Tenterfield Tourism
Bluff Rock.

Bluff Rock
BLUFF ROCK is situated 10Km south of Tenterfield on the New England Highway. It was Edward Erby and his brother Leonard who passed the huge granite rock while moving to Deepwater Station from Tenterfield Station in 1842. They named the outcrop St. Swithins Bluff as they passed it on St. Swithins Day.

THE MASSACRE: The truth of that day remains clouded by many conflicting versions. One time Overseer at Bolivia Station, Thomas Keating, in describing the massacre as it had been told him by an old man at Bolivia, told of Aboriginal attacks on shepherds and sheep. Keating outlined how men on Bolivia Station were mustered and armed, then set out on the track of Aborigines to Pyes Creek on the western boundary of the property. According to Keating's story the Aboriginals were then attacked at Pyes Creek and they fled across country to Bluff Rock, where they were thrown from the top, killing most and injuring many. None of that tribe, which survived, were ever seen on Bolivia Station again.

Commissioner MacDonald reported that in October 1844 a shepherd had been killed by Aborigines on the Irby Station at Bolivia, but no retalitory action was mentioned in the despatch. However, Edward Irby himself, when writing of the incident, describes how one of his shepherds, Robinson, had been killed by Aborigines and how four men had set out to find the culprits. In these few simple words he described in his journal the terrible deeds of that day:

      "The blacks saw us coming and hid themselves on the rocks.
      One, in his haste, dropped poor Robinson's coat so we knew we
      were onto the right tribe. If they had taken to their heels
      they might have got away, instead of doing so, they got their
      fighting men to attack us. So we punished them severely and
      proved our superiority to them."
The truth will be forever in the bosom of one of the most impressive landmarks along the New England Highway.

Today there is no evidence of the massacre of nearly 150 years ago, but the majestic beauty of this huge granite rock remains steadfast in its geological characteristics. Bluff Rock and the surrounding area consists of granite rock which cooled from molten magma under the earth's surface about 225 million years ago. Subsequent uplift and erosion have exposed them to the earth's surface. According to geological theory, Bluff Rock stands above the surrounding area because it has been more resistant to erosion, probably due to having fewer cracks along which water can penetrate and accelerate the erosion process. Large crystals of pink feldspar, dark mica and quartz give the rock its speckled appearance.