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Oral History Project
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Oral History Project
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"They just came and got me and took me away... I didn't know what was going on... They told me I was going on a holiday... I was just an average kid like everyone else."
Press the play button to listen to Willie's life story starting with his early childhood on the Moree Mission for Aboriginal people, living at Kinchela Boys' Home after being taken from
his family, his boxing career and his work for Nestle, the airport and TAFE NSW Sydney Institute.
Willie talking about his understanding of why numbers were used at Kinchela Boys' Home. 30 seconds
Willie works fulltime, does volunteer charity work three times a week, bike rides about 100km daily and regularly does extra work for the students at EORA.
Willie Leslie, Life story
Willie Leslie / General Assistant EORA college
DATE AND LOCATION OF INTERVIEW:
June 4, 2010 EORA Campus TAFE NSW Sydney Institute, Abercrombie St, Darlington, Sydney.
LENGTH OF RECORDING:
51 minutes 13 seconds
ORIGINAL RECORDING HELD AT:
Moree Aboriginal Mission / Stolen Generation / Kinchela Boys' Home / Boxing Champion - won Schoolboy, State and National titles / work history / search for family identity / acceptance of the good times / not dwelling on the bad experiences.
Born 1950 / Living on Moree Aboriginal Mission until 11 years of age / stable happy family life living with extended family / well cared for / Moree Mission manager collected him one day without warning to "go on a holiday" / taken to Kempsey on mid north coast by car and train / didn't know what was happening / has never found out why he was taken / at the time he was the only child removed from Moree Mission (1962).
Kinchela Boys' Home Kempsey for Aboriginal Boys / liked living at Kinchela / went to school in Kempsey / got along with everyone / loved all the sports - boxing, football, soccer - Kinchela boys were very fit / Willie excelled at all sports but especially boxing / good food and accommodation / Willie, like all Kinchela boys was assigned a number to keep track of his clothing in the laundry / didn't have any contact with his family whilst at Kinchela / had no concept of where Kempsey was in relation to Moree / Kinchela boys used to have opportunities to be billeted for weekend visits to friends in the district / went to the beach on weekends for surf lifesaving / some boys tried to run away but when Willie was there all were found except for 4 boys who were never located - included the Kinchela manager's son / Willie's experiences at Kinchela were happy and positive but he has many friends and acquaintances from Kinchela who hated Kinchela / Willie can identify with their suffering but his 4 years at Kinchela were happy and productive / Didn't go home to Moree for 10 years / arrived home to find he had 2 new brothers and 2 new sisters / reconnected with his father well but not with his mother / deeply regrets this / didn't ever really know his family / says most of the Stolen Generation mob say the same thing about family and that they have big family communication and relationship issues.
Outstanding boxing career from 1964 - 1986 / fought 3 world title holders / 1965 was an Aboriginal NSW Amateur boxing champion trained at Kinchela / overall won more games than he lost / won State title and Australian title / Amateur Bantamweight champion in 1969 / timing wasn't good for him to go to the Commonwealth or Olympic Games so he turned Professional / fought for Channel 9 on TV show called Ringside / boxing paid well and allowed him to travel.
Kinchela helped him get a job at a local factory - Nestle / good job / worked there as a Boiler Attendant for 14 years / Nestle wouldn't let him go when he was called up at 19 / he went in the Army Reserve for one year / after Nestle near South West Rocks he transferred to Sydney Nestle factory at Abbotsford until 1979 / worked casually for 3 years then at the Overseas Cargo at Mascot Airport for 8 years / loved mixing with people from all over the world / since then has been with TAFE NSW Sydney Institute at Ultimo then EORA campus / 3 month job has been going for 17 years.
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