Heritage Minister David Templeman and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt used the backdrop of NAIDOC Week to honour one of the most significant winners of the 2020 WA Heritage Awards. The Lock Hospital Working Group and two of its members - Bob Dorey and Kathleen Musulin - were presented with five awards they won in the prestigious awards program earlier this year. In traditional dress and ceremony, Bob Dorey honoured the many Aboriginal men, women and children of the Bernier and Dorre Islands' Lock Hospitals.
The Lock Hospitals saw the incarceration of hundreds of Aboriginal people forcibly removed from country and transported to the islands for treatment of venereal disease. Over 10 years, it is estimated that more than 200 Aboriginal prisoner patients died on the islands. The community project was established to protect and share traumatic stories of the lock hospitals and acknowledge the impact of this traumatic chapter on local Aboriginal culture and generational wellbeing. A memorial statue on the Carnarvon coast, Don't Look at the Islands, and an interpretive Path of Pain were produced as part of the project to allow for truth-telling and healing for the communities involved.
Winners of the 2020 WA Heritage Awards were announced in June and the Lock Hospital Working Group were joint winners in the Contribution by a community-based organisation category, along with the Goldfields Aboriginal Languages Centre.