” … when the blood went into the ground and cried out for justice.”
The spontaneous cry of an Aboriginal man at Myall Creek. He concluded, “… and it still cries out for justice.”
Massacres occurred right across Australia as part of the ‘frontier wars’. Aboriginal people resisted the take-over of their land in the face of often extreme provocation. The battles were never equal, and in retaliation for a settler slain, the retribution was usually indiscriminate and disproportionate. Also this became part of government policy. Massacres were part of this unofficial – and, in Tasmania, official – ‘war’. Starting in Sydney, massacres continued, until the Coniston massacre in 1928 in the Northern Territory. Myall Creek was unique in that it was the only massacre brought to justice, where (most of) the perpetrators faced the full consequences of their actions.
Sorry, Sorry, sorry…
The apology for the stolen generations …
A milestone, but …
Not a fullstop in the story of reconciliation.
Only a comma … ,
… an apology for the massacres remains.
The case for an apology … as presented to the NSW Government Aboriginal taskforce in 2013 on request of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
“An apology we believe helps further open the way to truly listening to Aboriginal people beyond ‘how can we help them’. This listening is not just to address challenges facing Indigenous people, but also speaks to finding direction for our nation as a whole – the path to our future passes through its past.
“History is a living thing. Unacknowledged it has a way of popping up at the most inopportune times, sabotaging our best intentions. We note here the massacres in NSW were not carried out just by the few rogue squatters and convicts. The Myall Creek trials of 1838 indicated that on trial were not only the convicts (the one squatter was never tried), but society and its values as a whole.
“Massacres occurred across the State, sometimes with authorisation by the NSW Government through the Governor of the day. “The Myall Creek committee has appreciated the Minister’s support in attending Myall Creek and other massacre memorials like Appin in light of that recognition …
“…. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases, the alcohol. We committed the murders. We practised discrimination and exclusion … We failed to ask how would I feel if this were done to me? We failed to see that what we were doing degraded all of us.”
Former prime minister Paul Keating Redfern 1992