Site History and Significance
Australia’s Stolen Generations
Along the coast of New South Wales, on land traditionally home to the Dunghutti people, a former institutional campus recalls a painful past. The Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home was the site of incarceration for an estimated 400 to 600 children from 1924 to 1970. These children were among thousands across Australia forcibly taken from their families as part of official government and church programs to assimilate children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent into white society—now known as the Stolen Generations.
The Kinchela Boys Home is among Australia's most notorious Stolen Generations institutions. The children who passed through its gates, primarily boys, were stripped of their names, given numbers, and subjected to classroom "reprogramming" and strict regimes of manual labor. Physical hardship, punishment, alienation, and abuse were part of everyday life until the campus was shuttered in 1970. Today, the remaining buildings and landscape of the former Kinchela Boys Home offer evidence of a dark period in history that affected the lives of generations still living in Australia. Moreover, the site stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of survivors whose stories and lived experiences are paving the way for justice and healing.
A Center for Healing and Learning
Since 2003, the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, a survivor-led organization dedicated to improving the wellbeing of those impacted, has championed truth-telling to disclose what happened at the Kinchela Boys Home and raise awareness about its significance to survivors, their families, and communities. With a vision to restore the now vacant complex into a place where historic cruelty and abuse can be recognized and where survivors can heal, the organization has long advocated for an agreement that would allow it to manage the grounds and implement plans for interpretation.
Now, the organization is in the process of securing the right to transform the site into a museum and healing center. It will be the first of its kind to address the legacy of violence against the Stolen Generations, not only as an exhibition of this painful history but also as a living force that must be confronted by people today.
2022 World Monuments Watch
Through the 2022 World Monuments Watch, World Monuments Fund (WMF) aims to support the survivor-led effort to preserve, restore, and reimagine the former Kinchela Boys Home as a national site of truth-telling and healing.
Through the World Monuments Watch, WMF collaborates with local partners to design and implement targeted conservation programs—including advocacy, planning, education, and physical interventions in the historic built environment—to improve human well-being through cultural heritage preservation.
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