NORTHERN Tablelands Adam Marshall says this weekend’s 180th anniversary of the Myall Creek massacre near Bingara provides another impetus for renewed commitment to reconciliation and highlight our history that guides a better future.
In speech on the floor of State Parliament this week, Mr Marshall said this Sunday’s commemoration of the slaughter of 38 unarmed Aboriginal people in 1838 at Myall Creek was important to the whole community central to our development as a one-nation country to heal some of the tragedy of our past.
“The Myall Creek massacre serves to remind us of the need for acknowledging uncomfortable truths and moving forward to a better place for us all as one people,” Mr Marshall said.
“Once, Myall Creek was a place of terror and sadness. Now the massacre site has evolved to become a place of learning, not retribution; and a place for conciliation, not conflict.
“We can remember the hurt caused and think about the way forward and part of that redress of the past will be developing that iconic part of our history to encourage education and awareness all year round, not just on one day in June each year.
“Modern Australia is better off for confronting such uncomfortable truths such as those presented by the Myall Creek memorial.
“Only by acknowledging that such things happened – by being openly ashamed that they happened – can we reconcile the past with the present and move forward together as one nation.
Mr Marshall will join hundreds of others at the Myall Creek granite memorial site on Sunday amid a renewed push for a permanent state-of-the-art educational centre at the massacre site.
Mr Marshall told parliament the year-round centre was a brilliant project and he will be supporting an application for funding through the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund to make it a reality.
“This Sunday’s event is the 180th anniversary and I think it’s an occasion where more of us can show a renewed commitment to reconciliation by pushing for such a significant permanent memorial and learning place,” Mr Marshall said.
“The National Committee of the Friends of Myall Creek has developed an exciting plan to construct a state-of-the-art educational centre at the memorial site and I recently met with the committee's local representatives to receive an update on plans and discuss funding opportunities.
“The group comes together from right across Australia and is committed to the project. Plans for the almost $10 million project are ambitious and I am excited to throw my full support behind it.
“It is a brilliant project and I commend the Friends of Myall Creek national committee for its unstinting and generous commitment to increase the profile of the massacre memorial and to ensure that the history of the Myall Creek massacre – and many others like it – is remembered and we learn from it.