Gumbi Gumbi – Medicine Tree from Country (Dalby Cemetery) where Jean (Isabelle’s mother) and our Great Grandparents John and Polly Darlow are buried. Also buried there In the cemetery is our Great Uncle Harry (Bunda) Darlow.

The Call to Acceptance…

Having been removed from my natural parents as an aboriginal toddler in 1952 then farmed out to ‘white foster parents’ during what proved to be, the most tragic of all policies ever to be implemented by any government in Australia’s history, I learned to grow up in fear of ever being nailed as an aboriginal. Hence my silent denouncement and shame about every aspect of my Aboriginal heritage. A shame exacerbated by the government’s marketing strategies to the society from the 1930’s and further intensified throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s; a plan that saw aboriginals as being a race of people in dire need of guidance and assistance from a white class of people deemed as being of superior intellect and abilities.

Homes Are Sought for These Children, 1934
Reproduction of a 1934 newspaper clipping.
Image courtesy of the National Archives of Australia.

For myself it must have been right with words like ‘abo’ serving as a weapon of intentional  name calling that stuck to my emotional psyche, like shit to a sandshoe; a dastardly word that was never meant to be erased, hence my inability to ever relieve myself of such pain. I remember trying so hard as a child, to wash away my ‘blackness’ along with my anger at having been stuck with blacker skin that my older sister Patricia. I grew to hate my blackness as much as I grew to hate the tell-tale facial features of my aboriginality; like the podgy wide nose that was spread halfway across my dial. I loathed it and for no valid reason!

I was plastered from head to toe with a ‘fight-back’ mentality that likewise had no rhyme nor reason attached to what had fast become a trait synonymous to the supposed character of Judith Allen, Tobane, Roberts, Whitelaw and all the other names associated to whoever or whatever I was supposed to be at any one time in my life. The truth being as I have finally not just learned, but admitted to, was that my do or die fight-back trait, masked the depth of my pain and suffering brought about by not knowing at any point in my life, just who the hell I was. I never knew. It was as simple as that!

‘In the absence of knowledge, how can there be worthiness?’

I have long since mulled over a conversation with a relative and the comment she made when I was in the latter stages of my pregnancy:

“I cannot wait to see what the baby looks like” but in my head, I was thinking;

“I hope it isn’t black!”

Until I delved deeper into this article, I had never realised the depth of my fear of being Aboriginal, a fear which in reality has been a form of brainwashing perpetrated against the most vulnerable in any society, children, our gift from God little children who have been put on this earth to teach us all how to love and give love. It was likewise midstream of this article when I realised just how much of a blessing in my time of need, that my ‘Cuz’ Isabelle has been to me thus far, and how deeply inspired I am to embark upon our journey together in bringing me back to country, my true home and the home where I belong.

Judi Nash

24 Feb 2024


A heart-felt truth and reality check for me in realising how we as human beings, can allow ourselves to be sucked into a prejudice against anyone or anything deemed to be different.

‘Fritz’ (Robert F)

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