Elder Doolann Leisha talks about Noongar people working together to protect children from being removed

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At the Badjaling Mission, you know everyone was camped along. We were camped right up at the sand plain, up the top there. And when the car comes in down the bottom, come in like that, well the bottom camp they all had a young fella who was trained to whistle long and sharp for danger if there was a car coming in. And so young fella would give this long sharp whistle and it be carried on with every young fella in the family too, and it would get up to the camp where we were. And of course all the kids used to run and ‘ide. But because I was small, I was only three and a ‘alf and my mum and dad put me in the hessian bags. And the hessian bags was the lining in the camp. My dad used to work for the farmers at least they used to give ‘im lots of bags. And it was good, the bags were good because they lined all the camp inside, the tins with the hessian bags. And in the winter time mum used to sew the bags together as doonas for us and we used to sleep warm with them because we ‘ardly ‘ad any blankets. The welfare came to take me. I was gone home. They came out to Badjaling to get me. And anyway they came up there and they asked my mum and dad for me. And my mum and dad wouldn’t even answer ’em. They asked them where I was. They said, “We got the report on your daughter that she’s fair and she shows intelligence and we’d like to see ‘er.” And my mum and dad said, “No, we dunno where she is.” And ’cause I was standin’ in the hessian bags and you know, there could have been spiders but I’d rather face the spiders at that time than the Welfare. I used to stand there very still and you know they came into the camp lookin’ around for me, lookin’ everywhere for me. But they couldn’t see me. So they’d leave. But they came back again. Again and again.

From: Doolann Leisha Eatts, interview for South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, 17 January 2007

 

Protocols
SWALSC followed cultural protocols to obtain permission to use this oral history on the Kaartdijin Noongar website.
It is also protected by copyright law and may only be used for private study, research, criticism or review. If you would like to use it for any other purpose, including publication, making copies or modifying it, please contact SWALSC at reception@noongar.org.au or PO Box 585, Cannington, 6987.
Note: In some cases the written transcript has been edited with permission from the person interviewed and may differ slightly from the audio recording.

Permission to use this audio recording kindly granted by Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts

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