Fred Chaney to speak at Myall Creek memorial service

May 28, 2008

The Hon Fred Chaney AO will be guest speaker at the 2008 annual memorial service for those who died in the 1838 Myall Creek massacre.

This year is the 170th anniversary of the massacre, in which about 28 Wirrayaraay women, children and old men were killed by a group of stockmen. The service will be held at the Myall Creek Memorial on the Bingara-Delungra Road, Saturday, June 7, commencing at 10 am.

Fred Chaney is chair of Desert Knowledge Australia and a director of Reconciliation Australia. He has been a tireless worker for justice for Aboriginal people over many years, including as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Fraser government.

After leaving Parliament in 1993 he undertook research into Aboriginal Affairs policy and administration as a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. He also served as a deputy president of the National Native Title Tribunal until April 2007.

Mr Chaney said that he had wanted to take part in the memorial service since he first heard about the initial gathering.  He said, “The coming together of the settler descendants and the Aboriginal community to share their history is an outstanding example of using history to restore relationships rather than war about white or black armbands. We share the country and we share the stories good and bad. I am honoured to be asked to participate in this outstanding, locally-grown example of reconciliation.”

The Myall Creek Memorial was erected in June 2000 by a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together in an act of reconciliation. It was awarded the Judith Wright Prize for innovative reconciliation work in 2005.

In recent years organisers have been heartened especially by the involvement of students from local schools, bringing real hope for the future.

The annual memorial service is open to the public and those intending to participate are invited to gather at the Myall Creek Hall by 10 am for morning tea. Lunch will be available after the ceremony for a small charge.

The annual public meeting related to the Memorial will be held in the afternoon, commencing at 1 pm.

For more information on the Myall Creek Memorial, (click here).