Former The Leader journalist Laurie Barber, who writes a weekly column for The Leader called My Word, has written a book on one of the most tragic aspects of Australian history.
The book, Massacre at Myall Creek, which is just about to arrive from the printers, is a rewrite of a limited-edition book the former Inverell newspaper editor published in 1993.
Back then Mr Barber put together one copy on his work office computer and ran off nine extra copies.
He sent them to various universities around Australia. The response from university students prompted him to update the details and publish the book as a commercial venture.
The details were written in longhand about 40 years ago during trips to Sydney and he admits the time between books is simply a result of “laziness”.
The book is referred to in the Oxford Companion to Australian History, page 450.
A brief summary: On Sunday, June 10, 1838, 12 horsemen bound about 28 indigenous Australians camping peacefully on Myall Creek Station. They took them over the hill and murdered them by cutting off their heads and throwing them into a fire. As a result of two one-day trials, seven men were hanged a week prior to Christmas that year.
“This book covers a significant period in Australia’s history and I believe it will get wide circulation,” Mr Barber said.
“The case was described as one of the most significant cases ever to come before the Supreme Court in NSW.
“The book contains much of the evidence given to the courts and contains little, or no, interpretation of what might have, or should have, happened.”
Mr Barber, a former student of Quirindi High School, was runner-up to Ron Saw in the 1980 award for Australia’s Journalist of the Year. He was the only Australian in the worldwide 1980 Golden Quill Award.
Other interests are Rotary (past district governor), Australian Rotary Health (current director), Hastings Fellowship of Writers (current patron), and 50 years as a basketball referee (represented NSW), as well as Probus, the University of the Third Age, Douglas Vale Heritage Park, Timbertown Heritage Park (chairman), Meals on Wheels and bowls.
Since 1995 he has written a weekly column, called My Word, for various newspapers across Australia, including The Leader. This has resulted in two books, My Word and Ringo, available in bookstores or online. Mr Barber was named the Hastings’ 2014 Senior Citizen of the Year. More information about Massacre at Myall Creek is available from the author or publisher Sid Harta Publications of Melbourne.