Hundreds of Aboriginal families from the Warlpiri, Anmatjerre, Kaytej and Warumungu tribes along with representatives from Territory and Federal government attended the Coniston Commemoration event held at the site of Yurrkuru – approximately 3-hours north-west of Alice Springs. A place now also known, as Brooks Soak.
People gathered to mark the mere 90 years since the murder of a dingo trapper Frederick Brooks, sparked a wave of massacres and indiscriminate killings through the Central Desert. Brooks had been working at Coniston Station and had left to set dingo traps. He camped near a soakage with local people.
Warlpiri people say that Brooks had a sexual encounter with the wife of a Warlpiri man named Bullfrog. This is against tribal lore. Bullfrog retaliated by killing Brooks and burying the body. The site where the commemoration event was held was only a few hundred meters from the tree where Brooks was killed.
The death sparked a series of indiscriminate reprisals. Killing parties led by Mounted Police Constable George Murray moved through the lands.
Although there is no official number of the lives lost. Warlpiri people say it was as high as a hundred, including women and children but many speculate much higher.
On Friday the 24th of August 2018, the 90th anniversary of the massacres was remembered by hundreds of Aboriginal people, Federal and Northern Territory politicians, police representatives and the brave descendants of Countable Murray.
CAAMA was there to capture the event and stories for you…
The first voice you are going to hear is Harry Jakamarra Nelson as he Welcomes everyone to the event. Harry is a Traditional owner and highly respected senior man in the Warlpiri tribe. He is the nephew of Bullfrog… the man who murdered Brooks at Yurrkuru.