Why I must return to Australia: The Australian Massacres

I’m not into “nation bashing”. I am a Christian, and I believe in Justice. I’m not a lobbyist, I have no need to tell this story for political reasons or for power. I tell this story because I believe all Australians should be considered equal, whether they have been with us for five years, five decades or five generations. They are my people. I love our land. Yesterday was Australia Day, and while we are in L.A. we celebrated because I love Australia. And so when I read an account like this one, my heart grieves to the point of motivating me towards change – I cannot walk away.

The media has for a long time hid the nature of Australia’s history. It has perpetuated stereotypes about Aboriginal people, and allowed Australians to continue to be divided. I believe it is only in unity that we are strong. I think most people actually don’t know the truth. I’m not going to say much more, I’m going to just put the story as told by Ernest Gribble here. To my Aboriginal readers, please be advised this excerpt contains graphic images of death and may cause you distress. I understand if you have to look away. To my non-Indigenous readers, please don’t harden your heart against our own people any longer. We can no longer be ignorant about the ‘Aboriginal Holocaust’, as Noel Loos puts it. The following is an account of a massacre in 1922 of between eighty and one hundred Aboriginals. The Royal Commission submitted an account to the Premier of Western Australia in 1927, acknowledging only eleven of these deaths. Here is the story transcribed by Ernest Gribble;

… the police got all those Aborigines from the Kular tribe that lived from the coast to the mission… they put the men on one chain and the women with their children and their kids on another chain. Some of those women had babes at the breast… they killed the men. They just lined them up and shot them one by one… the women had to watch those men being shot … their husbands and brothers and relatives… the men had to collect wood first. They didn’t know why they had to collect that wood but they had to get a big pile of it… They lined them up and shot them… then they cut them up into pieces, you know, a leg, an arm, just like that and those bits of body were thrown on the wood… and burnt there… the women were taken to another place just a bit away… and had to stand on the river bank but it was dry that time of year and they were shot there so their bodies just fell into the river… they bashed the brains out of the babies and threw them into the river with their mothers and burnt the lot… there’s a lot of bodies. It took a long time to burn… With the women was a mother and her two kids… they had bush names. They couldn’t speak English… The boy’s name [was] Numbunnung (Kangaloo) and the girl was Loorabane… the boy spoke to his sister in language and told her that when that chain came off to grab mum and head to the bush… they were at the end of the chain… but [when they ran away] the police shot at them… they killed the mother and the girl got shot in the leg there [pointing]… they hid in the roots of the pandanus grass in the Forrest River. They hid under water and breathed through a bit of pandanus grass, you know, it’s hollow like a straw… the police looked for them everywhere but they just kept real still, not moving ’cause they were so scared… by evening, when they thought it was safe to leave, they moved out… swam across the Forrest River and travelled all the next day and then the day after until the evening until they reached the mission where they knew they’d be safe… I was playing with the other girls … when Loorabane came… she was shaking with fright…. She told us what had happened and we told Mamma [Angelina Noble] and Mamma told Jim [Noble] and he told old Gribble.

2 thoughts on “Why I must return to Australia: The Australian Massacres

  1. Tanya, this is typical of many so many stories I have heard and read. As a nation we have many unresolved issues, the first of which is our whitewash of history. Our colonial forefathers knew exactly what they were doing, knew exactly who they were displacing, and knew exactly that this equated to an act of war. Is it no wonder, that so many of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters still insist that they have never relinquished sovereignty? Even at this very moment, we are trying to erase racism within our constitution (where the Commonwealth still has the powers to make laws specific to Aboriginals). The truth shall set us free.

    1. so true Anthony… and I’m encouraged by the few who are interested in our history, and in making our ‘sorry’ mean so much more than ‘feel free to assimilate to us’. Thanks for commenting.

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