Macarthur's darkest day to be remembered via online ceremony

The Appin Massacre is one of the darkest days in Macarthurs history.

It's estimated at least 14 Dharawal men, women and children died in the colonial massacre on April 17, 1816 at what is considered to be one of the worst colonial massacres in the history of NSW.

Usually the event is marked with a flag raising event and memorial ceremony at Cataract Dam, near the site of the massacre.

However, this year's annual service will be held privately so current restrictions on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic can be observed.

Residents can tune into the live-streamed flag raising ceremony on Friday, April 17.

Campbelltown mayor George Brticevic will raise the flags and the council's arts and cultural liaison officer Brenden Broadbent will read statements from local Aboriginal elders, aunty Glenda Chalker and uncle Ivan Wellington during the ceremony.

Recorded didgeridoo music performed by local Aboriginal man, Allistar Flanders will also be played.

"The Appin Massacre is a source of great sorrow in our community and will continue to be honoured during these extraordinary times," Cr Brticevic said.

"It is important that we continue to remember those lives that were taken so we have a better understanding of the lasting impact of events like this and take further strides towards reconciliation."

A recording of the ceremony will then be posted to the council's Facebook and Instagram pages.

The Appin Massacre was carried out on orders by the then Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie in reprisal for disputes between white settlers and Aboriginal groups.

Tragically there was no evidence the group of Dharawal people that were targeted had any link to prior clashes in the area.

Documents in the NSW State Government archive record how soldiers attacked the group at their camp at 1am, driving them towards a precipice with gunfire.

Only two women and three children survived according to the account of Captain James Wallis, who led the attack.

For more information about the service, visit: campbelltown.nsw.com.au.