The family of eight Torres Strait Islander children who were murdered in December 2014 gathered for a memorial service in Cairns over the weekend.
21 Dec 2015 - 12:59 PM  UPDATED 21 Dec 2015 - 3:26 PM

A memorial service was held over the weekend for 'Keriba Omasker - Our Children', seven brothers and sisters and one cousin whose lives were taken in Cairns just before Christmas in December 2014.

Keriba Omasker means 'our children' in the Erub dialect of the Torres Strait Islander language of Meriam Mir, a language of the children's heritage.

Hundreds gathered for the community event, which included a performance from the Gondwana National Indigenous Children's choir and a tree planting ceremony.

Community leaders such as Bishop Saibo Mabo, Cairns pastor James Gela from the Keriba Yadyl Torres Strait Islander Corporation and Torres Strait Mayor Pedro Stephen all paid tribute to the young victims.

"Following the outpouring of grief and support when the initial tragedy occurred, the community came together today in full circle to reconnect," Red Cross regional manager Michael White said after the service.

"I think questions of why [this happened] will always be there, but now the shock has probably worn off and the healing process is beginning."

The mother of Keriba Omasker was charged with their murders in 2014. The case will resume in court in 2016.

Keriba Omasker image

The lead photograph of this article, which includes the addition of eight sunrays, was taken on Darnley Island at sunrise the morning after the tragedy occurred.

The eight rays symbolise the eight children, and the positioning of the rays reflects the position that the children will be laid in during their memorial and at their burial.

Cultural reporting

The families of the children have asked that the media adheres to Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander cultural protocols in reporting about 'Keriba Omasker - Our Children'.

This includes not publishing images of their or any children.

The family and Cairns community would like to ensure that helplines are made available:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732