Jobs Events Advertise

Stolen Generations survivor shares emotional but liberating story of her life on Apology anniversary

Jarred Cross -

A Stolen Generations survivor has been 'liberated' after sharing her experience with a crowded room for the first time, 16 years on from Australia's formal apology expressed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Stolen Generations support service Connecting Home's Vanessa Scales told her personal story at an annual ceremony marking the anniversary at Darebin Town Hall in Naarm on Tuesday.

A proud Barkindji woman, Ms Scales, 53, said she was brought up in a strict, white, Christian household after being taken to Melbourne as a baby, and only began her journey back to her birth family after having a son of her own.

In later years, she built a relationship with her mum, who has since passed, and siblings - who are still getting to know one another, but has been unable to do the same with her dad.

"I didn't grow up to be with my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews," Ms Scales said.

"It was very, very sad and I was very, very angry for a very long time."

Ms Scales said she "burst into tears" while watching, with her son and daughter, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd deliver the apology at Parliament House in 2008.

"It affected me but at the same time it was like a release."

She also shared other elements of her life, including cancer battles and sexual abuse endured.

She told National Indigenous Times it was "nerve wracking but also liberating" to open up to the room after only ever sharing small details in the past.

Reflecting on the apology speech, she said it's difficult to explain what it meant, but she was grateful to hear it.

Ms Scales said there is still work in front of the nation towards Closing the Gap.

The ceremony was co-delivered by Darebin City Council, Connecting Home and fellow Stolen Generation, families and children's services the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and Link-Up Victoria.

Survivors, Elders and attendees left flowers on Darebin Council's Stolen Generations marker following the ceremony. (Image: Jarred Cross)

Mutti Mutti, Boon Wurrung and Yorta Yorta woman and survivor Aunty Eva-Jo Edwards said "today is a day of reflection", and one 16 years on from the apology but 56 years on from the beginning of her experience.

Singer-songwriter and survivor Kutcha Edwards told the room he woke up at 3 am on Tuesday with an "unsettled" spirit before performing to the room.

He was also critical of October's unsuccessful referendum, stating the voice of Indigenous Australians had been "silenced again".

Survivors led the room out to a lunch, with attendees gathering and placing flowers on Darebin Council's Stolen Generations marker on the way.


CSIRO grant helps blend Aboriginal traditions with agricultural innovation
In a fusion of Indigenous wisdom and cutting-edge technology, Darryl Lyons, a respected Maiawali man, and inventor Mic Bla...
Zak Kirkup 1 Mar 2024
Rolfe to wrap up evidence in Walker death inquest
An inquest into the death of an Indigenous teenager is set to wrap up after 18 months as evidence from the police officer who sh...
Neve Brissenden 1 Mar 2024
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation strikes deal for "equal footing in future decision-making" over Murujuga country
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation has defined a new approach to agreement making in Australia, following the signing Thursday of a...
Giovanni Torre 1 Mar 2024
Court finds Youpla misrepresented itself as an Aboriginal-owned or managed company
The collapsed funeral fund Youpla misrepresented itself as Aboriginal owned or managed, the full Federal Court ruled on Thursday...
Dechlan Brennan 29 Feb 2024

   Jarred Cross   

Football star Mary Fowler aims to break Matildas' trophy drought
Matildas star Mary Fowler says her side are keen to go further and bring home some silverware after last year’s World Cup heartb...
Jarred Cross 1 Mar 2024
"Education is the main vehicle for closing the gap" - Marcia Langton receives women's leadership award
Marcia Langton hopes women future leaders take some inspiration from her latest recognition, which makes a welcome change after...
Jarred Cross 29 Feb 2024
Honours spread across the states in NICC women's awards, team of the tournament
National Indigenous Cricket Championship women's champions New South Wales have dominated the women's team of the tournament wit...
Jarred Cross 29 Feb 2024
Powell-Pepper cops four-match ban for 'careless' scratch-match collision
Sam Powell-Pepper could miss the opening month of the premiership season after being handed a four-match ban for his scratch-mat...
Jarred Cross 28 Feb 2024