I was born in Coonamble and
my mothers name was Beatrice Welsh. Her father was Jimmy Welsh and they
had all moved into Coonamble from Pilliga. We lived in Broad Street
when I was about 8-10.
I have sisters Donna, Debra,
Kim (Tom), Jane on my mothers side and Barry who has passed away, Kevin,
Robert, twins Jane and Wayne. There were lots of us and Les, Darl, Son
They all drifted away after
Mum passed away but they are slowly coming back.
Our house was a tent first
the, sort of an old tin hut. We had dirt floors and my Mum used to sweep
it so clean it wasn’t like dirt – it was hard and clean.
We were taken away by the
protection board to educate us. The seven of us all left together and
we were excited because we were going on a train ride to Sydney. The
twins were about six months old. Barry and I went together on another
train. They told is we’d never see our brothers and sisters again
and I remember that clearly and that rolls over in my mind many times.
They all went to different white families in New South Wales and in
Sydney. Barry and I went to Kinchilla Boys Home and we stayed there
for four or rive years until we were adopted by family back here in
Coonamble. it was Uncle Billy and Mum’s sister Aunty Tam
It has caused me a lot of
problems wondering why we were taken away.
Boys Home –
About 100 Aboriginal kids
from all over New South Wales were sent to the ‘Boys Home’
near Kempsey. We never saw any white kids. It was like a concentration
camp – you just got up, did your chores and went to bed. It was
great to have a brother with me and he did a lot of fighting for me.
We had one teacher who taught everyone reading and maths. After school
we’d do our dairy chores. We made our own butter and grew all
our own vegetables and all we had to buy was meat.
In 1962 we were allowed to
go to West Kempsey High School. It was a terrific feeling to be out
amongst people again. We loved to gat away for the Home and go to school.
They forced us to lean to
read and write and I only appreciate that now. There was a lot of abuse
and molesting in the home too. Some of the boys sho were at the home
have been to gaol – we’d meet up again in there. Some have
drunk themselves to death. Good things and bad things came out of that
Back in Coonamble
I came back to Coonamble
when I was about 15 and stated at the High School. My uncle and Aunt
shifted about so much and they were out of town so learning by correspondence
was too difficult. I remember we lived at Wilga Down. They were at Kircauldie
on the Quambone Road before that. We enjoyed it out on the property.
We weren’t allowed to see Mum until we were 18. Later we went
over to Wee Waa cotton chipping and eventually we met up with mum.
I learnt things form Billy
Leonard and I appreciate that. He taught us how to track porcupines,
goannas, witchetty grubs and he showed us how to clean them and cook
them. I would like to be able to set up something so I can teach the
Aboriginal children of this town these things.
I got married and had four
kids but my kids have got in them what I had in me – blind rage.
We give our kids too much and we don’t teach our kids how to have
rejection. I’ve got another family now and I’m going to
Jealousy has to be controlled
and its insecurity in a sense that causes lots of fights. I have another
four kids now with Rita, and I know that if I don’t make her happy
she can leave anytime and I don’t want that. I think domestic
violence is cause by insecurity.
The trouble with some people
today is that they get their social security money, and they have a
big spend up – sometimes on the poker machines, or the card games.
If they start losing, they go again and then it’s all gone. They
lend out money because their friends don’t have any. So’
for the rest of the week they hang around the street because there is
no reason to go home – there is nothing there.
I would like to see everyone’s
culture and background kept going. It is hard for me because I was a
blonde headed kid in the Aboriginal Boys. I had to find out my background.
I think all the different nationalities coming to Australia should keep
their traditions and pass them on to their children. They don’t
have to live like that all the time but it’s important that they
I hated the white people
when I was young because of what they did to me. My father was white.
I love him though.
There are still people prejudiced
against us. There is a group of Aboriginal people who are becoming educated.
However there is a group of Aboriginal people who are not getting the
benefits of this. In 1974 when the ‘dole’ came in. the kids
left school, and waited for their cheque each fortnight. That was the
pint of working? You could lie around all day and still get paid. They
need incentive. The CDEP is great because it’s a job and people
get pride for working and seeing a job done.