Massacre at Appin, 17 April 1816

Two hundred years ago, under orders from Governor Macquarie, Captain WBG Schaw, Captain James Wallis and Lieutenant Charles Dawe of the 46th Regiment led expeditions against ‘hostile natives’ in the Nepean, Hawkesbury and Grose valleys and the Liverpool district.

On the early morning of 17 April 1816 at least 14 people of the Dharawal tribe were killed when James Wallis’ detachment encountered a camp at Appin near the banks of the Cataract River.

In our collection are the instructions from Governor Macquarie to Schaw, Wallis and Dawe regarding the punitive expedition, along with a copy of Captain Wallis’s journal which he kept during the expedition. We also have a copy of the report by Governor Macquarie to the Secretary of State Lord Bathurst (SRNSW: NRS 4518 [4/10583, pp74-77]).

These documents are part of the Colonial Secretary’s Papers, 1788-1825 - an extensive name and subject index - and you can check entries for the names of those involved, including:

  • James Wallis
  • WBG Schaw
  • Charles Dawe
  • John Warby
  • Lieutenant AG Parker

You will also find entries under the heading Aborigines.

Related information

Diary of James Wallis

The attached digitised document is from the diary of James Wallis [4/1735 pp55] and we have included a transcript below.

The complete digitisation is available in the State Archives catalogue. See pages 55-57.


Uncle Wes Marne,a Bigambul Elder telling stories at the Yarning Circle as part of the Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm

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