Police are calling on the community for information after the desecration of the infamous Myall Creek massacre site in Northern New South Wales.
A handrail, water tank and plaque were among items damaged or stolen from a new section of the Memorial, near Bingara, while a racist term was written into the sand.
Police believe the crime occurred between July and September at the remote heritage-listed site, which commemorates the massacre of at least 28 Wirrayaraay people by colonists on 10 June 1838.
Keith Munro, a descendant of survivors, has provided police with CCTV footage. He told NITV News he was deeply hurt that the site had been disrespected.
“The blood of my family and the descendants of Gomeroi and Wirrayaraay people are soaked into the earth up there,” he said.
“I just don't understand the rationale of someone that would think it's okay to go out there and damage anything.
“There were some words written in the sand near the memorial that was disappointing.
“The [Gwydir Shire] Council have already started fixing a lot of the damage that has been done."
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said he condemned the act of vandalism.
“More than 20 years of hard work has gone into transforming the Myall Creek Memorial site into a place of cultural healing and reflection,” Mr Marshall said.
“Unnecessary acts like this do little to support the message of reconciliation the site was established to achieve.”
The Myall Creek Massacre is the only known case in Australia where perpetrators were convicted and hanged for their crimes. It was carried out by colonist John Fleming and almost a dozen stockmen.
Since the memorial was established in 2000, the Friends of Myall Creek Memorial Committee has brought both descendants of survivors and perpetrators to the site for a commemorative service each year.
Mr Munro, who chairs the committee, said he doesn’t believe the incident represents the majority of the local community.
“I'd like to think that we've progressed a fair bit, and I do believe that we have but we will continue to be challenged by these isolated incidents that may arise from time to time.”
Founding member Marilyn Isaacs, also a descendant of the survivors said this isn’t the first time the memorial has been damaged.
“We need more security for the site,” she said.
“This place is about reconciliation. I just feel sorry for these people.“