Minnamurra River massacre tip of iceberg: Aboriginal elder

Aunty Joyce Donovan

Aunty Joyce Donovan

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Aboriginal massacre close to home

Last week a Newcastle University mapping system revealed a massacre that took place on the Minnamurra River, where settlers killed more than six Aboriginal people nearly 200 years ago.

It is the only massacre from the Kiama region recorded on the map at this stage.

Wodi Wodi Aboriginal elder Joyce Donovan said that there were many more atrocities inflicted on local Aboriginal people at the hands of settlers.

“There were a lot of massacres here,” she said.

“Aboriginal Australia has a black history.

“It’s not hard to understand, when you think that we were counted as flora and fauna until 1967.”

Aunty Joyce said some of the atrocities have been recorded in local history books, but they are not widely known.

The sands of Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa, were also tarred by the blood of Aboriginal people, at the hands of settlers.

“There was a ship out on Seven Mile Beach where the cedar cutters stayed, the Aboriginal people living on the beach thought if they’d cut the anchor the ship would go away,” she said.

“So three men cut the anchor.

“The day they caught them, they hung them.”

Early laws allowed settlers to shoot Aboriginal people if they were found on their land.

“Aboriginal people would go looking for Kangaroo skins,”

“In Kiama, people were told to shoot them, and set dogs on them if they went inside their brick fences.”

Aunty Joyce welcomes further investigation into the history of Aboriginal massacres in the area as Newcastle University looks to build a more comprehensive map.

“All of the records are in tact,” she said.

“Records built on archaeological evidence, evidence written by white historians and handed down by Aboriginal people.”

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