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Labor promises formal apology for Appin and other massacres of Aboriginals

Apology for Appin massacre: local Labor MPs Anoulack Chanthivong, left, and Greg Warren, with Aboriginal elder Ivan Wellington.

In 1816 one of the first recorded government ordered killings of Aboriginal people occurred on the cliffs near Cataract River.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie ordered the military to “inflict terrible and exemplary punishments” on “hostile natives”.

 The result was the murder of at least 14 Dharawal men, women and children.

 Some were shot, some decapitated and others forced off cliffs.

 A memorial for the massacre is held every year, and on the eve of the March 23 NSW election, Labor is promising that if it wins government it will make a formal apology to indigenous victims of state sanctioned massacres such as the Appin Massacre.

Campbelltown’s Labor MP Greg Warren, who has proud Aboriginal heritage from the Yuin nation, has welcomed the pledge for a formal apology to victims of such massacres.

“The Appin Massacre was and remains the darkest day in Campbelltown and the wider Macarthur history.

“Make no mistake, the terrible and inexcusable mass murder that occurred on the cliffs near Cataract River in 1816 still haunts the descendants of the Dharawal people today.

“Aboriginal history and reconciliation is not just important to me because of my own family heritage; I feel it is a rich part of our nation’s history and something that all Australians can embrace and be proud of.

 “We are very fortunate to have a very active and vocal Aboriginal community who continue to do us proud with first nation representations and I commend organisations like Tharawal, Kari and Winga Myamly amongst many others who have been strong advocates.”

Local Aboriginal elder Uncle Ivan Wellington also welcomed the pledge for a formal apology if Labor wins on March 23.

“What this apology means to me is that it recognises the darkness that occurred in Macarthur on the traditional people, the Dharawal,’’ he said.

“It’s great that people like Greg Warren recognise and respect what occurred.

 “It will take a life time for people to heal from the Appin Massacre.”

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