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Gathering for Cherbourg ex-Dormitory Boys

Standing: Joe Skeen, Jack Anderson, Marshall Saunders, Adam Hopkins, David Wragge, Gordon Willis, John Stanley, Eric Blair, Robert West, Derek Wilmott, Mick Wragge. Seated: Herb Dalton, Arnold Murray, Russell Hegarty. Image supplied

Kate Wragge

T

he Cherbourg Ex Dormitory Boys met recently for a two day workshop at Boonah with 15 brothers coming from Cherbourg, Murgon, Brisbane and Cairns ages ranging from (50 – 80 years of age). The brothers have been meeting since 2010, dealing with the trauma of their years in the Cherbourg Boys Dormitory and the injustices of past governments policies and practises that impacted on their lives and the many lives of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Queensland. Our healing journey of recovery has been marked by the loss of Brothers along the way (and we want to acknowledge those brothers again today). We have continued to strive to support brothers to come together and deal with the priorities and past injustices. Since our last meeting in July 2012, we have been busily collaborating with the Cherbourg Ration Shed Museum to produce a documentary of past Cherbourg dormitory brothers. This provides an insight into their lives and the personal experiences

of their time in the Cherbourg Boys Dormitory. Auntie Sandra Morgan, Chairperson, Cherbourg Ration Shed Museum and Mark Newman, Zebra Crossing Pictures attended our recent meeting at Boonah and presented a draft viewing of the documentary, which was well received by the Brothers and invited guests. The Cherbourg Ration Shed Museum is hoping to launch the Cherbourg Dormitory Boys documentary during NAIDOC Week 2013, and will invite all past dormitory brothers and their families to this significant event. The brothers have also been working with Mr Colin Smith, who has kindly volunteered his time and services to assist in the production of a book which will provide a snapshot of past Cherbourg Ex Dormitory brothers and their personal stories. We envisage that the book will be produced this year and we are currently sourcing possible additional funding to assist in production costs. The Cherbourg ex Dormitory Boys Working Group also presented feedback on the Kinchela Boys (NSW) organisation for further consideration

for possible incorporation status for our group. There was a number of volunteers (once again), that kindly donated their time and services to the brothers over the course of our meeting. We would like to acknowledge the ongoing commitment and support of the following; • Link Up QLD • Mr Manny Hegarty, Regional Director, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multi Cultural Affairs (DATSIMA) • Ms Kelleigh Ryan, Aboriginal Psychologist with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation • Mr Anthony Thompson, Aboriginal Physiotherapist. The group are working towards a healing journey for 2015 with the Cherbourg Dormitories Girls and their families. If you are interested in contacting the Cherbourg Ex Dormitory boys Working Group please feel free to email us on; cherbourgexdormitoryboys@gmail.com

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Cherbourg ex-Dormitory Boys