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6 Mar 2020

Mending the Stolen Generations Memorial

Artist Badger Bates, Aboriginal community Elders and members, and staff from the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan are working together to repair and protect the Stolen Generations Memorial following recent vandalism. 

The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan staff acknowledge the Dharawal people as the traditional custodians of Mount Annan. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and thank Elders and community members for their involvement at this sad time. 

The Stolen Generations Memorial

The Stolen Generations Memorial at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan is a site of healing. It is a place for all Australians to visit, reflect, and commemorate the impact of the forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. 

Carved by renowned Aboriginal sculptor Uncle Badger Bates, it has served as a safe space for the Aboriginal community since opening in 2007 and the Garden is committed to ensuring that it remains so. 

Uncle Badger Bates sculpting the Memorial

The Stolen Generations Memorial was significantly damaged in February of 2020 by an act of vandalism. The crime was reported to NSW Police and interim steps to close the Memorial to the public and to install CCTV were enacted. 

Mending the Memorial 

On 3 March 2020 Uncle Badger and Sarah Bates travelled to Sydney to inspect the damage to the memorial sculpture and meet with members of the local Aboriginal Community and Garden staff. 

Uncle Badger shared his sadness at the damage, but stressed that he did not want to respond with anger. Fortunately, he is confident that the sandstone memorial can be repaired and will be returning in May 2020 to undertake this process. 

During this community consultation it was agreed that the memorial will remain covered and fenced until it is repaired. 

Permanent fencing of the Memorial was discussed, but Uncle Badger, Elders, and Garden staff felt that this was not desirable. The location and environment of the Memorial was selected to be opening, welcome, and peaceful, and it is important that these tenets remain. 

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan staff are currently investigating permanent solutions to the temporary CCTV in place and have increased Ranger visits to the site.

Elders and community members will remain in touch with Uncle Badger as he progresses the repairs to the sculpture. 

As Uncle Ivan Wellington said at the Memorial site, it was unfortunate to be coming together under the circumstances, however it was a valuable gathering and good to have Uncle Badger returning to Dharawal Country. 

The restoration and repairs were completed in April 2023, and the Memorial was gifted back to the Community. 

Artist statement:

"I feel really honoured to have been able to return to Mount Annan and repair the sculpture. I hold this sculpture very dear and it is special to me because of what it represents and my own family story. I would like to thank the staff and the Stolen Generation Committee for their support. It is such a magic place to be, in the forest with the birds and trees. The sculpture had so much power, it carved itself, or showed me how to carve it. All I did was hold the hammer and chisel, the stone did the rest. The little boy is especially dear to me, and he gave me guidance, fix me, fix my sister, then my mother, then my father. I added a small rock pool on the rocks near the pool, it is an extra tear drop for the pain the sculpture suffered. I feel the sculpture will continue to bring people together in this beautiful place."

Uncle Badger Bates

Learn more about the Stolen Generations Memorial and Sorry Day commemorations at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan

Category: News
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