The Stolen Generations

The Stolen Generations



Stolen Generations - the definition
Maps of places mentioned in text
Introduction – Overview
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
The impact of Peter Read’s pamphlet PDF Print E-mail

Since 1981, Peter Read’s pamphlet of less than 10,000 words — which he later said he wrote ‘at white heat in a single day’[1] — has had an enormous impact on black and white relations in this country, especially about how Aboriginal people now regard their recent history. Read has, quite deservedly, claimed the credit for defining the issue himself.

He has acknowledged that in the 1920s some Aborigines did iden­tify child removal as a political issue. The lobby group, the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association, complained about the removal and exploitation of Aboriginal girls. It protested that ‘girls of tender age are torn away from their parents … and put to service in an environment as near to slavery as it is possible to find’. In 1927, the association’s president, Fred Maynard, urged the New South Wales Premier to recognize that ‘family life of Aboriginal people shall be held sacred and free from invasion and interference and that the children shall be left in control of their parents’.[2] In South Australia, after the government passed the Aborigines (Training of Children) Act of 1923, a deputation of Aboriginal men from the Point Macleay settlement said in a petition to the state Governor:

We don’t mind the Government taking them and training them. We want them to get on and be useful. But we want to feel that we still have full rights over them, and that they are our own children. There are a lot of times when a woman with only one daughter is unable to get about, and if the girl is taken from her, there is no one left to help her, and she has to borrow the daughters of other women.[3]

However, none of these complaints amounted to a public cam­paign that put child removal in the forefront of Aboriginal demands. After the ‘Day of Mourning’ to mark the 1938 sesquicentenary of British colonization, a deputation of Aboriginal leaders presented to Prime Minister Lyons a ten-point program of demands. The separa­tion of children was not on the agenda and there was no mention of children being taken or removed, let alone stolen.[4]

The Aboriginal political lobbies formed after World War II had both black and white members and Read observed that, until the 1960s, the whites held most of the executive positions and did most of the public speaking. He speculated that some of the more conser­vative members of these joint associations might have actually approved of separations. In any case, he argued it was simply beyond the comprehension of anyone at the time to recognize ‘that certain of our own officials of state and church, foster parents and institu­tional superintendents were acting with the wickedness revealed in Bringing Them Home’.

few Indigenous or non-Indigenous people in the 1960s really understood that there was a policy of removal at all. Separation had become structural, comparatively invisible. Individual cases which were occasion­ally publi­cized seemed to concern individual children who hap­pened to be Abo­riginal, in need because their parents, poor things, couldn’t cope, and who must be rescued to be given a better chance. Not even all the officials who carried away the children knew that there was a policy.[5]

Read doesn’t mention them but it is worth considering the atti­tude of the generation of Aboriginal activists who emerged in that era of radical political foment, the late 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, national organizations began to appear making demands for reform on behalf of all Aboriginal people. Some emulated the highly publicized American revolutionary group, the Black Pan­thers. Others took part in the famous Tent Embassy set up on the lawns of Parliament House Canberra in 1972 to symbolize Aborigi­nes as a subjugated people making demands on the imperial power. Given the ability of activists like these to attract media attention through this highly effective political theatre, it is surprising that none of them even hinted that their people were, at that very time, suffering a campaign of genocide from white bureaucrats stealing their children. Three political groups from the era presented their demands as political lists, reproduced here in Table 1.1. [6]

Aboriginal activists were not the only ones who failed to realize what was going on. So did many white people, even those in a good position to know. For instance, the entire body of the Australian anthropological profession remained in the dark. A literature search by one of the profession’s leading members, Kenneth Maddock, revealed that, between 1925 and 1975, none of the anthropologists who did fieldwork in outback Australia, who lived with and investi­gated the thoughts, beliefs and culture of the Aborigines, had any inkling of the genocide allegedly taking place at the very same time.[7]

Into this intellectual fog came Peter Read with a different way of seeing. As part of his oral history research in the late 1970s into the Wiradjuri people of south-western New South Wales, Read had interviewed a number of former inmates of Aboriginal institutions, some of whom did not know the whereabouts of their families. One of these was Coral Edwards, with whom Read co-founded the social work agency Link-Up to help those who had no record of their families to find them again. In researching the records of their removal in the New South Wales State Archives, he formulated his ‘stolen generations’ thesis, together with his accusation of genocide, and published it in his 1981 pamphlet.



Table 1.1: Demands of Aboriginal activists, 1970–1972




National Tribal Council, Policy Manifesto, 13 September, 1970



Black Panthers of Australia, Platform and Program, 1970


Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Five Point Policy, 1972




1. Federal responsibility and action


2. Land and mineral rights

1. We want freedom.



2. We want full employment for our people.

1. Full State rights to the Northern Territory under Aboriginal ownership and control with all titles to minerals, etc.


3. Education

3. We want an end to the robbery of the white man of our Black Community.

2. Ownership of all other reserves and settlements throughout Australia with all titles to minerals and mining rights.


4. Consultation and power

4. We want decent housing.

3. The preservation of all sacred lands not included in 1 and 2.


5. Legal aid and protection

5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent Australian society.


4. Ownership of certain areas of certain cities with all titles to minerals and mining rights.

6. Health



7. Employment

6. We want all black men to be exempt from military service.


7. We want an immediate end to police brutality, murder & rape of black people.

5. As compensation, an initial payment of six billion dollars for all other land throughout Australia plus a percent­age of the gross national income per annum.



8. Cultural pluralism


8. We want freedom for all black men held in prisons and jails.



9. Freedom from prejudice and discrimi­nation

9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group.



10. Justice and the rule of law

10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.








Source: All documents reproduced in Bain Attwood and Andrew Markus (eds), The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights: A Documentary History, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1999, pp 246–54, 257–8 (emphases in original)



That publication attracted immediate attention within academic, legal and social policy circles but the real turning point came in 1983 when the newly elected Hawke Labor government convened a meeting in Canberra of the National Aboriginal Consultative Coun­cil. Read has described how Coral Edwards addressed the meeting to apply for funding for Link-Up. She told the 40, mostly middle-aged Aboriginal representatives about the dimensions of child removal and the objectives of the policy. Mothers had not voluntarily given their children away, she said. Rather, ‘the govern­ments never intended that the children should ever return’. Read described the scene:

It was one of those remarkable moments when Australian history takes a new direction. A palpable silence descended on the smoky atmosphere. Heads looked up, pencils hovered. Unspoken questions began to flash about the room. ‘Is that why I’ve never met my auntie?’ ‘Is that why my family never talks about my youngest sister?’ ‘Do you mean that my mother never put us away?’[8]

Read and Edwards got their grant. Read spent much of the next decade both working for Link-Up and employed as an academic with the Australian National University doing further oral history. He published the books Down There With Me on the Cowra Mission: An Oral History of Erambie Aboriginal Reserve (1984), A Hundred Years War: The Wiradjuri People and the State (1988) and The Lost Children: Thirteen Australians Taken from their Aboriginal Families Tell of the Struggle to Find their Natural Parents (1989).

Over this period, his interpretation of child removal policy became one of the great burning issues within Aboriginal politics, eventually attracting a similar degree of public attention as protests over land rights and deaths in police custody.[9] The story lent itself to dramatic treatment, especially the picture of police wrenching children from the arms of loving parents. It became the principal theme of two of the four episodes of the historical drama series screened in 1983 by SBS television, Women of the Sun, written by Hyllus Maris and Sonia Borg, who also wrote a novel based on the series.[10] Margaret Tucker’s 1977 autobiography, If Everyone Cared, which recorded her removal from Moonahcullah Aboriginal Station to the Cootamundra Abori­ginal Girls’ Home in 1917, inspired the documentary film, Lousy Little Sixpence, which was broadcast on ABC television in 1983.[11] Its public reception was strong enough for a new edition of Tucker’s autobiography to be reprinted three times in 1983 and 1984. Her book became a recommended text in high school courses in Austral­ian history. The film told its audience:

The reserves were made a training ground for the Aboriginal children to become servants. The protection board’s plan was to then remove the children from the reserve and place them under the control of white employers. Once removed these children would never be allowed to return home.

The Stolen Generations story subsequently attracted a great deal of attention in both film and television. The ABC followed up Lousy Little Sixpence with a program about Coral Edwards in the 1984 television series Faces of Change by Anne Deveson.[12] Another film­maker attracted to the genre was Anne Pratten in Terra Nullius in 1992.[13] Darlene Johnson wrote, directed and appeared in her docu­mentary Stolen Generations in 2000. More recently, several films about Aborigines in contemporary Australia have used the stolen genera­tions either as their principal subject, as in David Vadiviloo’s Beyond Sorry (2003) and Nicholas Boseley’s Shit Skin (2002), or as a recurring sub-theme, as in My Colour Your Kind and Grace from the Australian Film Commission’s 1998 Shifting Sands series. The success of Phil Noyce’s 2002 film Rabbit-Proof Fence proved the Stolen Generations such a popular theme that Baz Luhrmann adapted it for his 2008 blockbuster Australia.

Popular music also helped spread the word and embed the emo­tions. In 1983 Bob Randall revived his 1960s song ‘Brown Skin Baby’. In 1990 Archie Roach’s album Charcoal Lane contained two songs about stolen children, ‘Took the Children Away’ and ‘Mun­jana’. The latter was about the highly publicized case of Russel Moore or James Savage, an Aboriginal adopted at birth by a white family and taken to the United States where as a young man in 1990 he was convicted of rape and murder. Australian witnesses for the defence, who included Peter Read, blamed his crimes on the effects of being a stolen child.[14]

A less predictable popular success was an historical exhibition by the National Archives in 1993 about the Commonwealth Govern­ment’s involvement in the removal of part-Aborigines in the North­ern Territory. Entitled Between Two Worlds and with Read as ‘cura­torial adviser’, it recorded a history strongly influenced by his inter­pretation. It went on a two-year national tour to fifteen metro­politan and regional museums and galleries where, all up, it attracted 500,000 visitors.[15]

Meanwhile, book publishers sought out Aboriginal autobiogra­phies and family histories emphasizing child removal and family break-up: Elsie Roughsey’s An Aboriginal Mother Tells of the Old and the New (1984), Sally Morgan’s My Place (1987), Glenys Ward’s Wandering Girl (1987), Alice Nannup’s When the Pelican Laughed (1992), Stuart Rintoul’s The Wailing (1993), Edwards and Read’s The Lost Children (1989), and Barbara Cummings’s Take This Child: From Kahlin Compound to the Retta Dixon Children’s Home (1990). In 1987 this market produced one of Australia’s all-time best-sellers. Although one member of the white pastoralist family who employed her Aboriginal grandmother has seriously challenged the veracity of Sally Morgan’s My Place, the book remains a compulsory text for high school literature courses in most states and has sold more than 500,000 copies.[16]

Publishers were so keen about titles of this kind that in 1994 Bruce Simms of Magabala Books accepted the manuscript of a novel by Wanda Koolmatrie about her experience of growing up in a white foster family. When published under the title My Own Sweet Time it won the 1995 Dobbie Award for a first-published book by a woman writer and was short-listed for the 1995 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. The real author later revealed the novel was a literary hoax. Leon Carmen said he wrote it under the persona of an Abori­ginal woman after years of frustration at having his literary manu­scripts rejected when he identified himself to publishers as a middle-aged white man.[17]

At the same time, the emergence of Aboriginal politics onto a favourable national platform under the Hawke and Keating Labor governments won the cause both support and funding. Between 1987 and 1991, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody investigated the causes of the apparently high number of deaths of Aborigines in prison. Although the commission could not actually find an abnormal rate of deaths in custody — in fact, death rates in prison turned out to be lower than for comparable age groups in the Aboriginal community at large — and although it could not attribute any deaths to brutality by police or prison officers, it did find that of 99 fatalities it investigated, 43 of them were of people who had been separated from their parents. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs at the time, Robert Tickner, thought this ratio alone was sufficient to prove the Stolen Generations’ case. ‘If that doesn’t tell the story, nothing else will,’ he told a Darwin confer­ence in 1994.[18] When the Keating government responded to the commission’s report, it allocated $150 million to various Aboriginal legal and welfare programs. The Link-Up organization got $3 million.[19]

The United Nations designated 1993 the Year of Indigenous Peo­ples and, in a speech the prior December, Prime Minister Paul Keating launched Australia’s contribution to the exercise. He said Australia had to acknowledge its awful history. Reading from a text by speechwriter and left-wing Melbourne historian, Don Watson, Keating gave Read’s thesis the ultimate political stamp of approval:

We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclu­sion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice.[20]

Keating’s assertion, ‘we took the children from their mothers’, was surprisingly imprudent for a politician in his position. By this time, the Stolen Generations’ cause had attracted a gaggle of human rights lawyers busy familiarizing themselves with international precedents on reparations and compensation for the loss of traditional indige­nous cultures and customs. By prejudging the issue, the Prime Minister obviously bolstered their determination and raised the ambit of their demands.

These lawyers, together with an array of both Aboriginal and white political activists, organized the ‘Going Home’ conference in Darwin in October 1994 that attracted more than 600 people. Many of those attending identified themselves as members of the Stolen Generations. Melbourne barrister Ron Merkel, soon to be appointed by the Labor government a Federal Court judge, told the audience of the repara­tions Germany had paid the Jews after World War II, adding: ‘There is good reason to suggest that the notion of reparations for breaches of international law may be a way in which compensation would be payable to people who had suffered these violations in Australia.’ He said the removal of children by the government amounted to a breach of its fiduciary duty.[21]

The audience got an unexpected bonus when Labor minister Robert Tickner addressed the conference and announced that he supported a government inquiry into the Stolen Generations. This promise was the source of what in May 1995 became the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Bringing Them Home inquiry into the separation of indigenous children from their families.[22]

As well as legal and political redress, the conference adopted a strategy to win public support through a greater focus on the nation’s history. In the opening address, Bill Risk of the local Larrakia Association said:

Reconciliation will not be possible unless Australia is prepared to redis­cover the true history of this land, and learn from this history. The chal­lenge of this Conference is for the rest of Australia to learn from the his­tory of the stolen generations.[23]

Risk was right to emphasize this because history had always been central to the existence of this cause. This was true not only of those white people who came to believe the story but of the Aboriginal people who did the same. The fact that the story has been not only acceptable to, but also disseminated by, academic historians has been important in giving it authority in the wider culture. Raimond Gaita acknowledged that the Human Rights Commission inquiry was not sufficient for the task. ‘Bringing Them Home,’ he wrote, ‘is no substi­tute for an informed history.’[24] A number of university-based histo­rians have written books that supported Read’s interpretation. They include Anna Haebich in For Their Own Good (1988) and Broken Circles (2000), Andrew Markus in Governing Savages (1990), Tony Austin in I Can Picture the Old Home So Clearly (1993) and Heather Goodall in Invasion to Embassy (1996). There was also consid­erable supportive literature in articles published by Australian academic journals of history and the law.

None of this body of work has challenged, or even thought to question, Read’s interpretation. When the Bringing Them Home report endorsed his thesis and made it one of the big national issues of the 1990s, it entered the realm of legend. Like all legends, it has attracted its popularizers and summarizers. In 2005, Henry Reynolds used his considerable ability as a prose stylist to capture the essence of the story in a series of vivid images. In his book Nowhere People, Reynolds wrote:

Once those involved in the practice of taking children were persuaded that it was in the best interests of both the children and society, much else followed as a logical consequence. The follow-through was irresistible. Parental resistance must be overcome, even by force or threat of force if necessary. The younger the child the better before habits were formed, attachments, language learnt, traditions absorbed. The break from family, kin and community must be decisive and permanent, otherwise the whole exercise would be jeopardized. If young people could return to their fami­lies the effort had been wasted. That being the case, other aspects of the system made sense even though they appear in themselves to be arbi­trary and gratuitous. Children should be provided with no information about where they had come from or where they could return to. They might even be encouraged to think that their parents hadn’t wanted them or were dead. Names could be changed to prevent subsequent searches for origin. Siblings were often separated to undermine familial solidarity. Use of tribal language was forbidden on pain of punishment. All memo­ries of an Abo­riginal past were to be discredited and allowed to fade away to hasten the cause of assimilation.

None of this was accidental, arbitrary or the result of individual malice. The men and women who shaped and implemented policy knew exactly what they were doing. They were self-consciously important players in the great game of nation building and race consolidation.[25]

The widespread acceptance of the Stolen Generations story is tes­timony to the power of historical research and writing, especially to the authority of traditional documentary research. It is difficult in a contentious issue of this kind to win public credibility from oral history alone, since most members of the public are well aware how easily the stories that individuals tell in interviews can change over time or be influenced by others or even be contrived by the storytel­ler. This is much less true, however, of documentary research. Academic historians like Read who say they have gone to the archives, read what is there, and formed their interpretation from the documents, have far more credibility. Moreover, historical scholarship generates its own conviction. Individuals often find it difficult to understand social processes, even those that affect their own lives profoundly, without the benefit of someone providing an overarching explanation of that process. Historians are well placed to provide that wider account, especially when they have access to a large amount of the documentation left in the wake of what took place, so they can see its effects on many individuals over a long period of time.

Read acknowledges his own project took this route. In the 1970s, for his research on the Wiradjuri people, he conducted oral inter­views with a number of Aboriginal people who had been separated from their parents when they were children, ‘but I listened to them as individuals, without thinking about the effect on Aboriginality as a whole’. In 1980, he began to investigate the old records of the Aborigines Protection Board held by the New South Wales State Archives. Here he read the individual case files of children made wards of the board between 1916 and the 1930s. It was the reading of all these files, he said, that led him to his ultimate conclusion:

I imagined at the time that I was writing the stories of individuals, but I understand now that I was historicizing the process of separation. The sum of the ‘lazy and useless’ domestic servants and alcoholic violent men was more than thousands of difficult, futile or wasted lives. It was the by-product of a concerted attempt by the state to put an end to indigenality. At last I understood the life histories not only as human tragedies, but also in the context in which these things were allowed to happen, no, were intended, to happen.[26]

Although other historians moved onto his territory after he had laid it out, this interpretation of our history has always remained Peter Read’s. He broke the story in the first place, he determined its political and moral parameters, he defined the evidence that counted, and he attributed the motives to the responsible officials. Before Read, even the participants themselves had a variety of explanations for separation. Some impugned white attitudes but others, he acknowledged, thought the reasons benevolent: to rescue children from broken families, to train them for employment, or simply to give them a better chance in life. After Read, one expla­nation became dominant: to destroy Aboriginality. To this motive, he added the essential component required to define the process into a single historical event: a memorable name. Read actually credits the title to his wife, Jay Arthur, who thought his original choice, The Lost Generations, too bland. She recommended the more scandalous adjective ‘stolen’.[27]

Read made no secret that his work was driven by a political agenda. He has written that from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, he was one of those who worked hard to establish this story. ‘We collected oral histories, we published first-person accounts, we produced documentary collections, we analysed the results.’ These activities, he said, made the Stolen Generations narrative part of the fabric of Australian history. By about 1995, Read says, he felt ‘this historical fabric would remain whole’ and it was no longer necessary to bolster the standard version with more life stories of separated people. It was time to pursue a wider agenda. ‘The time had clearly arrived for historians who had been working in the field to move the story along: to advise tribunals and members of parliament, to act as expert witnesses.’[28] The result was the Bringing Them Home inquiry and all that followed in its train.

Read must now be very satisfied with his work. Indeed, while the subject matter prohibits public exuberance, he must have had private moments when he felt extremely pleased with himself. No other Australian academic has ever had this much influence on national affairs. Almost single-handedly, he took an issue from the very margins of significance and put it at the moral core of the nation. Indeed, by 2002 Read was supremely confident his findings were unshakable. So much so that he could publicly float the idea that some of his unpublished oral history research into Aboriginal family life concealed stories that might have justified the very policies he had spent the previous twenty years denouncing:

Rape and sexual abuse of children less than ten years of age, violent crime, violent death, black magic, physical abuse, psychiatric illness, drug addic­tion, heroin dealing, imprisonment, juvenile delinquency, alcohol­ism, children neglected by their extended family, all form the narrative of an utterly destructive family life … It is quite possible that these explosive and shattering linked autobiographies will never be published, because the family does not wish it. That is the right of the participants which, natu­rally, I respect. What is more complex is the reaction of experienced ana­lysts of stolen generation histories with whom I have discussed the tran­scripts. Their reaction often has been, ‘For God’s sake, you can’t possibly publish that, it will confirm every prejudice in the community about Aboriginal society. It will be used to demonstrate that the children should have been taken away.’[29]


[1] Peter Read, A Rape of the Soul, p 48

[2] Read, Rape of the Soul, p 167. Read wrongly names this organization the Aborigines Protective Association. The full letter is reproduced in Bain Attwood and Andrew Markus, eds, The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights: A Documentary History, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1999, pp 66–7

[3] ‘Give Us Our Children. The Aborigines’ Plea. Opposition to New Act’, Register, Adelaide, 21 December 1923, reproduced in Attwood and Markus, eds, The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights, pp 109–10

[4] ‘Our Ten Points. Deputation to the Prime Minister’, Australian Abo Call, No. 1, April 1938, reproduced in Attwood and Markus, eds, The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights, pp 89–91

[5] Read, Rape of the Soul So Profound, pp 169–70 (his emphasis)

[6] National Tribal Council, Policy Manifesto, adopted 13 September 1970; Black Panthers of Australia, Platform and Programme, 1970; Aboriginal Embassy Land Rights Policy, ‘5 Point Policy’, 1972; interviews with Gary Foley, Paul Coe, Dennis Walker, Mike Anderson, Bobbi Sykes in The Australian, The Age and ABC Television, December 1971–March 1972; all reproduced in Attwood and Markus, eds, The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights, pp 246–64

[7] Kenneth Maddock, ‘Genocide? The Silence of the Anthropologists’, Quadrant, November 2000, pp 11–16

[8] Read, Rape of the Soul, p 72 (his emphasis)

[9] For bibliographies of the literature on this subject see: Peter Read, ‘Don’t Turn Your Back on Me: A Bibliographical Review of the Literature of the Stolen Generations’, Aboriginal Law Bulletin, 1995; Bain Attwood, ‘“Learning About the Truth”: The Stolen Generations Narrative’, in Bain Attwood and Fiona Magowan, eds, Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2001

[10] Women of the Sun, Geoffrey Nottage director, Hyllus Maris and Sonia Borg screenplay, Bob Weis producer, Generation Films, 1982; Hyllus Maris and Sonia Borg, Women of the Sun (introduction, script, stills), Currency Press, Sydney, 1983; Hyllus Maris and Sonia Borg, Women of the Sun (novel), Penguin Books, Ringwood, 1983

[11] Margaret Tucker, If Everyone Cared: Autobiography of Margaret Tucker MBE, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1977; Lousy Little Sixpence, Alec Morgan director, Alec Morgan and Gerald Bostock producers, Sixpence Productions/Australian Film Commission, 1983

[12] Anne Deveson, Faces of Change (book of the TV series), ABC/Fontana, Sydney, 1984, pp 90–117

[13] Anne Pratten, Terra Nullius, Australian Film School, Sydney, 1992

[14] Read, Rape of the Soul, pp 188–210. Their testimony probably influenced the judge who commuted Moore’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

[15] Rowena MacDonald, ‘Between Two Worlds: The Commonwealth Government and the Removal of Aboriginal Children of Part Descent in the Northern Territory — an Australian Archives Exhibition’, Aboriginal History, 18, 1994, p 165. A book of the exhibition with the same title and author was published by IAD Press, Alice Springs, 1995. The figure of 500,000 visitors is from the Australian Archives website;

[16] Judith Drake-Brockman, Wongi Wongi, Hesperian Press, Perth, 2001; Sunday, Channel Nine, 21 March 2004, ‘Sally Morgan: Claims of Fabrica­tion’

[17] The Australian, 14 March 1997, p 2

[18] Robert Tickner speech recorded in Jacqui Katona and Chips Mackinolty eds, The Long Road Home: The Going Home Conference 3–6 October 1994, Karu Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Darwin, 1996, p 14

[19] Read, ‘Don’t Turn Your Back on Me’. For a summary of the political climate that produced the royal commission and its findings, see Richard Broome, Aboriginal Australians, 2nd edition, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1994, pp 219–26

[20] Paul Keating, Paul Keating, Prime Minister: Major Speeches of the First Year, Australian Labor Party, Canberra, n.d., p 210

[21] Long Road Home, pp 13–14

[22] Robert Tickner, Taking a Stand: Land Rights to Reconciliation, Allen & Unwin, Sydney 2001, p 55. Bain Attwood has claimed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa to investigate the apartheid era in that country influenced the Australian decision to undertake the Human Rights Commission inquiry: ‘Learning About the Truth’, p 255 n 86. However, Tickner’s promise at Darwin in October 1994 predated both the South African commission’s appointment in July 1995 and its interna­tionally reported public hearings, which only began in April 1996.

[23] Long Road Home, p 7

[24] Gaita, ‘Genocide and Pedantry’, p 44

[25] Henry Reynolds, Nowhere People, Viking, Melbourne, 2005, pp 219–20

[26] Read, Rape of the Soul, pp 48–9

[27] Read, Rape of the Soul, p 49

[28] Read, ‘Clio or Janus?’, p 56

[29] Read, ‘Clio or Janus?’, pp 58–9