Committee prepares to commemorate 179th anniversary of Myall Creek massacre

Don't forget: "We want people to remember what happened to those poor people all those many years ago," Kelvin Brown said.
Don't forget: "We want people to remember what happened to those poor people all those many years ago," Kelvin Brown said.

A bittersweet place in the region, Myall Creek has become synonymous with both deep anguish and healing. 

The site of the brutal murder of 28 Aboriginal men, women and children in 1838, Myall Creek is also remembered as a rare moment of justice. Seven of the 11 perpetrators were charged and hanged for the massacre – in the first trial of its kind in Australia.

The region will commemorate the massacre and the historic trial that followed in a service at the memorial site from 9.30am on Sunday. 

“Myall Creek at the moment has become a bit of a shining light for a lot of Aboriginal organisations, because they see that we’re leading in regards to reconciliation.

“We’re leading in regards to recognition. We’re also leading in regard to making sure that people don’t forget that incident on the 10th of June 1838,” Inverell Friends of Myall Creek member Kelvin Brown said.

Sue Blacklock and Paullette Hayes during the 2016 ceremony.

Sue Blacklock and Paullette Hayes during the 2016 ceremony.

“These injustices that occurred in regards to massacres, murders, rape, mayhem, you name it, occurred right throughout Australia - from one end of Australia right through to the other.

“Myall Creek is the only place though, where justice was found,” he said.

“It just makes you feel glad that their spirits are free now,” Sue Blacklock said. Founder of the memorial committee, Sue is a descendant of the survivors of the massacre. 

“I love going to (the commemoration) because you meet so many new people,” she said. She was pleased to see many young people help keep the tradition alive. 

Her late brother Earl Munro, a traditional elder of Tingha who was instrumental in having the memorial plaques installed, will also be honoured on the day. 

Gamilaroi singer/songwriter Roger Knox will perform and a group of Indigenous children will give a traditional dance. Mark Tedeschi, law professor and author of Murder at Myall Creek will be the guest speaker. In February, Mr Tedeschi held two booked-out lectures on the topic in Armidale.

Plans for next year’s 180th anniversary have already begun.

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