Aboriginal culture needs to be preserved and honoured

Aboriginal culture needs to be preserved and honoured

“Aboriginal people in the past did not write down their history; it was all told orally. So now we need Aboriginal people to archive their history for the future…”

Aunty Noeline Briggs-Smith OAM, will be guest speaker at the annual Myall Creek gathering on Sunday 12 June, 2016. Aunty Noeline is passionate about ensuring the history and cultural heritage of her people is preserved and honoured.

Each year upwards of 400 people from across the country gather on the June long weekend to commemorate the unprovoked massacre of twenty-eight 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 received national recognition when it was included on the National Heritage Register. In announcing its inclusion Mr Peter Garrett, then federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, said the Memorial was “a sign of how we continue to grow and mature as a nation. That we come to terms with our past, acknowledge it, identify it and then move forward together, sharing the future.” The Memorial also received NSW state heritage listing in 2010.

Aunty Noeline Briggs-Smith OAM, this year’s guest speaker, Aboriginal researcher and family historian, educator, author and Elder of the Kamilaroi nation, finds it “amazing how little people know of their own history.”

Aunty Noelie is committed to truth telling in history, believing honest acknowledgement of the past can set all peoples free.

Roger Knox, the ‘Koori King of Country’, and Kamilaroi man, will also share songs that honour his people.

At the gathering the winners of the 8th annual Thoughts and Dreams – Student Art, Writing and Song Competition – will be acknowledged and congratulated. Thoughts and Dreams encourages students from Kindergarten through to Year 12 across North-west NSW and the rest of the state, to address and express different concepts of Reconciliation. This year’s theme was“Why a treaty is important for all Australians”and an exhibition of the finalists will be displayed in the hall.

During the day there will be entertainment by the ‘Traditional Tingha Dancers’ – some of whom are descendants of the People massacred at Myall Creek.

The annual memorial service is open to everyone. Those intending to participate are invited to gather at the Myall Creek Hall by 9.30 am Sunday 12 June for morning tea. A great local Christian Women’s Assocation lunch will be available after the ceremony for a small charge.

(Pictured) Hundreds join the Myall Creek Memorial Service near Bingara in 2015. Local artist Colin Isaacs conducted a smoking ceremony to welcome the crowd. Photo by Alastair Rayner.


  • Ivan Roberts 0475 838 144 or iroberts2505@yahoo.com.au,
  • Noeline Briggs-Smith OAM (02) 6752 4370,
  • Graeme Cordiner (02) 9817 0288 or gscordiner@hotmail.com
  • Jo Miller 0414 418 600 or jo@hopwoodmiller.com


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