- Bronze sculpture unveiled in Carnarvon to acknowledge the tragedy of Aboriginal incarceration at the Lock Hospitals on Bernier and Dorre islands
- McGowan Government contributed $140,000 to the sculpture
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt today officially unveiled the Lock Hospitals memorial 'Don't Look at the Islands' sculpture at Carnarvon's Heritage Precinct.
The Lock Hospitals operated from 1908 to 1919 and were an example of medical incarceration where Aboriginal prisoner patients, supposedly with venereal disease, were forcibly removed from country and transported to the islands to be treated.
It is estimated that more than 200 people died on the islands, with their remains left in unmarked areas.
The bronze sculpture - titled 'Don't Look at the Islands' - is installed adjacent to the One Mile Jetty, the same point from which Aboriginal detainees were removed from their mainland home and transported to Bernier and Dorre islands, many never to return.
The McGowan Government contributed $140,000 to the sculpture, with the Shire of Carnarvon providing a further $25,000.
Lotterywest has also contributed $90,350 towards the Lock Hospital memorial project.
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The Lock Hospitals off Carnarvon were an appalling chapter in Western Australia's history, and their story needs to be told.
"The commemorative sculpture acknowledges the injustice experienced by those who were rounded up, shipped off country onto islands, and subjected to medical experiments and to incredible shame.
"The recognition of injustice is necessary if we are to move on the path of reconciliation."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
"The sculpture is one component of a broader Lock Hospital memorial project, which includes a healing space in the Carnarvon town and a connecting walk trail.
"The project will promote ongoing healing and reconciliation both among Aboriginal people and with the wider community through recognition and acknowledgment of the history and impact of the Lock Hospitals.
"This statue is an evocative memorial to a tragic episode in Australian history. Both the statue and the heritage trail are a critical part of the journey of truth-telling that Western Australia and the nation are embarking on.
"This project has been driven from inception by Kathleen Musulin and Bob Dorey, who are both local people with a personal connection to and have been personally impacted by the Lock Hospitals."
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200
Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900