List of massacres in Australia

This is a list of massacres and mass murders that have occurred in Australia and its predecessor colonies (some historical numbers may be approximate). Many of the massacres not listed here may instead be found in the list of massacres of Indigenous Australians. A mass murder involves the murder of four or more people during the same incident.[1]

Massacres and mass murdersEdit

Incident Year Location Deaths Injuries Notes
Batavia massacre 1629 Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia 110+ Unknown Massacre of survivors after the sinking of Dutch merchant ship Batavia following a mutiny.
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 1833–1834 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.
Slaughterhouse Creek massacre January 1838 Waterloo Creek, New South Wales 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, New South Wales 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 Aboriginals 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, South Australia 25 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 by them.
Fighting Hills massacre 1840 Wando Vale, Victoria 40-80 Unknown Massacre of indigenous Australians led by the Whyte brothers and servants of Victoria's western district.
Fighting Waterholes massacre 1840 Coleraine, Victoria up to 60 Unknown Second massacre of indigenous Australians by the Whyte brothers and servants of Victoria's western district.
Gippsland massacres 1840–1850 Gippsland, Victoria 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 Aboriginals. The technical superiority of the Europeans' weapons gave the Europeans an absolute advantage over the Aboriginals and, as a result, very few white settlers died during the course of the massacres.
Avenue Range Station massacre September 1848 Avenue Range, South Australia 8-11 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians by James Brown of the South East of South Australia. He was never convicted, despite the magistrate who committed him for trial observing that there was "little question of the butchery or the butcher".
Hospital Creek Massacre 1859 Brewarrina, New South Wales 300-400 Unknown Massacre of Indigenous Australians. A stockman at Walcha Hut on the Lawson run was warned by Aboriginals to release an Aboriginal woman. He refused, and both he and the woman were killed. In retaliation, the settlers shot a large number of Aboriginal men, women and children in what became known as the Hospital Creek Massacre.
Cullin-la-ringo massacre 17 October 1861 Central Queensland 19 0 Massacre of newly arrived white settlers by Indigenous Australians. In response, "sixty or seventy" Aboriginals were massacred by a vigilante party of eleven heavily armed white settlers accompanied by two Aboriginal trackers.[2]
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.
Bradshaw massacre 26 November 1905 (approx) Victoria River, Northern Territory 7 0 Four white men and three Aboriginal boys massacred with tomahawks by Aboriginal prisoners being transported by boat to Palmerston to stand trial for the earlier murder of two white men. One Aboriginal boy survived and reported the incident.[3][4]
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 (plus 2 perps.) 7 Spree shooting by two Ghans gunmen – Terror attack – by modern definition.[citation needed]
Mowla Bluff massacre 1916 Kimberley, Western Australia up to 12[5] 0 Massacre of Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Men, women and children were rounded up and subsequently shot and their bodies burned.
Botanic garden massacre 1924 Melbourne 4 (plus 1 perp.)[6] 2 Mass shooting; perpetrator committed suicide.
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 cattle station 60–170 Unknown Massacre led by Northern Territory police constable William George Murray. The last known officially sanctioned massacre of Indigenous Australians.
Boulder & Kalgoorlie bombings 1 February 1942 Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia 14 15 Bombing of a boarding house containing 30 people in Boulder, Western Australia.[7]
Narella Street massacre 18 February 1957 Brisbane, Queensland 6 (plus 1 perp.) 1 Marian Ryszard Majka killed 6 & injured a baby in two houses on Narella Street in Brisbane before taking his own life.
Hope Forest massacre 6 September 1971 Hope Forest, South Australia 10 0 Rampage killing by Clifford Bartholomew, who shot dead ten members of his family.[8]
Whiskey Au Go Go fire 8 March 1973 Fortitude Valley, Queensland 15 Unknown Arson attack that killed 15 people and injured many more at a nightclub.
Connellan air disaster 5 January 1977 Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory 4 (plus 1 perp.) 5 Suicide attack on Alice Springs Airport.
Campsie murders 24 September 1981 Campsie, New South Wales 5 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Rampage killing by Fouad Daoud, who shot dead five members of his family before killing himself.[9]
Inland Motel murders 18 August 1983 Uluru, Northern Territory 5 16 Vehicular attack by Douglas Crabbe, who drove a truck into the bar of the Inland Motel after being refused service.[10]
Wahroonga murders 1 June 1984 Wahroonga, New South Wales 5 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Rampage killing by John Brandon, who shot dead five members of his family before killing himself.[11]
Milperra massacre 2 September 1984 Milperra, New South Wales 7 28 Shootout between two rival motorcycle gangs. One bystander was among those killed in the incident.
Pymble shooting 23 January 1987 Pymble, New South Wales 4 Richard Maddrell went to the family home of his former girlfriend, shot her and three others.[12]
Top End Shootings June 1987 Top End, Northern Territory 5 (plus 1 perp.) Spree killing by Joseph Schwab over a five-day period. Shot dead by police.
Hoddle Street massacre 9 August 1987 Clifton Hill, Victoria 7 19 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 five members of a family.
Queen Street massacre 8 December 1987 Melbourne 8 (plus 1 perp.) 5 A spree shooting/murder–suicide by Frank Vitkovic.
Oenpelli shootings 25 September 1988 Gunbalanya, Northern Territory 5 0 Rampage killing by Dennis Rostron, shooting five members of his family at Molgawo, a remote Arnhem Land outstation near Gunbalanya (formerly known as Oenpelli).[13]
Surry Hills shootings 30 August 1990 Surry Hills, New South Wales 5 7 A spree shooting by Paul Anthony Evers who killed five people and injured seven with a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun at a public housing precinct in Surry Hills before surrendering to police.[14]
Strathfield massacre 17 August 1991 Strathfield, New South Wales 7 (plus 1 perp.) 6 A spree shooting/murder–suicide by Wade Frankum.
Central Coast massacre 27 October 1992 Terrigal, New South Wales 7 1 A spree shooting by Malcolm George Baker.
Greenough Family massacre 21 February 1993 Greenough, Western Australia 4 0 William Patrick Mitchell (Bill Mitchell) murdered Karen MacKenzie and her three children with an axe at their remote rural property in Greenough, Western Australia.
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.
Wollongong Knife Murders 1994 Wollongong, New South Wales 4 0 Ljube Velevski, used a knife to kill his wife and three children in their Berkeley home near Wollongong in 1994.[15]
Hillcrest murders 25 January 1996 Hillcrest, Queensland 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Mass shooting. Peter May shot dead six members of his family before killing himself.[16]
Port Arthur massacre 28 April 1996 Port Arthur, Tasmania 35 24 A spree shooting by Martin Bryant. Remains the deadliest mass shooting in Australia.
Murder suicide 28 June 1997 Richmond, Tasmania 4 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Peter Shoobridge cut the throats of his four daughters whilst they slept then took his own life with a rifle after cutting off one of his hands with an axe.[17]
Childers Palace Backpackers Hostel fire 23 June 2000 Childers, Queensland 15 unknown Arson attack by Robert Paul Long, which killed 15 international backpackers.
Churchill Fire 7 February 2009 Churchill, Victoria 10 unknown Arson attack by Brendan Sokaluk that killed ten 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 five members of the Lin family.
Quakers Hill nursing home fire 18 November 2011 Sydney 11 Arson attack by Roger Kingsley Dean, a nurse, which killed 11 people.
Hunt family murders 9 September 2014 Lockhart, New South Wales 4 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Murder–suicide, mass shooting, familicide. Geoff Hunt killed his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself.
Cairns child killings 19 December 2014 Cairns, Queensland 8 1 (self-inflicted by suspect) Stabbing attack and Familicide. Eight 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, seven of whom were hers, plus her niece.[18]
January 2017 Melbourne car attack 20 January 2017 Melbourne 6 27 Vehicular attack. Dimitrious (James) Gargasoulas drove a Holden Commodore into Bourke St Mall, resulting in the deaths of six people and injuring 27 others. Should not be confused with the December 2017 Melbourne car attack which only killed one person.
Osmington shooting 11 May 2018 Osmington, Western Australia 6 (plus 1 perp.) 0 Murder–suicide, mass shooting, familicide. A grandfather shot his four grandchildren at their home, his daughter, his wife, and then himself.[19]
September 2018 Bedford massacre 9 September 2018 Bedford, Western Australia 5 0 Stabbing, familicide. Five people were fatally stabbed or bashed in a house in the suburb of Bedford near Perth. The victims were two women, one girl aged 3, and two girls aged 18 months.[20] In April 2019, 25-year-old Anthony Harvey pleaded guilty to murdering his five family members.[21] Should not be confused with the 1879 Cape Bedford Massacre against aboriginal people.
2019 Darwin shooting 4 June 2019 Darwin, Northern Territory 4 1 Spree shooting. Four people were killed and one person suffered a critical leg injury in a mass shooting allegedly carried out with a prohibited pump-action (Category C) shotgun. The shooter, 45-year-old Benjamin Glenn Hoffman, was charged with four counts of murder and later pleaded guilty to three counts. The shooter had been released from prison on parole in January 2019 and was wearing a GPS-tracked electronic monitoring bracelet at the time of the offence.[22]
Camp Hill carjacking 19 February 2020 Camp Hill, Queensland 4 (plus 1 perp.) Domestic violence incident. Rowan Baxter set fire to his estranged wife's car, killing all four occupants, before committing suicide at the scene.
Wieambilla Police shooting 12 December 2022 Wieambilla, Queensland 3 (plus 3 perp.) Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow, and a neighbour, Alan Dare, were murdered on 12 December 2022 at a rural property in Wieambilla. The perpetrators, brothers Gareth and Nathaniel Train, and Gareth’s wife, Stacey Train, were later shot and killed by Queensland police.

Attacks causing multiple non-fatal injuriesEdit

Mass violent attacks which caused many injuries but few deaths.

Murders over an extended period of timeEdit

See alsoEdit

Indigenous massacres and conflicts:




  1. ^ "Serial Murder – Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators" (PDF). Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2005. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  2. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald". National Library of Australia. 11 December 1861. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  3. ^ Massacre in the Territory, The Adelaide Advertiser, 18 December 1905
  4. ^ Lewis, Darrell (1 March 2012). A Wild History: Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier. Monash University Publishing. ISBN 978-1-921867-26-2.
  5. ^ Stephens, Tony (20 May 2002). "Closing the circle on a bloody chapter", The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  6. ^ Adams, Michael. "Melbourne's 1924 Botanic Gardens Massacre exposes Australia's chilling mass shooting legacy". Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  7. ^ Peter Skehan. "1942 Boulder & Kalgoorlie Bombings". The Western Australian Police Historical Society.
  8. ^ "Father charged after 10 killed". The Age. 7 September 1971.
  9. ^ "Thrown out of house three days before family was killed Daoud got gun licence from Campsie police". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 October 1981.
  10. ^ R v Crabbe [2004] NTSC 63, Supreme Court (NT)
  11. ^ "Man killed his family to spare them 'disgrace'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 June 1984.
  12. ^ "Richard Maddrell Massacre Pymble 1987". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  13. ^ Bradley, Zarisha. "Mass murderer who shot his wife, their children and her parents released on parole". 9 News. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  14. ^ "Recent random mass shootings in Australia". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 October 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  15. ^ "Quadruple murderer Ljube Velevski". ABC News Website. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Victory for Brisbane women's services". Green Left Weekly. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Peter Shoobridge: 'Tasmanian devil' Poet murdered his four daughters". 8 September 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Australia Cairns: Mother charged with eight murders". BBC News. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Four children, three adults found shot dead in Margaret River murder-suicide". ABC News. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Bedford Mass Murder".
  21. ^ "Bedford killer Anthony Harvey pleads guilty to five counts of murdering family members". ABC News. 24 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Alleged Darwin gunman Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann charged with four counts of murder".