"When a member of the Kalkadoon tribe, standing over six feet high and
broad in proportion, was done up ready for a ceremonial corroboree he
was a fearsome object indeed. With several large emu or eaglehawk
feathers decorating his head, his already tall stature is increased.
His broad face, stretched wide open in a resounding yell, is banded around
with minute white feathers stuck on with dried blood. Only the eyes are
Throughout the 1870s, Aboriginal resistance to the loss of their
ancestral lands became stronger as that land became smaller due to
mining interests and pastoral claims. This resistance was particularly
stubborn around the rugged hills of Cloncurry and Mt. Isa.
The fiercesome and warlike Kalkadoons were one of the last tribes to
resist white settlement. Forming disciplined units of warriors, the
Kalkadoons made constant guerrilla warfare on the regions' settlers and
Native Police. Armed with stone clubs and razor sharp stone pointed
spears, they continued to ambush and attack the invaders.
In September of 1884, Frederic Urquhart, the Sub-Inspector of the
Native Police was sent to the region to get the situation under control. He
gathered his troops and local squatters armed with carbines, then
positioned them at the base of a rocky outcrop which later became known
as Battle Mountain.
When the Kalkadoons saw the troops, they formed up into ranks,
preparing for the attack. In a series of disciplined charges down the hill, they
rushed Uquhart's troops. Their antiquated weapons, however, were no
match for the modern weaponry of the soldiers. The Kalkadoons' ranks
were mowed down and they were practically wiped out. Only a handful of
warriors survived and, with their families, scattered to the outlying
areas. The massacre marked the end of the Aboriginal resistance in the
Suggested activities: Investigate the impact of settlement on an area's
indigenous people. How do both cultures adapt to allow for differences
in land use, practices of local customs, and exchanges of ideas?
What changes have to be made for each group to live in harmony?