Jasmine Haby-Atkinson, Nowra, NSW, Australia.
“Because of what happened I am afraid that the same things could happen to my own child… history has a way of repeating itself.”
Susan Moylan-Coombs, Northern Beaches, New South Wales. Susan was born in Darwin and taken from her mother at birth. She was removed from the Northern Territory and later adopted out to a family in Sydney. Susan didn’t see her mother again until 21 years later.
“Every day I walk a path of recovery from the policy that removed children from their parents. I was stolen… I still feel the silent pain that is mine and my mothers. We need to move forward together with joint aspirations and a truly national story that acknowledges our shared past and embraces a shared future.”
Under parliamentary policies that persisted throughout much of the 20th century, numerous Australian aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly taken from their family homes and placed in institutions and foster families by church missionaries and government agencies. In many cases, these very young children were denied any contact with their mothers, fathers, and siblings and were effectively cut off from their roots, their language and their heritage. From the age of around fourteen, many would go to work in white households, the goal being to create a racially assimilated “White Australia.” Only in recent years have the immeasurable scars of these crimes begun to be addressed by the Australian public and its government, both of whom are now working towards a point of healing.