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Wow, Tasmania is amazing! It is an Island off the southern tip of Australia and is loaded with the most amazing history, natural beauty and great people! It began as a penal colony in 1803, where they shipped about 67,000 convicts including 3,000 young boys, mostly from England. Some were truly bad guys, but many had stolen things like a sheep to keep a family alive or a silk handerchief. They became the “pioneers” of Tasmania and Australia where many penal colonies also existed. They built Australia from the ground up with essentially “slave labor”. Above is the penitentiary that was built to house the thousands who came!

The most interesting and heartwrenching story that involves family here in Australia was the practice of taking children from Aboriginal families during the late 1800s and early 1900s because the government thought that they would be better off and have a better life. Government officials just showed up at homes and took children to be trained as servants in upper class households, thinking they were giving them a better life! The children and parents were punished for “remembering” and life went on, except for the heartsick mothers who ended up in insane asylums because of the grief they suffered and children who never forgot and mourned for their parents uncessingly. They are called “The Stolen Generation”. Now, generations later, as those children and their children are finding the families they were taken from, some are delighted to find them and still mourn their loss while others are grateful to have been removed from a dreary life of poverty and/or abuse. The newly elected Prime Minister is about to issue a formal apology for the first time, to that Stolen Generation on February 13th…a huge, complex national family issue!

Last night we began our speaking tour by speaking to a delightful group of young parents who were eager and excited to try some new ideas! The picture below were the organizers and those who stayed after to ask questions. Could there be a better job?

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