Indigenous kids stolen and shipped off to white families will be acknowledged in plans for the new Central Station in a bid to shine a light on the railway’s dark past.
It’s the dark history of Sydney’s rail network many would rather forget, but plans for a revitalised Central Station will shine a light on the Indigenous children ripped from their families in the Stolen Generation.
Four reflection pools will be built as sky lights above the rail corridor shining down on platform one — the place where stolen children from around Australia were brought to be sent off to new white homes.
City of Sydney Councillor Yvonne Weldon praised the state government’s plans, saying including the shared history and recognising the hurt caused to people like her grandfather Paul Coe Senior, who was stolen as a child, is a small step on the way to healing.
“That platform and central railway will always have a profound affect on the Aboriginal people … that sorrow will always remain so I think a reflection point is important and I hope people will fully understand it,” she said.
Ms Weldon has been a vocal campaigner for a statue of Patyegarang, an Indigenous woman who taught language to early colonists.
“I think this is a good step, the state government doing that is certainly a lot more than the City of Sydney Council … the hope for me is that having a statue and having these reflection pools, people will realise we don’t want to continue this.”
Minister for active transport Rob Stokes said educational materials on the platform will educate the public about the Stolen Generation.
“The plans out for community consultation will quite literally shine a light on Central Station’s connection to Aboriginal heritage,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to engaging with the First Nations community to tell this story in a more meaningful and respectful way.”
The project will also recognise the role of Indigenous workers in the construction of the railway with Eveleigh Railway Yards the first place in NSW that offered Aboriginal workers equal conditions and pay.