Schools get behind Myall Creek

Schools get behind Myall Creek

Students from school communities across the Northern Tablelands will attend the annual Myall Creek gathering on Sunday June 10.

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 in 1838. In recent years many of those attending have been students wishing to learn more about the history of their country and to make a commitment to the process of reconciliation.

The Myall Creek Memorial on the Bingara-Delungra Road near Inverell, was erected in June 2000 by a group of Aboriginal and non-aboriginal 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.

Guest speaker this year will be Dick Estens, AO. A cotton farmer from Moree, in 1997 Dick set up the Aboriginal Employment Strategy with the goal of helping Aboriginal people around Moree find jobs. Now, 15 years later, the AES has offices around Australia and has found jobs for more than 5,000 Indigenous men and women and built career paths for Indigenous young people.

We will also be congratulating the winners of the annual Thoughts and Dreams – Student Art and Writing Competition. Sponsored by the ‘Friends of Myall Creek’ National Committee and Sydney Friends of Myall Creek, the competition encourages students from kindergarten through to year 12 across North-west NSW, to address and express different concepts of Reconciliation.

This year’s theme for the entries is “We’re all the same on the inside”. An exhibition of the finalists will be displayed in the hall.

At the gathering a progress report on plans for an educational and cultural centre to be built near the site will be provided. People wishing to give input to the planning process can do so by responding through this survey.

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 June 10 for morning tea. Lunch will be available after the ceremony for a small charge.

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