"to inflict exemplary and severe punishment on the mountain tribes...to strike them with terror...clearing the country of them entirely."
The Appin massacre occurred in the early hours of the morning of 17 April 1816, the outcome of a military reprisal raid against Aboriginal people ordered by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. In March 1816, a punitive expedition of British farm workers was surprised and ambushed at Silverdale by a group of Aboriginal people armed with muskets and spears. Four Britishers were killed. Governor Lachlan Macquarie ordered an armed reprisal "to inflict exemplary and severe punishment on the mountain tribes...to strike them with terror...clearing the country of them entirely." Macquarie sent three detachments of the 46th Regiment into the region with Captain James Wallis being placed in command of the detachment of grenadiers. Wallis' group of 37 grenadiers and officers scoured the area around Appin and Minto and were soon informed that a group of Aborigines were camping near the Cataract River. In the early morning of 17 April, Wallis led a surprise attack on this camp with "smart firing" resulting in the deaths of at least fourteen Aboriginal people from both gunshot wounds or from falling off the rocky cliffs around the river while fleeing. Most of the dead were old men, women and children. Wanted men, Cannabaygal and Dunnell were also killed with Cannabaygal being shot five times. Wallis took two surviving women and three children prisoner and, following the orders of Governor Macquarie, hung the corpses of Cannabaygal and Dunnell from trees on a hill near Appin to "strike the survivors with greater terror."