"Our ancestors are here with us. They are with us in the trees, they are with us in the breeze."
Haunting words spoken by Aunty Sue Blacklock moments before a once still landscape was brought to life with a firm but gentle breeze, dancing on those gathered for the Myall Creek Memorial on Sunday.
Hundreds attended the moving ceremony, each with their own personal connection or reason for attending.
Read some of their stories here.
'Know where we came from'
Aunty Priscilla Harrison hailed from the Strathbogie Station, near Emmaville, and made the journey from her current home in Queensland to attend the memorial for the first time.
As the matriarch of five generations, she was joined by family members from each generation to mark the occasion.
"This is the first time I've been," she told the Times.
"As I'm here, as I was listening, my mind starts to drift to all of the other places where our ancestors were slaughtered, like they were right here, that we'll never know like this."
As I'm here, as I was listening, my mind starts to drift to all of the other places where our ancestors were slaughtered, like they were right here, that we'll never know like this.Aunty Priscilla Harrison, former Strathbogie Station resident
The ceremony was significant for her in the fact that the atrocities that were committed during Australia's settlement and beyond were now being told - with Myall Creek being a symbol for all the other unknown and unacknowledged events in our country's dark past.
"It's always a great pleasure to see my great - grandchildren and my great - great - grandchildren, and to be here with them in sharing this knowledge - it's important for them to know where we came from."
It was an emotional trip for Lizabeth Munro and Betty French from Moree.
"My family was part of those who were slaughtered in the massacre, they were my ancestors," Ms Munro explained.
"We are so proud to be up here, to have the chance to dance for them in this memorial."
The Ngambaa Dhalaay Dancers and the Tingha Nucoorilma Dancers were part of the memorial precinct gathering.
They performed traditional dance in welcome to the hundreds of people, descendants of both the slaughtered and the slaughterers and those not connected yet paying tribute in the communal remembering.
It's a better day now.Betty French, Moree
"It's a better day now," Ms French said, gazing up into the sun.
About coming together
"That's what Aboriginal people do, us Gomeroi people, we come together, we're about community."
Roger Knox, dubbed the 'Black Elvis', 'Koori King of Country', performed his Myall Creek song at the memorial precinct.
Chatting to the Times before it all began, he swept his hands out encompassing the swelling crowd, and said while there were people who "could find a problem for every solution", it was time to move forward, to be "positive".
Born in Moree and growing up in the Toomelah Aboriginal Mission near Boggabilla, he was thrilled to be photographed with his cousin, Marty Fernando.
"It's good to be around people - for us to be around each other," he said.
'Everyone from Australia should come'
"We will be making this an annual thing - we'll be bringing family and friends next time."
Karlene Duncan, Maxine McGrady and Glynis McGrady didn't beat about the bush is saying the memorial hit home for them.
The McGradys' first time, Maxine said: "I think everyone in Australia should come, at least once."
A busload of people from Armidale rocked up for the day, some return attendees and others experiencing the memorial for the first time.
On that bus, and journey of discovery, was Jasmine Russell.
"I identify as Aboriginal," she explained.
"It's a haunting place. I've wanted to come for for a number of years, and finally had the chance this year - I wasn't sure what to expect."
What she got was a "spiritual, moving thing to be a part of".
Here, the culture is strong, and we are all connected, we are all like-minded people here, together.Jasmine Russell, Armidale
"Coming from Mudgee, I feel that the culture there was lacking somewhat, it was pretty much non-existent," she reflected.
"Here, the culture is strong, and we are all connected, we are all like-minded people here, together."
Studying social work at UNE, she hopes to work in Aboriginal Health Care, and hoped to garner as much cultural knowledge as she could, for herself and her future.
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