Across every generation, Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in our communities and families. They guide future generations and pave the way for us to take the paths we can take today. We draw strength from their knowledge and experience, in everything from land management, cultural knowledge to justice and human rights. Across multiple sectors like health, education, the arts, politics, and everything in between, they have set the many courses we follow.
The struggles of our Elders help to move us forward today. The equality we continue to fight for is found in their fight. Their tenacity and strength has carried the survival of the oldest continuous culture in the world.
As part of our NAIDOC Week events, on Friday 27 July, the staff and students of St Edward’s College embraced the 2023 NAIDOC theme and were fortunate enough to have three survivors of the Kinchela Boys Home – Uncle James Welsh, Uncle Roger Jarrett and Uncle William Nixon, present their stories in a truth-telling session. The morning started with a Welcome to Country by Central Coast bloodline Custodian Brad Twynham.
The College was then shown a video which detailed some of the conditions the boys lived in during their time at Kinchela, after they were kidnapped from their families. Each man spoke about his experiences – the cruelty they endured, the life-long affects being taken had on their families, culture and identity and their hopes for a more reconciled Australia. Many staff and students were shocked and angered by the events and felt fortunate to hear about such a dark time in Australia’s history directly from those involved.
We wish to extend a very big thank you to Uncle Roger, Uncle William and Uncle James for their bravery and honesty and their willingness to answer questions from our students.
Some information on Kinchela Boys Home from their website:
Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Home Training Home (KBH) was a ‘home’ run by the NSW Government for over 50 years (1924 – 1970) to house Aboriginal boys forcibly removed from their families. It is a place of deep importance for survivors, their families and communities. KBH was built on the stolen land of the Dunghutti. The site and its associated places hold memories, both painful and otherwise, of their childhood after being kidnapped from their families and deliberately re-programmed in order to assimilate into white Australian society. The place itself, historical records and the memories and stories of survivors provide tangible evidence of these destructive past Government policies and practices for the education and understanding of all Australians.
Kinchela Boys Home – We Were Just Little Boys Video