CDC NSW ADDS $750,000 TO ‘STOLEN GENERATIONS’ BUS SUPPORT

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy CDC NSW + KBHAC, Video by: courtesy KBHAC


NOT-FOR-PROFIT Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC)’s community healing efforts will receive $750,000 over three years in support from CDC NSW, the bus operator announced today: National Sorry Day - 26 May, 2021.

CDC NSW ADDS $750,000 TO ‘STOLEN GENERATIONS’ BUS SUPPORT
KBHAC CEO Dr Tiffany McComsey says reconciliation takes action and she welcomes CDC’s strong support.

The news comes at a time both organisations’ affiliated Stolen Generations survivors launched a ‘Sorry Day’ Campaign to build Australia’s first truth-telling museum and healing centre to help fellow survivors, their families and the community.

KBHAC chairperson Uncle James Michael ‘Widdy’ Welsh (Uncle Widdy) is calling on all Australians to support the project and says the proposed museum and healing centre will play a critical part in Australia’s truth-telling journey.

"Without truth telling there can be no healing," said Welsh.

"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.

Led by KBHAC, the campaign’s launch this Sorry Day is receiving essential support from CDC NSW, one of the largest private bus operators in the state, it explains.

CDC NSW’s commitment to a $750,000 partnership over three years will assist the not-for-profit with its rapid growth as one of the leading Stolen Generations organisations in Australia, it states.

Image 2.jpg

(L-R) Dr Tiffany McComsey, KBHAC CEO; Uncle James Michael ‘Widdy’ Welsh (Uncle Widdy), Kinchela Boys Home survivor and KBHAC chairman; Edward Thomas, CDC NSW CEO; plus survivors of Kinchela Boys Home.

 

UNLOCKING THE PAST

KBHAC CEO Dr Tiffany McComsey says reconciliation takes action and she welcomes CDC’s strong support.

"Our vision is for the museum to be built on a site of great historical significance for Australia – the former Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home property in Kempsey," said McComsey.

The property was a home run by the NSW Government between 1924 and 1970.  In that period it housed between 400 and 600 young Aboriginal boys forcibly removed from their families and made to assimilate into white Australian society, KBHAC explains.

KBHAC aims to raise $5 million through donations from businesses, organisations and the Australian public to purchase, repair and conserve the property, and build the envisioned living museum and healing centre, it confirms.

A conservation management plan for the property has been developed by highly respected heritage specialist Alan Croker, who also developed the Sydney Opera House’s most recent conservation management plan, it says.

McComsey says the site, historical records and the memories and stories of the home’s survivors – known as the ‘Uncles’ – would provide tangible evidence of past assimilation policies and practices for the education and understanding of all Australians and to ensure that what happened to the Uncles and other Stolen Generations survivors never happens again.

"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 McComsey.

The Mobile Education Centre.jpg

FREEING THE FUTURE

Commenting on CDC’s long-term commitment to working with KBHAC, McComsey says it was an example of the cross-community collaboration at the heart of reconciliation in action.

"Genuine collaboration and mutual support between people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and non-Indigenous communities is the only way forward. We need to work together towards the common goal of intergenerational healing," she said.

KBHAC-0070.jpg

BUS SUPPORT

CDC NSW CEO Edward Thomas says the organisation originally decided to assist KBHAC by maintaining its specially outfitted Mobile Education Centre (MEC), a retired commuter bus transformed for the purpose of raising awareness of the stories of Stolen Generations survivors.

"Since then, we’ve continued to become more involved. Our engineers have participated in designing and creating elements of the MEC and our drivers have driven the vehicle all over Sydney, the Central Coast and northwest NSW, helping get the Uncles out there in their truth telling journey," Thomas said. 

"Working alongside KBHAC has inspired us to commit to a three-year sponsorship program that will provide real benefits to their organisation, helping them to improve the social, emotional, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of the Stolen Generations who survived their time in the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home, as well as their descendants and families," he said.

KBHAC-0133.jpg

Image 1.jpg

CAREER PATHS

In addition to helping launch the campaign to build the truth telling museum, CDC will also be providing extensive careers and skills development opportunities for Indigenous candidates nominated by KBHAC and back-office support for the organisation, it confirms.

These include apprenticeships and subsequent long-term employment opportunities with CDC, study tours of CDC sites, work experience, mentoring, on-the-job training and opportunities to attend courses relevant to their chosen field, it adds.

"At CDC we believe that all Australians will benefit from reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, aided by the promotion of a true account of Australian history and better opportunities to enter into the workforce," Thomas stated.

"It also helps us, on a practical level, to build bridges with Aboriginal communities and help them to find a career path within our organisation.

"Partnering with KBHAC has been a learning experience for us at CDC. "Every day we continue to learn more about Aboriginal culture and past experiences and how we can do our part to help achieve reconciliation," Thomas said.

For more information, or to donate towards making Australia’s first national truth telling museum a reality, head to www.kinchelaboyshome.org.au.

Image 3.jpg

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook