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Evidence: Repealing Martial Law

Bells Falls Gorge - an interactive investigation

Evidence: Repealing Martial Law

An official report, and missing reports

Whatever reports were filed by the local authorities seem not to have survived, and the colonial government appears to have whitewashed its account by claiming that 'not one outrage was committed . . . neither was a life sacrificed or even blood spilt' during the period.

(David Roberts, 'The Bells Falls massacre and oral tradition', in Bain Attwood & SG Foster (eds), Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2003, page 152)

Comparing the official report with some other records

This [the official report previous] is at odds with the circumstantial evidence available. We have a large number of ambiguous hints and rumours, mostly penned by informants who were not directly involved, and numerous descriptions that emerged decades later in the form of family reminiscences and local traditions. They convey an almost unanimous opinion that the troops were engaged in fierce action, obliging us to imagine this was a time in which some extremely dark deeds were committed.

(David Roberts, 'The Bells Falls massacre and oral tradition', in Bain Attwood & SG Foster (eds), Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2003, page 152)