By ERWIN CHLANDA
History was made in the Bungalow, now better known as the Overland Telegraph Station, as the place where taken-away children were interned, but also where people spent their youth who later became outstanding Australian leaders.
But neither the Federal nor the NT minister for Aboriginal affairs deem it worth to give financial support for a “detailed and definitive history” proposed by John P McD Smith.
He is the chair of the St Francis’ House Project in Adelaide where several of the high achievers received advanced education.
There may be a turning point as last week the author, who does not wish to be named, of a PHD work about the Bungalow, and Stuart Traynor, author of Alice Springs, From Singing Wire to Iconic Outback Town have offered their collaboration.
As we reported Federal Minister Ken Wyatt is sitting on $1.2 billion of Aboriginal Benefits Account money idle in the bank while with Covid-19 governments and businesses are facing what could well become the world’s greatest financial catastrophe.
Mr Wyatt doesn’t think a few thousand dollars is worth spending on an historic account of The Bungalow, says Mr Smith.
Neither it turns out does his Territory counterpart, Selena Uibo (pictured), professing that the NT Government “is constantly seeking opportunities to reconcile the atrocities of the past in relation to the intergenerational trauma incurred as a result of assimilation race-based policy.”
But as for money: “There are a number of literary awards that can be accessed …”
And anyway, Ms Uibo is telling Mr Smith that Mr Wyatt is partnering with “the Healing Foundation to adequately capture the history of individual experiences” and this might “also be a pathway accessible to you.”
The NT minister also suggested that a partnership might be developed with the Charles Darwin University, “which may be able to identify a PhD candidate to base their research thesis on The Bungalow to adequately research the history,” writes Ms Uibo.
To place such a far-reaching and historically important project in the hands of one professional is not enough, says Mr Smith.
“To do justice to the stolen children this project requires the input of a team of committed professionals carefully selected for the task. They need to be properly resourced and properly supported with support staff over what would be a long-term assignment.
“It is realistically only the Federal government and/or the Northern Territory government who have the resources to properly fund such a project.
“This is a racially sensitive national Aboriginal project that is deserving of the highest government input. The definitive history of The Bungalow needs to be addressed with the greatest respect and deep sensitivity,” says Mr Smith.
“Repeated government suggestions of sideline ways of achieving this task are disappointing. It is a programme that needs to start now while there are still people living who can tell their stories to the researchers.”
PHOTO: Bungalow children pictured in 1934 by Dr Charles Duiguid.