A quest for justice and healing: thank you Kinchela men

24 Oct 2014   |   Blog   |   Australia   |   Long-term Development

Sascha Costigan

These Kinchela men stand with more dignity than can be taught or given. They are inspiring in every way."

Kinchela Boys Homes survivors with their families

This weekend our partner Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Kinchela Boys Home. The three-day event offers a chance to honour the memory of all the Stolen Generation Children who were taken to the home, and to continue the process of healing.

Sascha Costigan, Manager of Caritas Australia’s First Australian Program, has written a letter to the Kinchela men to mark this significant commemoration and thanking them for allowing Caritas Australia and our supporters into their lives. Her letter is below.
Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation and Caritas Australia have been in partnership since 2011. It is a partnership and relationship of which we are incredibly grateful and proud. We have learned so much and will continue to as we walk together. It has at times been incredibly confronting. The truth, and the truth filled with so much pain, often is. But it has always been open and honest and generous on so many levels.  

This weekend commemorates so much in so many ways.  90 years.  90 years since the doors opened on an institution named Kinchela Boys Home: an institution which represents so much pain, trauma, grief, anger and deep deep hurt in multi-faceted ways. An institution where power, control and fear were used to abuse and terrorise the most vulnerable in our community– little boys who had been torn away from their mothers to experience undeniable trauma and abuse. Little boys who were given numbers in place of names.

The Kinchela Boys suffered in every way on a daily basis. They weren’t given the opportunity to have a childhood filled with love, safety and joy. They were denied the basic rights every child deserves. It is impossible to not be touched by their story. And the story needs to be told, not only for their own healing, but so these atrocities may never ever be repeated. We should be upset by what has happened. We should be angry. We should feel deeply. We should connect as human beings to try to understand. For this is what will drive change.

However, despite the suffering of the past, this weekend, signifies the strength, love, resilience and unity of the Kinchela men and their families with the ongoing hope for long-term healing and recognition of the truth. It represents their life-long bond to each other for each other. There is nobody else who could possibly understand their story except their own brotherhood of which time and space can never penetrate or break.  

Thank you for your partnership, your guidance, your integrity, your support and your trust. We are so much richer because of you."

Caritas Australia is a development and humanitarian aid organisation that works in partnership. When we talk about partnership, we speak about mutual learning, values and solidarity. We speak of the absolute importance of integrity and openness and ensuring that those who were once voiceless finally have the capacity and opportunity to speak. We talk about participation and the value of decision-making occurring from all those in a community. We talk about dignity of each human person. When oppression and injustices have occurred, it is impossible to maintain our dignity and freedom. Yet now these Kinchela men stand with more dignity than can be taught or given. They are inspiring in every way.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Kinchela men who have allowed us into a small part of their lives and trusted us. Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation is such an important organisation, one that is driven by the quest for justice and healing. The Corporation is led, run and driven by the men connected to each other so deeply through their common story. They have complete ownership. The impact of your stories is great and needs to be shared far and wide.

Thank you for your partnership, your guidance, your integrity, your support and your trust. We are so much richer because of you.

Your Friends at Caritas

About the commemoration

The three-day commemoration will take place around Kempsey, NSW, from 24 to 26 October. Events include an art exhibition, touch footy match and barbecue. All are welcome. For a schedule of events and contact information click here.

More information

About our Kinchela program
Our work in Australia

Back to blog