How common were wars between Aboriginal tribes in Australia and how bloody were they?

Feb 2018
There is a large collection of evidence that suggests Aboriginal Australians went to war with each other from cave paintings of battles to the discovery of wooden shields.

While the fact that they went to war is undisputed, I want to know how common these wars were and how bloody did they get? By 'bloody', I mean were there large amounts of casualties on either side and were there atrocities by one tribe against the other?
Sep 2012
Tarkington, Texas
I would opine that they were similar to tribal wars in New Guinea. A lot of ceremony, brief exchange of missiles and then one side would run. This does not rule out the chance of extinction of an enemy if they caught them napping.



Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
New Delhi, India
Yeh, I would think that they were not as 'bloody' as those fought by colonials.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
They were quite bloody in the sense that they were usually wars of attrition. Aboriginal tribes were subdivided into extended family groups of anything from 30 to 100 people, spread over a large area. There were frequent clashes between groups over scarce resources or more commonly, women. Women were especially sought after as wives/concubines/slaves.
The small and scattered nature of the Aboriginal groups did not lend itself to mass battles or extended campaigns, but there were constant skirmishes that claimed significant casualties over time.