News

Let's face the truth about Kinchela Boys Home


24 May 2011

(L-R) Allan Murray, Cecil Bowden and Peter Monsell were photographed for this exhibition.
(L-R) Allan Murray, Cecil Bowden and Peter Monsell were photographed for this exhibition.

The University will mark National Sorry Day today with the official opening of Let's Face It, a photographic exhibition at Fisher Library documenting survivors of the Kinchela Boys Home.

The exhibition, by photographer Sarah Barker, will be officially opened by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales and Chancellor of the University of Sydney, and Master of Ceremonies Pastor Ray Minniecon, Pastor and Director of Crossroads Aboriginal Ministries.

National Sorry Day was launched on 26 May 1998 and is held annually to express historical mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. The date originally marked a year since the release of the report Bringing them Home, the result of an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.

Victims of harsh treatment, brutal punishment, deprivation and sexual abuse, the adult survivors featured in the images were some of between 400 and 600 Aboriginal boys who were forcibly removed from their families in infancy, forbidden from speaking their Indigenous languages, brutalised as children and sent into the world without family or complete education.

Author Bill Simon, a former Kinchela Boy, at the launch. Boys at the home were referred to by numbers, not their names, so Bill and the other men wrote their numbers underneath their portraits.
Author Bill Simon, a former Kinchela Boy, at the launch. Boys at the home were referred to by numbers, not their names, so Bill and the other men wrote their numbers underneath their portraits.

Black and white portraits introduce the survivors, who lived in the home between 1924 and 1970. Having lost their families, land and language, the men have not been able to pass on a knowledge of their culture, identity or history to their own children.

The exhibition is supported by members of the KBH Aboriginal Corporation, formed in 2003, which is developing a service to provide healing and wellbeing strategies for members of the Stolen Generations, their families and their communities. Sarah Barker has been working as a volunteer with the KBH Aboriginal Corporation.

The exhibition forms part of the University's Reconciliation Week program of free, public events running from Monday 30 May until Saturday 11 June.

Patrons are respectfully advised that this exhibition contains images of people who have passed away.


Exhibition details

What: Let's Face it, photographic exhibition by Sarah Barker

When: 24 May to 11 June 2011. See the library's opening hours

Where: Fisher Library, Eastern Ave, Camperdown Campus. See map and directions

Cost: Free


See what else is happening at the University of Sydney for 2011 Reconciliation Week.


Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 9351 2261, katie.szittner@sydney.edu.au