List of massacres in Australia

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The following is a list of massacres and mass murders that have occurred in Australia and its predecessors (numbers may be approximate).


Name Date Location Deaths Injuries Notes
Shipwreck of the Batavia 1628 Houtman Abrolhos (Western Australia) 110 Many Dutch shipwreck survivors are murdered by a break-away group of survivors
Cape Grim massacre 10 February 1828 Cape Grim, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) 30 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians by four shepherds
Convincing Ground massacre 1833–34 Portland, Victoria 60–200 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians after a heated dispute between whalers and Aboriginal tribes
Pinjarra massacre 28 October 1834 Pinjarra, Western Australia 14–40 Massacre by British colonists led by Governor Stirling against the Pinjarup people
Waterloo Creek massacre/Slaughterhouse Creek massacre January 1838 Waterloo Creek, NSW 40–70 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians as part of a clash between mounted police and Indigenous Australians
Myall Creek massacre 10 June 1838 Myall Creek, NSW 27-30 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians. The attack was racially motivated, and subsequently the colonists who carried out the attack were hanged
Murdering Gully massacre 1839 Mount Emu Creek, near Camperdown, Victoria 35–40 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians undertaken by Frederick Taylor apparently in retaliation to Aborigines having killed the colonists' sheep
Campaspe Plains massacre June 1839 Campaspe Creek, Central Victoria up to 40 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians led by commander Charles Hutton as a reprisal raid against Aboriginal resistance to the invasion and occupation of their lands
Shipwreck survivors of the Maria massacred 1840 Coorong, SA 25 All survivors were killed Ship travelling from Port Adelaide to Hobart was shipwrecked on the SE coast of South Australia, with all surviving the wreck. The survivors were being guided to safety by the local Narrindjeri people, but were massacred when they breached local law.
Gippsland massacres 1840-1850 Gippsland, VIC 300-1000 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians, combined with the introduction of diseases by the British Colonists which also contributed to the heavy losses of the Aborigines. The technical superiority of the Europeans' weapons gave the Europeans an absolute advantage over the Aborigines and, as a result, very few white settlers died during the course of the massacres.
Cullin-La-Ringo massacre 17 October 1861 Central Queensland 19 0 Massacre of white settlers by Indigenous Australians
Flying Foam massacre February–May 1868 Flying Foam Passage, WA 20–150 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians after a series of confrontations between white settlers and Aboriginal people near the Flying Foam Passage
Palmer massacre August 1878 Palmer River, Queensland 20–150 Unknown Massacre by Cantonese and Pekinese against each other.[1]
Ching family murders 16 November 1911 Alligator Creek, Mackay, Queensland 6 0 George David Silva murdered six members of the Ching family by shooting and bashing. Silva was hanged at Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane on 10 June 1912.
Battle of Broken Hill 1 January 1915 Broken Hill, New South Wales 4 Spree shooting by two Ghans gunmen
Mowla Bluff massacre 1916 Kimberley, Western Australia Up to 12[2] 0 Massacre of Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Men, women and children were rounded up and subsequently shot and their bodies burned
Forrest River massacre May–July 1926 Kimberley Region of Western Australia 11 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians by law enforcement.
Coniston massacre 14 August – 18 October 1928 Coniston, Northern Territory 60–170 Unknown Probably the last known massacre of Indigenous Australians
Hope Forest massacre 6 September 1971 Hope Forest, SA 10 0 Rampage killing by Clifford Bartholomew, who shot dead ten members of his family[3]
Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire 8 March 1973 Fortitude Valley, Queensland 15 Unknown Arson attack that killed 15 people and injured many more at a nightclub
Boundary Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane killings 22 September 1976 Boundary Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane 2 4 William Robert Wilson killed two people and wounded four on Boundary Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane. Wilson took a .22 calibre rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition to Boundary Street around 12.30 p.m. and began shooting randomly, killing one and wounding another before proceeding to a milk bar, where he killed one and wounded two. In the neighbouring shop he shot and wounded one. Wilson was captured by police around 4:15 p.m. at a suburban house where Wilson was holding a man and four young women hostage. Wilson served three years in a mental hospital. On being found fit for trial, he was sentenced in 1980 to two life sentences for the murders and 10 years each, concurrently, for the four attempted murders. He pleaded guilty to all charges.[4]
Campsie murders 24 September 1981 Campsie, New South Wales 5 0 Rampage killing by Fouad Daoud, who shot dead five members of his family before killing himself[5]
Wahroonga murders 1 June 1984 Wahroonga, New South Wales 5 0 Rampage killing by John Brandon, who shot dead five members of his family before killing himself.[6]
Milperra massacre 2 September 1984 Milperra, New South Wales 7 28 Shootout between two rival motorcycle gangs. 1 bystander was among those killed in the incident
Top End Shootings June 1987 Top End, Northern Territory 5 Spree killing by Joseph Schwab over a five-day period. Shot dead by police
Hoddle Street massacre 9 August 1987 Clifton Hill, Victoria 7 A Spree shooting by Julian Knight
Canley Vale Huynh family murders 10 October 1987 Canley Vale, New South Wales 5 Rampage killing by John Tran, who shot dead 5 members of a family
Queen Street massacre 8 December 1987 Melbourne, Victoria 8 A spree shooting/murder–suicide by Frank Vitkovic
Oenpelli shootings 25 September 1988 Oenpelli, Northern Territory 6 0 Rampage killing by Dennis Rostron, six members of his family at a remote Arnhem Land outstation in Oenpelli[7]
Surry Hills shootings 30 August 1990 Surry Hills, New South Wales 5 7 A spree shooting by Paul Anthony Evers who killed 5 people and injured 7 with a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun at a public housing precinct in Surry Hills before surrendering to police.[8]
Strathfield massacre 17 August 1991 Strathfield, New South Wales 7 A spree shooting/murder–suicide by Wade Frankum
Central Coast massacre 27 October 1992 Terrigal, New South Wales 6 A spree shooting by Malcolm George Baker
1993 Cangai siege March 1993 Cangai, New South Wales 5 0 Leonard Leabeater, Robert Steele and Raymond Bassett went on a nine-day rampage resulting in their taking hostages in a siege in a farmhouse at Hanging Rock Station in Cangai
Hillcrest murders 25 January 1996 Hillcrest, Queensland 6 0 Rampage killing by Peter May, who shot dead six members of his family before killing himself[9]
Port Arthur massacre 28 April 1996 Port Arthur, Tasmania 35 24 A spree shooting by Martin Bryant
Snowtown murders August 1992 – May 1999 Snowtown, South Australia 12 unknown Serial murders by John Bunting, Robert Wagner, and James Vlassakis. A total of 12 bodies were found in acid filled barrels and rainwater tanks.
Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel fire 23 June 2000 Childers, Queensland 15 unknown Arson attack by Robert Paul Long, which killed 15 international backpackers
Monash University Shooting 21 October 2002 Melbourne, Victoria 2 5 A shooting spree by Huan Yun Xiang, a student at Monash University.
Churchill Fire 7 February 2009 Churchill, Victoria 10 unknown Arson attack by Brendan Sokaluk that killed 10 people, during the Black Saturday bushfires period
Lin family murders 18 July 2009 North Epping, New South Wales 5 unknown Blunt instrument attack that killed 5 members of the Lin family
2011 Hectorville siege 29 April 2011 Hectorville, South Australia 3 3 A shooting that took place on 29 April 2011, in Hectorville, South Australia. It began after a 39-year-old male, Donato Anthony Corbo, shot four people on a neighbouring property (three of whom died), and also wounded two police officers, before being arrested by Special Operations police after an eight-hour siege.[10]
Quakers Hill nursing home fire 18 November 2011 Sydney, NSW 11 Arson attack by Roger Kingsley Dean, a nurse, which killed 11 people
Hunt family murders 9 September 2014 Lockhart, New South Wales 4 0 Murder–suicide shooting spree by Geoff Hunt who killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself
Sydney Siege 15 - 16 December 2014 Sydney, NSW 3 4 Siege. A lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, held hostage ten customers and eight employees of a Lindt chocolate café located at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia. The NSW Special Tactics Force shot Monis dead, after he executing one hostage. In the melee five others were shot by Police fire, causing accidental death to one of them.
Cairns child killings 19 December 2014 Cairns, Queensland 8 1 (self-inflicted by perpetrator) Stabbing attack. 8 children aged 18 months to 15 years killed. Thirty-seven-year-old woman also found injured. The woman, Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, was later charged with the murder of the children, 7 of whom were hers, plus her niece.[11]
Port Lincoln Wharf murder–suicide 4 January 2016 Port Lincoln, South Australia 3 0 Shooting drowning murder–suicide. Damien Little drove the family station wagon with his two sons (toddler and infant) off the wharf. A rifle had been found in the car and an autopsy "revealed they had all been shot before" the car entered the water.
2016 Home Hill stabbings 23 August 2016 Home Hill, Queensland 2 1 Stabbing. French national, Smail Ayad, stabbed Mia Ayliffe-Chung, Hostel caretaker Grant Schultz, and Ian Jackson when he intervened, at a back packer's hostel in Home Hill, Queensland. Ayliffe-Chung died at the scene, Jackson died five days later in hospital. Schultz was stabbed in the leg.[12]
Sydney family gassed 17 October 2016 Sydney, New South Wales 4 0 Gassing murder–suicide. Fernando Manrique (father), Maria Lutz (mother) and their two children aged 10 and 11 (son and daughter respectively), were all found gassed to death in their home. The father had apparently assembled and fixed pipe work into the roof and ceilings. The pipe work was then connected to gas bottles. The family had suffocated over night while they slept. It was said their pet dog was found dead with them.
2017 Melbourne car attack 20 January 2017 Melbourne, Victoria 6 30 Vehicular attack. Dimitrious Gargasoulas drove a Holden Commodore into Bourke St Mall, resulting in the deaths of 6 people and injuring 30+ others.

Murders over an extended period of time[edit]

  • Eric Edgar Cooke murdered 8 people between 1959 and 1963.
  • Backpacker murders – Ivan Milat killed seven international backpackers in the early 1990s, and is widely suspected of killing 30 more young adults.
  • Melbourne gangland killings – 36 underworld figures murdered so far in gang related violence between 1998 and 2010.
  • Snowtown murders – 12 murders committed from 1992 until 1999.
  • John Wayne Glover – murders of six elderly women on Sydney's North Shore over a fourteen-month period in 1989–90.
  • Truro murders – murders of seven women from 1976 until 1977.
  • William Fraser - murders of at least 100 men, women and children between 1857-1867


  • Douglas Crabbe – Truck driver deliberately crashed his truck into a hotel, killing five and badly wounding 16.
  • Russell Street Bombing – 23 wounded when a car bomb ignites outside a Police Building. One of the wounded, a female police officer, died later of injuries from the explosion.
  • Sydney Hilton bombing – Two garbage men were killed and 12 passers-by were injured by a bomb planted in a garbage bin outside the Sydney Hilton Hotel in 1978. A police officer who was wounded died later.
  • 2014 Sydney hostage crisis – Two hostages and hostage-taker Man Haron Monis were killed, during a 16-hour siege inside a Lindt cafe in Martin Place, Sydney, with six other people injured.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Manning Clark, A History of Australia. Vol IV, p 353
  2. ^ Stephens, Tony (20 May 2002). "Closing the circle on a bloody chapter", The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Father charged after 10 killed". The Age. 7 September 1971. 
  4. ^,7950269
  5. ^ "Thrown out of house three days before family was killed Daoud got gun licence from Campsie police". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 October 1981. 
  6. ^ "Man killed his family to spare them 'disgrace'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 June 1984. 
  7. ^ Dillon, Meagan (31 January 2013). "Killer's Release Possible". ntnews. 
  8. ^ "Recent random mass shootings in Australia". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Young, Lisa "Victory for Brisbane women's services"
  10. ^ "Adelaide gunman arrested after siege". SBS World News. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Australia Cairns: Mother charged with eight murders". BBC News. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Reynolds, Emma (10 September 2016). "‘I’m worrying’: Murdered backpacker’s Facebook message". NewsComAu. News Limited. Retrieved 22 March 2017.