AFTER: Glenn Close, Merrick Close, and Roy Close talk about the impact of the Stolen Generation on their family.
AFTER: Glenn Close, Merrick Close, and Roy Close talk about the impact of the Stolen Generation on their family. Cathy Adams

So, where is your mob now?

MOST of us take it for granted to know who our mums, dads and grandparents are, but for the 100,000 Aboriginal people forcibly removed from their birth parents, discovering those simple facts can be a lifelong yearning.

Greg Telford, director of Lismore-based Aboriginal counselling service Rekindling the Spirit, said people often had questions about where they originally came from, who their family was and why they were removed.

Yet many members of the Stolen Generations kept their experience close to their chest.

"It's not something you run around telling people," Mr Telford said.

"Nobody likes to say they're disconnected from their family."

In an effort to assist the search for answers, Rekindling the Spirit and Indigenous Community Links are collaborating with NSW Family Records in a Finding Your Mob information day this Tuesday.

Those who attend will be assisted with finding information about their birth family through open records, photo collections and Aboriginal family history magazines from the 1950s-70s.

Bringing them Home counsellor Jeff Richardson, also from Rekindling the Spirit, will be on hand to provide support.

"There's voids everywhere in indigenous people's lives about connection with family," Mr Telford said.

"When you start going back to places through history, we're fragmented and from all over the place."

Take Lismore resident Rory Close's grandmother Ruby Smith, taken from Charleville in Queensland to a mission in Cherbourg, 600km away.

For reasons unknown, she was later taken to Woodenbong, where she married and gave birth to Rory's mother Bertha and two other daughters, but then left the area permanently to find her birth family in Queensland.

Mr Telford said finding blood family often help answer the questions plaguing people's hearts.

Family Records Information Day, Tuesday, August 13, 9.30am-3pm at YWCA Goonellabah, 101 Rous Rd. For info, phone 6622 5534.

STOLEN GENERATIONS

  • 100,000 children removed from their birth communities under an assimilation policy to "breed out" the Aboriginal people.
  • Ran from 1909-1969.
  • Carried out by governments, churches and welfare organisations.
  • Today many Aboriginal people still do not know who their relatives are or have been unable to track them down.
  • Stolen Generations members are more likely to suffer from depression, have worse health and a shorter life than other indigenous people, and are more likely to be imprisoned.


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