, even though standing honestly, as I did.

    1. Yes, we were taught a false history in primary school. I recall learning that there were very few incidents of violence between white settlers and the indigenous peoples and they were usually the result of Aborigines not understanding that sheep and cattle were not simply there for the taking like kangaroos. We probably all had a little giggle. Then we learned that the White Australia Policy was not the expression of racism but was entirely an economic program to protect our standard of living. We were always the good guys, of course. Any blemishes in our past were aberrations, usually the result of misguided good intentions.

      Then we had the History Wars with John Howard (our prime minister at the time for non-Aussie readers) declaring that “we” were basically well meaning and that we should not focus on just a few isolated bad apples from the past. The fact is that it was the minority voices that were the “good apples” and they were largely ignored or abused by those who had power to bring the violence under control.

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