Lead up to Myall Creek massacre compared with global economic crisis

June 18, 2009

The events leading up to and including the Myall Creek Massacre in 1838 were compared to “that same greed and expansionism that has produced, the global economic crisis,” according to acclaimed Aboriginal singer, Kev Carmody.

An observation in the booklet states"It could also be said that those who were hanged or murdered were the victims of property expansion whose owners were safely ensconced elsewhere".

"That means the king-bees, real boss cockies, weren’t in the picture at all. They were manipulating it, and I would just draw the same parallel globally today," Mr. Carmody said.

"It’s the same historical theft and greed that is forcing us, the majority of humanity on this planet, to be disenfranchised, dispossessed, depressed, and yet again excluded. We are at the bottom of the pile.

"To my way of thinking, our tax payer funded governments are using our money to rescue, save, bail out, failed corporations, failed banks, and the stock exchange billionaire elite.

"We exist, I feel, in a corporations democracy, not a peoples’ or citizens democracy."

Mr. Carmody said that people have to collectively confront global greed and inequality with the "collective consensus" shown at Myall Creek.

"When you look at it from the very basis, we are one homo sapiens biological species, we are one human race, we are many rich and diverse cultures, human cultures, and that is our differences," he said.

Mr. Carmody described the Myall Creek memorial as "such a sacred place."

"The spirituality that comes out of here is immense.

"I feel humbled and emotional and extremely proud as an aboriginal person to be here. I just wish that my grandmothers and grandfathers, mother and father and aunties and uncles could have seen this tremendous change in coming together," he said.

Mr. Carmody also spoke of his early life, growing up in a family of drovers in southern Queensland, and the event which led to his writing, in conjunction with Paul Kelly, the song ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow.’

"We had a wireless on the droving camp, if we run an aerial up a tree, we could get the ABC.

"I remember walking in one night, all the men, and Mum’s putting all the tucker out, and she said ‘That Gurindji people, (we knew a lot of the Gurindji men too, used to be in the droving camps, coming down the Diamantina and the Georgina,) they just walked off Vestey’s station’.

"We thought ‘Holy Mackeral, they’re going to bullet them, they’ll be looking out through the pigeon hole, with the handcuffs on’. We listened with great intent to the ABC every night. And I remember seeing that footage of that man Vincent Lingiari, sitting down on the ground, barefoot, and the way he said it was so simple.

"He said ‘Vestey manager come to me and said You stealing another man’s country .I said to him, what before Vestey born and I born, that was black fella country.’

"I remember as a young man hearing those words and thinking ‘Holy Mackeral, these fellas are dug in up there’, It’s just like this memorial site here, its an example in Australian history what this ceremony represents.

"Let us, like the example of Myall Creek, acknowledge the historical truths, and commence the human healing process by embracing globally our children’s future.

"Let us learn from the historical past to fashion an equal and democratic future so that we can collectively and truthfully say ‘My spirit now walks in peace with you’," Mr. Carmody concluded.

Premier’s Message
New South Wales Premier, Nathan Rees sent a mess age of support which was read by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Paul Lynch following the ceremony.

"Today, on the 171st anniversary commemoration of the Myall Creek massacre, I do offer my support to the Myall Creek Memorial Committee and the wider community," the Premier wrote.

"I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the Gamilaroi people, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

"The events that took place at Myall Creek 171 years ago provide a stark reminder the importance of reconciliation, and represent a pivotal point in both Australia’s New South Wales’ history.

"As Premier of NSW, I would like to affirm the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to the goals of reconciliation. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the Myall Creek Memorial Committee, and all the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians who continue to work together in the spirit of reconciliation.

"I congratulate the Myall Creek Memorial Committee on their efforts in commemorating this important anniversary," Mr. Rees concluded.

Guest speaker at the Myall Creek ceremony, Kev Carmody, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Paul Lynch, and committee member, Lyall Munro.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Paul Lynch, is a regular visitor to Myall Creek.

"(The ceremony) was, as always, a very impressive and moving function. The recognition of the past is a necessary fist step in reconcilliation and overcoming Aboriginal disadvantage," Mr. Lynch said.