The Kinchela Boys Home was a site run by the NSW Government between 1924 and 1970 on the mid-north coast which held Aboriginal boys removed from their families. These boys suffered terrible abuse being forcibly separated from their parents and at the hands of those overseeing them at the home.

The content was confronting, however, the evening was an invaluable opportunity to speak to two of the few remaining survivors of a terrible time in history. The survivors were able to tell of the time they were taken from their families, their relationship with the other boys in the home, and what life has looked like since. Our Head of History, Julia Kerr, rightly highlighted the importance of hearing from the Uncles directly, as first hand sources. The Uncles from Kinchela were so impressed with the genuine care, insightful questions and respectful approach of our students. We thank them for their willingness to share how the trauma has affected them and their families in the decades after leaving the Kinchella Boys Home. We long with them for increasing opportunities for reconciliation.

For more information - visit the website of the Kinchella Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation.

National Reconciliation Week was recognised at Barker through a number of activities and lessons across all year groups. It begins with Sorry Day on the 26th of May, then the anniversary of the delivery of the Bringing Them Home Report on the 27th of May, concluding on the 3rd of June, the anniversary of the Mabo Decision of 1992. This year’s theme was “Be a VOICE for Generations”. In the Junior School, their Yarning Circle participated in awareness activities on Sorry Day, Friday 26th of May, they participated in colouring in competition and classroom activities throughout the week.

Following these activities, including the visit from the Kinchella Boys Home survivors described above, during our Connect Group lessons, all secondary school students learnt about the meaning of Reconciliation and this year’s theme. On Thursday, Footprint and Yarn UP collaborated on a lunch time event which focused on encouraging students and staff to use their voice to encourage Reconciliation. Symbolically held under the beautiful Booroo-meraang Welumbulla tree, the students also graffitied (temporarily of course) the road to remind us of the power of our own voices.