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I asked everyone who had been around Darwin in the 1930’s what they thought had happened to Dhakkiyer and almost invariably they say the police took him out into Darwin Harbour and shot him. – Ted Egan, Justice Of Their Own

In 1934 the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory sentenced Yolngu Clan Leader Dhakiyerr Wirrpanda to death for spearing a policeman. The controversial verdict was subsequently overturned by the High Court amid large-scale protests in Sydney and Melbourne. Dhakkiyer subsequently disappeared while in Police Custody.

He tried for the people. They shot him for the people. For his old people. That his mercy for Dhakkiyer taking all the way to the court. Sitting there no English no understanding just saying like this somebody else have to interperet English the wrong way and making him disappear.

Making him disappear! I am talking strongly because I am the last family and the son of Dhakkiyer. If he broke one little law inside that goal I want them to tell us. I want information from them. Let us know. Because it is true out of my heart, out of my knowledge comes out whatever I do. Keep me reminds back to Dhakkiyer.

I should be with my father. I should be with my father. Just because he left half of his knowlege for us. He left half of the knowledge for us. The full knowledge was taken to Darwin and was just disappeared. Thats what I’m looking and what my family are looking at.

We are looking at very strongly finding where he is.

Some people say they shot him near a railway line in Darwin. Some people say say they shot him and buried him there. Some people are saying that he was carried away to the Darwin wharf and thrown into the sea. Which make me and my family very upset. Throwing man like him, throwing man who is strong leader like him! Honest leader like him! Throwing him to the fish throwing like dog, throwing him like a cow or something for the crocodile, for the rock cod to eat him up. Full black warrior which make our culture strong

We’ve been waiting waiting waiting waiting until today still waiting we heard lots of story about my uncle. I dont know where is he, who kill him, what it is you people have been doing to my uncle. I like to know about a story from you – your mouth, your heart, your feeling your way of looking at it. I want to know where is he, where is he. In here ? In the water, sea, or in the mud. Where is he ? I want to know from you people so I can tell my people in here.

We are not happy. We are not satisfied about books story books writing in a book telling a lie covering yourself. I want to know about true story.

So please. We want our father back. So please tell us the truth where you buried him.


The text above is a transcript from the documentary Tuckier (Dhakiyarr) v the King and Territory by Tom Murray of Macquarie University.