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Vincent Copley

Even though it was a difficult place, people were able to survive and be leaders.

The St Francis Boys Home at Glanville was a dream of Percy Smith (from Alice Springs), he talked to the parents about bringing boys down for education and employment. Mine was a different situation because when the kids came home for Christmas to Alice Springs where we were living at that time, I teamed up with them and I asked my mum if I could go back to the boys home with these blokes and she said OK.

When we got the OK we flew out of Alice Springs and landed at Parafield (that was the airport then). We stayed at our aunty's in Wright St and the next day I was dressed up like I was going to St Peters college in a grey melange suit and a little cap, and looked like an idiot. The other boys were just in ordinary clothes. The home was for Aboriginal people from all over Australia.

That home was the most successful Aboriginal home in Australia because we had three university graduates, one secretary of an Australian federal department, football stars, soccer stars, we had heroes and we had artists and we had just ordinary people.

Even though it was a difficult place, people were able to survive and be leaders and the beginning of the Aboriginal Affairs came from those boys - they were involved in setting the national committees and in the freedom ride, and tent embassy, and changes to government policies in relation to Aboriginal Affairs, the changes to things that made it better for Aboriginal people around Australia.

Vincent Copley