NATIONAL: NEVILLE Austin became only the second member of the Stolen Generations to receive compensation after he won a settlement this month for the 12 years of separation from his mother, under the past policies of forced removal.
Stolen generations victim Neville Austin speaks to the media at the office of law firm Allens Arthur Robinson in Melbourne. Mr Austin read an apology given to him in writing from the Victorian government as part of a settlement over the circumstances of his separation from his mother in the 1960’s and 1970’s. (AAP IMAGE/JULIAN SMITH)
Mr Austin, 47, was taken from his mother in 1964. His mother, Ellen, had originally “entered into an agreement” with the then Social Welfare Department in Victoria to pay her son to board at St Gabriel’s Babies Home in Melbourne.
When she fell behind on her payments, amounting to about 8 pounds, Mr Austin was made a ward of the state and was shifted around to various foster families until 1981.
This month he was finally awarded a settlement for the 12 years he spent not knowing who he was, or where his family was. He receives an undisclosed sum of money, but his prized possession is the state’s written expression of “true apology and deep regret”.
“It’s a salute to a mother who never gave up loving me,” Mr Austin said. “It’s the value of the apology that matters. It’s one for mum, it’s very special.”
The first victim of the Stolen Generations to receive compensation was South Australian man Bruce Trevorrow in 2007.