Each year hundreds of people from across the country gather on the Sunday of 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, was erected in June 2000 by a group of Aboriginal and non-indigenous people working together in an act of reconciliation. Since then the National Heritage listed massacre site and Memorial has become an icon for healing and reconciliation across the nation.
This year the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial secured a NSW Government grant from its Regional Cultural Fund for more than $1 million to complete the next stage of its ambitious Myall Creek Cultural and Education Precinct at the memorial site. The injection of funds will provide for a culturally appropriate outdoor performance space and a meeting place for dance, drama and storytelling. There will also be commissioned public artworks representative of the cultural explosion generated by the healing that has taken place at Myall Creek, as well as building much needed parking bays and amenities which will cater for the growing number of visitors to the precinct.
The guest speaker this year will be Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM, a proud Wiradjuri Koori woman. Lisa is an academic leader, a recognised expert in public health and prominent researcher, educator and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Education. As Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services at Sydney University, Professor Jackson Pulver is a trail-blazer for her people becoming the first known Aboriginal person to receive a PhD in medicine at the University of Sydney.
Aware of her Aboriginal ancestry, Professor Pulver put herself through medical training and chose a career in Indigenous Health. However, she is also conscious of her European heritage and became the first indigenous president of Newtown’s orthodox synagogue. Lisa even finds time to serve as a wing commander in the Air Force Reserve.
Professor Pulver is rightly proud of the Shalom Gamarada Indigenous Scholarship Program which she cofounded, helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students through their university studies. Professor Jackson Pulver is an accomplished advisor, researcher and educator – in the areas of Aboriginal health, data collection, analysis and management and strategy. She played a key role in the development of a designated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health unit, Muru Marri, in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW and was the inaugural Chair of Aboriginal Health.
During the day Friends of Myall Creek will also be screening a ‘short’ video made with funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage promoting plans for establishment of an educational and cultural centre at Myall Creek.
Roger Knox, the ‘Koori King of Country’, and Kamilaroi man, will also share songs that honour his people along with the Tingha and Gomeroi dancers.
We will also be congratulating winners of the 11th annual Thoughts and Dreams – Student Art, Writing and Song Competition – which 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 is ‘Living Lingo… International Year of Indigenous Languages’. An exhibition of the finalists will be displayed in the hall.
The annual gathering, with generous sponsorship from UNE, is open to everyone. Those intending to participate are invited to gather at the Myall Creek Hall by 9.30am Sunday 9 June for morning tea. A great local CWA lunch will be available after the ceremony for a small charge.