Each year hundreds of people from across the country gather on the Sunday of the June long weekend to commemorate the unprovoked massacre of 28 Wirrayaraay women, children and old men by a group of stockmen on Myall Creek Station in 1838.
The Myall Creek Memorial on the Bingara-Delungra Road near Inverell, was erected in June 2000 by a group of Aboriginal and non-indigenous people working together in an act of reconciliation.
In 2008 the massacre site and memorial was included on the National Heritage Register and also received NSW state heritage listing in 2010.
The stage two development of the Myall Creek Memorial Precinct is now complete. This includes an Indigenous bush garden, cultural performance space and visitor amenities. A grant from the NSW Government's Regional Cultural Fund through Create NSW, made the project possible.
The new development will enable local Aboriginal dance groups and musicians to share their culture in the newly created space.
The speaker at this year's event is Professor Lyndall Ryan BA Dip Ed (Sydney), PhD (Macquarie) AM FAHA, who is a leading historian of the Australian colonial frontier. Her first book, The Aboriginal Tasmanians (1981) broke new ground in arguing that contrary to widespread belief, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people did not die out in 1876 or at any period in history.
Her most recent book, Remembering the Myall Creek Massacre, was published in 2018. Her current project is the development of a digital map of massacre sites of Aboriginal people across the Australian frontier 1788-1930.
As an important contribution to the truth telling about Australia's past, the map uses a concise definition of frontier massacre based on international scholarship and uses a rigorous methodology to investigate and verify the often hidden evidence.
Stage three of the map released in November 2019 includes 300 sites of massacres of Aboriginal people across the Australian frontier and 12 sites of massacres of non-Aboriginal people. Stage four of the map which will include nearly 400 sites overall, will be released later this year.
Roger Knox, the 'Koori King of Country', and Gomeroi man, will also be present to share songs that honour his people along with the Ngambaa Dhalaay Dancers, Tingha Nucoorilma Dancers and the Gomeroi Dancers.
Winners of the 13th annual Thoughts and Dreams student art, writing and song competition will also be announced. The competition encourages students from Kindergarten through to Year 12 to address and express different concepts of reconciliation.
This year's theme is 'caring for country starts with me'. An exhibition of the finalists will be displayed in the hall.
The annual memorial service is open to everyone. Those intending to participate are invited to gather at the Myall Creek Hall by 9am this Sunday, June 13 for morning tea. A great local CWA lunch will be available for purchase after the ceremony.
Other events throughout the weekend include a Henry Reynolds Webinar - Yarning About Truth-Telling and Reconciliation. This event will be conducted as a webinar via Zoom from 2-4pm. Register at https://une.edu.au/henry.reynolds.
Then, on Saturday there will be a 'Sounds of Country' free community concert at the Myall Creek Memorial precinct from 1-4pm.
Discover the music of our land and people at the opening of the stage two project. Performers will include The Buddy Knox Blues Band, Radical Son, Roger Knox, the Ngambaa Dhalaay Dancers, the Tingha Nucoorilma Dancers and the Gomeroi Dancers.
Lunch will be available for purchase on-site from midday. Gold coin donations for the concert are greatly appreciated.