Media Release 21 April 2021
More than 100 people are expected to take part in this year’s ‘Frontier Wars’ commemoration, hosted by local Traditional Owners, in the grounds adjoining the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal on ANZAC Day eve this Saturday.
The event, which has been taking place in the area since 2016, is a mixture of dance, music, story-telling and poetry presented by Gimuy Walubara Yidindji and local non-Indigenous supporters, friends and residents.
Their focus will be on remembering the first battles in the Gimuy (Cairns) tropical rainforest and coastal areas, only 145 years ago.
Elder Gudju Gudju Fourmile said the frontier stories were important for healing.
“The frontier stories event has become part of our event calendar, it’s very important for us as a people to heal the wounds of the past and secure the future,” he said.
“We have Yidindji elders here today who have horror stories of beheadings and shootings at places like Skeleton and Davies Creeks, yet here we are, wanting to make things right.
“Many tribal nations have a story to tell, some are funny and then there are those which are difficult.
“There is a danger these stories will go unheard for most Australians.
“It’s easy to be overshadowed by COVID for example, but looking into the mirror as a country and working out who we are as a nation, is paramount – if we can’t sort it out there will always be a sense of unfinished business here.
“Frontier Wars is a tough one for us as Indigenous Australians, but in saying that this is a wonderful opportunity to build a new Australia.
“We’d like to encourage everyone to take part, even if one person is inspired we have done our part.”
Sovereign Yidindji Government Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Murrumu of Walubara said the event was a reminder of the need for treaties.
“Events like the Frontier Wars commemoration are a great reminder there needs to be formalised agreements or treaties between the Commonwealth of Australia and the various tribal nations on the continent called Australia,” he said.
“The Yidindji nation is currently building that bridge which means people can be free of the feeling of guilt or shame, or sadness from things that have happened in the past.
“This is what reconciliation will look like in my view – the simplicity in it all is that it should be built on the greatest foundation, which is love for one another.”
Organisers would like to thank Ports North and Bumma Bippera 987fm for their support.
Other nations have also been exploring Frontier Wars history and truth telling events such as the following photos show, held in Canberra in previous years
2018 photos by Greg Sorensen