Frontier Wars


As the European settlers arrived in greater numbers in Australia, they expanded their territory by taking land from the Aboriginal people. The Frontier Wars lasted from the time of the first settlements into the first half of the 20th century. Exactly how many people died is unknown, but estimates range from between 20,000 and 60,000 Aboriginal people and 2,000 and 5,000 Europeans.

There is ongoing research to map the massacres of Aboriginal people. New stories and new areas are still being uncovered, and the map is being regularly updated. Click on the link to see the different conflicts that have been recorded and the number of fatalities.

You can find an article and a summary of the map here:

There are many stories from all over Australia of indigenous groups who resisted the settlers. One such group were the Kalkadoon of northern Queensland. They fought hard against the settlers, culminating in the massacre at Battle Mountain in 1884. The Kalkadoon charged down the hill on the settlers, with approximately 200 men dying under the settlers´musket fire.  It is estimated that altogether 900 Kalkadoon lost their lives during the years of the European settlement.

You can read about the Kalkadoon, their culture, their resistance to the Europeans and the massacre at Battle Mountain here:

The last documented massacre in Australia was the Coniston Massacre in 1928. You can read about what happened here, and see interviews with two of the survivors:




Find out more about the Kalkadoon of northern Queensland, using the link above, or an Aboriginal nation in another area of Australia. Make a short presentation about their history before and after the European settlers arrived. Discuss the effects of European settlement on the Aboriginal nation you have chosen.


Look at the map of the Frontier Wars. Choose one area of Australia and find out how the Aboriginal people there were affected by arrival of the Europeans.

Further work:

Read about the work involved in mapping the massacres of the Frontier Wars: