Described as the first of its kind in Australia a Queensland town has immortalised Indigenous warriors who died protecting their land from colonisation during the beginning of the Frontier Wars with a new memorial.
Located in Maryborough three hours north of Brisbane the monument recognises the Butchulla men who died trying to repel white settlers.
The monument showcases three Butchulla shields laying on the ground with bullet holes, something that the monument’s key organiser Elder Glen Miller said captures the reality of the battle.
“I thought about what the results would be of an encounter between Aboriginal men armed with spears, and white men armed with firearms.
The end result would have not only been dead men, but shields on the ground with bullet holes in them.
So, I thought three shields lying on the ground with bullet holes would get a powerful message across in a very simple way,” Miller told the ABC.
Queensland’s Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said the unveiling was a “significant moment” in addressing the state’s colonial history.
Crawford said the unveiling sits well with the state’s 2023 treaty bill.
“Once the bill passes, we will be able to stand that inquiry up towards the end of this year and it will go back and pull together all of that history … from the very beginning of colonisation and right up until modern day.
“A lot of this information is recorded in university and [by] historical writers, but it’s not recorded by government, and it needs to be,” he said.
More than 150 people attended the unveiling which Miller said made him hopeful about the future of reconciliation.
“For me, it’s an indication that this community has a desire to recognise the past, but also, for us to all walk forward together,” he said.
“To see so many people coming up to look at the monument and read the storyboards is just the best feeling,” he said.