Aboriginal freedom fighters commemorated

The march to Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne on January 20. (Photo: Hashim bin Rashid)

Over 150 people attended a public rally to demand a memorial and park to commemorate two Aboriginal freedom fighters, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, on January 20 in Melbourne.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first two men executed in Melbourne on January 20, 1842.

The rally was addressed by various activists, including anarchist Joseph Toscano and Socialist Alliance member Davie Thompson.

Toscano said the two men were among 16 Tasmanian Aborigines brought to Melbourne in 1839 to be “civilised.”

“Two men and three women stole some guns in 1841 and mounted a six-week armed struggle before they were arrested and tried for murder,” he said.

Some Aboriginal activists at the event called for the need for the genocide against the Indigenous owners of the land to be recognised and called on the Australian government to draw up a treaty with the Aboriginal people according to international covenants. They also paid tribute to the resilience of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation who were the traditional owners of the land.

The rally marched to the Queen Victoria Market, the location where the two men are thought to be buried, and flowers were put down to commemorate the 171st anniversary of their hanging.

A councillor from Melbourne City Council also spoke about the progress in the process to approve a memorial for the two Aboriginal freedom fighters.