elliston


Across the Bar to Waterloo Bay: Elliston 1878-1978, compiled and published by the Elliston Centenary Book Committee.

" It was in the year 1848 that John Hamp was murdered by natives, which started the legends, various rumors and conjectures which have persisted in the area around Elliston for over one hundred years regarding the “Elliston Massacre”.

John Hamp and his brother were joint lessees of the pastoral run from Talia Station southward to Lake Newland.

Talia Station was managed by Dr Browne…

John’s brother, immediately after discovering the body, rode to Talia Station to let Dr Browne know, and to ask his advice regarding what should be done. Dr Browne immediately took it upon himself to organize a punitive force to punish the natives, and to report the killing to the police. He sent a message to Trooper Gerherty, the police trooper for that area…

So the small force was assembled and eventually left Talia to hunt the natives. As some time had elapsed since the murder all the natives had left the area, and it was to be a hunt, for there were hiding places all the way southward, which Dr Browne assumed was the direction taken, as there were numerous watering places along the coast and lakes…

As the bush gave good cover for the natives, who knew all the tracks through it, it was not an easy task for the pursuers to search it thoroughly, and the chase was necessarily slow. From the Lake Newland area the force of white men proceeded south, keeping near the coast, looking for signs of the natives. Not until they passed Waterloo Bay did they find any, when they surprised a party at a waterhole near a lake, later named Hamps Lake. There were men, women and children in the party at the waterhole, who took fright when they saw the armed men, and made for the titree. Some shots were fired at them, without effect other than to further frighten the natives who ran southward through the titree scrub, from one lake to another, and not until they broke from the cover of the titrees to the more open mallee and sheoak land, near where the roads to Port Lincoln and Lock now separate did they present any fair target to the pursuers.

Even though the country was more open, the low growth and scrub did not make it easy going for the horsemen, who however continued to shoot when they caught sight of the fugitives, and several natives were shot. The majority, however, continued their flight southward, and the leading horseman saw them race for the cliffs and jump over. As the white men were on unfamiliar ground, they approached the cliffs very cautiously, and when they did reach the brink and look down no trace of any natives could be seen. Straight down, 150 feet below, was the sea!

All the natives were presumed drowned.

So ended the “Elliston Massacre” "