In 1954, aged three, Rhonda Collard-Spratt was taken from her Aboriginal family and placed on Carnarvon Native Mission, Western Australia. Growing up in the white world of chores and aprons, religious teachings and cruel beatings, Rhonda drew strength and
healing from her mission brothers and sisters, her art, music and poetry, and her unbreakable bond with the Dreaming.
Alice's Daughter is the story of Rhonda's search for culture and family as she faces violence, racism, foster families, and her father's death in custody; one of the first deaths investigated as part of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
Written in Rhonda's distinctive voice, Alice's Daughter is fearless, compelling and intimate reading. Coupled with her vibrant and powerful paintings and poetry, Rhonda's is a journey of sadness, humour, resilience and ultimately survival.
- 230mm x 152mm x 12mm
- Released April 2017
- ISBN 9781925302936
When I say they controlled our lives, I mean we had to live on the fringes of towns and on native missions and reserves. The missions were run either by the government or different churches. You couldn’t marry who you fell in love with; you had to get permission from the government. You also had to get a permit to move from place to place. When you worked, they stole your wages. If you wanted to buy anything, you had to virtually beg for your money. You had to write a letter to the government to ask if you could buy a dress or shoes or stockings.
Chapter 1: A black girl in a white world
Chapter 2: Childhood games and mission ways
Chapter 3: The birds and the bees
Chapter 4: Finding country
Chapter 5: Scared in the city
Chapter 6: A family at last
Chapter 7: Death in custody
Chapter 8: Terrorised
Chapter 9: The brolga and other stories from Mother
Chapter 10: Sorry business
Chapter 11: Finding identity
Chapter 12: Through Yamatji eyes
Epilogue: Speaking my truth
About The Author
Rhonda Collard-Spratt is a strong Yamatji and Noongar woman from Carnarvon, Western Australia. A visual artist, storyteller, poet, singer-songwriter, dancer, and art teacher, Aunty Rhonda speaks out against injustices against her people and Mother Earth. Rhonda conducts cultural and art workshops at high schools and has worked in prisons with young women around suicide prevention, helping them reconnect with their Aboriginality.
As a representative of the Stolen Generations, Rhonda officiates at National Sorry Day events in Brisbane and Ipswich. In 1954, aged three, Rhonda was taken from her Aboriginal family and placed on Carnarvon Native Mission in Western Australia. Despite growing up in the white world of chores and cruel beatings without family, culture or love, Rhonda has emerged as a strong Aboriginal woman who has found her voice.
In 2013, Rhonda began writing her life story, Alice’s Daughter: Lost mission child (2017), in honour of her mission brothers and sisters. She hopes they too might find healing, and that those working in health, justice, and community services become more aware of the trauma of Australia’s Stolen Generations and the transgenerational impacts that these policies have on every Aboriginal person today.
Brisbane-based writing coach and editor Jacki Ferro of Raw Memoirs specialises in non-fiction, especially memoir, self-help, spiritual, and business genres. She believes in the power of well researched stories to both educate and entertain, and in the importance of preserving our memories and stories for future generations. Through structural and copy edits, appraisals and co-writing, Jacki helps writers produce high quality books and reach their publishing goals. Jacki clarifies messages, develops themes, and uncovers transformative lessons that inspire personal growth and social change, while remaining respectful of each author’s raw voice. A highly-skilled communication professional, together with Rhonda Collard-Spratt, Jacki is the co-author of Alice’s Daughter: Lost Mission Child (2017).
About The Cover
Front cover: 'Treasured Memories' (2015); Rhonda aged sixteen.
Back cover artwork: 'Coming Together' (2011). This artwork is about coming together as people, and resecting each others differences; taking the time to sit around and hear each others stories without judgement. It's about finding that we are the same in many ways, and trying to bridge that gap between us on a cultural level. It's about understanding each others different journeys in life and how that has shaped us. Listen with your heart then go on your different path from our sacred circle where we have passed on what we've learnt from each other.
This a powerful story shared generously from Rhonda's heart. Rhonda has shared raw and at times different to read brutalities she has survived, her love of life, humour and gentle heart. It is a story of a woman's resilience and spirit in talking about the discrimination and racism of not just the past but the current reality of our First Nation people of Australia. Highly recommended.
"A wonderful story - cleverly interweaving real life with poetry and prose.
It is sad but inspirational - and proves determination can overcome adversity!
A great read!"
I purchased Alice's Daughter: Lost Mission Child in hard copy at an event at the Centre for Stories in Perth. This is a confronting story, but one that all Australians need to understand. In telling her story with Jacki Ferro, Rhonda Collard-Spratt’s voice and resilience shines through – and having heard her speak and sing, I can appreciate how authentic that is! Rhonda's beautiful poetry and artwork is included – along with her music a part of her healing – and they add so much more insight and depth. I would love to see this powerful book become part of school and university curricula.