This Keeping Place is for ALL Coota Survivors.
Aunty Doreen Webster opened our new keeping place by acknowledging “our presence on the lands of the Gadigal peoples” and paid respect to their elders – past and present.
Since November last year the Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation Board had worked tirelessly with their partners at NSW Aboriginal Affairs and the Healing Foundation, who worked with NSW Trains and Sydney Trains to make their dream of a keeping place at central station become a reality.
Sydney Central Station holds many memories for the ladies. “This is where we all came before we boarded the trains that took us to Cootamundra” Says Aunty Doreen, “Back then, we were told we were going on a holiday. It was no holiday for any of us. “
This train trip was the start of what was to become a very traumatic journey in the lives of all Coota Girls, and still, to this day, many carry the scars, and many feel in their hearts and in their souls the ongoing trauma.
Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation Peer Support Network and Keeping Place will be the place that allows Members, siblings and descendants to continue to develop their capacity to govern and manage their affairs, reach out and grow their memberships, build productive partnerships, develop innovative strategies and programs that are culturally informed and trauma-informed for the benefit of their families. But most importantly, it will become a place where they can all come together to connect, work hard, laugh and collectively heal.
In addition to securing the beautiful Keeping Place, the Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation Board, since November last year, have developed a Strategic Plan and annual Operational Plan. Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation has grown in membership, and have developed thirty-four policies to ensure that there is a demonstration of strong leadership, while maintaining an effective governance framework and process, among many other things.
The Coota Girls Aboriginal Corporation launched their new Website, as part of the official opening.
This Official Opening event, and the Keeping Place would never have happened without the support of Coota Girls Corporations many valuable partners.
In closing, Aunty Doreen announced, “on behalf of the Board, I would like to acknowledge and thank these wonderful people:
Mr Rod Staples - Secretary of NSW Trains
Mr Howard Collins - Chief Executive Sydney Trains and NSW Train Link
Mr Peter Allaway – Chief Operating Officer and Ms Susan Le Bron – Executive Director Customer Services Directorate, NSW Train Link
All the wonderful staff from:
NSW Aboriginal Affairs
Prime Minister and Cabinet
The Healing Foundation
The Office of the Register of Aboriginal Corporations
We would like to acknowledge the wonderful work that has been done behind the scenes by Meagan Ryan, Rachel Malthouse Jonathan Jones and Grant Sarra – the work that you have each performed has not gone unnoticed and it is very much appreciated by our Board.
And finally, we would also like to thank the wonderful staff at the Rendezvous Hotel for always taking care of us when we are in Sydney.
Thank you for all that you have each done to help us this far – we very much value and appreciate all that you have done for us.