We draw attention to these tragic events, 90 years after they occurred, by highlighting a series of reports by outstanding historian of The Centre, Dick Kimber. IMAGE: A painting courtesy of National Museum Australia by M. Joseph between 1974 and 1977 when she was a student at Yirara College.
The traditional owners of Yurrkuru (Brooks Soak) will receive the title next Wednesday to a sacred site where the dingo trapper Fred Brooks was killed by Aboriginal men in 1928, followed what has been called the Coniston Massacre. PHOTO: A monument that was unveiled, and woman dancing around it, in 2003 at Brooks Soak.
How could a man designated Protector of Aborigines end up leading a revenge party that would shoot at least 31 of them, including women and children, and probably many more, in retaliation for the death of one white man? It is a question that preoccupies a white Australian audience but the film Coniston does not try to answer it. Nor does it look in much detail into the broad context of the infamous event it is concerned with – the last white on black massacre in Australia, starting at Coniston, about 250 kms north-west of Alice Springs, in 1928. The one hour documentary, that includes dramatised sequences, focusses instead on capturing the oral history of the massacre held by Warlpiri, Anmatyerr and Kaytetye people. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.