Yesterday was National Sorry Day here in Australia,
The Bringing them home report (BTH Report) recommended (Recommendation No 7.a) that a National Sorry Day be held each year on 26 May “to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects.” As a result of this recommendation the community-based organisation the National Sorry Day Committee was formed.
Simply put, the nation of Australia owes the original aboriginal inhabitants of our land an enormous apology for the many terrible things done to them. Here locally the Dharawal people suffered, and the first prominent event noted was the Appin Massacre:
Word came from McAllister, an overseer on Dr Redfern’s farm, that a group of Aborigines were camped there, so the soldiers marched north along the Georges River. It was a wild goose chase. No Aborigines were sighted. “I reprobated McAllister’s conduct most highly” wrote Captain Wallis.
However, on the evening of April 16 word came from Tyson; a group of Aborigines were camped at Broughton’s farm, near Appin. A little after 1 o’clock in the morning the soldiers arrived at the camp. “The fires were burning but deserted.”
“A few of my men? heard a child cry”, wrote Captain Wallis. “I formed line ranks, entered and pushed on through a thick brush towards the precipitous banks of a deep rocky creek. The dogs gave the alarm and the natives fled over the cliffs? It was moonlight.”
“I regret to say some (were) shot and others met their fate by rushing in despair over the precipice? Fourteen dead bodies were counted in different directions?.”
How many others might have died when they plunged over the precipice will never be known.
Five prisoners were taken. One was Hume’s friend, Doual. In August 1816, Macquarie banished Doual to Van Diemen’s Land “in remittance of the death sentence imposed upon him”.
Macquarie had started out as a sympathetic friend to the Aborigines. In the end, more than fourteen (including women and children) met violent deaths as a result of his orders. The date of the infamous massacre at Appin was 17th April 1816.
This, and far worse, went on all over the country. In the 20th Century we took children from their parents, dragging them away under force in order to “give them a better life”. The arrogance is astounding. The unhidden racism is shocking.
Aboriginal people remain some of the very worst treated, most marginalised and underprivileged of all Australians.
Acts 17:26 From one man God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
We ought to be very very sorry.