Monday, August 20, 2012

PAGE SIX: sisters

Robin, Malcolm, Christopher, Margaret and me

In 1958, Mum and Dad read in the newspaper that there were Aboriginal children who were homeless and needed care. My Dad felt our family was not complete without girls and Mum and Dad asked if there was a baby girl who needed a home.
They were told there was a three year old, but she had a five year old sister who would come with her.
Shortly after, Robin (three) and Margaret (five) came to live with us. We later learnt that they also had other siblings who had gone elsewhere.
Mum and Dad decided that they needed a bigger house with two extra children to house, and we moved to a lovely big house in Belmont North. At first it was called Lot 33, but was later numbered and became 12 York Crescent.

 In the 1980s, after the report Bringing Them Home was published, we were told that the indigenous children who had been adopted, including my own sisters, were stolen from their parents. I know my parents did not intend to steal Margaret and Robin and feel unsettled about my parents being cast as accomplices in removing them from their family.

Margaret is two weeks older than I am. She and her husband Kevin live in Valentine, around the lake a bit from Belmont, and have always been a great help to Mum and Dad. When Mum was no longer able to care for Dad by herself, he went into Narla Village, which is very close to our home in York Crescent. Margaret and Mum visited him every day, and Margaret made sure he got his dinner as soon as it was ready each evening.
Then when Mum was in declining health and starting to suffer from dementia, it was Margaret who visited her nearly every day, both in her home, and then very regularly in the hospital and aged care places where she spent her last couple of years.

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