Community Workshop Feb 26th

There was a community workshop held by The Shire of Carnarvon and attended by 45 participants.

The general discussion was around the need for the Story to be told ( eg plaques/a building with the story on the walls etc ) and/or a statue that represents the people, men women and children taken in chains. There was also strong agreement on the fact that as children no one was allowed to talk about the islands. They had to cover their eyes and point out to sea.

These were the main points

What’s good about Carnarvon?

  • Climate
  • Good people (90% of them are good)
  • Fishing
  • People are like brothers and sisters
  • Connection to place and the old people

What can be better?

  • Make this story “real” – needs to be acknowledged
  • Lock Hospital is one story of what happened to Aboriginal people – there are others
  • Help others to understand there is sadness
  • There needs to be a visible history/stories of what happened to Aboriginal people

What is your connection to the Lock Hospitals?

  • People were taken from everywhere, even the NT
  • They were walked here in chains
  • Families said goodbye when they left – they knew they weren’t coming back!)
  • Weren’t allowed to talk about the Islands
  • Warned not to go to the Islands – they were bad places
  • Great grandparents wet taken – direct descendants still alive
  • Families relocated to Carnarvon to be closer to family taken to the islands
  • Connections to culture were broken when people were taken – no one to teach the ones left behind
    • No language
    • No lore/law
    • No culture
  • Lots of people don’t know the story

How do you feel about what happened?

  • Sad (said by many)
  • Overwhelmed
  • Hoping to find a way forward
  • “Spent ½ my life on this”
  • Future generations need to know
  • Injustice
  • Need to honour the past and what happened

What should the “memorial/s” be?

  • Video at the Library, Visitors Centre, Cultural Centre
  • 2 x memorials and a walk trail
    • One in town – prominent place – at the end of Robinson Street (near HMAS Sydney II??)
    • One at the jetty
    • Trail to connect the memorials
      • path of pain
      • along tramway where they were marched
      • have photos/ audio to tell the stories of as many people as possible
    • Need to tell the story/remember the people that lived this story
    • Put photos in the memorial
    • Figure of child/family in chains
    • Children weren’t allowed to talk about the islands, had to cover their eyes and point out to sea
    • A “building” – something with sides and a roof
    • A pathway from the Kimberley’s to here and to Moore River. The “lock Hospital” way.  There are connections to lots of different places
    • Needs to be an experience
    • Needs to be a whole lot of things
      • Statue
      • Plaque
      • Building
      • One thing along cannot tell the whole story
    • Plaque at the Fascine
    • “Statement” statue – larger than life

The outcome of the meeting was that the groups were very keen to see some concepts for the next workshop on March 26th.  These concepts are being developed by experienced Memorial Sculptors, Joan Walsh-Smith and Charles Smith of Smith Sculptors based in Gidgeganup just outside Perth WA.