Two of Australia's earliest freedom fighters, who were eventually caught and executed, could soon be given a permanent memorial in the city of Melbourne.
20 Jan 2014 - 4:43 PM  UPDATED 20 Jan 2014 - 6:54 PM

Rights advocates, family decedents and the general public today gathered to commemorate the 172nd anniversary of the execution at a memorial ceremony in Melbourne.

In 1842, more than 5000 Melbourne citizens assembled to witness the public hanging of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner on the corner of Bowen and Franklin streets, now part of RMIT University near the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first people executed in Melbourne, after they were hung for the murder of two whalers while resisting white settlement.

The pair were part of a larger group that took part in a six- week-long campaign fighting against European invasion.

"These young men died for our country, for our people. They were put up for show, knowing what was going to be occurring to our people," Boonerong elder Caroline Briggs said.

After 172 years, local elders said it was time their fight was formally acknowledged. 

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle reportedly supported the move for a permanent monument to be erected.