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Scotch Teenagers Plan a Long Walk

Written on the 23 September 2015

Retracing the steps of Aboriginal people from across Queensland will make a 100km trek well worth the blisters for two Torrens Park teenagers.

Cheyanne Baker and Shahleena Martin, both 13, will follow the footsteps of Aboriginal people forcibly taken to Cherbourg between 1905 until around the 1930s. The Cherbourg Walk starts in Kilcoy, Queensland, and will teach students about the struggles and triumphs Aboriginal groups experienced on the journey.

Both Cheyanne and Shahleena had grandparents who were part of the stolen generation, but were not taken to Cherbourg.

Cheyanne, whose family is from Jingli tribe in Tennant Creek, wants to learn more about how her grandparents coped when they were removed from their families.

"I want to find out more information about them, so it is going to be a really cool experience," Cheyanne says. "I want to know how my grandma managed."

The girls, originally from the Northern Territory, are boarders at Scotch College. Shahleena, whose family is from Arrernte group near Alice Springs, says it is a good way to connect with her culture, while soaking in the sunlight and getting fit.

"We've been training ourselves so we achieve our best while paying our respects," she says.

Thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their homes from the 1800s to the 1970s by governments, community and church groups and placed into institutional care or with foster families.


-- Original article by Celeste Villani appeared in Mitcham & Hills Messenger, 23 September 2015. Photo: Sam Wundke.


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