The expanding frontier of European settlement has been described as being marked by a 'line of blood' (Howitt 1904). The blood was that of the many thousands of Aborigines who were killed either individually or massacred in large groups. Several such massacres that occurred in the Clarence River Region are remembered by living Aborigines, and some are documented historically, although the sites are vague see Sites.
In some cases Aborigines were rounded up by Europeans on horseback and shot or sabred or, in several cases (e.g. Bluff Rock October 1844), driven over the edge of cliffs. Alternatively, camps were surrounded at night and the occupants killed. The massacres took place with the assistance of the infamous Border Police, established in 1839, and the Native Police formed some years after, who proved particularly effective in killing all those Aborigines who had sought refuge in the thick scrub and ranges north of the Clarence (Rowley 1972a: 39).
Massacre sites have proven difficult to pinpoint on the ground (only three are on record for the Region). It seems that among Aborigines it is the event which is often remembered better than the actual place. Few Aborigines involved lived to tell the tale and few massacres were official1y documented because, though often carried out with the connivance of the Government's Land Commissioners, Aborigines were supposedly under the protection of the Crown and so reports on massacres either were not made or were 'lost'. A conspiracy of silence involving settlers, police, and Government officials ensured that this darker side of frontier history was kept out of the history books (a situation now being corrected by Geoffrey Blomfield 1981, James Miller 1985 Henry Reynolds 1981, 1987, and others).
Massacres which are historically documented but for which there are no specific locations include that at Boonall in the Macintyre Valley (Pearson 1973: 11), and the Orara River massacre (Rowley 1970, Reference 28: 113).
The earliest mentions of deaths in the Clarnece River are were recorded by Alfred Lardner (later Mayor of Grafton, 1860) of raids which McDonald and his Border Police carried out at Yulgilbar and Ramornie. as reported in the Grafton Examiner years later