Remembering the forgotten

On Anzac Day this year well gather at countless cenotaphs across the land. On those cenotaphs, sacred to the memory of our fallen, well read the familiar words Lest We Forget.

On Fremantles Esplanade theres a monument commemorating the death of three pioneers near La Grange Bay in 1864, murdered by treacherous natives. An expedition brought the bodies back and, in revenge, killed an unknown number of Aboriginals. The plaque on this memorial, too, is inscribed Lest We Forget.

Years later an additional plaque was attached to this monument in memory of those unnamed Aboriginal people killed at La Grange together with all Aboriginal people who died during the invasion of their country.

In Marble Bar a memorial wall honours the pioneers of the Pilbara, the miners and prospectors whose remote graves were located and whose details were recorded on individual plaques.

We white people went to the trouble to do that. We dont forget our dead. We know their names just as we do the names of our fallen whose lives were lost fighting other countries battles on foreign soil.

Theres a memorial at Myall Creek on the Delungra-Bingara road. Its quite impressive. Unveiled in June 2000 it commemorates the massacre of 28 Aboriginals back in 1838. The guilty, seven white men, were convicted and hanged. On Australia Day 2005 this memorial was vandalised.

We dont vandalise our own cenotaphs, yet we fail to show respect for the Aboriginal dead. Were all tarnished by what happened to the Myall Creek memorial and others like it, as few as they are. Though some Australians dont like having to acknowledge it, these memorials are reminders of our history. And theyre there for a reason.

Lest We Forget.

Barry Walsh


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