Man reunites with family after 28 years

FAMILY: Salwyn Johnson Senior, Jane Smith, Fredrick Abel and Kel Nagas Senior are overwhelmed with emotion after they were reunited after 28 years. 
Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail
FAMILY: Salwyn Johnson Senior, Jane Smith, Fredrick Abel and Kel Nagas Senior are overwhelmed with emotion after they were reunited after 28 years. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail Scottie Simmonds

After 28 years, a man has finally been reunited with his family.

Fredrick Abel, 49, originally from Vanuatu, attempted to find his family across the east coast of Australia.

His Bundaberg sponsor family Jeffrey and Jane Smith were astounded to hear the tale.

"We had three people down here for a seasonal worker program including Fredrick," Mr Smith said.

"And then Chief David Richards said Frederick had been coming to Australia for 28 years in search of his family."

When Mr and Mrs Smith arrived in Rockhampton for their seasonal work with the sponsored men, Fredrick's story would take on a more personal significance.

In a twist of Hollywood proportions it turned out the sponsor family was actually related to Fredrick.



"We were sitting around talking about our family history and then the penny dropped," Mr Smith said

"Fredrick and Jane were brother and sister."

Mr Smith said it was Bundaberg South Sea Island Action Group president Mathew Nagas, also attending the gathering, who put it together.

"After hearing all the details from Fredrick, Matthew said 'we're related'," Mr Smith said.

"Fredrick had discovered family in Mackay."

Mr Abel was overwhelmed with the discovery.

"I was really happy that I found my family and my beautiful sister," Mr Abel said.

"Ever since I was little I was told by my father that family had come to Australia long time ago."

Next year marks the 150th anniversary since the first ships sailed into Brisbane carrying South Sea Island people."

Mrs Smith said the family including Kel Nagas Sr and Salwyn Johnson Sr, both cousins, were extremely sad he was leaving next Tuesday.

"We're going to miss him but we'll make sure he comes back here on a regular basis from now on," she said.

Topics:  blackbirding family vanuatu

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