Stolen Generations Counselling

Link-Up: Bringing them Home Counselling (National)

What is it?

The Bringing Them Home Counselling Program provides support to people affected by the forced removal policies and practices of past governments. This includes counselling before, during and after family reunions. There are currently 14 Link-Up Services nationally - one each in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, two in the Northern Territory and eight in Western Australia (none in Tasmania). The Services operate either as stand-alone Link-Up Services or are auspiced by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services.

Background to Development

The first Link-Up was established in 1981 by Kooris in NSW to help those who had been forcibly removed from their families. Link-up services supported and assisted Indigenous people affected by past removal policies to trace their genealogy and family history, and potentially reunite them with their families. However, these services did not receive Australian Government funding until 1998, following the release of the Bringing Them Home Report (1997).  Today there is a network of 100 Bringing Them Home Counsellors in 14 Link-up services around Australia, funded through the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH).

Links to further information

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 

 For the location of Bringing Them Home counsellors, see:

AITSIS Fact Sheet 13


Marumali Journey of Healing (national)

What is it?

The Marumali Journey of Healing is a healing program for the Stolen Generations which operates within holistic Indigenous concepts of social and emotional wellbeing. ‘Marumali' is a Kamilaroi word which means 'to heal' or 'put back together'. The aim of the program is to ‘increase the quality of support available to survivors of removal policies (Stolen Generations)'. 

Background to Development

Aunty Lorraine Peeters is a member of the Stolen Generations and a Kamilaroi woman who was removed from Brewarrina to the Cootamundra Girls Home aged four years old.  She used her experience to create a unique healing model to guide members of the Stolen Generations on a safe path to reclaim their own identities, families and communities.

Aunty Lorraine presented the Marumali Journey of Healing for the first time during an invited keynote address at the NSW Mental Health Conference held in Sydney in September 1999. The conference called for Aunty Lorraine's ‘model of healing and body of work to be copyrighted, published and circulated within Aboriginal communities, Link up organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations to enhance the healing process for Aboriginal people'. In response, Aunty Lorraine developed a five-day program to train Aboriginal counsellors to support survivors to heal from the trauma they suffered as a result of removal:  the Marumail Journey of Healing. She also established a company, Winangali Marumali to support the delivery of the training.

At the time Aunty Lorraine developed her model, there was very little evidence available to guide those seeking to assist members of the Stolen Generations to heal from their experiences. As a result, many survivors of removal policies were being misunderstood, misdiagnosed or incarcerated when the trauma associated with this process was ‘triggered'. 

The Marumali Journey of Healing is now in its eleventh year of successful operation.  Since 2000, more than 140 workshops have been delivered to over 2,000 participants. The majority have been Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working to support survivors of forcible removal policies (Stolen Generations), or Stolen Generations survivors themselves. 

For several years, OATSIH has sponsored delivery of the Marumali training to OATSIH-funded programs such as Bringing Them Home counsellors and Link-up programs, and the Marumali Journey of Healing is the most common model used in these services.  The program has also been successfully delivered in Victorian prisons since 2002, with over 20 workshops delivered to 250 prisoners.

The Murumali Program is a nationally accredited component of Aboriginal Primary Health Care and is a core unit in the Certificate IV and Diploma in Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health (Community Stream) - Social and Emotional Wellbeing.  Accredited training is hosted by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council's Aboriginal Health College in NSW.

Why is this promising practice?

The Marumali program was developed by an Aboriginal survivor for Aboriginal survivors. It is culturally appropriate for all Aboriginal people who have suffered the effects of removal. Marumali is a healing program rather than a 'therapy' or 'treatment'. It respects the strength and autonomy of survivors. The program is consistent with and supports the work of Link-Up and Bringing them Home counsellors.

Links to further information

Marumali website


Australian Institute for Loss and Grief and the Seven Phases to Reconciling Losses with Grief program (SA)

What is it?

The Sacred Site Within Healing Centre was established to deliver the Seven Phases to Reconciling Losses with Grief program, developed by Rosemary Wanganeen. 

Background to Development

The Sacred Site Within Healing Centre was established in 1993 and the Australian Institute for Loss and Grief was established in 2005, both in Adelaide.

Rosemary Wanganeen's decision to develop the Seven Phases to Reconciling Losses with Grief came from personally experiencing all forms of childhood abuses before and during Stolen Generation practices. She realized there was no culturally appropriate loss and grief counselling model, so she set about using her loss and grief healing processes as an informal 'case study' to design the Seven Phases of Grief.

Link to further information: