ON the ninth anniversary of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology address to the Stolen Generation, the Penrith City Council hosted a special morning ceremony to remember those touched by White interventionist policy.
During the event two of the Indigenous speakers shared their emotional, personal stories with an audience.
Janice Kennedy, an Aboriginal Australian who’s life has been impacted because of White intervention, spoke at the event.
After being taken away from her home Mrs Kennedy was moved from house to house, working as a servant. Mrs Kennedy found herself working in Sydney under conditions she did not deem fit, so she left her job, only to receive a bill from the government, who were requesting she repay the cost of her uniform and transport.
She said events like Apology Day are important to her because it gives her plight a voice and it helps people to stop and listen.
“It took 40,000 years for someone to acknowledge us,” she said. “That is a big deal.”
Peter Brown, a Penrith resident who’s mother was taken away from him when he was a baby, told a story of how the government at the time tore apart his family.
Due to the government’s aggressive stance on Aboriginal families, at the time, Mr Brown never knew his mother or father. His family of 16 was broken apart and sent to different parts of the country not long after he was born.
Only two years ago did Mr Brown see a picture of his mother and father for the first time, and only then did he realise he has a twin sister.
“How could they do that to any of us? They should not take our kids,” Mr Brown said.
“Now I’m fighting to find my twin sister,” he added. After their speeches it was revealed that Mrs Kennedy was Mr Brown’s aunt, and that due to forced family separations and government interventions they’d never known each other.
The event also coincided with a push from Penrith Library for more people to connect with Aboriginal heritage and local Aboriginal history.