Appin massacre victims remembered | Photos

AUSTRALIANS who lost their lives defending their homeland are still remembered every April - and not just at local Anzac Day events.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered for the Appin Massacre memorial service at Cataract Dam to honour the victims of the frontier wars.

Young people were out in force, led by performers from Campbelltown's Aboriginal Wiritjiribin dance group.

It was on the early morning of 17 April 1816 that an unknown number of indigenous men, women and children were killed in an attack by British redcoats near Broughton Pass.

A total of 14 bodies were recovered from the cliffs and gorge before Captain James Wallis of the 46th Regiment called off the search in the steep and rugged terrain.

Many of the Dharawal survivors were herded onto a plot of land on John Macarthur's Camden Park as their ancient hunting grounds were carved into land grants and divided by fences and ploughed fields.

The memorial service is organised each year by Winga Myamly Reconciliation Group and the Aboriginal community, supported by the local councils. Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander was also in attendance, and Uncle Ivan Wellington led the proceedings.

Wollondilly deputy mayor Matt Gould and Campbelltown councillor Margaret Chivers were among the speakers. "As part of these reflections, we should consider and commit to moving forward together in the spirit of true reconciliation, mutual respect and understanding," said Cr Chivers.

Campbelltown Council will also hold an Aboriginal flag raising ceremony today.