Region occupying far North East section of Western Australia. The first European expedition to the Kimberley did not arrive until 1837. Lieutenant George Grey and his men put ashore on the treacherous crocodile-infested coastline, and at once proceeded boldly inland. Next day, Grey was almost drowned trying to swim across the Prince Regent River, emerging minus his trousers.
Not until 40 years later did the first serious European exploration begin. A few settlers followed, setting up sheep stations. But these bold pioneers had overlooked one important fact. This region was already occupied – by the Aborigines. And they didn’t want anyone else living there.
The pioneers were soon being attacked by the local Bunuba Aborigines. The police were sent in, but to little avail. By the 1890s, these attacks had been coordinated into a guerrilla campaign by the Aborigine leader Jundumurra, who became known as Pigeon. This nickname was of course only used by his white pursuers – some say on account of his diminutive size, others because of his ability to elude their ambushes by flying away through the undergrowth.
The police eventually captured Jundumurra and dragged him off in chains to Derby, Jundumurra soon escaped and later released other Aborigine prisoners. He then got hold of rifles, and began training his men. The police now brought in reinforcements and conducted a full-scale manhunt, using renegade Aborigine trackers brought in from another tribe. The mortally wounded Jundumurra was finally cornered at Tunnel Creek in 1897.