Survivors reach settlement with Church, Commonwealth

Maxine Kunde (ABC News/Tiffany Parker)

Survivors of Aboriginal forced removal policies have signed a deal for compensation and apology 40 years after suffering sexual and physical abuse at the Garden Point Catholic Church mission on Melville Island, north of Darwin. Source: ABC News.

“I’m happy, and I’m sad for the people who have gone already … we had a minute’s silence for them … but it’s been very tiring fighting for this for three years,” said Maxine Kunde, the leader of a group of 42 survivors that took civil action against the church and Commonwealth in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

At age six, Ms Kunde, along with her brothers and sisters, was forcibly taken from her mother under the then-federal government’s policy of removing children of mixed descent from their parents.

Garden Point survivors, many of whom travelled to Darwin from all over Australia, agreed yesterday to settle the case, and received an informal apology from representatives of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, in a private session.

Ms Kunde said members of the group were looking forward to getting a formal public apology which they had been told would be delivered in a few weeks’ time.

Darwin Bishop Charles Gauci said on behalf of the diocese he apologised to those who were abused at Garden Point.

“I am profoundly sad that hurt was done to you while you were under the care of the Church. This hurt should never have happened,” he said.

“We cannot undo the wrongs of the past but I hope we can now walk together on a journey of healing.”


After 40 years of waiting, Garden Point abuse survivors get justice (By Jane Bardon, ABC News)

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