Stolen Generation member marks NAIDOC Week in Warwick
WHEN Allan Oliver was just a boy, he was ripped from his home and those who loved him and become one of the Stolen Generation.
Despite the heartache of being forcibly separated from his parents and the racism that was commonplace when he was a child, Mr Oliver is positive a brighter future is ahead.
He attended Warwick's NAIDOC Week celebrations today to help other indigenous families facing their own battles.
Mr Oliver grew up by the riverbank in St George in the late 1960s where he said indigenous people were not allowed inside the town.
"We would try to go to the shop and they wouldn't let us in because we were black, it was just how it was back then,” he said.
Mr Oliver was removed from his family home in St George at the age of 14 and taken to a mission in Brisbane.
"A copper just walked in and grabbed my four brothers and I. He couldn't find my sister so she stayed with my parents,” he said.
He spent about four months on the mission before resettling with a new family in the suburb of Windsor.
It would be eight years before he would see his parents again.
Even after reconnecting with his family, Mr Oliver maintained contact with his adopted mother in Brisbane until she passed.
Despite his tragic childhood, he made a conscious effort to move forward with his life and find new experiences.
Mr Oliver noticed positive cultural changes when he started a job in insurance and his white colleagues treated him equally.
He said working and being among the community helped him to reconcile with the trauma of being taken from his family.
Now he works with Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement to help keep indigenous children in their homes by providing support to families.
"A lot of indigenous people are still hurting from things which happened to them when they were younger,” he said.
"They need to be taught to communicate again. It's no good being disconnected.”
"Events like today are good because it gets our community out of their shell and spending time with each other.”
Going forward, Mr Oliver was optimistic for the future of reconciliation in Australia.
"It is only going to get better from here, especially with sports stars like Adam Goodes sharing their story,” he said.