Waterloo Bay Massacre Memorial - SA

  Historic Site


DEG: -33.661442 134.896301
DMS: 33º 39' 41.19" S 134º 53' 46.68" E
UTM: 53 H 6275377mN 490386mE
Altitude: 30m


Address & Contact

Boords Beach Rd
Elliston SA 5670
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


The Waterloo Bay massacre or Elliston massacre refers to a fatal clash between settlers and Aboriginal in late May 1849 on the cliffs of Waterloo Bay near Elliston, South Australia which led to the deaths of a number of Aboriginal people, and forms part of the Australian frontier wars.

The events leading up to the fatal clash included killings of three white settlers by Aboriginal people, and the killing of one Aboriginal person and the death by poisoning of five others by white settlers. The limited archival records indicate that three Aboriginal people were killed or died of wounds from the clash, and five were captured, however, accounts of the killing of up to 260 Aboriginal people at the cliffs have persistently circulated since at least 1880.

In the 1920s and 1930s, several historians examined the archival record and concluded that there is no formal or direct evidence of a massacre on a large scale, and opined that the recorded events were exaggerated by storytellers over time. More recently, another historian concluded that the rumours relating to a massacre are founded in fact, and that some form of punitive action did take place on the cliffs of Waterloo Bay, but that it had been exaggerated into a myth. Aboriginal people from the west coast of South Australia have oral history traditions that a large-scale massacre occurred.

An attempt in the 1970s to build a memorial for the Aboriginal people killed in the massacre was unsuccessful, as the District Council of Elliston demanded proof that the massacre occurred before permitting a cairn to be placed on the cliffs. The deaths of the white settlers killed in the lead-up to the clash have been memorialised to some extent, and in 2017 the Elliston council erected a memorial to acknowledge what occurred. In recent years authors have concluded that, whether or not a massacre occurred on the large scale suggested by some accounts, the clash has become something of a "narrative battleground" between the documented and imagined history of white settlement and the Aboriginal oral history of the frontier.
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Closest Weather Station

Elliston at 14/09:00am CST
Distance from Waterloo Bay Massacre Memorial 1.48km NW
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Waterloo Bay Massacre Memorial 1.48km NW
Mean Max. °C25.825.624.222.319.417.116.417.219.221.523.524.5
Mean Min. °C15.715.914.312.
Mean Rain mm10.213.415.127.552.173.070.559.139.730.319.516.7

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