No one would go there, but now it’s a place that we can remember. We can feel the difference and know that our people are free.Sue Blacklock
TAINTED by the brutal killings of 28 Indigenous men, women and children by a group of stockmen in 1838, Myall Creek has long been avoided by Aboriginal people.
However, for many, what was once a place filled with cruel memories and bad spirits is now a site for healing and reconciliation.
The annual commemorative service, to be held this Sunday, honours those who lost their lives and also marks one of the few instances in which the perpetrators were put on trial and executed for their crimes against the Aboriginal people.
The service begins at 9.30am in the Myall Creek Memorial Hall.
“No one would go there, but now it’s a place that we can remember. We can feel the difference and know that our people are free,” Sue Blacklock said.
Founder of the memorial committee, Sue is a descendant of the survivors of the massacre.
She said that knowing that Myall Creek was a rare example of justice being done allowed the Aboriginal people to move on and forgive, and paved the way for reconciliation.
Moree Elder and guest speaker for the event Noeline Briggs-Smith agreed, and said the service gives thought to both the descendants of the Aboriginal people and those of the stockmen.
“Reconciliation does strengthen our communities,” she said.
She said she felt humbled to be sharing a piece of her own story and wish to establish a national keeping place for pieces of Aboriginal family history.
“It's something that I felt I more or less had to do, because they're my people. They were my people that was slaughtered.”
Graeme Cordiner is looking forward to making the pilgrimage from Sydney, and said as a white Australian, he believed the story of Myall Creek affects everyone, not just the Aboriginal people.
“In walking together through the pain of our past, Myall Creek has emerged into a much bigger place, big enough for everyone, evident in the hundreds of people who come of diverse races, ages, political beliefs, locals and those from far away. It is now a powerful place of healing that is both hopeful and inspiring.”