Remembering Oombulgurri or Forrest River Massacre – ‘Lest We Forget’

In June each year we remember one of the most brutal frontier massacres of our history in the East Kimberley.

The Forrest River massacre, or Oombulgurri massacre, was a massacre of Indigenous Australian people by a law enforcement party in the wake of the killing of pastoralist Fred Hay, which took place in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in 1926.

The massacre was investigated by the Woods Royal Commission in 1927 which subsequently determined that 11 people had been killed. Charges were brought against two officers but dismissed for lack of evidence.

The Commissions findings have been disputed by journalist Rod Moran, whose analysis has received some academic support while most academic historians accept that a massacre did take place but disagree over the number of victims.

Waringarri Media spoke with Professor Lyndall Ryan from Newcastle’s Centre for the History of Violence who’s one of the founders of the Colonial Frontier Massacres Map here >>>

Check out our video:

PLEASE NOTE: The photos used are not all from the Forrest River Massacre event. The photo of the children holding up a wooden cross was taken at one of the massacre sites at Gotegotemerrie, where bones were gathered and buried beneath the cross. Photo taken by Dr Neville Green.

More Information:

Lumbia (on left) following his arrest for the murder of Fred Hay in 1926. On the right, two Aboriginal trackers.