For the first time an evidence based map has been created that reveals the locations of more than 150 massacres of Aboriginal people by white first settlers.
The massacres mapped so far occurred predominantly in Eastern Australia as pastoralists spread out from the original colonial towns.
The map is the work of Newcastle University history academic Lyndall Ryan, who said the map uses archival evidence to determine what massacres took place and where.
"The biggest argument in the scholarship of massacre is ‘how do we know it happened?’” Professor Ryan said.
“Most massacres took place in secret and were designed to not be discovered, so finding evidence of them is a major challenge.
"This digital tool brings significant historical information out of the depths of archives, bringing it to life in an accessible and visual format."
The map is the result of four years of work funded by an Australian Research Council grant investigating violence on the Australian Colonial Frontier, 1788-1960. It is expected to become a tool for students, academics and members of the public.
Professor Ryan said the map would expand beyond the eastern states and she expected the number of massacres mapped to grow.
"So far we have mapped Tasmania, Victoria, most of NSW and Queensland and have about 150 massacres listed at present. It’s likely to end up being more than 200 across an 80-year period from settlement to 1872 as we progress the map further," she said.
“There were more than 60 massacres in Victoria across 15 years; and 30 massacres along the NSW, Queensland border between 1840 to 1850. The map shows there were very intense periods of violence in particular regions. We are still working on mapping the rest of Australia and hope to have that complete within two years.”