Cranbrook Place, Orleigh Park
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report and the ongoing healing of the Stolen Generations. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the High Court’s decision in the Mabo case, better known as the Mabo Decision, in 1992, and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum that made amendments to the Australian Constitution, stating that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would be counted in the census, and the Commonwealth would have jurisdiction to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Guest speaker, Dr Valerie Cooms, shared the story of her grandmother and her great aunt, Mable, who had spent time at Cranbrook Place and had been separated as a result of government policy.
Valerie shared “Sadly we never found Mable, but my nephew, Eddie, found her daughter in 2003, and we found that Mable had lived to be 100.
“It was as if she was waiting for us to find her, but we were three years too late.
“Typically, as Aboriginal people, we build resilience. This is how we have survived. This is not to say we have not suffered and continue to do so, however, many of us want to see the good from things that have happened.
“That is, despite what has happened, how the spirit of Aboriginality keeps us going.”
Dr Valerie Cooms (Pictured Above) has a doctorate in political history from the Australian National University. Her Honors Thesis at University led her to thoroughly research the Aboriginal girl’s home, Cranbrook Place. She also has extensive experience leading Aboriginal organisations in the community and government sectors, currently working full-time as a member of the Native Title Tribunal.
Link-Up (Qld) Clients Josephine Jack, and Christine Doyle also shared their own stories of loss due to the Stolen Generations, and their reunion journey on a through Link-Up (Qld).
Josephine shared, “It took us 46 years to find out where the other triplets (her older siblings) were. It was very hard for my mum, she passed away 20 years ago.”
Josephine Jack (Left) and Christine Doyle (Right) cutting cake for guests
Throughout the program attendees were treated to musical performances by Chris Tamwoy, Aunty Bessie Parsons and the Songlines, and Meanjin Voices Choirs.
Chris Tamwoy playing an instrumental piece he wrote entitled “Healing New”