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Strengthened Pride – Slavery in Queensland

It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia.
– Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Corey writes:

This is about Aunty Dawn Daylight’s experiences as a child slave at the All Hallows’ convent in Brisbane in the 1950’s and 60’s. Aboriginal slavery was common and legal at that time.

If you go through the transcript there are photographs and documents which add to the story.

Please listen, please share. I really want people to know this history.

Dawn Daylight singing at Sovereign Tent Embassy.jpg
Auntie Dawn Daylight singing at Brisbane Sovereign Tent Embassy

When Aunty Dawn Daylight was a child she was kept as a slave at the All Hallows’ convent in Brisbane – which was perfectly normal and legal treatment of an Aboriginal person under the 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act.

I’ve been working on this audio documentary for about a year. Originally it was meant to be a short current affairs piece, but it grew and grew. It’s tough listening, but the reason that I wanted to do it is that Uncles and Aunties always talk about their time under the Act as slavery, and most non-Aboriginal people don’t know about it.

They seem to be quite frustrated at non-Aboriginal people’s ignorance. It’s important to know the truth before healing can begin …

Transcript of strengthened pride

[Aunty Dawn singing: Constant Craving]

Aunty Dawn: You used to always hear them coming with their rosary beads and keys.

Corey (narrator): I first met Dawn at the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy in Musgrave Park. Under the trees on a sunny day she told everyone the story I’m about to recount – how she was a child slave at the All Hallows’ convent in Brisbane in the 1950’s-60’s – and she doesn’t know why.

Aunty Dawn: I mean we were only little. We were only young like 11 and 12 year old until, I can’t remember. It might have been 18, 19 or 20 or something when we come home. Used to come over and let the door, open the door up and let us out at 6 o’clock in the morning to go to work. 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning you have to be up to go and cook. Or sweeping, polishing, kitchen duties, laundry duties.

Corey: When I talk about slavery I’m talking about the less common definition of slavery. I’m not saying that Aboriginal people were legally the property of the Queensland government to be bought and sold, but that they were under the Queensland government’s complete control. The Queensland government used this control to not only take Aboriginal land, but to use Aboriginal people as cheap, involuntary labour.

Corey: I’ve heard lots of elders telling similar stories of being slaves under the 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act, Queensland. It’s shocking to me that most people who aren’t Aboriginal have never heard of this, when it’s just such an integral part of Aboriginal elders’ living history. This story in particular caught my interest because I was a student at All Hallows’. Not only that, but I thought I could help answer Dawn’s question as to why she was taken from her family and treated this way, because one of the nuns who maintains the archives at All Hallows’ is an old family friend.

Corey: The more I dug through the information the more obvious it became that I was protected by my white privilege from the awful things that were done to benefit me and people like me.

Corey: So here’s the guts of it. In 1958, at the age of 11, Isabel Dawn Daylight was taken from her happy, comfortable family home in Churchill Ipswich and was forced to work under lock and key at the All Hallows’ convent in Brisbane. This kind of child slavery was a common practice and was perfectly legal treatment of an Aboriginal Queenslander at that time.

Corey: Until the age of 11 Dawn Daylight had lived with her family and attended Churchill State School. Then, for reasons still unknown to her, she was taken to the House of Mercy, which is a part of the All Hallows’ convent, and placed with the children who were under ‘Care and Control’ orders as wards of the state. There she was forced to work for the Sisters of Mercy as a domestic for approximately the next 9 years before once again being returned to her family home. During that time she was completely separated from her family, except for her two sisters Margaret and Carol who suffered similar treatment.

Corey: Many elders describe life under the 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act of Queensland as slavery, but the white history that I was taught at places like All Hallows’ says that the Act was a misguided but well-intentioned attempt to force Aboriginal Queenslanders to assimilate into English settler culture. The aim of assimilation is disgusting in itself, but it actually doesn’t fit Dawn’s experience. Dawn lived through Queensland government policies that resulted in separation from her family, imprisonment, forced work and stolen wages; instead of a childhood and an education. It is important to acknowledge this history before healing can begin.

Corey: One thing that Dawn and I share is a love of singing. Just about every time I’ve seen her there’s been music involved. She sings in a choir and solo with her guitar at events.

Dawn performing at the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy. Photo copyright Brendon Quinn.

[Aunty Dawn singing]

Corey: Dawn Daylight was born in 1947, one of ten children. Her father, Reg Daylight died when Dawn was very young and her mother, Caroline Daylight, worked running cattle on a property in Churchill for the local abattoir.

Aunty Dawn: So my mother was a caretaker on a property…. It was just a big paddock that ran cattle. It was a very big property of cattle. I don’t know maybe there was 200 or something cattle. My mother used to ride the horse and take the cattle and y’know fix up fences and stuff like that.

Corey: The Daylight family were as free as Queensland Aboriginals could be in 1958. At this time every part of Aboriginal people’s lives was controlled by the 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act, known simply as “The Act”. The Act controlled Aboriginal people’s movements, their relationships, their work, everything. Aboriginal people lived in districts each controlled by so called “protectors”. Reading through the huge amount of paperwork from the Department of Native Affairs about the Daylight family has given me a glimpse into a system that controlled Aboriginal people’s lives in minute detail. There is a lot of paperwork trying to find out the exact ethnicity of Dawn’s parents and what this meant they could have.

Corey: This is an excerpt of a letter regarding Dawn’s parents which demonstrates the mindset of those enforcing the 1939 Act.

Corey: The protector has a hand in every affair, including an unpaid debt to a clothing store, the suitability of Dawn’s parent’s marriage and whether or not they could access their money to visit relatives.

Corey: So this is what I mean by slavery – total control. And that total control was used to materially benefit the controlling group through both the acquisition of land and the use of humans as cheap, involuntary labour.

Corey: The laws are very strict. Aboriginal people could not choose if to work, where to work, or their working conditions. No-one was allowed to an employ an Aboriginal person without the permission of a protector. If an employer wanted an Aboriginal worker they would apply to the protector outlining the job and the protector would choose someone they thought would be appropriate. Then the protector would negotiate the pay and conditions with the employer. The protector would further control how much of their wages an Aboriginal person could access and how much the protector would control through a trust. The Aboriginal person in question was never really consulted about this deal. More just, told about it after it had happened.

A letter requesting workers from Barambah Aboriginal Settlement. Reg Daylight was assigned to this job.

Corey: As well as that the local protector had control over Aboriginal people’s land and property. No-one was allowed to trade or barter with an Aboriginal person without the  protector’s permission. No-one was allowed to give any land or property to an Aboriginal person or let an Aboriginal person live on their property.  The sum effect of these laws was that Aboriginal people could not support themselves outside of the control of the protector.

Corey: This slavery doesn’t appear to have an age limit. The act specifically gives the governor in council the authority to, and I quote, “prescrib[e] the conditions on which aboriginal children may be apprenticed or placed in service.”

Corey: Like the local elders I have talked to, Dr Shirleene Robinson from the Modern History department at Macquarie University says that the practice of Aboriginal child slavery in Queensland was quite widespread. Dr Robinson has compiled her research into a book called ‘Something like slavery? Queensland’s Aboriginal child workers, 1842-1945’.

Dr Robinson: In my book, Something like Slavery, I went through a lot of archival and other material and found that Aboriginal children were a, a really central part of the rapid economic development of Queensland in the 19th and early 20th century. That they were exploited in really large numbers and forced to work in a number of different fields, as domestic servants and the pastoral industry, and the pearling and beche de mer industry off the coast of Queensland and in a lot of other fields as well. And as part of their experience they were subject to a lot of exploitation and abuse.  And they occupied a uniquely vulnerable position because of their race, their youth and sometimes their sex. And a lot of these children were part of Queensland’s earliest stolen generation.

Corey: The two main reasons that Dawn was unsure as to why she was taken from her family is because first of all she wasn’t neglected and secondly her family had been exempted from the act.

Aunty Dawn: No, we weren’t, see we weren’t born under the act because my father was exempt in the… I think he was exempted in 1940 or 1945, just after the war time. And then because my mother was, she wasn’t classed as an Aboriginal person. They said she was of Fijian or some other descent of persons… And I don’t know because her mother was German… We weren’t under the act. I wasn’t, I wasn’t born under the act. My mother wasn’t under the act but my father was. He was under the act and of course he was trying to get married to my mother through that, to get consent to marry, he had to prove that he was a sober man and all that sort of stuff, to be able to marry and manage his own money. So we weren’t born under the Act because he was already, when I was born he was exempt from the Act, he was free to go.

Dr Robinson: To be exempted was a very difficult process because Indigenous people essentially had to sever their ties with their kin and country to get that exemption. And an exemption wasn’t something that was given and then you were sort of home and hosed. It was something that could be revoked at any time and you had to sort of live up to these sort of standards that were set by the Queensland government. And if you were seen to be, y’know, associating with Indigenous people or anything like that you could very quickly come back under the control of the act. Essentially it allowed you to live as a white person as long as you were seen to meet the standards that the government had set, their quite strange standards.

One of Reg Daylight’s applications for exemption showing the conditions that he had to satisfy. HC means ‘half caste’ and QC means ‘quarter cast’. Reg’s documents inconsistently put him under both categories.

Corey: Despite these sacrifices, exemption from the act did not give a person guaranteed control over any part of their life. An exemption was, to quote the act, “granted subject to such conditions as the Director may impose.”

Corey: At the age of 7, Dawn received a letter saying that she was not under the Act due to, and I quote, “virtue of her breed”.

Dawn’s whole name is Isabel Dawn Daylight.

Corey: Legally this should have meant that she was outside of the Act, but that was not how she was treated.

Corey: The Daylight family were doing their best to appease a brutal system of control, but no Aboriginal person at this time was truly free.

[Aunty Dawn singing]

Corey: When the subject of the stolen generation comes up there are those who will try to confuse the topic with talk of Aboriginal children who were taken away from abuse or neglect.

Corey: Here’s the context: in the 1950’s it was much more common to make any Queensland child a ward of the state rather than supporting them at home. ‘The Children’s Protection Acts, 1896 to 1945’ definition of neglect, is far more broad than modern day standards. A child could be considered neglected for reasons such as frequently skipping school, the family being too poor to support the child, or the child was at risk of falling into, to quote, “a career of vice or crime”. These policies were harmful to many children Aboriginal and otherwise.

which wa

From ‘The State Children Acts 1911-1928‘ which was later consolidated into ‘The Children’s Protection Acts, 1896-1945’.

Corey: Nevertheless, Dawn does not fit the wide definition of neglected as set out in the ‘The Children’s Protection Acts, 1896 to 1945’, so had they been considering her as non-Aboriginal, as she was technically under the law, then they shouldn’t have taken her away.

Aunty Dawn: I don’t think so. I think my mother loved us and our mother did the best she could to rear her children the way she did, and it was I don’t remember ever going hungry because there was always big pots of stew, big pots of stuff on the table for us. There was always, well I’d say, sufficient food for us.

Corey: Yeah

Aunty Dawn: And, because of the department people used to come around. And my mother was, even though we had a house and the house had dirt, not dirt floor, y’know, timber floor, I used to see her scrubbing floors and stuff like that and she used to always be washing and boiling clothes and y’know, we were spick and span. Y’know like we had really good white clothes, y’know. Stuff like that. So I don’t know…

Aunty Dawn: They never mistreated us, that was the thing… My mother wasn’t abusive to us or anything like that. My mother was a good mother.

Corey: A letter from the Deputy Director of Native Affairs in 1942 supports Dawn’s impression that the department would not have considered her neglected. The letter says that Dawn’s mother, Caroline, could manage her child endowment, and instructed that it be paid directly to her. The Department was very strict about giving people under the Act the freedom to access their own money as shown by the years it took and the amount of paperwork generated for Dawn’s father Reg to receive his money earned from working.

Corey: I suspect that Dawn was treated like she was an Aboriginal child under the law because she has dark skin. It’s as simple as that.

Corey: In the earlier versions of ‘The Children’s Protection Acts, 1896 to 1945’ all Aboriginal children were automatically considered neglected. I mean that’s how they saw Aboriginal parents.

Corey: They had changed that by the 1950’s, but at this time the Director of Native Affairs was the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child under the age of 21, so they could be moved about as he saw fit. The Act gave the Chief Protector explicit control over the care, custody and education of Aboriginal children. This is the legal framework behind the Stolen Generations in Queensland.

Corey: In 1995 the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission instigated a national inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The outcome of this, the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report says.

Elizabeth quoting Dr Ros Kidd: “Proof of ‘neglect’ was not always required before an Indigenous child could be removed. Their Aboriginality would suffice.”

Corey: Dr Robinson from the Modern History department at Macquarie University expands upon this point:

Dr Robinson: “Well firstly, under the act all Aboriginal people were under the control of protectors of Aboriginals, and, as it was called. And um certainly Aboriginal parents were not given any control over their own children. But um, certainly there is a sort of assumption that, written in the act, that it’s very paternalistic and all Indigenous people are treated essentially as children under that legislation.”

Corey: Dawn’s sister, Margaret, who was the first to be sent to the convent, talks about the day that she was taken away, which was a few years earlier than Dawn.

Aunty Margaret: The day that I was taken away was very, very hurtful for me. I was in the kitchen and my Mum she was doing the cooking. And a knock comes on the door. And I already cringed in fear because I thought “we didn’t have no-one out looking for us to tell us the policeman was coming”. And he knocks on the door and he says “Mrs Daylight I’m come to take Margaret to school”. And Mum pulled me out from behind her skirt and handed me over to the policeman. The policeman takes me down to the car. We get in the car and we go to Brisbane. And I started crying because I didn’t know what was happening. And [inaudible] one of the nuns, never seen these people before, please to care for a little eleven year old girl. And the nun took me down. And to me they were like dungeons underground. We went down these steps into a dark sort of place, she opened up the door and locked me in there. And said “that’s your bed over there, you sleep in that bed over there”. And that’s where I was until I was 19.

Corey: It seems likely to me that the government sent the Sisters of Mercy children who had been removed for being Aboriginal rather than being genuine cases of need, without their knowledge. However, the Sisters of Mercy must have been aware that Aboriginal children were under their own set of laws, otherwise they would have sent them to school rather than have them working. Dawn’s treatment once she was at All Hallows’ is another reason why I think that she was legally being treated as if she were an Aboriginal child, even though technically she shouldn’t have been.

Corey: I spoke to Helen James who works in collections management at the All Hallows’ convent Mercy Heritage Centre and the Director Peter Connell.

Corey: And a lot of the girls who were sent here were wards of the state?

Helen: yeah, were court ordered to come

Corey: And they were kind of, I think Peter said they were hard cases?

Helen: Yeah, that’s why they were under care and control

Corey: Do you know exactly what a care and control order is?

Helen: It was just the policeman finding them, y’know, somewhere on the street, having a hard life, or drunk or y’know parents weren’t looking after them, all those sorts of things. And the court basically just took them in and placed them in different places and one of them was here and Woolloowin. And they would um, I don’t exactly know how long they had to stay, that was up to the court I suppose. They had to stay a certain amount of time. But they were under the sisters’ control until that time was up. And if they kept running away the police would, y’know go and find them….

Helen: Yeah, so the police would just turn up at the sisters’ doors and say “here’s another one”.

Aunty Margaret: And we never got to see Mum again until I was 19 years old. And I say to people “I’m one of the fortunate ones.” I found my family and you meet a lot of Aboriginal who never found their family. So I’m one of the lucky ones, I found my family again.

Aunty Margaret: And I never got close to my mother. I sort of, in my mind hated my mother because I was the first of the girls to be sent away from home. I went first and then later in the years Dawn and Carol were sent there. And we were sort of happy, y’know, because there was three of us together.

Corey:  Like many, many other children Dawn and her sisters were taken away from a loving family, a good home, a childhood and an education because they were Aboriginal, not because they were neglected.

The Daylight family

[Aunty Dawn singing]

Corey: At All Hallows’ Dawn and her sisters were kept in the House of Mercy, which was a prison-like structure at the back of the convent. As Dawn and her sisters wanted to return home perhaps it was thought that it would be better to keep them locked up.

The All Hallows’ convent showing the House of Mercy in an aerial photograph from 1955. Copyright the All Hallows’ convent Mercy Heritage Centre.

Corey: The House of Mercy was opened in 1866 by Mother M. Vincent Whitty. It was described in the Brisbane Courier as for accommodation, “employment, support and training of Distressed Females, of good character”.

Classified advertisement from the Brisbane Courier, 27th October, 1866.

Corey:  Helen James from the Mercy Heritage Centre described the area to me.

Helen: House of Mercy is the u-shape at the back of the convent. The bottom is St Augustine’s, the top is St Catherine’s.

Corey: and the nuns and the girls who worked here were domestics, is that right?

Helen: Yes, lived, yes. And they lived in the House of Mercy.

Corey: And what kind of work did they do?

Helen: Cooking, cleaning, whatever needed doing.

Helen: This is now all IT for the school, but in this end room up here was the big kitchen, the original kitchen. If you have a look through there you can still see the old fireplace where the big ovens and everything used to be.

Corey: When I visited in 2012 the buildings that made up the House of Mercy were still there.

View from inside the compound in 2012. The rooms on the bottom floor were the dorms for the House of Mercy. Above is the convent. Photograph copyright Max Riethmuller.

Corey: The small rooms in which the girls were kept still had bars on the windows. Peter Connell said that some of the bars may not have been the originals, but Dawn clearly remembers them being there in her time.

Aunty Dawn: Somebody they used to let us out. So we were in this thing under the ground like a dungeon. I called it a dungeon.

 Taken from inside a House of Mercy dorm room (now used for storage) in 2012. Dawn described looking out of a barred window like this one.

Corey: During the day the girls were let out of their rooms into a larger compound which included a kitchen and the nuns’ dining room. Girls who were “better behaved” were allowed out of the compound to work in the laundry. A tall gate still stands today and Dawn recollects getting caught on its barbed wire in an escape attempt.

The gate that Dawn was caught on in an escape attempt. Beyond it is the laundry where the better-behaved girls could work. Photograph by Max Riethmuller.

Corey: So why’s it all locked down?

Helen: What, here?

Corey:  Yeah

Helen: Because there’s a whole lot of cedar and all sorts of stuff here and Bill’s got all his tools so that’s Bill’s actual workshop and then all in here is his mowers and y’know all that sort of stuff. So…

Corey: So

Helen: If you don’t lock it then people wander in on the weekends and steal it.

Corey: Oh yeah, I didn’t mean now I meant was it because…

[irrelevant chatter]

Corey:  …were the girls, like, prone to escape, or was it that kind of deal?

Helen: Well they were put under care and control and they didn’t want to be here.

[Aunty Dawn singing]

Corey: Had Dawn and her sisters not been Aboriginal they would not have been working at such a young age. Wards of the state who were not Aboriginal had this right protected under law.

Aunty Dawn: We were doing domestic work, which is lugging around big trays, making things, making food. Like preparing, preparation of food. And I used to remember going along these big corridors and also setting up these tables, these big tables at the boarding school  … All Hallows’ had a boarding school for girls. And I think I used to go between the boarding school and the convent kitchen. Working around the convent kitchen. And then sometimes working in the convent laundry.

Corey: So were the domestics who were working here were they looking after the convent or the boarding girls?

Helen: Ah, convent usually.

Corey: Yeah, cool

Helen: ‘Cos the sisters used to cook in the kitchens over at the school.

Corey: So there’s different kitchens for the school?

Helen: School’s totally run totally separate to the convent. So the school had its own kitchens and dining rooms and they looked after themselves. The sisters ran it, but, and worked in them, but yeah, separate to the convent.

A photo from the convent laundry taken in 2006-2007 by the Mercy Heritage Centre. It had been left unmodified for many years and is now offices. Photograph copyright All Hallows’ convent Mercy Heritage Centre.

Corey: The ‘Bringing Them Home’ report from 1997 sheds some light on the policy.

Elizabeth quoting Dr Ros Kidd: Children were sent away from the missions and settlements at an early age to work. The sending of young people to employment not only fitted the rhetoric of retraining and independence but was a double economic advantage to the government, saving the cost of support as well as accumulating income.

Aunty Dawn: I think if you think about young kids being, working as slaves, because I think that’s  what we were basically doing. Can you call that then being looked after well? When you’re a young child, a young girl working? How can we ask a question like that, that says ‘were you looked after well?’. Maybe we did get fed, maybe we did get a bed. I don’t remember the nuns being nasty to me or anything like that. But I certainly didn’t want to stay there for the rest of my life and work for that kind of money. I wanted to be home with my family.

Aunty Dawn: And I mean 3 pounds a week for whatever work you were doing I don’t think is much. But I think there should have been some kind of money put in trust. If there was money put in trust where is the money that was put in trust? And why didn’t we get it?

Corey: Margaret got no spending money at all. Many people are still fighting for their wages earned working under the Act. The Queensland government offered $2000 to $4000 compensation per person, which many found inadequate for a lifetime of work. To get it an applicant needed official government records, but these are well known to be incomplete. As such 37% of applicants, including Dawn, were rejected.

[Aunty Dawn singing]

Corey: The Sisters of Mercy have a long and proud tradition of educating girls to help lift them out of poverty, but this did not extend to everyone.

Corey: Had Dawn been a ward of the state, but not Aboriginal, she would have received an education. At this time the law said that wards of the state had to attend school between the ages of 5 and 14.

Aunty Dawn: I don’t really know like when we went to All Hallows’ why we went to All Hallows’. I mean I know that we went there I suppose to work as domestics in a place but I didn’t know that we were going to be working. I think when you’re young you probably think you’re going to a school to get schooling, but we never got that. We went as domestics.

Corey: Dawn’s sister Margaret describes her education.

Aunty Margaret: And then later on we went to All Hallows’ convent. And All Hallows’ convent they taught us how to go to mass. And work.

Aunty Margaret: One of the nuns called Sister Paula she sort of took me under her wing and gave me a bible to read and a dictionary to read. We used to try to read this dictionary and we’d learn words. So that’s why I find today that I’m a good writer.”

Corey: Helen James from the Mercy Heritage Centre did not know about the education of the Care and Control Girls at the House of Mercy.

Corey: A letter exists in the All Hallows’ collection that shows that the sisters were educating the Care and Control girls at another site, the Holy Cross retreat.

Copyright All Hallows’ convent Mercy Heritage Centre.

Corey: This letter is dated 1968, so perhaps education started for younger girls after Dawn was too old get it. Or perhaps she and her sisters didn’t get an education as the Sisters of Mercy didn’t have to give them one and they were needed as domestics. Perhaps the Sisters of Mercy thought that the domestic duties were an appropriate education for Aboriginal children.

Corey: Even though neither Dawn nor Margaret got proper schooling beyond the age of eleven, both of them went on to get university degrees.

[Aunty Dawn singing]

Corey:  Dawn says that her experience at All Hallows’ had an effect on her long after she had left.

Aunty Dawn: I don’t know, I was kind of lost, I suppose. I didn’t know who the hell I was, where I was going. And so this big chunk of your life for my sake, it’s like you get the wanders. It’s almost like displaced somewhere. … and I think sometimes you just kind of put things out of mind. Know what I mean? You don’t want to know about it I suppose, that’s basically what I’m saying. I don’t want to know about that place. I didn’t know why I was there, how I come to be there, why wasn’t I at home with my mother? Why wasn’t I with my family, my Aboriginal family living at home? Y’know what I mean?

And when I think that there’s people in this world, Aboriginal kids, people in this world, are a little bit like they are, if they drink and they do this and they do that and they do that and they do that, it’s because of that transgeneration of people and the movement. Where’d they take them from, where’d they put them? Yeah, that’s what I think anyway. I think they buggered up people’s lives. What do you reckon?

Corey: Dawn and her sisters lived through forced work, imprisonment and stolen wages under the 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act of Queensland. Despite their best efforts the Daylight family could not escape from this system. This was meant to be about assimilation, but as disgusting as that aim is, it doesn’t quite fit the reality. Surely if the aim was assimilation then Dawn and her sisters would have received the same education as every other Australian child. Surely if that was the aim then they would have been forced to live within their nuclear family, not imprisoned in gender-segregated dorms. Surely if the aim was assimilation then Aboriginal people would have been forced to wholeheartedly participate in the capitalist system, not used as slaves. As a white person I have materially benefited from this slavery, and been protected from the knowledge of it. It is important to acknowledge the real history of Aboriginal slavery before healing can begin.

Corey: Dawn’s sister Margaret wrote a poem about her experiences.

Margaret: This is my story. I call my story “Strengthened Pride” and it goes like this.

Yes I am an Aborigine

No equality no more to be free

A stolen child put to work as a maid

For several years in a convent never paid

In dungeons underground at night

Locked by a key I cowered in fright

Lost years no more to be replaced

A mother’s love found when I was nineteen

When I was released

Ignorance plays a big part today

No-one really listens to what I say

I don’t expect anyone to be sorry for me in anyway

Just take the time to learn what happened in the past

Then we can reach peace and harmony this is all I ask

For I have been given a special gift to write

About special things the hurt and pain in my heart

But to the wider community I’ll never let it show

But to let it strengthen me to let it grow

In being the kind of person my parents wanted me to be

To give to others a special kind of pleasure

This is what I believe

The Daylight family. Margaret is top row left and Dawn is top row right. Their mother, Caroline, is bottom row left.

Reference
http://applecorey.tumblr.com/post/68305627745/when-aunty-dawn-daylight-was-a-child-she-was-kept

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