A campaign launched today will raise money to turn a former Aboriginal boys home, used to house hundreds of Stolen Generation children over five decades, into a "truth telling" museum, memorialising the dark chapter in the country's history.
The planned museum and healing centre will house installations documenting the abuse and traumatic experiences of the up to 600 boys who passed through the institutions doors, and serve as a meeting place for Stolen Generation members.
Uncle James ‘Widdy’ Welsh, chairperson of the survivors group Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC), says the project is about reckoning with the past, and an important step on the path towards truth telling.
“Without truth telling there can be no healing,” said Uncle Widdy.
“Our pain must stop with us; this museum and healing centre will ensure what happened to Stolen Generations survivors will never be repeated. It will contribute to the rebuilding of our family structures and support the journey to lasting intergenerational healing across Australia,” he said.
KBHAC CEO Dr Tiffany McComsey recognised the significance and continuing associations of the site for the men who were taken to the boys home.
“The property is a place of deep importance for the Uncles, their families and communities. The site and its associated places hold memories, both painful and otherwise, of their childhood after being kidnapped from their families,” said Dr McComsey.
The Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home was run by the NSW Government between 1924 and 1970, and housed up to 600 Aboriginal boys forcibly removed from their families.
Announced Wednesday by the KBHAC and state-wide bus company CDC NSW, the campaign hopes to raise $5 million dollars to refurbish the former site, now heritage listed. CDC also announced it would be committing $750,000 towards shared partnerships with the KBHAC, including employment opportunities at CDC for Aboriginal candidates.
Some of that money will also go towards the maintenance and operation of the Mobile Education Centre, a retired bus used by the KBHAC to travel to different locations and tell the stories of the Stolen Generations.