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Curators’ acknowledgement

“We pay our respects and dedicate the Unsettled exhibition to the people and other Beings who keep the law of this land; to the Elders and Traditional Owners of all the knowledges, places, and stories in this exhibition; and to the Ancestors and Old People for their resilience and guidance.

We advise that there are some confronting topics addressed in this exhibition, including massacres and genocide. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be advised that there may be images of people who have passed away.”

Laura McBride and Dr Mariko Smith, 2021.

Map of colonial frontier massacres
Map of colonial frontier massacres. Data sourced from University of Newcastle Massacre Mapping project. Image: Australian Museum
© Australian Museum

Map of Colonial Frontier Massacres in Australia 1788-1930
Data sourced from University of Newcastle Massacre Mapping Project.

According to historians and researchers working on the University of Newcastle’s colonial frontier massacre mapping project, “a colonial frontier massacre is defined as the deliberate and unlawful killing of six or more defenceless people in one operation.”[1] This map, based on the extensive research of evidence including firsthand accounts from survivors, perpetrators and witnesses, shows details relating to some of the many documents massacres of First Nations peoples that happened across Australia from the early years of the colony to within several decades of living memory. It is important to understand that this violent history continues to impact on families and communities today.

The project is still a work in progress as data continues to be reviewed and added, with an aim for the final version of the map to be ready later in 2021. Please check the project's website for the current, up-to-date version of the map.

Unsettled exhibition
Visitors in Unsettled exhibition, May 2021 Image: Anna Kučera
© Australian Museum


  1. Ryan, L., Richards, J., Pascoe, W., Debenham, J., Gilbert, S., Anders, R J., Brown, M., Smith, R., Price, D., Newly, J. (2018) Colonial Frontier Massacres in Eastern Australia 1788 to 1930. Vol. 2.1. Newcastle, University of Newcastle. https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/colonialmassacres/introduction.php