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MY PLACE – Sally Morgan

Context and Background

 

This is a novel of journeys; a journey of four lives, of self-discovery, a journey home. Though it involves physical travel, it is very much a spiritual, emotional and inner search for dignity and belonging.

As an autobiography, it is written in a narrative style that depicts Sally Morgan’s inner journey of self – discovery.   She grew up in Manning, a suburb of Perth in the early fifties and sixties believing that she was part of main stream Australia until clues began to emerge that somehow she was different.  Her family was denying its Aboriginality and she begins her long search for the truth and her identity. 

 

The story is cast on a backdrop of white mistreatment: Paternalism, dispossession, rape, massacres and atrocities; all contributing to an erosion of a sense belonging or place,  

From 1938, political moves began to dismantle the paternalistic Protection Boards and establish the right of Aboriginals to gain full citizen status which they finally gained after a referendum in 1967.  The strategy of taking part aboriginals (The Stolen Generations) from their parents and training them in Training homes as domestic servants and farm labour continues until the late sixties.  This fear paralyses both Gladys and Nan in all their dealings with authority.

 

Sally’s journey is an attempt to uncover the hidden history of her family and her people and to reclaim their identity, self assertion, self determination, and pride. By finding her “Place1” she not only discovers her self but also a feeling of belonging – her inner self.

1   Place can mean space, rank or belonging.


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