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Minister visits Centre of Indigenous Excellence

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, recently visited the new Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern. It is, of course, a national project. Apart from some heckling by those present in relation to the continuing Federal Government National Intervention Programme, the Minister was well received reports the South Sydney Herald of March 2010.

While there, she explored the new Centre, shared a barbecue and presented the family of a well-known member of the Stolen Generations with a framed copy of the National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous people.

Uncle Victor Morgan, who was born on the New South Wales north coast and was removed from his family when he was five, spent most of his life in South Sydney. He recently passed away, and his son Victor and nephews Richard, Michael and Shane, received the copy of the Apology on his behalf at a community barbeque in Redfern on the eve of the anniversary of the Apology.

“Uncle Victor was taken from his family when he was five years old and was sent first to Bomaderry on the south coast and then to the infamous Kinchella Boys Home. Until his death he was the oldest surviving Kinchella boy,” Ms Macklin said.

“Like many Aboriginal boys, Uncle Victor’s life at Kinchella was harsh and cruel. But, despite being robbed of his own childhood, at the age of 18 he found his family and then dedicated his life to giving his own children and dozens of foster children, the loving, safe home he never had.”

Ms Macklin said Mr Morgan was well known in the local community and had worked for the South Sydney Council for 40 years. She believes that the anniversary of the Apology is an important reminder of our country’s commitment to reset the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“By acknowledging the past, so many doors have opened up for new relationships that didn’t seem possible before,” Ms Macklin said. “I encourage all Australians to remember the fantastic goodwill that flowed through the community at the time of the Apology. It is something we should never forget.”

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will shortly be formally opening the Centre.

Photo: Andrew Collis - Jenny Macklin presents a copy of the Apology

Source: South Sydney Herald March 2010