This National Sorry Day, not-for-profit organisation Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) and leading bus company CDC NSW are launching a campaign to build the country’s first truth telling museum and healing centre for Stolen Generations 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 said 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 Uncle Widdy.
“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.
CDC is showing its ongoing support for KBHAC’s truth telling and healing work by committing to a $750,000 partnership over three years. This will assist the not-for-profit with its rapid growth as one of the leading Stolen Generations Organisations in the country.
KBHAC CEO, Dr Tiffany McComsey said 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 Dr 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 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.
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.
Dr McComsey said that 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 Dr McComsey.
Commenting on CDC’s long-term commitment to working with KBHAC, Dr McComsey said 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.
CDC NSW CEO Edward Thomas said 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,” Mr 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.
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.
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.
“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. 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,” he said.
“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,” Mr Thomas said.
For more information or to donate towards making Australia’s first national truth telling museum a reality, head to kinchelaboyshome.org.au.
ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC) bus drivers are pledging “to drive so others survive” to mark National Road Safety Week (NRSW), 16-23 May, 2021.
Employees from CDC’s operations across Regional NSW, ACT, Queensland, Northern Territory have bandied together, joining close to 40,000 Australians who have recited the pledge to date:
“I pledge to drive as if my loved ones are on the road ahead. I will remove all distractions and never use my mobile phone while driving. I will not put other people at risk by speeding, driving while tired or under the influence of alcohol/drugs. I will protect all vulnerable road users, especially those whose job places them in harm’s way, by slowing down and giving them the space they need to be safe.”
National Road Safety Week is an annual initiative from the Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group in partnership with road safety organisations and government to highlight the impact of road trauma and ways to reduce it.
In the last two years, more than 36,000 Australian drivers have made this pledge and SARAH President Peter Frazer, who founded the non-for-profit after his daughter’s death in 2012, hopes that many more will do so during this year’s campaign.
“Our ‘Drive So Others Survive!’ theme asks everyone on the road to monitor their own behaviours and ensure the safety of all people on the road ahead, especially vulnerable road users,” he said.
“So, we are asking the Australian community to step up and become ‘Road Safety Warriors’ who not only make the safety of others their priority but also their influence their family, friends and work colleagues to do the same”.
Peter thanked partners, supporters, and every organisation - like CDC - that gets behind the campaign because “like us, they recognise that everyone has a right to get home safe to their loved ones, every day, with no exceptions.”
“It is incredible to see such commitment to driving change to make our roads safe.”
ComfortDelGro Australia (CDC) Regional Australia Division Chief Executive Officer, Tony Hopkins said drivers and other employees across CDC’s vast regional operations will continue to make the pledge during National Road Safety Week.
“Employees from across our unique businesses in unique locations are taking the pledge, such as Qcity Transit and Transborder Express in southern NSW/ACT, Forest Coach Lines and Blanch’s Bus Company in northern NSW, CDC Gladstone and Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and Buslink NT teams in Darwin, Humpty Doo, Jabiru and Alice Springs.
“Many employees are going the extra mile by wearing yellow ribbons to show their support, and arranging barbecues and coffee mornings including guest speakers.
“Our Qcity Transit and Transborder Express team will be encouraging the community to ‘drive so others survive’, as part of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council’s road safety pop-up stall at Riverside Plaza in Queanbeyan on Thursday 20 May (9am-1pm).
“Road safety is a crucial part of our industry – it is the number one priority within our company. I’m proud of the way our drivers are showing solidarity in communicating this important message.
“We encourage all road users to take heed of National Road Safety Week’s important messages of slow down, look for road signs, take notice of speed limits, and take extra care at dawn and dusk,” Mr Hopkins said.