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The NSW Government is committed to a 12-month consultation process with Aboriginal communities on their aspirations for a Treaty framework or other formal agreement making process, to be led by three dedicated Commissioners.

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Anniversary of the Appin Massacre – A message from Head of AA


*Disclaimer: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff should be aware that the following message contains information which may cause distress.

Today we reflect upon the Appin Massacre, 17 April 1816.

On this day in the early hours of 17 April 1816, and under orders from Governor Lachlan Macquarie to "rid the land of troublesome blacks," soldiers shot at and drove a group of Aboriginal people over the gorge of the Cataract River. This was the Appin Massacre.

The official death toll reported by early colonists was 14 Dharawal and Gandangara men, women and children. However, this number is now disputed by Aboriginal historians and the descendants of those who died.

Sadly, the Appin Massacre was just one of the hundreds of massacres carried out by the British colonists up until the mid-20th Century.

These massacres were often part of the Australian Frontier Wars that took the lives of more than 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and roughly 2,500 colonists.

At Aboriginal Affairs, we have learned through our conversations with Aboriginal people across NSW, that recognition and true acceptance of Australia’s history are a fundamental aspect of the journey towards healing and reconciliation.

Recognising and remembering the many Aboriginal people who have lost their lives through atrocities such as this speaks to our core value of ‘Truth and Recognition’ which guides us in our everyday work.

In the words of the Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay people;

YINDYAMARRA (Wiradjuri); respect, honour, be polite, be gentle and go slow
WINANGALI (Gamilaraay); to hear, to listen, to know, to remember

I invite you to remember these First Peoples today and take your time to reflect on your own histories.

Jason Ardler
Head of Aboriginal Affairs NSW

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