TODAY WE'RE ALIVE  Linden Wilkenson

Entirely based on interviews, a stage play telling to story of Myall Creek



(We remember you)


A nation's pride turned to shame

the pain in life

merged into memories

the blood of the wounds

still weeps

today in history. 



The beaury of this land

irretrievably stained

by the Myall Creek massacre

of 10th June 1838;

innocence blood 

landmarking through the centuries

this moment in time.


A winter afternoon

of fear, crying, disbelief

as together Aborigines

were roped, herded off,

raped by white stockmen;

as the setting sun

witnesses the massacre

of twenty-eight

loved Wirrayaraay people.


The horror of the aftermath when seen,

saw the journey to justice begin,

six months and two trials later;

seven white stockmen hanged,

the first time the perpetrators

were caught and punished.


Today, on the 162nd anniversary

amidst smoke dispelling

from a 'smoking' ceremony

black and white together gather

turning visions of harmony

steadily into reality;

acknowledging the darkest dark of history.


Dedicating this memorial

of eight stones, each

telling part of the story,

a gentle walk along

the pathway to reconciliation,

pausing .....

reflecting .......... 


Spirits of the dreamtime

reawakening to the

enlightened dawn of a new age,

bridging the gaps,

outstretched hands linking

black and white,

the flame of euphoria

of new friendships

most lovingly be rekindled. 


Hearts must remain open,

what has begun must not die,

understanding must prevail,

time must not weary

what lieves in the memory 

of history,

ngiyani winangay nginda


(c) J.A. Butler, 'Killara', Bingara 2404   

11-23rd May, 2000


* Broadcast ABC Radio - Bill Gleeson's Poetry Segment - 9/6/2000

* Broadcast ABC Radio - James O'Brien Programme - 9/6/2000

* Read at opening and dedicaiton of Myall Creek Memorial - 10/6/2000

* Published Koori Mail - 229th Edition - 28/6/2000



FRAGILE TRACES OF THE PAST (written for 180th Anniversary, 10.6.18)


Ghosts of Wirrayaraay people massacred

were recorded in lead pencil,

faded photographs, hidden journals,

faded rock art, brush strokes.

Now those left behind through

history's trails remember

today the 180th anniversary.


This memorial and fragments

pierced together, hard work

portray history's shame

endeavouring to enlighten

encourage understanding

letting memories exist

in future's dusk.


A busy world

does not know a moment

where all stood still,

now time to stand still

remember, the terrifying

fear of unknown attack,

the silent echoes of fear.


Pathways to remembrance

need many avenues

the dreamtime,

the event,

physical location, memorials,

the journeys of kindred spirits 

uniting as one

we remember them. 

(c)  JULIE BUTLER  19.4.18




History despite its wrenching pain 

cannot be unlived,

but if faced with courage,

need not be lived again    Maya Angelou


there's something in the shining light

that lends itself to thoughts of hope

perhaps it is a brashness - the way it glows

so cheerfully in this cloudless winter time

perhaps the way it dresses up the land

catches blue kingfishers on their wing

festoons the leaves   the rocks   the trees 


today it lights the darkest claw on time

burns away clouds of brutal wrong

touches blood-stained earth

of blame of shame

too long consumed

too many years   too many tears


one hundred and eighty years

now together we walk this way

the Myall Creek Memorial Way

the light plays the red gravel of its track

and flickers on tiny wrens in nearby scrub


there's a quietness amidst camaraderie

swish of ropes   yells   grapple of chains

are stilled now

murdering rage and gall are quieted

smell of gun powder spent

yet screams that cried that stark cold night

still sigh amidst the sway

of stringy bark and eucalypt


there's something in the shining light

that lends itself to thoughts of hope

perhaps it is the cleansing smoke   the way

we catch the mica glint on granite stone

and how we stop and read and bow our heads

no longer in the blinding dark and listen

to a people's heart and our shared history







Bury my heart at Myall Creek,

An Australian identity, my own, I seek.

Looking into my nation's past,

I come face to face with myself at last.


A nation invaded, never even knew,

Never wanted to know they were people too.

Took away their children, took away their lives,

Gave them instead alcohol and lies.


Our future is waiting within us all,

Our history, our legacy, our nation's soul.

We have to own it, make it our own,

For all of us this is our only home.


Australia, I love you, this wide brown land,

You show the mark of the Creator's hand.

Show us the way through our guilt and shame,

Give us, this land, a brand new name.


Find my heart at Myall Creek,

Find my heart at Myall Creek.

Being broken, being made whole,

We re-find at last our nation's soul.