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Uncle Richard works on his painting of the Good Samaritan. First Australian Uncle Richard is a survivor of the Stolen Generations, forcibly removed from his family as a child and taken to Kinchela Boys Home (KBH) in NSW. The KBH Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) was established by KBH survivors to reunite with one another and begin healing. KBHAC’s Unlocking the Past to Free the Future Program works to restore the social and emotional wellbeing of the survivors and their families. Photo: Nicole Clements/Caritas Australia.

Australia

With your help, we support programs that strengthen cultural identity, focusing on intergenerational healing and leadership, with the aim of developing culturally meaningful skills and enterprises.

Our work in Australia

We believe in subsidiarity: that the people best placed to make decisions are those who will be most affected by them. Australia has a long history of making decisions for First Australian communities, rather than upholding these communities’ rights to decide for themselves. This history has had deep and long-lasting effects on First Australians, as well as Australia as a whole. There are glaring inequalities between the general population and those identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. We support programs in Australia that are designed and led by First Australians.

*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains images and names of people who have since passed away.

Partnership

We have been working with First Australian organisations and communities in Australia since 1972

Programs

We support seven programs through six local partners in Australia

Priorities

Intergenerational healing, strengthening cultural identity and spirituality, livelihoods opportunities, advocacy

Program snapshot

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Photo: Patrice Moriarty/Caritas Australia.

Unlocking the Past to Free the Future

Running since: 2013

Partner Agency: Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC)  

Aims: To reconnect the Aboriginal men who were forcibly removed from their families, and to restore and reconstruct their identity, dignity and integrity

Who it is for: Survivors of Kinchela Boys Home and the descendants of these survivors

Achievements: 

  • Produced invaluable healing activities, workshops and counselling to 69 Aboriginal men who survived KBH, and nearly 300 of their descendants
  • Leaders have provided education sessions for the wider community, to share their stories and history
  • Secured aged care for many survivors
  • Formed an advisory committee to the NSW government
  • Produced a short animated film called ‘We were just little boys’, narrated by survivors

Fact: It is estimated that nearly 500 Aboriginal men were stolen from their families and placed in Kinchela Boys Home between 1924-1970

More background

Compared with the general population of Australia, First Australian communities face a range of challenges, including lower life expectancy and poorer health, higher infant and maternal mortality rates, financial hardship and ongoing psychological trauma from the dispossession of their land and policies that resulted in the Stolen Generation. 

Inequality: First Australians face ongoing challenges of justice and persecution. There is also a significant gap in life expectancy for First Australians and non-indigenous Australians - of 12 years for males and 10 years for females.

Trauma is a huge issue within First Australian Communities: both first-hand and intergenerational trauma, as the suffering of elders affects the next generation. This trauma is exacerbated by the continued misunderstanding of the causes of suffering.

Health problems: First Australian communities are more likely to have diabetes, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and mental health problems. Indigenous Australians experience a burden of disease that is around 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. For those living in remote areas, receiving appropriate treatment is often a struggle.

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

Lilla Watson, Murri artist and activist

You can help

Our work with First Australians is guided by the right to subsidiarity. We support First Australian-led programs that strengthen cultural identity and spirituality, providing intergenerational healing, livelihood opportunities and advocacy.

Support our work with our First Australians partners. 

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Evangeline at Djilpin Arts in 2016. Photo: Sascha Costigan/Caritas Australia.
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Evangeline at Djilpin Arts in 2016. Photo: Sascha Costigan/Caritas Australia.

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