events, Forgotten Australians

Kimberly’s ride

by Diane Tronc (guest author) on 11 May, 2011

Diane Tronc is inviting others to join her in supporting Kimberly Kiser with her ride to raise funds for child protection. Kimberly will depart the Gold Coast and arrive in Canberra on White Balloon Day in Child Protection Week, September 2011.

Further information is available at Kimberly Kiser’s Fundraising Page.

Itinerary for Kimberly Kiser’s Trip from Gold Coast Qld. to Parliament House Canberra ACT (Wednesday 31st August – 7th September 2011)
Wednesday 31st Aug. 2011
Depart Gold Coast office at 10.30am

Day 1
Wednesday 31st Aug. 2011
(Napper Road) Gold Coast to Byron Bay  (Tweed Coast Rd.)
Byron Bay to Casino (Bangalow Rd.)   108mi./
Overnight in Casino

Day 2
Thursday 1st Sept. 2011
Casino to Coffs Harbour  (Summerland Way & Orara Way)  114mi./183.47km
Overnight in Casino

Day 3
Friday 2nd Sept. 2011
Coffs Harbour to Lakewood  (Pacific Hwy)   112mi./180.25km
Overnight in Lakewood

Day 4
Saturday 3rd Sept. 2011
Lakewood to North Arm Cove (Pacific Hwy)  97.8mi./157.39km
Overnight in North Arm Cove

Day 5
Sunday 4th Sept. 2011
North Arm Cove to Gosford  (Wangi Rd.& Pacific Hwy)   90.6mi./145.81km
Overnight Gosford

Day 6
Monday 5th Sept. 2011
Gosford to Wollongong (crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge)  Total: 94.5mi./
* thru North Sydney (Pittwater Rd.) w/ Ferry crossing  (40.5mi./65.178km)
* thru Sydney (George St.)  (2.5mi./4.0234km)
* to Wollongong (Princes Hwy) 51.5mi./ 82.881km)
Overnight in Wollongong

Day 7
Tuesday 6th Sept. 2011
Wollongong to Braidwood (Nerriga Rd.)  122mi./ 196.34 km
Overnight in Braidwood

Day 8
Wednesday 7th Sept. 2011
Braidwood to Parliament House Canberra (Mulloon Fire Rd.)     49.0mi./78.858km

White Balloon Day!

Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

One Man

by Barbara Lane (guest author) on 16 April, 2011

Barbara spent time as a child in Opal House, Opal Joyce Wilding Home, Wilson Youth Hospital, Vaughan House, The Haven and at Wolston Park Hospital (Osler House) between the years 1970 and 1979. Barbara is now the co-ordinator of the support group Now Remembered Australians Inc. In her poem One Man, Barbara pays tribute to Fr. Wally Dethlefs who helped to establish The Justice for Juveniles Group, previously known as the Wilson Protest Group. Wally also set up one of the first refuges for youth in Brisbane.

One Man

When I was young and in a place
Where no one seemed to care,
One man fought on my behalf
Though others would not dare.

I’d been told I had no rights
For I was “just a kid”,
But one man fought on my behalf
And showed me that I did.

They took away my childhood,
My freedom and the sky,
But one man fought on my behalf
When others would not try.

They locked me up in Wilson
But now I have the key
For one man fought on my behalf:
His name is Wally D.

documents, Forgotten Australians, memories

Graham John Davis 1946 – 1974

by Warren Porter (guest author) on 5 April, 2011

Following on from his autobiography, A Tormented Life, Warren Porter writes the story of his deceased brother, Graham Davis. Warren writes about their abusive stepfather, how Graham was sent to Westbrook Farm Home in 1961 and police violence. Warren argues the case for a Royal Commission into the treatment of children in Australian institutions.

Warren mentions several locations in the south side of Brisbane including “the Gabber (the Five Ways)” which refers to the then layout of the railway yards in the suburb of Woolloongabba.

Download Warren’s account of his brother’s history: Graham John Davis 12.3.1946 – 23.10.1974 (PDF 7mb)

film, Forgotten Australians, memories, Stolen Generations

Is justice yet to come?

by Rhonda Trivett (guest author) on 2 March, 2011

In these videos, Rhonda Trivett details some of her experiences from the age of 13, from 1974 – 1981, when she was interned in the maximum security adult ward (Osler House), in Wolston Park Hospital and her call for current reforms.

Part 2 contains explicit descriptions of abuse, therefore we have not uploaded it onto the website. However, if you wish you can view part 2 below:

Forgotten Australians, Responding to the National Apology

We were charged with being neglected

by Colleen Stevenson (guest author) on 15 November, 2010

Colleen Stevenson

Transcript

My name is Colleen and I grew up in Neerkol orphanage in Rockhampton. I went to the orphanage when I was 11 years of age. We were taken off our parents and charged with being neglected. We were taken to court. The five of us were in court. My grandfather went there to try to stop them from taking us, but they wouldn’t give us to him. He went away and he was so upset. He was so sad. He was an old man but he wanted us so badly.

Well, life in Neerkol was no pretty picture at all. We’d get up 5 o’clock in the morning, go to church, then we’d come back and we’d have to do the dormitories and we’d just have to do a lot of things. If we didn’t do it properly we were given a hiding. We were given the strap. We just had to do it proper.

As a child we weren’t able to form bonds at all. We never really got to know each other as children. I think we were all scared of what would happen to us, not that we couldn’t but we just weren’t allowed to, we just didn’t feel like we could, you know, because of things that went on – sorry. Things that happened out there to different kids, kids were strapped and they were hurt very badly.

Being here today, the apology means today that it’s finally recognised as we were all telling the truth and not lying. Well, it helps move on a little bit, one step at a time. You can’t go – one day at a time – you can’t go any further than that. If you try to go any further you get nowhere.

My children when they were growing up I tried very hard. I made my mistakes because I didn’t really know how to bring them up but I did my best. I love them very much and people could see I loved them. I was also scared when my husband died that they would be taken off me. I was so fearful that they would be taken off me but they weren’t, thank God. And they turned into great kids.

Forgotten Australians, Responding to the National Apology, Stolen Generations

Fifth generation in the ‘care’ of the state

by Katie-Maree Sibraa (guest author) on 15 November, 2010

Katie-Maree Sibraa
Katie-Maree Sibraa

Transcript

My name is Katie-Maree Sibraa. I went into care at three months of age, in foster care. With my story it’s the fifth generation in state care. My dad, my grandparents and my great-grandparents all in state care. Myself, I was in care under the minister right up until I was 18 in two separate foster families and also in an institution as well. My experience from the age of seven through to 12 being sexually assaulted by seven different men in the first foster family while under the minister or Children’s Services in Queensland. Then I ran away and when I ran away they put me in an institution for running away and I was only 12. So, yeah, it’s been pretty tough.

Life in an institution when I first arrived I arrived in the back of a paddy wagon, and it was in Wilson in Queensland. They had to hold you down. You weren’t allowed near anybody, unless they had doctors at you. You were totally humiliated. I was only young and frightened because I had already experienced years of abuse – sexual abuse, physical abuse – in the family I was in and I felt like I was being re-tormented, re-punished again. And no-one believed me – no-one. I mean, it was just something that you lived with and had to accept.

Life in the institution, I closed off and was very disassociate. I was very tiny and I never ate, maybe because I fretted or there was no love. There was one person who was a couple of years old who I have only just recently met here, and she used to be my protector. She’d say, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, don’t cry, they’ll send you into isolation.’ I felt like she was sticking up for me, then she’d get punished and I felt really bad for that.

There was no privacy and it was just – your whole identity was stripped.  You had no self-esteem, it was just nothing, no visitors, and it was hard seeing others getting visitors. And when you didn’t have anyone visiting you and you’d just see these gates, it was – not good.

I had met my natural father, my dad, when I was eight in the foster family. I did not know that I was Aboriginal, Indigenous. They brought me up from the back yard playing and they said, ‘Oh, Katie, this is your real dad’. And my reaction to that was: ‘He can’t be, he’s black and I’m white’. I didn’t know. But then he was stopped visiting me. He used to visit me in holidays, but then no.

My natural mother I didn’t know because she had left me at three months on a railway line so I never knew where she was or anything. No, I didn’t have any family.

Being in a relationship or even entering a relationship I find, because I suffered the sexual abuse as a young child and the emotional and physical, I don’t trust very easy. You lose that and sometimes you look for love in the wrong areas and you think it’s going to be OK, but it’s very difficult because you don’t have that trust. And you don’t want to get close because you think, ‘Am I going to get hurt again?’

In Canberra here today, it’s very significant as I hold this piece of paper, hearing Mr Kevin Rudd’s apology to us Forgotten Australians. I find it difficult just holding this to know that my family’s fifth generation in the care of the state – it is very emotional. But as I’ve got here – this is my father’s great-grandfather, so that’s my great-great-grandfather who was in institutions and orphanages and on working farms in Queensland.

I am from the Stolen Generation. I am Indigenous. This is my father, who passed away last year, and these were his grandparents. Two months after this was taken he was taken into care at Nudgee orphanage because he, they said, wasn’t being looked after and cared for. So they were his grandparents.

Then another article last year when my son Adam came down, he was chosen from the Central Coast to come to Canberra for the Stolen Generation for our family representing. My father was dying of lung cancer at the time. He was very proud that his grandson was here representing. It’s so true what it says: ‘Portrait of an injustice’. For him to stand tall down here last year, and I was back in Sydney crying, to know the Stolen Generation and that it was generation after generation. The portrait of an injustice of knowing each generation, not one or two but five generations of our family have been in state care, how many more is going to be in state care?