Stolen Wealth

‘Wealth’ – the measure of the assets owned by an individual, a company, a country or a community

They were the wealth of the land, of the communities that were the oldest possessors of the territory. Precious, invaluable, irreplaceable! And it was systematically stolen from them. It wasn’t a measurable asset. It was immeasurable. It was their children...a whole generation and more appropriated under the umbrella of absurd laws.

They were the unfortunate Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders’ children forcibly detached from their families by race-based policies, termed Assimilation policies put into place by both State and Federal Governments. Churches and welfare organisations also played a pivotal role in this ill-fated catastrophe. It was the arrogant belief of the colonisers that if these children of the First Nations were separated from their community and culture, their lives would advance immeasurably because of coming in contact with white society! A report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families states "at least 100,000" children were forcefully isolated from their parents.

What punishments did the stolen generation get?

Boys were flogged for wetting their bed or chained to a tree all alone overnight. The children were told that they weren't Aboriginal, that their mothers didn't want them or were dead. Boys were sent "down the line" to be punched by each of their fellow inmates, from the oldest to the youngest, as many as 60.
4 Nov 2019

What was the actual impact of this thoughtless, even cruel act? The stolen children suffered a huge amount of heartbreak and trauma; lost their links to family, identity, land, language and culture. They were enormously vulnerable to being exploited physically, psychologically, emotionally and sexually in state care and in the national and international homes where they were sent for adoption or fostered out to non-Indigenous families. The children's names were often changed, and many children were forbidden from speaking First Nations languages while simultaneously they we denied education given to the white children. Degrading and illiberal!

It has been estimated in a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), that in 2018–19, there were more than 27,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors aged 50 years and above of the Stolen Generations.

The long-standing and tremendous stress of the Lost Generation has left permanent and adverse psychological effects even on their progeny not to speak of the previous generation, making it an intergenerational mess. It has resulted in clinical anxiety, depression and PTSD. Sadly, this has affected anywhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 children, literally and irreparably altering every single Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and way of life.

It took as late as 1969 for all states to repeal the legislation allowing for the removal of Aboriginal children under the policy of 'protection'. It was only in 2008 that the Australian Government formally apologised to them and their families. The national Apology to the Stolen Generations acknowledged the trauma and grief suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a result of past government policies, particularly the removal of children from their families. The Healing Foundation recognises their ongoing journey and funds many projects addressing the distinct healing needs of Stolen Generations. Their work is led by an expert reference group made up of Stolen Generations survivors from around Australia.

Sorry Day 26th, May

National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors and reflect on how we can all share in the healing process. The inaugural National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998.25 May 2022 (

Daisy Kadibil’s Story of Escape Called Attention to the “Stolen Generations” of Aboriginal Australians
Kadibil, who died at the age of 95, had her incredible odyssey recounted in the acclaimed 2002 film ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’


More by :  Shernaz Wadia

Top | Society

Views: 3543      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.