Mapping Frontier Conflict in South-East Queensland – OLD
Dr Ray Kerkhove, Harry Gentle Visiting Fellow 2016/2017

Stradbroke and Moreton Islands 1832-1833


Figure 1: Amity Point Pilot Station in the 1830s

Although the accounts of the Battle of Cooroon Cooroonpah Creek differ in details, they indicate that the conflict began with the Amity Point Pilot Station. After a few payback killings at Point Lookout and Dunwich for the abduction of Aboriginal girls and the killing of a headman, soldiers were sent from the mainland, attacking camps on the southern end of Moreton Island and purportedly killing some 15 to 20 Aborigines. The conflict came to a peak with a day-long pitched battle north of Myora (at Cooroon Cooronpah Creek) between soldiers and warriors. It seems to have ended in a stalemate, and accounts vary as to casualties – some listing a couple of soldiers being killed, other accounts saying no one died on either side. Quandamooka oral history is that Dunwich Cemetery was begun with some of the dead warriors from this battle.


Figure 2: map of the Cooroon Cooroonpah Creek area, Stradbroke Island. The hills both sides were used for vantage and camping, indicating this was – as the source documents state – a traditional inter-tribal tournament area

The long grass of this location and the clunky nature of muskets (which took time to reload) enabled the warriors to sneak up repeatedly on the soldiers. The battle purportedly established some of the terms of cooperation that the Stradbroke people thereafter maintained with white settlement. 

1828 plan of the dunwich mititary garrison

Figure 3: Plan of Dunwich Military Garrison 1828. This is where the soldiers would have been quartered prior to the battle.