I recently read a piece in Fairfax Press about what was, up until Port Arthur, the worst massacre in Australia. I am sure that is what the article said. I asked around the family table if anyone knew which was the worst massacre before Port Arthur and no one knew. Sister piped in with the Myall Creek massacre, which stopped me briefly. I didn't know how many were killed at Myall Creek, but this was not the answer I read.
At Myall Creek, 'brave' convict settlers and a freeman killed 28 Aborigines, mostly women and children, in 1838. To the administration's credit, justice was pursued but after a trial, all were found not guilty, in spite of the Justice directing that there was no difference between killing an Aborigine and killing a white person. Before they were released another charge was laid against them and at this trial, seven were found guilty and were hanged.
Australia's worst massacre in the twentieth century was at Port Arthur in Tasmania where 35 were killed by Martin Bryant.
But the one suggested as the worst before Port Arthur in the article I read was the Whisky Au Go Go fire bombing in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley where 15 were killed. I have a vague memory of it. There were a couple of drums of fuel oil ignited in the foyer of the nightclub and the fireball shot upstairs. The fire escape door handle and the fire escape stairs had been greased. Of the 100 in the club, many escaped by jumping from windows. Among those killed were a couple of band members and their extra vocalist.
Photo of the burnt out Whisky Au Go Go from Brisbane Times online.