|Conn’s Crossing where William and Elizabeth settled before moving north towards Cardwell. Photo date unknown, possibly 1880s to early 1900s. NQ Photographic Collection ID 22901, Henry Stone Albums|
Tragically in 1875 William’s body was found in front of his cottage, and the location of Elizabeth’s was later revealed to police by three Aboriginal women. According to local historian, Dorothy Jones, who tells the tale graphically in her 1961 “Cardwell Shire Story”, reprisals were ordered by police Sub-Inspector Johnstone – although these seem to have been motivated more by revenge than justice. Some 7 or 8 years after the event explorer and ethnographer Carl Lumholtz heard of it and, with a variation in the name from Conn to O’Connor, recounted it in his book “Among Cannibals”. Local Aborigines told Lumholtz that it was mainly women and children who were slaughtered, while most of the younger men, no doubt including the perpetrators, escaped. Interestingly Jones locates the murder site further south at Conn’s Crossing but “The Queenslander’s” contemporary account suggests Balanzategui’s more northerly location is correct and this is endorsed by John Alm’s 1930s account contained in “Early History of the Herbert River District”.
|The first English edition of Norwegian explorer, Carl Lumholtz's book "Among Cannibals" is held in the North Queensland Collection at JCU Library Special Collections.|