The Battle of One Tree Hill

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In 1840, Brisbane was the furthest outpost of settled Australia. On all sides, it was embedded in a richly Aboriginal world. Over the next few years, mostly from across New South Wales northern plains, a large push of pastoralists thundered into the Darling Downs, Lockyer and much of southern Queensland – establishing huge sheep stations. The violence that erupted welded many of the tribal groups into an alliance that by 1842 was working to halt the advance.

The Battle of One Tree Hill tells the story of one of the most audacious stands against this influx. It concerns actions engineered by a father and son, Moppy and Multuggerah. In 1843, this culminated in an ingenious ambush and one of the first solid defeats of white settlement in Queensland.

The battle at Mount Tabletop, 128 kilometres west Brisbane, astounded many at the time. The response was most likely the largest action of the frontier wars: the assembly of some 100 or more officers, soldiers, police and armed settlers – much of the region's white settlement – drawn from hundreds of square kilometres. These formed sorties to drive out the warriors, but despite their best efforts, resistance not only persisted, but managed a few more victories. A fort had to be established to protect travellers, and an avalanche of brutal skirmishes, massacres raids, and robberies trickled on for decades.

The Battle of One Tree Hill introduces us to many of the flamboyant characters, curious reversals of fortune, and neglected incidents that together helped establish early Queensland. Told in a narrative fashion, this work combines decades of archival research, analysis, reconstruction and interviews conducted by historians Ray Kerkhove and Frank Uhr.

I had seven years schooling in Toowoomba and three in Brisbane. There was no history about Aboriginal resistance, let alone about Aboriginal victories. A must for the education of new generations.

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[1] 'The Battle of One Tree Hill', Booktopia website

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Korff, J 2019, The Battle of One Tree Hill, <>, retrieved 25 May 2024

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