Macquarie Street, home to NSW Supreme Court and Parliament, reverberated with chants for justice as 150 Aboriginal people and supporters marched to demand justice for the Bowraville three on November 21.
In 1991, a triple murder of three Aboriginal youths took place within five months in Bowraville on the New South Wales mid north coast.
A white man stood trial for the murder of four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-olds Colleen Walker and Clinton Speedy-Duroux but was acquitted each time. The families of the three children have called for a Royal Commission to examine the conduct of the police investigation and are calling for a retrial.
The state government has now given its in-principle support for a parliamentary inquiry into the murders. This concession is due to the families and Bowraville community fighting tirelessly for justice for 23 years.
The campaign gathered momentum from March to November, with support garnered from the largest Aboriginal member-based organisation, the NSW Aboriginal Lands Council, who backed the November 21 rally.
At the end of an hour and a half of the spirited rally and march, containing a smoking ceremony that sent much cleansing smoke into Parliament, cheers broke out.
“An inquiry into the murders, was almost guaranteed”, said Greens MLC David Shoebridge, who had led the push for an inquiry. He stood alongside conservative Christian Democrat Fred Nile, who also addressed the rally.
Shoebridge said: “A bill will be placed on November 26, and while there was no guarantee, with so much cross-party support, it has a good chance.”
Elijah Duroux, cousin of Clinton spoke to the rally and said “if it had been three white kids from the North Shore, they would have poured over the evidence. But because it's Aboriginal kids, they don't care.”
An angry family member told the rally: “We have been told to get more counselling, to get over it, to move on by government and welfare officials of many varieties.”
Ronella "Dolly" Jerome cried while telling the crowd about her nephew, Clinton. "We've got evidence. We could put this mongrel behind bars."
Jeff McMullen, former ABC journalist and producer of the film about the Northern Territory intervention Our Generation, told the rally: “If the system does not grant justice then we need to change the system.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported NSW police minister Michael Gallacher as saying the proposed inquiry was "about giving the family an opportunity to have an audience with not just the government and the parliament but indeed the entire state".
"This is not about a re-investigation of the criminal case, it's not about holding another subsequent murder investigation ... and therefore as such is not a cross-examination of the police case," he said.
People will gather at NSW Parliament on November 26 at 9.30am to bear witness to the passage of the bill.
[Keep up to date with the campaign at the facebook group Justice for Bowraville Children.]