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The town of Nhulunbuy lies in a remote corner of the Northern Territory and is surrounded by bush land where wild buffaloes roam free. In May 2005 a 46 year old man was killed on the town’s outskirts by a wild buffalo when he went for a walk to check the water supply line to his house. He had his two dogs with him that survived and returned to the house, which alerted his family that something had to be wrong. Unfortunately there was a bush fire in the area at the same time which hindered the search and burned the man’s body before it could be found. Police have started hunting buffaloes as this was far from the first incident, other people had been attacked, although nobody had been killed by buffaloes in the town since April 1993. In September 2007 a 49 year old woman from Melbourne was holidaying at Peppers Seven Spirit Bay resort on the Cobourg Peninsula and while she was enjoying a nice stroll along the beach with a couple of friends a wild buffalo charged them and attacked her. A tour guide that was with her at the time gave her first aid and she was flown to Darwin hospital by helicopter.

 

In November 2009 it was reported that up to 6000 feral camels in search of water had invaded Docker River, a small Aboriginal community of about 350 people located about 500km southwest of Alice Springs. Local residents had been afraid to leave their homes for some time. The camels have torn up the main waterpipes and sewerage pipes, made the town’s airport unusable and contaminated the town’s water supply.

The Northern Territory government decided to take action and announced $49,000 in emergency funding for a cull in which helicopters will be used to herd the animals outside the town, where the camels will be shot and left to decay in the desert.

 

On this day …….. 6th of July 1943

Darwin, capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, was just a small town with a civilian population of less than 2000 during World War II. Nonetheless, it was a strategically-placed naval port and airbase. The first of an estimated 64 air raids against Darwin during 1942-43 occurred on 19 February 1942. At least 243 civilians and military personnel were killed, not counting the indigenous Australians whose deaths were not counted, as the Japanese launched two waves of planes comprising 242 bombers and fighters. Following the February raid, other parts of Australia including Darwin, northwest Western Australia and even regions of far north Queensland were subject to over one hundred more raids. Airport base areas attacked included Townsville, Katherine, Wyndham, Derby and Port Hedland, while Milingimbi, Exmouth Gulf and Horn Island were also targetted. 63 more Japanese raids occurred against Darwin and its immediate surroundings, some of them heavier than others. On 6 July 1943, the last of the heavy air attacks against Darwin occurred. The attack was directed against the US Liberator base at Fenton, located about 150 kilometres south of Darwin. Three pilots were killed, while three bombers damaged and eight Spitfires and a Liberator were destroyed. Three more minor attacks were carried out in August. The final attack on Australian soil occurred on 12 November 1943. There was only minor damage around the town of Darwin, and no casualties.

 

On this day …….. 1st of July 1978

The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, bordered by the states of Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. From 1825 to 1863, the Northern Territory was part of New South Wales. In 1863, as a result of the successful 1862 expedition of John McDouall Stuart to find an overland route through the desert from Adelaide to the north, control of the Northern Territory was handed to South Australia. On the 1st of January 1911, the Northern Territory was separated from South Australia and transferred to Commonwealth control. This meant that the laws governing people of the Northern Territory were dictated by the authorities in Canberra, in a society vastly different from their own. Over the ensuing decades, the Northern Territory took small steps towards attaining self-government. The Territory was allowed to make its own legislature in 1947. In 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announced that self-government would soon be granted, and a Legislative Assembly made up of 19 members was formed. However, a major catalyst to the granting of self-governance was the tragedy of Cyclone Tracy, which devastated most of the city of Darwin at Christmas in 1974. The cyclone and subsequent response highlighted problems with the arrangement of having a federal minister responsible for the Territory from Canberra, thousands of kilometres away. The Northern Territory was granted self-government on the 1st of July 1978. Around 6000 people gathered at the Cenotaph in Darwin. The inaugural ministry was sworn in, followed by a guard of honour and the first official raising of the new Territorian flag by Flight Sergeant Gordon Mcloughlin. The Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, stated, “Today’s historic occasion symbolises the strength and the spirit of men and women of the Territory, a spirit that has endured suffering, withstood hardships and overcome many times of adversity.” Most state responsibilities came under the purview of the Northern Territory government. Exceptions included matters relating to Aboriginal land, uranium mining, national parks and some industrial relations. Of major significance was the fact that citizens were now permitted to own freehold land. This was a tremendous boost to the economy, as it allowed for major construction works of new tourism and entertainment facilities such as accommodation and casinos, and educational institutions such as universities, to go ahead without waiting for approval from Canberra bureaucrats. Territory Day continues to be celebrated on the 1st of July every year. It is the only day when fireworks are permitted to be lit by the public.

A list of Australia’s mass shootings

1628 – 1899
Shipwreck of the Batavia in – 1628 (Western Australia) 110 Dutch
Cape Grim massacre – 10 February 1828 (Tasmania) – 30 Indigenous Australians
Convincing Ground – 1833 Portland (Victoria) – 200 Indigenous Australians
Pinjarra – 28 October 1834, Pinjarra (Western Australia ) – 40 Indigenous Australians
Waterloo Creek – 1838 (New South Wales) – 70 Indigenous Australians
Myall Creek – 10 June 1838 (New South Wales) – 30 Indigenous Australians
Murdering Gully – 1839, Camperdown (Victoria) – 40 Indigenous Australians
Campaspe Plains – June 1839 (Central Victoria) – 40 Indigenous Australians
Gippsland massacres – 1840-1850 (Victoria) – 1000 Indigenous Australians
Cullin-La-Ringo – 17 October 1861 (Central Queensland) – 19 Indigenous Australians
Flying Foam – 1868 Flying Foam (Western Aust)150 – Indigenous Australians
Palmer massacre – 1878 Palmer River (Queensland) – 150 Chine against each other

1900 – 1999
Ching family murders – 16 November 1911 Mackay (Queensland) – 6
Broken Hill – 1 January 1915 Broken Hill (New South Wales) – 4 shooting spree
Mowla Bluff massacre – 1916 Kimberley (Western Aust) – 400 Indigenous Australians
Forrest River massacre – 1926 Kimberley (Western Aust) – 11 Indigenous Australians
Coniston massacre – 1928 (Northern Territory) – 170 Indigenous Australians
Hope Forest massacre – 6 September 1971 (Sth Aust) – 10 Rampage killing
Campsie murders – 24 September 1981 (New South Wales) – 5 Rampage killing
Wahroonga murders – 1 June 1984 (New South Wales) – 5 Rampage killing
Milperra – 2 Sept 1984 (New South Wales) – 7 Shootout between two rival gangs
Top End Shootings – 1987 (Northern Territory) – 5 Spree killing
Hoddle Street massacre – 1987 Clifton Hill (Victoria) – 7 Spree shooting
Canley Vale murders – 1987 (New South Wales) – 5 Rampage killing
Queen Street massacre – 1987 Melbourne (Victoria) – 8 Spree shooting
Oenpelli shootings – 1988 (Northern Territory) – 6 Rampage killing
Surry Hills shootings – 1990 (New South Wales) – 5 Spree shooting
Strathfield massacre – 1991 (New South Wales) – 7 Spree shooting
Central Coast massacre – 1992 Terrigal (New South Wales) 6 – Spree shooting
Cangai siege – 1993 (New South Wales) – 5 Rampage killing
Hillcrest Murders – 1996 Hillcrest (Queensland) – 6 Rampage killing
Port Arthur massacre – 1996 (Tasmania) – 35 Spree shooting

2000 – 2014
Monash University Shooting – 2002 Melbourne (Victoria) – 2 Shooting spree
Hectorville siege – 2011 (South Australia) – 3 Shooting
Hunt family murder – 2014 Lockhart (New South Wales) – 5 Shooting spree
Logan shooting – 2014 Logan (Victoria) – 3 Shooting spree

Photo from 1997, piles of guns in Australia are moved after a landmark law that resulted from a mass shooting. Now, Australians are saying the US could learn their lesson.

 

On this day …….. 3rd of June 2008

On the 3rd of June 2008, a cane toad emerged unharmed after spending 40 minutes in a dog’s stomach. Bella swallowed the toad after mistaking if for some meat pies her owner had tossed onto the lawn for her to eat at Bakewell, Palmerston, Northern Territory. The dog’s owner, Jackson Crews, saw Bella swallow the toxic amphibian and immediately took her to a local vet, where she was given an injection to induce vomiting. Fortunately, Bella had swallowed the toad whole without chewing.

On This Day ….. 26th November 2009

In November 2009 it was reported that up to 6000 feral camels in search of water had invaded Docker River, a small Aboriginal community of about 350 people located about 500km southwest of Alice Springs. Local residents had been afraid to leave their homes for some time. The camels have torn up the main waterpipes and sewerage pipes, made the town’s airport unusable and contaminated the town’s water supply.

The Northern Territory government decided to take action and announced $49,000 in emergency funding for a cull in which helicopters will be used to herd the animals outside the town, where the camels will be shot and left to decay in the desert.

 

On this day …….. 18th of October 1928

The Coniston Massacre was the last known massacre of Australian Aborigines. Occurring at Coniston cattle station, Northern Territory, Australia, it was a revenge killing for the death of dingo hunter Frederick Brooks, who was believed to have been killed by Aborigines in August 1928. Constable William Murray, officer in charge at Barrow Creek, investigated and came to the conclusion that the killing had been done by members of the Warlpiri, Anmatyerre and Kaytetye people. There were no witnesses, and apparent inconsistencies in Murray’s report were never questioned. Murray took matters into his own hand. Over the next few days, up until 30 August, he shot 17 members of the Aboriginal tribes he believed were responsible, and claimed his actions were made in self-defence and that each tribal member he had killed was in possession of some item belonging to Brooks. In the ensuing weeks, Murray again encountered several groups of Aborigines while investigating another non-fatal attack on a settler named Nugget Morton at Broadmeadows Station. Together with Morton, one other white man and an aboriginal boy, Murray embarked on a campaign of revenge, during which another 14 Aborigines were killed. He returned to Alice Springs with his report on 18 October 1928. Murray was never punished for his actions. On the contrary, the Board of Enquiry members were selected to maximise damage-control. It was believed at the time that Murray’s actions were appropriate for the circumstances. The Central Land Council organised the seventy-fifth anniversary of the massacre, commemorated near Yuendumu on 24 September 2003.

 

On this day …….. 24th September 1928

The Coniston Massacre was the last known massacre of Australian Aborigines. Occurring at Coniston cattle station, Northern Territory, Australia, it was a revenge killing for the death of dingo hunter Frederick Brooks, who was believed to have been killed by Aborigines in August 1928. Constable William Murray, officer in charge at Barrow Creek, investigated and came to the conclusion that the killing had been done by members of the Warlpiri, Anmatyerre and Kaytetye people. There were no witnesses, and apparent inconsistencies in Murray’s report were never questioned. Murray took matters into his own hand. Over the next few days, up until 30 August, he shot 17 members of the Aboriginal tribes he believed were responsible, and claimed his actions were made in self-defence and that each tribal member he had killed was in possession of some item belonging to Brooks. In the ensuing weeks, Murray again encountered several groups of Aborigines while investigating another non-fatal attack on a settler named Nugget Morton at Broadmeadows Station. Together with Morton, one other white man and an aboriginal boy, Murray embarked on a campaign of revenge, during which another 14 Aborigines were killed. Murray was never punished for his actions. On the contrary, the Board of Enquiry members were selected to maximise damage-control. It was believed at the time that Murray’s actions were appropriate for the circumstances. The Central Land Council organised the seventy-fifth anniversary of the massacre, commemorated near Yuendumu on 24 September 2003.

 

On this day …….. 21st September 1946

On this day in 1946 at the Tipperary Station near the Adelaide River, Northern Territory, Arthur Crosbie the stations head stockman had shot a kangaroo though the hind leg with his riffle. As the animal lay on his back unable to move, Crosbie reloaded his riffle to shot it though the head, but decided that would be a waste of a bullet. Instead he put the butt of the riffle on the kangaroo’s neck to pin it down. While he was leaning over for a heavy stick nearby, the kangaroo reached up hooked it’s paw round the trigger and shot Crosbie through the right upper arm. Crosbie recovered in the Darwin hospital.

 

On This Day ….. 14th August 1928

The Coniston massacre, which took place from 14 August to 18 October 1928 near the Coniston cattle station in Northern Territory, Australia, was the last known officially sanctioned massacre of Indigenous Australians and one of the last events of the Australian Frontier Wars. People of the Warlpiri, Anmatyerre and Kaytetye groups were killed. The massacre occurred in revenge for the death of dingo hunter Frederick Brooks, killed by Aboriginal people in August 1928 at a place now known as Yukurru, (also known as Brooks Soak). Official records at the time stated that 31 people were killed. The owner of Coniston station, Randall Stafford, was a member of the punitive party for the first few days and estimated that at least twice that number were killed between 14 August and 1 September. Historians estimate that at least 60 and as many as 110 Aboriginal men, women and children were killed. The Warlpiri, Anmatyerre and Kaytetye believe that up to 170 died between 14 August and 18 October.

The Board of Enquiry found that Murray and his party had acted in self-defence. The Board and its findings were widely criticised for having no Aboriginal witnesses except the tracker Paddy, no counsel for Aboriginal people, and that the evidence was not made public. The loss of so many people has long been a cause of deep sadness to Aboriginal people in the region. The lack of acknowledgment by the non-Aboriginal community of what occurred during those fateful months of 1928 increased the despair felt by people about this black moment in our history.

Photo: The Observer, Adelaide, February 2, 1929

On this day …….. 8th of August 1926

Qantas is Australia’s national airline service and the name was formerly an acronym for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”. Qantas was born out of a need to bring regular passenger services to remote communities. W Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, former Australian Flying Corps officers who had served at Gallipoli, had the inspiration after their plans to enter a major air race fell through. In March 1919, the Australian Federal Government offered a £10,000 prize for the first Australians to fly from England to Australia within 30 days. Necessary funding for the two war veterans was cancelled when wealthy grazier and sponsor, Sir Samuel McCaughey, died before the money could be delivered, and his estate refused to release the promised funds. Undaunted, Fysh and McGinness undertook an assignment from the Defence Department to survey part of the route of the race, travelling almost 2200km from Longreach in northwestern Queensland to Katherine in the Northern Territory in a Model T Ford. The journey took 51 days and covered territory which no motor vehicle had negotiated before, and the difficulties highlighted the need for a regular aerial service to link remote settlements in the Australian outback. Fysh and McGinness gained sponsorship for a regular air service from wealthy grazier Fergus McMaster, whom McGinness had once assisted in the remote outback when his car broke an axle. As a regular traveller through difficult terrain, McMaster needed no convincing, and even secured further investment from his own business acquaintances. Originally purchased under the name of The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, or Qantas, was launched in November 1920, with McMaster as Chairman. Based in Winton, western Queensland, the original Qantas fleet was made up of just two biplanes: an Avro 504K with a 100 horsepower water-cooled Sunbeam Dyak engine and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E with a 90 horsepower air-cooled engine. The men’s former flight sergeant Arthur Baird was signed on as aircraft mechanic. Initially, the service operated just for joyrides and demonstrations. Qantas commenced its first regular airmail and passenger service, between Cloncurry and Charleville in November 1922, and in 1925 extended the service another 400km west to Camooweal. Mechanic Arthur Baird was placed in charge of a building programme in 1926. The first aircraft, a DH50A, was turned out under the Qantas banner on 8 August 1926. This was the first time an aircraft had been built in Australia under licence from overseas manufacturers.