Appin massacre site listed on State Heritage Register

One of the earliest and most traumatic frontier conflict events between First Nations people and European settlers, the Appin massacre, is being recognised through a State Heritage Register listing.

Bushland, Dharawal National Park

It was on the site in Appin, south western Sydney, on 17 April, 1816 that Dharawal and Gundungurra people were massacred by the British military.

Heritage NSW Executive Director Sam Kidman said the Appin massacre, its lead up and aftermath, was a dark turning point in Australian history, and had profound consequences for Aboriginal communities and their way of life.

“The State Heritage Register listing of this important landscape recognises the truth of past injustices to Aboriginal people and provides an opportunity for healing and reconciliation,” Mr Kidman said.

“Protecting this landscape supports the continuation of cultural practices and community wellbeing.

“The State Heritage Register listing reclaims Aboriginal history from the colonial story and ensures that these historical events of colonial Australia do not fade from national memory.”

The Appin Massacre cultural landscape was co-nominated for listing on the State Heritage Register by the Heritage Council of NSW and the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHAC) for its shared Aboriginal and non-aboriginal cultural heritage values.

Listing on the State Heritage Register provides formal legal recognition that an item or place is of State heritage significance, and means that the landscape’s contribution to the identity and wellbeing of the people of NSW will be protected and conserved.

ACHAC’s former Chair Glenda Chalker said the Appin Cultural Landscape is of great cultural significance to the Dharawal and Gundungurra people.

“It is a place of sorrow when remembering those who were lost before, during and after 17 April 1816. It wasn’t the first massacre and it certainly was not the last in Australia,” Ms Chalker said.

“This landscape is now protected from development, so future generations can learn of the atrocities and injustice to our ancestors.

“Aboriginal culture and history belongs to all Australians, not just the Aboriginal people of Australia. It always was and always will be Aboriginal land. We have never ceded sovereignty.”

The cultural landscape encompasses topography and natural features that have sacred significance to the Dharawal traditional custodians and the Gundungurra people.

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