Gamilaraay Gathering to commemorate 180 years since Waterloo Creek massacre

HEALING: More than 60 people took to the streets of Moree for a peaceful protest as part of Survival Day last year.
HEALING: More than 60 people took to the streets of Moree for a peaceful protest as part of Survival Day last year.

UPDATE: The plaque unveiling at Waterloo Creek to be held at 3pm on Friday, January 26 has been postponed for a later date.

Moree Plains Shire Council mayor, Cr Katrina Humphries said further consultation was needed.

“The ceremony for the laying of the Waterloo massacre memorial plaque has been postponed as further consultation with the traditional owners is needed to ensure that the protocols surrounding the way forward are properly adhered to,” she said.

"I look forward to an event happening in the future, which is mutually respectful and understanding to all concerned.”

THURSDAY, JANUARY 19: January 26 has always been a difficult day for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and for the Gamilaraay people it is especially traumatic as it is also the anniversary of the Waterloo Creek Massacre.

For the past few years, the Moree Gamilaraay Invasion Day committee has organised a gathering to commemorate the terrible events of January 26, 1838, which saw about 300 Gamilaraay people killed by police.

Those talks have since come to fruition and this year, on what will be the 180th anniversary of the Waterloo Creek massacre, the plaque will be unveiled to the public at the Waterloo Creek site.

Gamilaraay Invasion Day committee member, and descendent of the mob massacred at Waterloo Creek, Paul Spearim said it’s a positive outcome.

“From that we’ve come out with the birth of creating a lasting legacy of commemorating Waterloo Creek,” he said.

“We’re in the process of setting up a foundation to oversee the whole process.”

With this year being 180 years since the Waterloo Creek massacre took place, the whole community is invited to participate in the Gamilaraay Survival Day Gathering which is all about remembering, understanding and healing from the past.

“This history is a sad history to carry for all of our Gamilaraay people,” Mr Spearim said.

“But it is a true history that all people who choose to live within our sacred lands and also for the rest of Australia to respect.

“Please come along and join us in honouring ‘Guurrama-Li Ga Maal – standing strong in one’ with our resilience and continued survival within our sacred Gamilaraay lands.”

Everyone is invited to gather outside Moree Court House in Frome Street at 11am where there will be speeches about the importance of respecting and understanding the past.

The march will then begin at 11.40am, going along Balo Street via Heber Street and continuing over the Dr Geoffery Hunter Bridge before turning left onto Gwydir Highway and entering Jellicoe Park.

Everyone will then gather at Jellicoe Park to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with a free barbecue, fishing, damper making, dancing and more.

At 3pm, the public is invited to gather at Waterloo Creek for the unveiling of the plaque acknowledging the Waterloo Creek massacre. The site is approximately 72km (a one hour drive) south west from Moree.

These events are being supported by Moree Plains Shire Council as part of Moree’s Australia Day events aimed at celebrating diversity and acknowledging the past.

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