Black Plum & Charcoal: Stolen Generation


Yidumduma Bill shares his family history of the Stolen Generation. Bill's older sister Dulcie was taken away to Croker Island as a young child and by chance was reunited with the family in her late teens. Whenever the Welfare was close Bill was painted up in black plum and charcoal by his Mum. The station managers were also active in protecting the kids from being taken away. This film is dedicated to all of Dulcie's family and her granddaughter Rebecca who celebrates her Wardaman heritage and teaches Aboriginal culture in Adelaide schools.

Related Links:
Growing Up: Gornbunya Site
American Indian Boarding School Stories
Indigenous Reflections on Christianity
A Reconciliation Timeline SA
Interactive timeline of Aboriginal history, European settlement and reconciliation efforts outlines our shared history.

Sacred Land Film Project: " What are the ecological implications of Christianity?

There’s a story that has has played out all over the world. First come the missionaries doing good. Indigenous communities split apart and connections to land, ancestors and spirits of place weaken—not everywhere, but almost everywhere. Then come, in some order or another, government agents, land speculators, mining companies, the military. Some get rich. Some feel saved. But land and culture suffer. Sacred places are targeted at the same time as political and spiritual leaders are taken down. The connections have to be weakened for the colonizer to win."

Return to Stolen Generation

Return to Stolen Generation


I am going to give you a bit of a background history on the Stolen Generation.
…my sister was taken away in the past.
I don’t know what year my sister born, but I born in 1931.
I think she was about 3-4 year older than me.
…she born, she had an Aboriginal name also called Namarrij
and her skin was Nangarri…my sister.
But with her, what we was told from the early part there was no Welfare
took them, but with the policeman threatened…people with the gun,
to take the kid away.
And…what I was described, they was telling me the policeman was called Bob Woods.
…Bob Woods the one who made a lot of collection
on all the kids from Wardaman country.
What my sister went away with the Welfare in those days.
…later on, she come back…in 1952.
When I seen her she was still a young teenager.
The day we went up to Katherine on the rodeo day,
I was nominated to ride a horse.
…they was calling my name, that’s what picked my sister ears.
And she was looking around watching until I rode the horse.
After I finished the rodeo…got off the yard, come out,
and she could see where I was heading and she walked up straight for me.
She said, “ You know me, but you wouldn’t…’cause I left you little one.”
And she said that I sort of knew. And she told me who she was and
I recognised then…she never forgot my name.
…I was pleased to see her.
That’s what, today they call it the Stolen Generation.
The old man was telling me then…old Joe Jomornji, was ol’ stepfather,
when the police threatened them, they had to pull a gun on them and…
taking the kids away,
they upset the old people, parents…
They were very sad about…taking the kids away, especially my sister was gone,
but many others at the same time.
…from there on…when I was a kid my mother…very restricted on me,
because if she heard any Welfare was around,
she always used to put a charcoal on me, black plum, make me go black.
But with us around here, we lived in the country in the bush.
The Welfare was still around the country and they…
One of the Welfare was Ted Evans, tried to catch me.
…because the managers took a place for us…they’d ring the managers
and…they’d come out and collect all these little half-caste kids, they call them.
…while they was coming out…the managers would come to us and they said,
“Go on, you can go away, go out with the horse…to the stock camp.”
And Jack Liddell said, “Well, if you want Bill…you can go after him with a horse,
if you want to. The horse is down the yard.”
And they woke up to the Welfare, what they got to do.
They have to put some rooting horses in there…
quiet horse but they buck too.
…the bloke says to Ted Evans…and Toby was Aboriginal…
“Saddle up that horse for the Welfare, he can go down and find Bill.”
…Ted Evans come up to the yard and jumped on the horse and
the horse bucked like hell
and got rid of him and…he never came back looking for us.