These stories may contain descriptions of childhood trauma and abuse. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of people who may have passed away. If you need help, you can find contact details for some relevant services on our support page.

Aboriginal Australian activist, Ken Colbung (b. 1931) was in an institution as a child. Ken was born at the notorious Moore River Settlement in Western Australia and then sent to Sister Kate’s Home for Children in Perth after his mother died. Ken was six.

Ken joined the army when he was nineteen and went to Korea. Being in the army was his first experience of being treated as an equal. After he left the army, Ken was inspired by the 1960s Aboriginal rights movement and became a prominent Western Australian Aboriginal rights activist.

Ken Colbung was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1980 and an Order of Australian in 1982 for services to the Aboriginal community

References:

“Moore River Native Settlement (1918 – 1951).” Find & Connect, 2021. https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00948

“Sister Kate’s Children’s Cottage Home (1934 – 1980).” Find & Connect, 2021. https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00684

Thompson, Chris. “Aboriginal activist Ken Colbung dead at 78.” WA Today, 13 January 2010. https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/aboriginal-activist-ken-colbung-dead-at-78-20100113-m6gb.html

Image available at here.