emma_coverAustralia’s Worst Mass Murder – The Wreck of the Emma

by Kevin Moran

ISBN 978-085905-557-4, (New, 2013, A4, 47pp, illustrated, 160grams.

$22.00* + POST

In 1867 the Emma carrying forty two passengers and crew was lost. Her fate was not known until ten years later when an Aboriginal crew member on the Jessie informed Captain W Tuckey the following, which was reported in The Inquirer newspaper on 19 January 1876 : -

“A Long time ago (about 10 years he described) a ship was wrecked near North West Cape; the passengers landed at night, in the boats and as they had no means of defending themselves, the natives had no difficulty in making them prisoners. There were a large number of persons, among them were some females. The natives were not ‘sulky’ with them, but nevertheless they killed and ate all of them, the narrator partaking of some of the flesh.”

No actions were then taken until 1994 when the question of what happened to the Emma, her passengers and her crew was asked by West Australian historian John Nairn. He received no support; as the fear in the truth of the story told by Mr Tuckey’s crew member.

The West Australian reported 16 February 2010 skeletons had been unearthed at a site at Quobba 70 kilometres north of Carnarvon. The one skull shown was of a Homo-sapiens configuration, rather than the Homo-erectus prevalent in the Carnarvon District Aborigines, although both skull types exist there.

The author Kevin Moran considered that while they may be Aboriginal, they may also be the remains of the crew and passengers of the Emma and so requested if a DNA test could be carried out on some samples from the burial site to ascertain if this was so.