On April 17, 1816 up to 14 Dharawal men, women and children died at what has become known as the Appin Massacre.
The attack was carried out on the orders of NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie in reprisal for disputes between white settlers and Aboriginal groups.
There was no evidence the group of Dharawal people that were targeted had any link to prior clashes in the area.
Documents in the NSW State Government archive record how soldiers attacked the group at their camp at 1am, driving them towards a precipice with gunfire.
While 14 bodies were counted, others were believed lost and unaccounted for in the gorge.
Only two women and three children survived according to the account of Captain James Wallis, who led the attack.
In recent times a service has been held every year on April 17 by Campbelltown Council as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in this infamous attack.
This year the annual service will be held privately so current restrictions on gathering can be observed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community.
A recording of the ceremony will then be posted to council’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Mayor George Brticevic will raise the flags and council’s arts and cultural liaison officer Brenden Broadbent will read statements from local Aboriginal Elders, Aunty Glenda Chalker and Uncle Ivan Wellington.
Recorded didgeridoo music performed by local Aboriginal man, Allistar Flanders will be played.
“The Appin Massacre is a source of great sorrow in our community and will continue to be honoured during these extraordinary times,” Mayor George Brticevic said.
“It is important that we continue to remember those lives that were taken so we have a better understanding of the lasting impact of events like this and take further strides towards reconciliation,” Cr Brticevic said.
Meanwhile residents are also being encouraged to recognise the achievements and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Campbelltown by nominating them for the 2020 Macarthur NAIDOC awards.
Due to the current COVID-19 health situation, a date has not yet been set for the awards night, but people are still encouraged to nominate.
Mayor Brticevic said the awards were a way of celebrating those Aboriginal and Torres Strait community members and workers who are committed to supporting the community.
“Our city is a proud home to one of the largest urban populations of Aboriginal people in Australia and every day there is great work happening within that community to enhance their strengths and through culture, encourage growth,” Cr Brticevic said.
”Now more than ever, it is important that we recognise those people in our community who go above and beyond to make a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of others,” he said.
Nomination forms are available at Council’s website or residents can contact the Civic Events team on 4645 4720.