Kalkadoon

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Kalkadoon
Total population
several hundred
(less than 1% of the Australian population, about 1% of the Aboriginal population)
Regions with significant populations
 Australia
(Queensland)
Languages
English, formerly Kalkatungu language
Religion
Aboriginal mythology

Kalkadoon (Kalkatungu), Indigenous Australian tribe living in the Mount Isa region of Queensland. In 1884 they were massacred at "Battle Mountain", in a fight against police. The first Europeans to visit the area were explorers Burke and Wills who crossed the Cloncurry River in 1861.

Edward Palmer settled on the edge of their country in 1864, and tried to learn their language. Ernest Henry arrived in 1866, discovering copper and founding the Great Australia Mine. He was able to get Kalkadoon people to work for him at the Argyle Mine and at Mount Oxide.

Burketown was a town established on the Gulf of Carpentaria, with friction growing after many white settlers came south from there into the region.

Many settlers were killed, and a native police contingent ambushed by the Kalkadoon.

In January 1883 the Cloncurry Native Police force was attacked as they camped in the McKinlay Range. The Officer in Charge of the police force and three other troopers were killed, while one survivor had to walk twenty miles to alert the authorities, with a spear still in him.

In 1884 James Powell was killed with a spear while herding cattle. Police Sub Inspector Frederick Charles Urquhart, and Alexander Kennedy from Scotland tracked the Kalkadoons and there was a masscre of them in a gorge, where women and children were also killed.

A Chinese shepherd was murdered in September on Granada Station in the foothills of the Argylla Ranges, sparking reprisals, where the Kalkadoon took a stand on a steep hill, what was known as Battle Mountain. The first charge of 200 police and men on horseback failed because of the steep slope and the spears and rocks which were hurled at them. The Aborigines hid behind rocks on the hill and so could not be shot by the police. Urquhart was injured and knocked unconscious for several hours, after which he divided his forces and attacked on two fronts. Following this, the Kalkadoon left their defensive positions and charged the police, and were mowed down from rifle fire, with more than 200 killed.

The Kalkadoon have been commemorated in the name of the Kalkadoon Grasswren.

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