“Quick. Police’s coming. Take your brother and go hide the old shed at the end of the paddock.” Mum said. Her dark eyes became fixated on the long brown cloud coming fast down the dirt driveway.
I hated the shed. It was dark, scary, and no place for a baby. Spiders and insects crawled about. The stench from the belowground sewer made me sick. But rather hide there than face these white men.
Mum covered the baby with an old blanket she managed to steal while the boss slept off the booze in her bed one night. He knew about the baby but wanted to keep it secret cause he was a preacher man and had another family. And now the pig’s called the coppers to come and take my brother away.
“Make sure he stays quiet,” Mum said placing Dylan in my small arms. Dylan slept peacefully, his light brown face looking up to the heavens. He was a lot lighter than me. Definitely took after his father. Hope he’s not like him in other ways, I thought.
The cop car stopped outside the house. Mr Ward, the boss, stepped off his bull nose veranda and pointed to the shack where mum stayed. Together they walked towards the dirt floor hovel. I placed Dylan in a rusty feeding trough and kissed him on the forehead. I wanted to see what was going to happen so I made my way out of the hiding place and staying in the shadows I carefully crept towards Mum.
“Come on Daisy, where’s that baby of yours? You can’t keep him here. I can’t afford to feed all of you. It’s the law you know,” Mr. Ward said, removing his akubra hat and scratching his thinning hairline.
“Don’t know what you is talking about boss.” She smiled. I had no idea how she managed to stay so calm. Almost like she knew it would all be okay.
Mr Ward turned to the officer. “She’s hiding the little runt. Give me a couple of minutes alone with her. She’ll tell me where it is.”
He loosened his belt and took it off. Raised it in the air and brought it down aiming for my mother’s head. The cop reached out and grabbed his hand.
“Don’t be an idiot. You can’t beat her now. I’d have to report it”
“But she’s got a baby. Ran off with one of my stockmen got pregnant. I can’t handle another kid on the farm. Times are tough you know.”
Liar. He’s the father. No one would believe me though. I’m just another stupid brown kid from the bush. Coppers should have taken me six years ago. But I was always too quick for em.
“I’m sorry Mr. Ward. I can’t do anything if there is no proof of a child. Call me if the situation changes.”
The policeman turned to leave. I’d never seen Mr. Ward so mad. I knew he’d beat Mum black and blue just as soon as the copper left. I had to do something.
I jumped into the middle of the road.
“Hey Copper. Here I am. Boss’s a bad man. He beats mum. Gets drunk and does bad things to her. Now he wants to get rid of me so he can keep going.”
Mr. Ward and the copper started sprinting towards me. I laughed and took off into the scrub. Plan worked. They could never catch me. I’d lead them further and further into the bush. Give Mum and Dylan plenty of time to get away. I ran like a brown wallaby, knowing we’d all soon be safe.
Between 1909 and 1969, the Australian Government instituted a policy of forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their natural families.
The Aborigines Protection Board (APB) managed the removal policy, and had the power to take children without parental consent or court order.
During the period, the APB encouraged those ‘half cast’ to meld into broader society with the aim of eventual total eradication the indigenous population. At the time, society viewed this people group as sociologically inferior to ‘White Australia’.
The dominant culture neither understood nor respected Aboriginal culture. Those who supported government policy believed this was the right thing to do because to them Aboriginals lived ignorant lives, proved to be terrible parents, and their women did not car for their babies properly.
These children became known as the Stolen Generation.
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