Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that these resources contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, websites, film, audio recordings or printed material.
Some words or descriptions in these resources may reflect the attitudes of the period in which the works were created, and may now be considered inaccurate, inappropriate, offensive or derogatory.
The Library operates under its Indigenous Intellectual and Cultural Property Protocol.

Frontier Conflict, also known as the Frontier Wars, refers to the period of conflict between First Australians and the British Colonists. The exact dates for this period are debated, but it is generally accepted as dating from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 through to the 1930s.

The National Library holds a wide range of primary source materials that relate to the period of Frontier Conflict, most of which can be found in the pictures or manuscripts collection. There is also a large body of work available through our eResources page.

For example, the albums of Eliza Younghusband contain a watercolour painting from William Oswald Hodgkinson, who painted his encounters with First Australians. Aside from this material, the Library also holds a large body of books, journal articles and oral history recordings that discuss First Australians resistance to the colonial expansion. Some examples of this material are:

Please keep in mind that some of the search phrases for this material will often relate to historical wording and language. This means terms that we would today consider highly offensive may appear in your search.

Here are some search terms that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove.

  • Australian Aborigines conflict
  • Frontier Wars Australia
  • Aboriginal Australian Warriors
  • Resistance to Colonisation in Australia

Colonial Frontier Massacres Map

The University of Newcastle’s Colonial Frontier Massacres Map allows you to see how widespread Colonial resistance and violence was in Australia. For more information about Frontier Massacres, particularly regarding defining these events and how evidence was compiled to be mapped, please see the University of Newcastle's page on Frontier Massacres.

Myall Creek Massacre

While it is just one of numerous massacres recorded above, there are a number of resources which provide information on the Myall Creek Massacre including:

Primary resources, especially government and legal records, are held predominantly by State Records NSW.

Edited records of the legal cases relating to Myall Creek can be found on the Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899 website published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University and now archived on Trove. For most of the nineteenth century, law reporting consisted mostly of newspaper reports.