Newly documented colonial-era massacres could bring the total to over 500 by the end of a comprehensive university study, Australian researchers predict.
A University of Newcastle team is collating a Colonial Frontier Massacres Map, charting verified and recorded mass killings, largely of Indigenous people, across the country from 1788 to 1930.
The second stage of the study was released on Friday, with 250 incidents now logged.
Researchers however expect that number could double by the completion of the study's third stage due to an influx of evidence from regional communities.
Historian Lyndall Ryan says documenting massacres helps determine just how violent Australia's frontier actually was.
“It’s going to change the way we look at the past,” she told NITV News.
Professor Ryan said over 6000 people were killed in the violence and government involvement was often present.
“What this project has shown us is that massacre was widespread and across the colonial frontier and, I think, a key characteristic of the settlement of colonial Australia,” she said.
Prof Ryan said when she began the project she thought the team would uncover 200 massacres at most, but with each month more and more were verified.
“I was brought up to believe that Australia was peacefully settled by British people and that there was very little violence on the colonial frontier,” she said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been saying their people were subjected to massacre for decades now and I think historians like me haven’t been listening.”
Prof Ryan said the research team was only halfway through verifying the full extent of the violence on the colonial frontier but predicted the final tally would be closer to 500 massacres.
Stage two of the project shows for the first time massacres that occurred in the Northern Territory and South Australia, along with further incidents in eastern Australia.
It also includes 10 massacre sites of non-Aboriginal people, including Asians and Europeans.
Stage three of the project will include sites in Western Australia as well as the rest of Australia from 1788-1960, but a completion date is yet to be determined.