Sunday History Photo / Qld

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 10, 2016 at 08:33
ThreadID: 132966 Views:4241 Replies:1 FollowUps:2
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Springsure, a rural town on the Dawson Highway, is 320 km west of Gladstone. It was named after the Springsure pastoral station, taken up by Sydney investors in 1860, including the New South Wales Registrar-General, Christopher Rolleston.

The town is situated in undulating country over-looked by mountain ranges. Expedition Range to the east was named by Leichhardt (1844) and the Salvator Rosa range (the south) and Claude Range (to the west) were named by the New South Wales Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell, in 1846. Despite these explorers' reports, pastoral settlement did not occur until the late 1850s, when the Comet River station, north-east of Springsure, was taken up
Further settlement quickly followed, and by 1864 a Springsure police district and a rudimentary township were defined. An improved road to Springsure across the Expedition Range was constructed in 1866.

Between 1871 and 1973 Springsure gained a school, a courthouse, a hospital and a school of arts (in a rented building). The Australian Handbook (1876) also recorded Presbyterian and Catholic churches, three hotels and a bank. The population was approaching 400 people. In the 1880s a Church of England was opened and a branch railway line was opened from Emerald to Springsure. Emerald had a railway station on the line from Rockhampton since 1879, and this advantage would enable it to surpass Springsure as the district's main town by the 1890s. (In addition, the railway invited local pastoral workers to spend their cheques in Rockhampton rather than Springsure.)

Springsure was the administrative centre of Bauhinia Shire (1879). Whilst the town's population slowly increased, the shire's decreased during the 1910s-40s. Prickly pear and weed pests, intermittent drought and the unsuitability of some land for sheep held back rural prosperity. Increases in grain crops and a further swing away from sheep to beef cattle restored prosperity. The town gained a multi-purpose hall, a swimming pool and a high school department added to the primary school (1964-65).

Springsure has a local shopping centre, bowling and golf clubs, a racecourse and showground at Bauhinia Park, and three hotels or motels. The hospital (c1868) was converted to a museum in 1989, and Rainworth Fort (1862), south of Springsure, is a collection of historic buildings. Both sites are listed on the Queensland heritage register. Virgin Rock, on the other side of Springsure, is a vantage point for viewing Springsure and Carnarvon Range away to the south.

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Reply By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2016 at 21:10

Monday, Jul 11, 2016 at 21:10
From Wikipedia

"The Cullin-la-ringo massacre or Wills Tragedy occurred north of modern-day Springsure in Central Queensland on 17 October 1861. It remains the largest massacre of white settlers by Aborigines in Australian history, and a pivotal moment in the frontier wars in Queensland.

In mid October 1861, a squatter party from the colony of Victoria under Horatio Wills began a temporary tent camp to start the process of setting up the grazing property of Cullin-la-ringo. Wills's party, an enormous settlement train including bullock wagons and more than 10,000 sheep, had set out from Brisbane eight months earlier to set up a farm at Cullin-la-ringo, a property formed by amalgamating four blocks of land with a total area of 260 square kilometres (64,000 acres). The size of the group had attracted much attention from other settlers, as well as the indigenous people.
According to the account of one of the survivors, John Moore, Aborigines had been passing through the camp all day on 17 October 1861, building up numbers until there were at least 50. Then, without warning, they attacked, murdering all the men, women and children with nulla nullas. The settlers defended themselves with pistols and tent poles, but nineteen of the twenty-five defenders were killed.

Those killed were Horatio Wills; David Baker, the overseer; his wife, Mrs Baker; their son, David Baker, Jr.; their daughter, Elizabeth Baker; Iden Baker (a young boy); an infant Baker (8 months old); George Elliott; Patrick Mannion; his wife, Mrs Mannion; their three children (Mary Ann Mannion, 8 years old; Maggie Mannion, 4 years old; and baby Mannion, an infant); Edward McCormac; Charles Weeden; James Scott; Henry Pickering; George Ling; and a bullock driver known only as Tom (who had been engaged at Rockhampton).

The six surviving members were Tom Wills (Horatio's son, noted as an outstanding cricketer and co-founder of Australian rules football); John Moore; William Albrey; Edward Kenny; and Patrick Mahony. These men either were absent from the camp or, in Moore's case, managed to avoid being seen. It was Edward Kenny who subsequently rode on to report the massacre, arriving at the neighbouring Rainworth Station the following day. Moore was the only white eyewitness to the event.

The first to go out in pursuit were a vigilante party of eleven heavily armed white settlers assisted by two trackers. Judging by the more than fifty camp fires, they pursued what was estimated to be "probably not under 300, and of these 100 may be assumed as the number of fighting men."
The Aborigines continually used ground that prevented the whites from using their horses to full advantage: "they chose stony and difficult ground wherever they had it in their power". Yet the whites eventually managed to catch up with them on 27 November 1861 and at "half-past two a.m. on Wednesday morning their camp was stormed on foot with success." From this account, the number of Aboriginal casualties was very high, although there was no further detail. Another contemporary account said the police "overtook a tribe of natives, shot down sixty or seventy, and ceased firing when their ammunition was expended". They left the remainder to the native police to take on the next run.

Due to the continued volatile nature of the area the residents of Springsure built the Old Rainworth Fort in order to defend themselves."

NOTE: In fact, the Rainworth Fort was already under construction before the massacre.

Old Rainworth Fort
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Monday, Jul 11, 2016 at 21:27

Monday, Jul 11, 2016 at 21:27
Thanks Laurie, fantastic addition to the SHP ,

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Follow Up By: Member - Laurie K (WA) - Monday, Jul 11, 2016 at 21:34

Monday, Jul 11, 2016 at 21:34
It's my pleasure Doug. The funny thing is, after I sat down to do more research for the video clip, I looked at the blog I had written 3 years earlier, and the whole story was there .... and I couldn't remember writing it .... LOL.

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