Paddy Island

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Coordinates: 24°50′19″S 152°22′04″E / 24.838601°S 152.367884°E / -24.838601; 152.367884 Paddy Island is an island (latitude 24° 50’ S X longitude 152° 22’E) [1] situated on the Burnett River, northeast of the city of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia.


Fragment from Survey Plan W37.55 of the Burnett River and Eight Portions of Land Therein, Applied for Under the "Sugar and Coffee Regulations" County of Cook; 29 September 1868.

On a survey plan of the Burnett River transmitted to the Queensland Surveyor General on Tuesday 29 September 1868, the island was referenced as Coodes Island by the District Surveyor John Charlton Thompson (1827–1878).

Indigenous history[edit]

At Gin Gin (formerly Tirroan) Station [2] on Monday 4 June 1849, two young brothers John and Peter Pegg were out shepherding sheep when they were speared to death by local Taribelang clansmen.[2]

Gregory Blaxland Jr, the seventh and youngest son of the pioneer, farmer and explorer Gregory Blaxland (17 June 1778 – 1 January 1853) "organized a punitive party to deal with the savages" [2] which culminated in a bloody skirmish at the site of Gibson and Howes’ sugar plantation at ‘the Cedars’, south of Bundaberg.

"The blacks were shown no mercy, but (they) .. put up a mighty fight against the firearms of the whites, they of course having no better weapons than spears." [2]

Blaxland Jr was "regarded (by the Taribelang clansmen) as their chief enemy as all actions against the blacks was directed by him." [2]

When the opportunity for payback presented itself, Gregory Blaxland Jr was ambushed, abducted and violently clubbed to death at his pastoral station sometime in early August 1850.[2]

A retaliatory party "was organized among all (the) settlers and their employees, and they set out on their mission of revenge." [2]

Guided by a ‘friendly gin’, the "fugitive blacks were tracked down the Burnett River, where they had foregathered at a place now called (Waterview Station) Paddy's Island, not far from the mouth of the river." [2]

After the ensuing chaos, it is estimated that over one thousand Taribelang clanspeople: men, women, and children, were slaughtered whilst trying to cross from the west bank of the Burnett River to Paddy Island.

Today, the custodianship of Paddy’s Island is a point of contention between neighbouring tribes and a number of traditional owners.[3]


  1. ^ "Paddy Island (entry 25773)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h EARLY GIN GIN and THE BLAXLAND TRAGEDY. (Read by ARTHUR LAURIE, a Vice-President of the Historical Society of Queensland at the meeting of the Society on 27 November 1952)
  3. ^ Mike Derry (2010-07-31). "Island war as clan clashes | Bundaberg News | Local News in Bundaberg | Bundaberg News Mail". Retrieved 2011-06-27.