Stolen boy lives the mes­sage

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

AL­BERT Knapp re­mem­bers the pain of be­ing sep­a­rated from his mother as a child.

At the ten­der age of seven, he was taken from his fam­ily and placed in a mis­sion in the Great South­ern town of Gnowangerup.

He has now shared his story of his in­volve­ment in the Stolen Gen­er­a­tion as part of the Know Your Com­mu­nity: Our Sto­ries ex­hi­bi­tion at the Vic­to­ria Park Cen­tre for the Arts.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence in­cluded some good times and some tough times. It was dif­fi­cult be­ing taken away from my mum,” he said.

“I didn’t see her un­til I was in my late teens, when I ran away from the mis­sion.

“I re­mem­ber be­ing wo­ken up at 6am to milk the cows, start the gen­er­a­tor, feed the calves and chop wood with an axe; it was very tough.

“There were good times, in­clud­ing go­ing to Bre­mer Bay dur­ing the school hol­i­days though.”

Mr Knapp said a mes­sage about work­ing hard had stayed with him. “The su­per­in­ten­dent put a mes­sage on the board that said ‘What you are as a boy, you’ll be as a man. Lazy? Surely not.’,” he said. “I never wanted to be lazy and so that say­ing was a driv­ing force that in­spired me.

“I ended up work­ing at farms around Gnowangerup be­fore be­com­ing a pas­tor when I was 25.”

Mr Knapp said he liked shar­ing his story as part of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

“I’ve been in­volved with the Town of Vic­to­ria Park’s Abo­rig­i­nal En­gage­ment Strat­egy Group since last year af­ter I was en­cour­aged by my fam­ily,” he said.

“I’ll be go­ing along when it opens to per­form the Wel­come to Coun­try.”

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Elder Al­bert Knapp. Pic­ture: Marie Nirme

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