It is No Secret
Autobiography of a member of the stolen generations. Recounts Meehan's removal from her large and loving Aboriginal family at the age of five to be sent away to a white family in far-away Newcastle. Tells of her struggle to find...
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Autobiography of a member of the stolen generations. Recounts Meehan's removal from her large and loving Aboriginal family at the age of five to be sent away to a white family in far-away Newcastle. Tells of her struggle to find a meaningful place in her new world and to cope with the loss of everything she had valued, and the suicidal depression she endured until she traced her birth family. Includes photographs.
With a sudden jerk, squealing of brakes and a loud puff of the steam engine, the train shunted forward ... I stared out the window as we slowly pulled out of the station. I was very confused. I saw the women standing on the platform watching us and wailing. Then I saw her. There was my mum in her only good blue dress standing next to my aunts and our old grandmother. Just standing there. Standing there with tears rolling down ttheir cheeks too fast to even wipe away. Then Mum waved a white hanky and I pressed my face against the window pane as hard as I could, watching her. Watching until her blue dress faded into a tiny blue daub of colour...' At the age of five, Donna was taken away from her natural family and sent to a foster family in Newcastle. Donna reflects back on her childhood memories of living in the bush with her brothers and her removal to the city, becoming an only child in a white family. Donna recalls her struggle with her identity - remembering traditions and customs of her old life in the outback and the adjustments she has had to make in strange city. Donna (aged 40) retells her life story with stark simplicity and honesty . She openly discusses the pain and isolation she has felt at not belonging or feeling at home with the society she has been brought up in. Her desperation took her close to suicide. This is a powerfully sad yet also uplifting story - sad because of Donna's long struggle to re-establish her family and culture and coming to terms with her own views about Aboriginal people; and uplifiting because of Donna's deep faith, her own strong family ties with her foster mother and her husband and sons. Donna's story is retold with passion but with an absence of bitterness as she tells of the strangeness, and heartbreak of her experiences, and of the kindness of her adoptive family.
**Born in Coonamble but sent to Newcastle at the age of five. * *Joyride', part of her autobiography, was published in The Stolen Children, Their Stories edited by Carmel Bird. **Has worked as a radio broadcaster for indigenous radio stations. **Currently working as Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer for the Department of Employment and Training.