Stolen Generations Reference Group

The Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group guides our Stolen Generations work, ensuring these programs effectively meet the unique healing needs of Stolen Generations members and their families.

The group brings together a diverse group of Stolen Generations men and women from around Australia.

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution and commitment of our Stolen Generations Reference Group members:

  • Florence Onus, QLD (Birri-Gubba and Kairi/Bidjara clans), Chair
  • Michael Welsh, NSW (Wailwan, Coonamble, NSW)
  • Aunty Lorraine Peeters, QLD (Wailwan/Bidgera)
  • Ian Hamm, VIC (Yorta Yorta)
  • Cynthia Sariago, NT (Gurindji, Wave Hill/Malak Malak, Daly River)
  • Mark Bin Bakar, WA (Kitja/Gunian East Kimberley)
  • Carolyn Fyfe, QLD (Juun Ju Warra woman from the Guggu Yimthirr tribe)

See their full bios below.

Most recently our Stolen Generations Reference Group contributed to the design and development of the BTH20 anniversary artwork.

Florence Onus

Florence Onus is a descendant of the Birri-Gubba and Kairi/Bidjara clans of Queensland and a member of the Stolen Generations.
Florence has recently been working in the education sector, providing support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, cultural training to staff and community engagement at James Cook University. Florence is currently establishing a healing centre in Townsville. She also lectures to students studying social sciences at tertiary, secondary and primary levels on the impacts of past policy on Indigenous people, with a focus on the Stolen Generations.

Florence is a keen advocate for social justice and helps young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers who have had their children removed through current child protection policies. She is the chair of The Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group.

Michael Welsh

Michael Welsh is a Wailwan man from Coonamble in New South Wales and a survivor of the Kinchela Boys Home. As a child, Michael was forcibly removed from his mother and five of his siblings. As an adult, he was involved in establishing some of the first Aboriginal organisations in Coonamble. He has been a member of the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) since 2009 and has held the position of Treasurer since 2011.

Aunty Lorraine Peeters

Lorraine Peeters is a Gamilaroi/Wailwan woman and now living in Brisbane. She was forcibly removed as a child and has devoted many years of her life to supporting Aboriginal people to heal from past and present traumas. Lorraine developed the Marumali Journey of Healing Model in 1999 which is based on her own healing journey as a Stolen Generations person and went on to develop the Marumali Program® in 2000, a nationally accredited training program that aims to increase the quality of support available to Stolen Generations. She delivers the program to service providers, survivors within community and the prison system. She also played an active advocacy role in the lead up to the National Apology and the establishment of The Healing Foundation.

Ian Hamm

Ian Hamm is a Yorta Yorta man who has been actively involved in the Victorian Aboriginal community for many years. He has had a wide level of exposure to policy development and program management through his work with the Federal Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and the Victorian Departments of Justice and Planning and Community Development.  He is currently the Chair of Connecting Home, a support service for Stolen Generations survivors.

Cynthia Sariago

Cynthia Sariago is a Stolen Generations descendant with connections to the Malak Malak people of the Daly River and the Gurindji people from Wave Hill. She first became involved with Stolen Generations issues through the Northern Territory Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation (NTSGAC) and has chaired NTSGAC since 2004.

She is a founding member of the Stolen Generation Alliance and is on the National Sorry Day Committee. Cynthia is also a mother of five, grandmother of 16 and an unofficial foster mother to many.

Mark Bin Bakar

Mark Bin Bakar is a Kitja/Gunian man from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Mark’s mother was forcibly removed and he is actively involved in seeking justice for members of the Stolen Generations. Mark was an inaugural deputy convenor of the Stolen Generations Alliance. He has also produced four albums of songs about the Stolen Generations.

Carolyn Fyfe

Carolyn Fyfe is a Gugu Yimithirr woman from the JuunJu Warra tribe. She was taken away from family and culture at the age of 11. Carolyn has been a Health Promotion Officer for two decades, currently working in 13 Cape York communities and the Outer Islands managing the delivery of health awareness programs to school children, youth and nurses.

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