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Christopher Bevan is a Sydney writer. From 1980-1989 he practised as a young solicitor in Kempsey, not far from Kinchela Boys’ Home, the largest home for part-aboriginal boys forcibly taken from their families under the aboriginal assimilation policy of the New South Wales Government. During that time, he came to learn of the story of the 600 boys sent to live at Kinchela Boys’ Home from 1924-1970, or ‘Kinchela boys’, as they became known. Some 100 survivors now comprise the Kinchela Boys’ Association. They and their contemporaries, male and female, became known as Australia’s infamous ‘Stolen Generations’.
Christopher Bevan represented many of the survivors of the Stolen Generations and their families on instructions from the New South Wales Aboriginal Legal Service and New South Wales Legal Aid Commission in Kempsey. This work involved him appearing in courts on the mid-north coast, far north coast and northern tablelands regions of New South Wales in criminal and civil matters from 1980-1980.
The legal firm which Christopher Bevan was a member also acted as solicitors for the Dungutti Land Council after its establishment in 1983. After the closure of Kinchela Boys’ Home in 1970, the land on which the boys’ home stands – traditional lands of the Dungutti people of the Macleay River – was given back to the Dungutti people. The land and buildings which formerly housed the boys’ home has, since the official return of the land to the Dungutti people, housed ‘Bennelong’s Haven’, a drug and alcohol treatment facility for indigenous people. The Dungutti people were notably the first aboriginal people in New South Wales to make a successful land title claim under the Native Titles Act.
On taking up practice at the NSW Bar in 1991, Christopher Bevan continued to maintain a keen interest in the ongoing plight of ‘the Stolen Generations’ and, in particular, ‘the Kinchela boys’. After reading the Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, entitled Bringing them home, published in April 1997, he resolved to write a work of fiction which reflected his experiences and those in Bringing them home.
A Kinchela Boy was written over a 7 year period from 2002-2009.
A Kinchela Boy is the first work of fiction by Christopher Bevan.