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Myall Creek Massacre, murder of 28 Aboriginal Australians by British ranchers in the colony of New South Wales, Australia, in 1838. The massacre provoked an outcry against colonial brutality and led to the passage of laws designed to protect Aboriginal people. In the early 1800s British colonists began settling the Australian interior, leading to conflicts with Aboriginal people living there. Violence increased steadily, and killings were committed by both sides, though colonists who killed Aboriginal people usually were not punished for their crimes.

In June 1838, 28 Aboriginal men, women, and children were shot and burned indiscriminately by stockmen working on a cattle ranch at Myall Creek Station, near the town of Inverell, about 450 km (280 mi) north of Sydney. Eleven colonists were tried for the murders and acquitted. In the years before the massacre, public sentiment for more humane treatment of Aboriginal people had been building, due largely to the antislavery movement led by British reformer William Wilberforce. (In 1833 Britain had outlawed slavery.) As a result, the acquittals at Myall Creek sparked a minor but important outcry, prompting Governor Sir George Gipps to seek another trial. At the second trial, seven of the stockmen were convicted and hanged, causing an even larger outcry.

The following year, the British Parliament passed the first of the Aboriginal Protection Acts. The acts were designed to protect Aboriginal people from encroaching settlers. In practice, however, the acts segregated Aboriginal people and legalized discrimination against them.

Below Illustration on the Myall Creek Massacre

myall.jpg

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