Link-up Queensland has helped reconnect countless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families since it first opened its doors in 1984 and has celebrated 35 years of service with the publication of a new book.
CEO, Patricia Thompson, said the service all about helping people find out who they are and where they’re from.
“We meet with members of the Stolen Generations and combine any information they may have with research into their history and official records to try and piece together who these people really are," she told NITV News.
“Once a profile has been built it can be used to help identify and verify which area of the country and family the client belongs to.”
After the information is shared with their client, Link Up Queensland helps with organising a reunion, either with family, a burial place, or even out to Country to which they belong.
Today’s book launch, ’35 Years, 35 Stories’ shares just a few of these tales of reconnecting individuals with family and identity, with each experience varying widely in detail.
Patricia said while it’s easy to reflect back on all the successful reunifications since Link-Up Queensland began, a large part of founding the service was to reduce black deaths in custody.
“A lot of people dying in custody were found to be members of the Stolen Generations," she said.
"Underlying issues caused by forced removal were often big contributors to these people ending up in the system. Something needed to be done to address that.”
Patricia described her job as ‘heart work’ but said that overall it was a wonderful experience being able to connect people.
“We’re on that journey with these people, our clients become our family. We laugh with them and we cry with them. It’s incredibly rewarding.”