After a month of truth telling, time for action


Today Greens MP David Shoebridge releases the fourth and final video in the truth telling series about the Frontier Wars in the Hunter Valley. The events depicted in the videos occurred exactly 195 years ago this month, one of the bloodiest recorded periods of frontier violence in NSW history. The series was produced in partnership with the Wonnarua People and in support of their efforts to protect their Country, the land on which the violence occurred, from destruction by open cut coal mining.

Wonnarua Traditional Owners have lodged an application with Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, to protect the heritage and land surrounding the Ravensworth Estate and Homestead, which holds deep significance for First Nations people in the Hunter Valley and across the country.

This application is now a test of both Minister Ley and the modern Australian justice system to see if finally, after centuries of violence and dispossession, Australia can finally listen to and protect First Nations Peoples and their Country.

Greens MP and Aboriginal Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “Accepting the truth about the intentional state-sponsored violence directed towards the Wonnarua People can be hard, but we must confront this truth if we ever hope to deliver justice.

“This has been a hard project for the Wonnarua People we have worked with, reliving the violence, disrespect and trauma of almost two centuries ago.

“The truth of Frontier violence against First Nations communities in the Hunter Valley and across Australia needs to be taught in schools, these sites must be preserved and respected, not devastated for another multinational coal mine.

“The landscape surrounding the Ravensworth Homestead holds deep significance for First Nations people in the Hunter Valley and across the country.

“It would be a crime against history and the Wonnarua people to simply erase these brutal truths for a fossil fuel project. It is hard to understand how our laws ever even contemplate digging up massacre sites and burial places to extract coal.

“We will continue to work with Traditional Owners to expose the history of colonial violence against the Wonnarua People and to preserve the site and protect the land from being bulldozed for an expanded open-cut coal mine,” Mr Shoebridge said.

A decision on the application for protection lodged by Wonnarua Traditional Owners under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act is now pending.

The videos that have been released to coincide with the corresponding events 195 years ago:

1 August 2021: The execution of Jacky Jacky and the following acquittal of Lieutenant Lowe<;

12 August 2021: The capture and execution of up to 7 Aboriginal men by the Mounted Police<;

28 August 2021: Wonnarua raid on a colonial hut leads to the establishment of a large mounted police unit to seek retribution <;

1 September 2021: raid on Wonnarua camp kills 18 men, women and children<;

The petition to support the Wonnarua people’s campaign is here