Moppy, Young Moppy, King Moppy, Campbell, Black CampbellDate of Birth
ca. 1820Place of Birth
Lockyer Valley, QldDate of Death
Rosewood, QldPlace of residence in Queensland
Gatton, Lockyer ValleyChildren
Kitty (Queen Kitty), unnamed son
Multuggerah is recorded in letters, poems and newspaper articles under many names -- ‘Moppy’, ‘Young Moppy’, ‘King Moppy’, ‘Campbell’ and ‘Black Campbell’ among them. In some cases, it is uncertain whether these names refer to the same individual. In particular, there is some confusion in early accounts between ‘Old Moppy’ (Multuggerah’s father), ‘Young Moppy’ (Multuggerah) and ‘Campbell’ which may be his brother. In other cases these names seem to be pseudonyms.
Multuggerah was one of at least three sons of ‘Old Moppy’, who was leader of the Gatton area before him. (The common reference to both Multuggerah and his father with variants of the word ‘Moppy’ is likely a reference to their hair). He seems to have been one of the men who assisted Commandant Owen Gorman in locating one of the first passes between the Gatton area and the Darling Downs (‘Gorman’s Gap’) in 1840.
While there were violent skirmishes of which he was likely involved in the time of his father (1840-1841), Multuggerah first emerges in the public record in August 1841 when he tried to attack the party of early settler John ‘Tinker’ Campbell. After being purportedly kidnapped at gunpoint by Campbell, the young Multuggerah, apparently impressed by his captor’s daring, exchanged names and maintained a lifelong commitment to protecting Campbell. This is how Multuggerah acquired his broadly used alias ‘Campbell’.
Following the shooting of his father and Wooinambi (probably his brother) within a short period of time, Multuggerah vowed to kill at least six whites. Although only a young man, like his father, he quickly won the confidence of the ’Mountain tribes’ (which included the peoples of the Downs, Warwick and D’Aguilar Ranges). He seems to have led or organised regular sackings of bullock drays on the track up to the Darling Downs, and the stealing of flocks at Cressbrook. The latter resulted in a stand-off with settler David McConnel. The two struck a type of peace agreement. Multuggerah returned most of the flock in exchange for the promise of his people being allowed to live unmolested on McConnels’ run.
Like his father, Multuggerah concentrated on economic sabotage: destroying and dispersing livestock and the supply of goods (which at that time was largely conducted by bullock drays). However, his planning involved new techniques such as closing and fencing up the roads and attempted magic (using the kidney fat of livestock).
In August and September of 1843, Multuggerah oversaw a large-scale offensive involving several groups. All the sheep runs of the Lockyer and Upper Brisbane regions, and many of the Darling Downs runs, were held in a state of siege by perpetual attacks on the huts. The aim was to starve out the squatters, and cease all European access through the area. Warriors evidently ‘patrolled’ the region in an effort to enact this.
At the height of the siege, a dozen evicted squatters took shelter at Bonifant’s Inn (near today’s Gatton) and sent a plea for assistance to the Border Police. They also organised a large, heavily-armed dray ‘train’ from Ipswich to push up to the Downs. The intent was to try to keep the pass open by force. This set of drays was nevertheless ambushed and sacked by Multuggerah’s men, resulting in a reprisal raid by some 30 to 50 squatters and assistants. After a heated battle, Multuggerah’s group conducted a mock retreat up Mt Tabletop in which the squatters were defeated. The Border Police arrived but were similarly dissuaded from acting. The defeat humiliated the squatters.
However, in a subsequent push by some 70 to 100 squatters, police and soldiers a week or so later, Multuggerah’s fighters were driven out of the area to Rosewood Scrub (a large enclosed brigalow rainforest area 50 kilometres to the east). Rosewood Scrub - the area between today’s Lowood, Laidley and Walloon - became Multuggerah’s stronghold from this point onwards, although he is still mentioned as making attacks from the Helidon Scrub, effective enough for settlers to generally avoid this area. Occasionally settlers were ousted from their homes, but mostly supplies were destroyed or taken. Reprisal attacks by squatters, police and soldiers resulted in Multuggerah’s camps being stormed and burnt, with some loss of life. A soldiers barracks was built at the base of the Dividing Range (near Helidon) to protect the mountain passes against Multuggerah’s attacks, and a fortified hut was built at Rosewood Station (Glenore Grove) on account on the repeated attacks endured here.
The date and circumstances of Multuggerah’s death are disputed. The most widely accepted reconstruction is that Multuggerah under the pseudonym ‘Campbell’ was shot dead in 1846 during a squatters’ reprisal raid on Multuggerah’s Glenore Grove camp. This was after Multuggerah had attempted a siege of Rosewood Station with 500 warriors. However, another account mentions Multuggerah and other leaders fighting Chinese immigrants at Victoria Park (Brisbane) in 1850. One historian even maintains that Multuggerah lived on into the 1880s as ‘King Billy’ of Blackfellows Creek.
Multuggerah is known to have had at least two children, one unnamed son and a daughter known as Kitty or Queen Kitty. Queen Kitty and her husband King Jimmy were prominent figures in Ipswich during the 1860s and 1870s.
Biography prepared by Dr Ray Kerkhove and Amanda Spinks.
Note: Multuggerah's entry in the Native Mounted Police in Queensland database states that he died in August 1846, along with two unnamed Aboriginal men, during an attack on Rosewood station owned by John and Donald Coutts.
If you have further information on the life of this person please contact the Harry Gentle Resource Centre ([email protected])
Ray Kerkhove , 2016.
Moreton Bay Courier
5 September 1846, p. 2
Darling Downs Gazette
24 September 1910
Darling Downs Gazette
1 October 1910
Sydney Morning Herald
10 September 1844, p. 4
Bells Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer
4 January 1845
Bells Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer
11 January 1845
Online ResourcesMultuggerah (aka Moppy and Black Campbell), Native Mounted Police of Queensland Database
Multuggerah (c. 1820 - c. 1846) by Ray Kerkhove, Australian Dictionary of Biography
Papers and pamphlets
The Day the Dreaming Stopped: A Social History investigating the sudden impact of the pastoral migration in the Lockyer and Brisbane Valleys 1839 to 1846
MA Coursework mss (Uni of Qld)