Stolen boy lives the message
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.”
Elder Albert Knapp. Picture: Marie Nirme