Balcanoona shearing shed

The complex of station buildings was structured around an ephemeral Balcanoona Creek that flowed out to Lake Frome. I kept on thinking how often did the creek flow from the monsoonal rains. Not that often I thought. So water would have been scarce during the frequent droughts.

wool press, Balcanoona

I gathered that the Adnyamathanha people would have worked on the Balcanoona Station and from what I could gather they would have camped on the other side of the Balcanoona Creek. They would have done various jobs: for the men this would including fencing, stock work, roadwork, wool classing and sometimes tracking; for the women domestic labour in the homestead.

What is not clear in the museum type history is an acknowledgement and account of the various massacres in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges. The colonial government had taken the Adnyamathanha  land away, so they were forced to kill sheep to survive.

stockyard, Balcanoona

I am aware of a massacre at the Paralana Hot Springs when a lot of Aboriginal people were shot for killing sheep. They were no longer able to travel around their lands as before owing to the establishment of pastoral leases. They had been used to moving around the land because of the lack of a reliable water source, but since European settlement, they had been forced to camp in groups. One pastoralist response was frontier violence –Aboriginal bones with bullet holes through the skulls have been seen at Lake Callabonna. The Callabonna Station homestead was situated on Callabonna Creek which runs into Lake Callabonna.

window, shearing shed, Balcanoona

Today Lake Callabonna is more known for the fossil remains of the extinct giant marsupial Diprotodon than for its frontier history.

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