City of Joondalup to remove plaque commemorating "Native Experimental Farm" immediately!

City of Joondalup to remove plaque commemorating "Native Experimental Farm" immediately!

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Casey Kickett
Casey Kickett signed this petition

WARNING: THIS PETITION MENTIONS THE NAME OF A DECEASED ABORIGINAL PERSON

The City of Joondalup has refused to remove a plaque within their boundaries which commemorates the Native Experimental Farm and its founding missionary, Reverend John Smithies, on the ridiculous grounds stated from the CEO that the City has no policy of plaque removal.

We again ask that the horrendous plaque is removed immediately, and for the City of Joondalup to engage with Whadjuk Noongar Elders as to how this space, and the children who were taken to, and those who died at this mission, best be respectfully remembered.

Email CEO - garry.hunt@joondalup.wa.gov.au and Mayor - mayor.jacob@joondalup.wa.gov.au   directly with the above requests as well as signing this petition for full effect.

The Native Experimental Farm was situated along the banks of Yellagonga Regional Park along Lakeway Drive in Kingsley in 1844. The purpose of the Farm/Mission was to remove Aboriginal children from their families, experiment with these children to understand if they could be trained in Western agriculture so they could be used for their labour, and adopt a Methodist religion.

This mission was one of the first in Noongar Country to begin the cycle of the Stolen Generations. This mission contributed to the removal of children, the loss of cultural knowledge, language and kinship systems and the colonisation of Whadjuk Noongar people. Regardless of the intentions of missionaries - it has been made clear that missions were a part of a long attempted genocide of Aboriginal people. The Mission in question and the Missionary himself should not be commemorated.

Many of the children died whilst in the mission through disease. As a Whadjuk Noongar Mother, it brings me to tears every time I read Nogyle's story - a young Aboriginal girl who died without her family, speaking a foreign language, reciting memorised religion she was forced to learn amongst strange men who saw her purely as an experiment. Nogyle was only one of many children who died at the mission.

Reverend John Smithies wrote of Nogyle, to his Superiors in the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society:

One morning, she [Nogyle] declared to an emotional audience of missionaries and students that she had found God, after a vivid and Biblical dream of being visited by the devil.

He say me your father, you pray to me. Then me look at him, me think he look so miserable, me saying you not my father. My father great and good father, heaven get down … devil take me by my arm and lift me up and show me beautiful Garden and said give me all that if me would pray to him. Me then kneel down and God pray … devil too much wicked.[1]

The delighted missionaries, who may have been used to accounts of spiritual dreams and visions within their own Methodist communities, hailed this as a sign of progress to come, and the school was turned into a spontaneous prayer meeting. However, Nogyle’s story would soon take on a tragic, if no less pious, tone in Smithies’ papers, when she died young of a lung disease. Again, she explained her journey partly through powerful dreams, claiming to have been visited by an angel who told her of her impending death. She was baptised with the name Mary and died surrounded by the other children, who sang a hymn:

I am a native child, but Jesus died for me.
And if I love him, I shall reign with him eternally.
Oh what a happy thought that when my body dies,
My saviour will rescue my soul, to dwell above the skies.[2]
(https://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p5051/html/ch07.xhtml?referer=&page=10#footnote-13509-1

Please - sign the petition and share it. Make the City of Joondalup accountable for this plaque that is within their boundaries. Show the City that we want to remember the families who lost their children to this mission, the children themselves who were amongst the first to be institutionalised, those who died, and who have been voiceless for decades. Let's not celebrate the place, or man, who began that.