Scandal Tom Wills - not a good guy?

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Percel

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Feb 6, 2013
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A startling discovery by a sports history researcher suggests that AFL pioneer Tom Wills participated in the mass murder of Aboriginal people during the infamous reprisal attacks that followed Queensland's Cullin-la-ringo massacre of 1861.

Key points:
  • A Chicago Tribune article from 1895 claims Tom Wills spoke of his participation in reprisals following the Cullin-la-ringo massacre
  • Wills is quoted as claiming "we killed all in sight"
  • He also describes murdering an Aboriginal man who stole his jacket
more here

 

Aristotle Pickett

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Oct 19, 2020
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A startling discovery by a sports history researcher suggests that AFL pioneer Tom Wills participated in the mass murder of Aboriginal people during the infamous reprisal attacks that followed Queensland's Cullin-la-ringo massacre of 1861.

Key points:
  • A Chicago Tribune article from 1895 claims Tom Wills spoke of his participation in reprisals following the Cullin-la-ringo massacre
  • Wills is quoted as claiming "we killed all in sight"
  • He also describes murdering an Aboriginal man who stole his jacket
more here

Let the truth come out.
This scenario is plausible as massacres were not uncommon at that time.
If it's true you have to get rid of his statue.
 

PetterdHoisted

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 27, 2014
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A startling discovery by a sports history researcher suggests that AFL pioneer Tom Wills participated in the mass murder of Aboriginal people during the infamous reprisal attacks that followed Queensland's Cullin-la-ringo massacre of 1861.

Key points:
  • A Chicago Tribune article from 1895 claims Tom Wills spoke of his participation in reprisals following the Cullin-la-ringo massacre
  • Wills is quoted as claiming "we killed all in sight"
  • He also describes murdering an Aboriginal man who stole his jacket
more here

How horrendous for Tom, while he is off getting supplies, his Dad and 18 others are slaughtered

you would never get over an atrocity like that.

Never.

given the rough justice standards of that era, I’m not sure we can really judge him ‘good’ or ‘bad’ if he sought bloody revenge?
 

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demondavey

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Apr 18, 2005
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A startling discovery by a sports history researcher suggests that AFL pioneer Tom Wills participated in the mass murder of Aboriginal people during the infamous reprisal attacks that followed Queensland's Cullin-la-ringo massacre of 1861.

Key points:
  • A Chicago Tribune article from 1895 claims Tom Wills spoke of his participation in reprisals following the Cullin-la-ringo massacre
  • Wills is quoted as claiming "we killed all in sight"
  • He also describes murdering an Aboriginal man who stole his jacket
more here

Got to be something to do with Callum Urch
 

Endless

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Jul 21, 2014
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A startling discovery by a sports history researcher suggests that AFL pioneer Tom Wills participated in the mass murder of Aboriginal people during the infamous reprisal attacks that followed Queensland's Cullin-la-ringo massacre of 1861.

Key points:
  • A Chicago Tribune article from 1895 claims Tom Wills spoke of his participation in reprisals following the Cullin-la-ringo massacre
  • Wills is quoted as claiming "we killed all in sight"
  • He also describes murdering an Aboriginal man who stole his jacket
more here

88C5022A-5393-4DCF-A000-091247B42226.jpeg

I suggest further research
Try Martin Flanagan
 

Some Idiot

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Mar 17, 2009
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While the history has been somewhat rewritten, if you dig deep enough, the murder of indigenous Australians was just part of the culture of the times. Sadly you'd have to strike every Australian from the history books going down that path.
 

jim boy

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Wills has a deeply flawed individual. Was his attitude to the indigenous population founded on racists beliefs - probably. You'd be hard pressed to find a white-person then who wasn't. Howver in his time there is plenty to show he was seen as a bit of failure by both his family and society.

He was a super-important character for the birth of footy and what we watch today may be very different. But he wasn't a visionary, he was a talented sportsman who just happened to be in the right place and the right time when the mania around "Tom Brown's School Days" hit. He was a character from that novel come to real life and was called upon to reimagine the playing fields of Rugby that he knew so well in the new colony of Victoria. He did what was asked of him and no more. Ironically the fame he garnered through his association with Tom Brown was repeated 150 years later as the AFL public sought a beacon for the foundation of the game, and who better than Tom, a man who helped write the rules, who recreated the english game with local flavour, who was the first captain of both the first two football clubs - Melbourne and Geelong. He deserves to be noted for his contribution to the game but not revered and not idolised.
 

catscratchfever

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I mean it was the 1880s lol. Sounds like a retaliation act rather than just cold hard murder. I guess that's not an excuse but jeez I find it strange when we continue to apply todays morals and standards to such a different time.

The act that led to the ‘retaliation’ was itself a retaliation for murders carried out by whites. Murder has always been a crime. And so applying today’s moral standards is justified.


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Occidental

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Oct 2, 2016
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370 people being killed is a fair dinkum full on pitched battle. We find out about it in an obscure newspaper article from a foreign country. 18 settlers killed as well.
This is around 400 deaths and it happened in Queensland.
It makes Long Tan look like a picnic.

We are a funny bunch. Incidents like that would have happened all over the place, but we don’t bother about remembering, commemorating or even bothering to know about them.

I’m not after re-writing history, but we just don’t have this as part of our history at all. It’s like we reckon it never happened.
 

Fire

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Mar 12, 2003
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Yikes. That's unfortunate, to say the least.

Yeah ok, it was a colonial war and it was in response to his father being slaughtered and that's not uncommon for the era. You could argue he wasn't the devil given this background, just a product of his times and situation. Especially since he also had generally positive input later in life.

But he certainly shouldn't be celebrated. He'll forever have his place in history, but we shouldn't be displaying statues of him given his legacy is downright horrific for some of us (Australians).
 

HaroLad

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Dec 11, 2013
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Think this might have something to do with it:

On October 17, 1861, while Tom Wills was away getting supplies, his father Horatio Wills and 18 others in their party were murdered at the newly-established Cullin-la-ringo station in central Queensland, which sat within the 15,000 square kilometres of Gayiri land between Springsure and Capella. It was the largest massacre of white settlers by Aboriginal people.
 

Osho

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Jul 9, 2021
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It was an invasion that ended up an undeclared war against inhabitants. It was to be a war of independence for Aborigines, ended up a massacre of them. It was to be a federation of the 6 British colonies into a new nation, and it forgot to mention the settlement wars in many of its histories taught at schools for a hundred years.

After all the historical surprises over the years, one gets less surprised.

I'm all for keeping the statue though, don't want to start throwings down a memory hole, eventually there will be nothing left.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Jesus. That does not read well.

"After eight hours' galloping we came up with the band about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. What a shout went up as we sighted them! How we galloped down upon them! I cannot tell all that happened, but know we killed all in sight. Just as we thought they were all settled I happened to see a dirty, shrinking, greasy brute with my Zingari jacket on sneaking off. O, the desecration of it! Fancy my Zingari jacket! O, didn't I gallop after him, and when I got alongside I emptied the whole six barrels of my revolver into him, the brute."
 

speedpeck23

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In light of this, GWS will need to reconsider the name of it's training base, Tom Wills Oval.

Maybe Henry Colden Antill Harrison Oval. Born in Picton NSW. Step-cousin of Wills. Whereas Wills was flamboyant and rebellious, Harrison was the conservative responsible customs clerk who took over managing and promoting the game where Wills was deficient. Harrison lived into his 90's and was a celebrated figure of the game. Tom Wills had the ideas and charisma but Harrison had the organizational skills and determination to make it happen.
Both were great sportsmen.
 

PetterdHoisted

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The act that led to the ‘retaliation’ was itself a retaliation for murders carried out by whites. Murder has always been a crime. And so applying today’s moral standards is justified.


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Well it says the neighbour of Wills murder a Gayiri man, so the massacre of Will’s entire station seems ill directed and utterly disproportionate.

As no doubt would have been the resultant revenge rampage.

awful times
 

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