Barbara often found herself saying, "the stork dropped me at the wrong house" only to find she was repeating her mother's words. In this riveting memoir exploring race relations and social change, Aboriginal elder Burnum Burnum, told her, "you may be white but you have a black heart, as you understand my people and feel our heart.' He suggested to International Development Action that she take on the Mapoon project and played matchmaker by introducing her to Aboriginal teacher and Australian civil rights movement leader Mick Miller.
The Mapoon Aborigines were forcibly moved off their land by the Queensland government in NE Australia in 1963 to make way for mining. With an effective team behind her, Barbara helped them move back in 1974 to much government opposition which saw her under house arrest with Marjorie Wymarra. It also saw Jerry Hudson and Barbara taken to court. In helping the Mapoon people return to their homeland, she found her home as part of an Aboriginal family, firstly Mick's and later Norman's as she remarried many years later, now being with her soulmate Norman about 30 years.
It is a must read for those interested in ethnic studies and political science as an isolated outback community whose houses, school, health clinic, store and church were burnt to the ground rose from the ashes and rebuilt despite all the odds. It is a testimony to the Mapoon people's strength.
This is a highly engaging and inspiring memoir. At its centre is the story of Mapoon which has all the elements of a great drama with the violent expulsion of the community in 1963 and their triumphant return eleven years later. As the author explains she came almost by chance to be at the very centre of the drama which in turn dramatically changed her life. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in political and social change over the last 50 years.