Stage 2 of the development of the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial Precinct was officially opened last weekend by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Inverell Shire Councillor Paul King, left, Gwydir Shire Deputy Mayor Catherin Egan, Mr Marshall, Aunty Sue Blacklock AM, Friends of Myall Creek Memorial Co-Chairperson Keith Munro and fellow Chairperson Ivan Roberts.
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
THE next stage in the development of the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial precinct has been officially opened by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, who joined local Aboriginal leaders over the weekend to mark the significant milestone.
In 2019 the State Government provided $1.06 million, through the Regional Cultural Fund, to deliver infrastructure which would increase access and permit greater community interaction with the historic site.
Mr Marshall said the opening of the new outdoor performing space and bush garden supported the ongoing journey towards reconciliation and would attract more visitors to engage and understand the significance of the area.
“Since the memorial opened in the year 2000, the area has been transformed from a place mourning to a place of reflection and healing,” Mr Marshall said.
“The tragedy and pain of the 1838 massacre is still raw for many local Aboriginal people, but through the efforts of the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial the cultural precinct is assisting the wider community to understand the importance of the site in our nation’s history.
“Myall Creek receives thousands of visitors and is emotionally moving for those who walk to the memorial and stand before the memorial rock, however the typical visit is often short in duration due to lack of amenities in the area.
“The inclusion of amenities and the bush garden will enable visitors, especially school groups, to spend a whole day, being led through both the history of ‘frontier conflict’, and experience Aboriginal culture.
“Construction of an outdoor amphitheatre, shade pavilion and much needed parking bays has increased access and the functionality of the memorial.
“The Myall Creek Memorial will forever play an important role in reconciliation efforts and I remain supportive of every step taken by Friends of Myall Creek Memorial to achieve that goal.”
Friends of Myall Creek Memorial Aboriginal Co-Chairperson Keith Munro, a descendant of the victims and survivors of the massacre, said the Myall Creek Memorial had become a source of healing and truth-telling.
“I echo the words of my grandfather Lyall Munro Senior who said this area, which was once a ‘no-go’ for our people, has been reclaimed as a place for healing and peace through the recognition of our dispossession and suffering over generations,” Mr Munro said.
“Now, through the enhanced precinct with its cultural performance space and ‘bush garden’, it can also be somewhere to celebrate with pride the oldest surviving culture in the world.
“In particular, the performance space and Yarning Circle will enable Aboriginal young people to meet with Elders to learn their culture and celebrate it through traditional and contemporary music, dance and story-telling.
“Local Aboriginal dance groups have already expressed interest in using the performance space and so there is now opportunity for regular cultural dance and music performances.
“With these new amenities we plan to actively promote guided tours of the memorial to interested groups.”
Mr Marshall recognised all contractors and stakeholders involved in bringing the cultural precinct to life.
“Not only has this been a great coming together of culture and ideas but this project has provided employment opportunities for Aboriginal people,” he said.
“The major contractor, NPM Indigenous, provides meaningful employment and economic opportunities for Aboriginal people, while the Indigenous ‘bush garden’ was established by Armidale based Stringybark Ecological, which worked with FMCM and local Elders to identify appropriate plants.
“Gwydir Shire Council was heavily involved in civil engineering work associated with the project and also provided employment opportunities for drought affected members of the local community.”
The third and final stage of the Myall Creek Cultural Precinct will involve the construction of a Cultural and Education Centre that acknowledges the painful history of the area through the process of truth telling. It will also enable the opportunity for healing through our shared history.
A cultural celebration is planned by the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial for Saturday of the June long weekend to coincide with its 2021 commemoration gathering.