Dh'a'kiyarr WirrpandaPrint Page Print this page

The monument commemorates the Aboriginal Dh'a'kiyarr Wirrpanda (1900 - 1934?) who was convicted of spearing a policeman in accordance with tribal law and then freed after the High Court overturned the decision.

In 1933 this Yolngu tribal leader came across a policeman who had broken Aboriginal law by trespassing on Yolngu land. He had also chained up Dh'a'kiyarr `s wife. In accordance with aboriginal law, Dh'a'kiyarr  speared the policeman, Constable Albert McColl, through the leg. McColl died. The retribution in accordance with European law was equally harsh. On the advice of a missionary, Reverend Dyer, Dh'a'kiyarr travelled to Darwin to face the Northern Territory Supreme Court, where he was sentenced to death for murder.

After lobbying by academics and unions, however, the High Court overturned the decision, ordering Dh'a'kiyarr be freed. At the time, it was a hugely controversial result, recognising Aborigines should be treated equally before the law. Dh'a'kiyarr was freed from Fannie Bay Gaol, where he had been held for seven months, and taken to the Kahlin compound in Darwin on 12 November. Dyer had arranged to meet him at the cinema, but Dh'a'kiyarr did not appear and was never seen again.


Address:Mitchell Street, Outside Parliament House, Darwin, 0800
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -12.466111
Long: 130.842778
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au