A place to heal

A place to heal

Sister Kate’s
Sister Kate’s chief executive Tjalaminu Mia [left] said the Place of Healing would further revitalise Queens Park. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

The revitalisation of Queens Park has taken another step forward, according to Sister Kate’s chief executive Tjalaminu ‘TJ’ Mia, following a State Government grant to turn the bush block adjacent to Sister Kate’s original site into a Place of Healing.

The $3.2 million grant, announced by Aboriginal Affairs Minster Tony Buti, will go towards the first stage of the redevelopment, at the 2.7-hectare bush block adjacent to the original Sister Kate’s Home, where many children of the Stolen Generations were placed between 1934 and 1975.

Holding great significance for those who stayed at Sister Kate’s as children, the Bush Block was a safe place where the children could play, and families who came to Perth to visit their children in the home would secretly camp.

Redevelopment of the site will create a Place of Healing for the stolen children and their families, with space for cultural awareness and celebration.

The first stage of the Place of Healing project includes events infrastructure, shade structures and yarning areas, raised walkways, fencing, art and interpretation, toilets and a shed.

Enhancement of the natural environment, and retention of native vegetation is an integral part of the project, with the City of Canning earmarking the site as an area for priority conservation.

Queens Park is going through a significant era of change, with the development of the State Football Centre, and Sister Kate’s chief executive Tjalaminu ‘TJ’ Mia said the Place of Healing would go hand in hand with the upgrades being driven by the City of Canning.

“There’s a lot of activity happening around Queens Park, and they’re upgrading the whole precinct, it’s a versatile, multi-cultural community,” she said.

“This grant means a hell of a lot; we’ve been working the last 12 or 15 years to get the land divested into our hands and it gives us the opportunity to start our vision for the place of healing vision.

“This is a fabulous start, and once we get this place built it will be offered up to the community.

“It’s dual purpose, all-inclusive for the community and that’s exactly what Sister Kate’s wanted to see, us walking and working at healing together.

“It’s not just significant for the Canning region but it’s right across the metro area and beyond.

“We’ve been in Queens Park since 1934, so there’s a whole connection down to the Queens Park Reserve, down to Queens Park Station which will be getting an upgrade soon, down to Kent St Weir, which was our swimming hole back in the day.

“That whole corridor is a story-line of Sister Kate’s.”

TJ said she was hopeful the Place of Healing’s three-stage development would be completed withing the next three to six years, with an international conference on the protection of children earmarked for the launch event.