The pain of being torn away from her family still lingers but Aunty Lindy Lawler has hope in her heart of a nation united.
As a member of the stolen generation, the 58-year-old from Barrack Heights has for years been telling her own ‘’painful’’ personal story to ensure the blemished chapter in our national history is never repeated.
Aunty Lindy desperately tried to keep her ‘’emotions under control’’ when she spoke at The Housing Trust in Wollongong on Friday as part of their ‘Sorry Day’ event.
‘’This is a very emotional day for survivors of the past and also for those who were removed from their homes,’’ she said.
‘’It is also the 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report.
‘’Sometimes it is very hard to speak about your stories and the journeys you have gone through but when I look back at this I often wonder why this happened in the first place and why we were removed.’’
Aunty Lindy and her twin sister were only five months old when taken from their parents’ Berry home.
They were placed under the control of the Aborigine Welfare Board and taken to Ashfield’s Infants Home.
The twins were separated and moved from one orphanage to another as well as from one foster home to another over the next 18 years.
They only reunited on their 18th birthday on December 21, 1976, when they were no longer under the control of the Aborigine Welfare Board.
‘’It wasn’t easy for our other mother. We met her when we were 18,’’ Aunty Lindy said.
‘’She passed away in 1984. My father passed away in 1966. When I found out about all my government papers and the reasons [she was taken], it really upset me a lot because of what the report said about my real mum was very disturbing and also not knowing your real father had passed away and not knowing you had real brothers and sisters as well.
‘’For a long time I couldn’t tell my story but I’m stronger now and want people to listen to my story to bring people together – that means non Indigenous and Indigenous people.’’
Housing Trust deputy chair Jennifer Macquarie said it was hard not to be touched by Aunty Lindy’s story.
‘’The Indigenous community is part of the Housing Trust family and we were only too pleased to listen to Aunty Lindy tell her story and work towards bringing the whole community together,’’ she said.
National Reconciliation Week (May 27-June 3) activities are being held throughout the Illawarra. Residents are being encouraged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo High Court.