Authorities in Queensland have formally charged a 37-year-old woman with the murder of seven of her children and her niece.
The woman was charged while in hospital in Cairns, north east Australia, where she is being treated for self-inflicted knife-wounds, police report.
Police say they are awaiting the results of post-mortem examinations to determine the exact cause of the childrens’ deaths.
Tim Nicholls, Acting Premier of Queensland, offered his support to the residents of Manoora, the Cairns suburb where the victims were found.
“As a father myself with three children under 15, I can only imagine the grief that this community is feeling as they come to grips with the events over the last days. And I’m sure I speak on behalf of all Queenslanders – and indeed all Australians – when we say that ‘we are with you, that we are here to support you and we feel with you the grief that this community feels’,” he said.
Aged from 18 months to 15 years old, the four boys and four girls were reportedly found dead on Friday morning by another of the suspect’s sons.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott labelled the incident an “unspeakable crime.”
It is the second bloody event to strike the country in the space of a week. On Tuesday, two civilians were killed as a result of a 16-hour siege in Sydney.