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Stolen Generations Marker to be erected in Naarm

Dechlan Brennan -

Naarm will have a Stolen Generations Marker after the City of Melbourne announced its location on the 16th anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generation.

The marker will be erected on Peppercorn Lawn in Alexandra Gardens, alongside the Yarra River/Birrarung.

The City of Melbourne consulted extensively with First Nations survivors of the Stolen Generation, and a strong preference from survivors, as well as the Indigenous community, was for the site.

The river is a historical landmark, originally known as Birrarung by the Wurundjeri, and has been a major food source and meeting place for Indigenous Australians for thousands of years.

The city consulted with its Stolen Generation Working Group, who advised the location as preferable as a reminder of the practices that saw Aboriginal children removed from their families through government policies, officially up until the 1970s.

One survivor said the marker was a "part of healing".

"It is important not just for me but for all our stolen generations that were taken, abused and put in homes and not looked after," they said.

"It is an important thing that we put it out there for everyone to understand what happened to the Aboriginal people of Australia. It will show all the Australians what we went through, because a lot of people still to this day don't understand".

Another survivor said the marker "represents truth telling about the history of this country".

"Without truth telling there can be no reconciliation."

Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the marker was an important step for Melbourne on its journey towards truth-telling, reconciliation and healing.

"In the 1860s, Victoria became the first state to pass laws authorising Aboriginal children to be removed from their parents," the Lord Mayor said.

"For about a century, thousands of Aboriginal children were systematically taken from their families, communities and culture."

He noted there remained over 17,000 Stolen Generation survivors; more than a third of all Indigenous Australians are a direct descendant of a survivor.

"The Stolen Generation were denied the most basic of human rights, the right to grow up in a home with your family and culture," Cr Reece said.

"We hope this maker will be another step on the journey of truth telling, healing and reconciliation for the Stolen Generation, Aboriginal people and all Australians."


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