Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation recently hosted the 90th Anniversary Commemoration of the opening of Kinchela Boys Home in Kempsey on the mid north coast of NSW.
It was a night where the memory of the Stolen Generation Children was honoured.
While Kinchela Boys Home evokes painful memories, strong bonds were also formed and many have embarked on a lifelong journey of healing.
More than fifty thousand young Aboriginal people around Australia were taken away between 1910 and 1970. Today they are known to us as the Stolen Generations.
The boys were taken to Kempsey from all over New South Wales including the Far West. In most cases they weren’t allowed to see their parents again until after they turned 18.
These men received poor education, an inadequate diet and many suffered beatings and other terrible forms of abuse.
When they turned fifteen, the Kinchela Boys were sent to work as rural labourers. The Aboriginal Welfare Board kept their wages which were supposed to remain in trust for them until they reached manhood. Most never received any of their trust money.
Among the worst things that happened to the Stolen Generations was that they weren’t allowed to speak in their own language or practice their culture.
Their identity was stolen from them, just as they were stolen from their families and their communities
Many survivors along with the families and descendants of previous Kinchela men who are no longer with us today, travelled from across NSW to attend the dinner including New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council Councillor for the Mid-North Coast region Peter Smith.
Cr Smith had a brief 3 week stay at Kinchela Boys Home in 1962 and delivered a speech at the dinner honoring all those men in what was no doubt a weekend of continued healing.