The official hand over of a parcel of land in Queens Park to the Sister Kate’s Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation (SKHKAC) is the first step in turning the land into a Place of Healing for the Stolen Generations.
The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) will officially return the 2.07ha parcel of land, known as the “Bush Block” during a divestment ceremony on August 25.
The lots, bordered by Cross and Hamilton Streets, are opposite the former Sister Kate’s Home for Aboriginal children who were taken from their parents between 1934 and 1975.
The Bush Block was a secret meeting place for Aboriginal children where they could briefly reunite with their parents, who would travel to Queens Park to visit them.
With the land now back under Aboriginal ownership, SKHKAC can move forward with plans to turn the land into a cultural centre and place of healing as well as develop fee for service activities to sustain operations.
SKHKAC CEO Tjalaminu “Tj” Mia, a Noongar woman and past resident, said holding and developing the Bush Block would be a major milestone in a 12-year journey to achieve their vision for the land.
“We are not going to let what happened to us define us. We are building a place that is dear to us where we can heal and heal our families,” she said.
“In light of the trauma and feeling that trauma which has been passed down to younger generations, we still work really hard to heal ourselves and are very proud of where we’ve got to be where we are now.
“The opportunity to develop the Bush Block is our opportunity to heal. Including collective healing, capacity building for leadership and caring for Country.”
The ILSC bought the land in 2008 from the Uniting Church with the intention of returning it to SKHKAC for the benefit of members of the Stolen Generation who had lived at Sister Kate’s, as well as their families and the wider Noongar community.
ILSC Group CEO Joe Morison said granting the property to SKHKAC was an important milestone for the Corporation.
“The ILSC recognises that Country and healing are entwined in Indigenous people’s cultural identity,” he said.
“We are committed to assisting First Nations people to own and manage Country that is of social, cultural and environmental significance and that provides lasting benefits, including the power to heal generational trauma.”
The ILSC has granted SKHKAC up to an additional $500,000 for capital works and other costs, and the Aboriginal Corporation has also secured Lotterywest funding for Stage 1 of the development of the Bush Block to cover events infrastructure, shade structures and yarning circles, raised walkways, fencing, art interpretation, toilets and a shed.
A divestment ceremony to celebrate this milestone was held on 25 August at the Canning Shire Offices in Cannington and attended by SKHKAC Homees and their families, VIP Guests and a range of stakeholders who support the SKHKAC Corporation in the Healing Journey.